February 26, 2015
I consider myself lucky to represent an area that contains such a diversity of people. Some people are uncomfortable with that fact, and want the clock turned back. For me, the diversity is a big part of what makes the community so special and interesting. However this community of communities will sometimes face tough tests of our ability to tolerate and understand each other. This is one of those times as we observe terrible events around the world, and feel less secure at home. It is always important to understand and even celebrate our differences.
However in these challenging times, it is also vital that we remember what we have in common as people who share a community. This fundamental truth always comes home to me on important community days where people of all faiths come together. Remembrance Day Services, for example, bring us together to stand in silence and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Group after group, from all communities, lay their wreaths in the powerful ritual of solidarity that we respect so much. Another occasion I value is the Civic Service at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue. The community is invited in to worship together and celebrate the fact that the Synagogue has been an integral part of the community fabric for over 50 years. This year the mood was different. Both Rabbis spoke of the insecurity within their communities in the light of events in the Middle East and Europe.
Other members of the broader Jewish community have contacted me to express their real concern about rising anti-Semitism in Britain and Europe. For myself, I wholly support the recent speech of the Home Secretary, Theresa May. She said “I never thought I’d see the day where Jews were fearful of remaining here in the UK. We must all redouble our efforts to wipe out anti-Semitism. We cherish the contribution you make, not just in the past but today and every day.”
I could not put it better myself.