London’s Guildhall played host to 400 guests at the annual World Jewish Relief fundraising dinner on Monday evening, raising more than £1 million in the process.
Diners heard BBC News presenter Emily Maitlis explain how cyclists who rode 600 miles from Berlin to London for the anniversary of the Kindertransport raised more than £200,000 for the charity, whose predecessor organisation led the 1938-9 rescue efforts.
Jonathan Ornstein, director of the JCC Krakow, described the resurgence of Jewish life in a city devastated by the Holocaust, the centre having become “primary caregiver for more than 60 Holocaust survivors living in Krakow” but also “a hub for young Poles discovering their Judaism”.
The charity helps Jews and non-Jews across the world, with a focus on poor Jewish families in Eastern Europe, where it pays for home repairs, medicine, social networking and employment support.
WJR chair Dan Rosenfield said: “Celebrating our achievements is not enough. We will not be satisfied. We will instead be inspired to do more, to do better. We must and we will commit to finish the job we started, never to rest until we eradicate Jewish poverty for good.”
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”