Israel is fundamental to the foundation of Judaism and the yearning for Israel has been a core part of Jewish identity through the ages
Wimbledon synagogue Council established an Israel Committee in January 2013 in order to raise the profile of and engagement with Israel throughout all the activities, communications and presentation of the synagogue community.
Wimbledon Synagogue is a member of the South London Israel Forum which promotes and coordinates Israel related events and activities in the community across South London. We work collaboratively bringing together Reform, Orthodox and Liberal Jewish communities.
As we were keen to reach out to our neighbouring faith communities, especially the churches in our area, we re-established our local South West London and Dittons Council for Christians and Jews. This is led by James Leek from our synagogue. We are also keen to establish links with other communities and some initiatives are underway to link with Hindu and Sikh communities. There is also a desire to link with Muslim communities in addition to the Ahmadiyya with whom the synagogue already has good relations.
The main activity of the Committee is to organise speaker events with a wide range of expert contributors. We have also run advocacy courses and Hebrew lessons. We have been delighted to host “Magic Moments” for several years. This is a group of young people from Northern Israel who have coordinated wonderfully well with our youth and organised very meaningful Yom HaZikron and Ha’Atzmaut commemorations. We provided an opportunity for these young Israelis, made up of Jews, Christian and Muslim Arabs, to reach out to the wider community to educate them about Israel, combat misconceptions and provide a very different perspective than the one they normally hear.
In 2014, we established Pro Israel, Pro Palestinian, Pro Peace (ProIsPal) as an educational initiative to reach out to the public at large. ProIsPal runs stands in public areas with information about Israel and finds that many people support our message that, for there to be true peace Israelis and Palestinians need to promote each other’s welfare. This approach has proved so successful that it is now being copied around the country.
Israel is fundamental to the foundation of Judaism and the yearning for Israel has been a core part of Jewish identity through the ages. We are fortunate to live in an era when the State of Israel has been re-established and from a shaky start has gone from strength to strength. However we are aware of the intensity of attacks which range from physical attacks on the state and her people to reputational attacks which slander her name and denigrate her image.
As British Jews we take responsibility for doing our bit to stand up for Israel in Britain and to help our community, especially our young people, understand and care about Israel. We encompass a range of views about Israel, her politics, her governance, her progress, her citizens and her relationships with other people, but our love and concern for Israel binds us together and we contain the varied views through respectful and informed discussion.
We would welcome new members for our committee and supporters for our activities. Please contact Judy Weleminsky Chair, Wimbledon Synagogue Israel Committee and Chair, South London Israel Forum if you would be interested or would like to know more.