Supporters and backers of JHub have celebrated ten years since the inception of the West Hampstead incubator for start-up Jewish social action organisations.
Philanthropist Sir Trevor Pears led the plaudits, together with former staff member David Brown, who now heads the Union of Jewish Students, and Chana Katzen, the chief executive of Jewish Interactive.
All three gave short talks to JDOV – “the Jewish TED Talks” – with Pears invoking Rabbi Abraham Joshua Herschel, who claimed he was “praying with his feet” when he marched for civil rights in Alabama with Martin Luther King Jr.
Sir Trevor, whose Pears Foundation created JHub “in response to a need to professionalise and support small charities focused on positive Jewish identity,” said: “We are a people who are at our best when we are praying with our feet.”
JHub, which has been run by US-born rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, currently hosts nine resident social action organisations but has nurtured 16, including Mitzvah Day, which has now become an international social action charities.
Others include anti-poverty organisation Tzedek, human rights group Rene Cassin and The Bike Project, all of which “have moved social action from the margins into the mainstream of British Jewry”.
Boyd Gelfand said the centre’s success “is partly due to its intensive investment in the people who lead its resident and alumni organisations… This strengthens the British Jewish community’s leadership pool as a whole, making its impact felt across the entire Jewish charity sector”.
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.
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