The Chief Rabbi talked about his Ben Azzai Programme, which is an annual initiative taking university students on an immersive international trip to India or Ghana (Photo: Indian Jewish Association UK).

Over 120 leaders from Indian and Jewish communities gathered to celebrate ‘Our Common Values’ organised as part of the Inter-Faith Week 2018 at Western Marble Arch Synagogue by the Indian Jewish Association UK last week.

Speaking on the occasion, Lord Gadhia of Northwood said, “This is a timely gathering falling in Inter-Faith Week and between the festivals of Diwali last week and Hannukah coming up in December. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the strong ties between our two communities, 1.5 million British Indians and 300,000 British Jews…”

The Chief Rabbi talked about his Ben Azzai Programme, which is an annual initiative taking university students on an immersive international trip to India or Ghana.

“In 2015, Valerie and I visited 19 Jewish communities in five cities over 11 days. We also made a point of visiting the slums of Kolkata and Mumbai. We came back to Britain determined to do something practical to help people. So we established the Ben Azzai Programme, empowering us as a Jewish community to reach out to the people of India and others around the world who require help and assistance. Next month, we are sending 16 Jewish students to Kolkata who will return to the UK as our social responsibility ambassadors”, Chief Rabbi said.

“If you want an example of unity, look at Jews and Indians. If only the whole world took a leaf out of our book, this would be a very different planet. As Indians and Jews together, we are playing different instruments but are together in the same orchestra, and our aim is to continue with that harmonious tone,” he added.

The small charity, the Indian Jewish Association, was founded in 1996. It doesn’t have a paid staff and relies on the goodwill of its volunteers. According to the association, it exists to strengthen relations between Britain’s Indian and Jewish communities.

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