Bumper turn-out of London Assembly members for communal organisation tour

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Bumper turn-out of London Assembly members for communal organisation tour

Two-thirds of elected representatives in the capital, from all political parties, attended a London Jewish Forum event highlighting the work of the CST, Alyth Synagogue, and the Rimon and Mathilda Marks Kennedy primary schools.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

A bumper turn-out of London Assembly members have taken part in a tour highlighting the work of some of the best communal organisations in north-west London.

Two-third of elected representatives in the capital – 16 from across the party political spectrum – were present for the London Jewish Forum event, which included visits to the Community Security Trust, (CST) headquarters, Alyth Synagogue, and the Rimon and Mathilda Marks Kennedy Jewish primary schools.

Arriving at CSTs HQ, the assembly members were given a comprehensive briefing on the threats faced by the Jewish community, including the 463 antisemitic incidents CST recorded which have taken place in London over the first half of 2022.

Labour’s Anne Clarke, London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden added “The work that the CST do with the police, and the wider society, is vital in tackling antisemitism, both in London and nationwide.

“While it shouldn’t be necessary, the protection and support the CST offer is unparalleled – it’s no surprise they have been asked to share their expertise with other UK faith communities.”

Nick Rogers, Conservative London Assembly Member for South-West London said “the trip to the Community Security Trust headquarters was uplifting yet sobering. Uplifting because of the amazing work done by the Trust to keep London’s Jewish community safe, sobering because of the worrying increase in antisemitic hate crime in our city. Our trip showed me there is still a great task ahead to make London a safer place for Jewish people – and that all of us, Jewish and non-Jewish, have a part to play.”

At Alyth Synagogue, one of the largest Jewish communities in the capital, Assembly Members were told about the role of the synagogue in the lives of many Jewish Londoners, and were treated with Alyth’s very own challah as a going home present.

Anne Clarke said “It was really interesting to learn about the scrolls at The Alyth Synagogue in Golders Green and the work that goes into assembling scrolls, including calligraphy and binding of parchment. Assembly Members were given a flavour of the very impressive work of The Alyth and their dedication to social justice. It was heartening to hear of their broad base of young people involved with the synagogue and that it continues to be at the heart of the community.”

While visiting two Jewish primary schools, Assembly Members discussed some of the financial challenges facing many schools across the capital, and the role of British values in Jewish faith schools. Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Hina Bokhari, a former teacher herself, noted how “brilliantly behaved” the children were.

Zack Polanski, who represents the Green Party in the Assembly and is Jewish himself said “I’m really proud of the contribution our Jewish Community makes to London.

“It was a powerful to see elected Assembly Members presented with some of the awful antisemitism that we can face but I was also pleased to then see the focus on joy and celebration that lies at the heart of our culture.”

Daniel Kosky, Director of the London Jewish Forum said: “It was fantastic to host 16 London Assembly Members on our Jewish community tour. The tour exposed participants to the modern Jewish community, and its institutions, ensuring they have a proper understanding of their Jewish constituents’ fears and concerns. The large number of Assembly Members that joined us from every party illustrates the broad support the Jewish community has in the London Assembly.”

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