Tributes to Jewish peer Lord Young following his death at the age of 90

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Tributes to Jewish peer Lord Young following his death at the age of 90

The Conservative former minister headed several big Jewish charities including Jewish Care, World ORT, and Chai Cancer Care

Lord Young
Lord Young

Tributes have been paid to the Jewish peer and head of several big Jewish charities Lord (David) Young, following his death last week aged 90.

Young, who made his money in property, was the first president of Jewish Care, and also served as president of Chai Cancer Care, the Jewish Museum in Camden, and Jewish educational charity World ORT.

He was a senior cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and the ‘Iron Lady’ famously credited his policies on trade and employment as having helped get her elected for a third term in 1987.

This week, former prime minister David Cameron said Young was “a true champion of business and enterprise for over 40 years, from Thatcher’s government to my own… He was a thoughtful, kind, and lovely man who will be deeply missed”.

Young, who was born in north London and who had been a Labour voter in the 1960s, was made a Conservative peer in 1984 and within weeks had been catapulted into the cabinet, where his brief included privatisations.

He was born in Clapton to Betty and Jo Young and grew up in a close-knit Jewish family. His father arrived in the UK in 1905 as a Jewish immigrant from Yurevich near Minsk. Even though his father went blind, he still led the Seder from memory.

Young’s paternal grandfather came from Lithuania, while his maternal grandmother came from Tilsit, in what is now Russia. His brother, Stuart, began life as an accountant before becoming chairman of the BBC in 1983, a post he held until his death from cancer aged 52.

He counted the late Israeli president Chaim Herzog and the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin as “good friends” but was at heart a family man – although he lived near Chichester, he attended Central Synagogue in St. John’s Wood, so he could go to the services with his six grandchildren.

Among his many communal roles, Young became president of Chai Cancer Care in 2006 and built up the charity’s donor base. He remained involved and as recently as a fortnight ago, he was taking part in a Chai Cancer Care trustees’ meeting.

The charity’s chair Louise Hager said: “All of us are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of our beloved President, Lord Young. His wise council, great experience and compassion for the past 16 years were pivotal to the organisation’s development.

“We will always remember him with tremendous gratitude and affection. We send strength and prayers to [his wife] Lita, [his daughters] Karen, Judith, and all the family. Yehi Zichro Baruch. May his memory be for a blessing.”

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