“It’s not just what you see, it is the relationships you build, the experiences you share and the responsibility that you bear”

Following the inauguration of the JNF UK Fellowship with a launch at the home of HE Tzipi Hotovely, it was hard to see how this could be surpassed, but the second of the six seminars that took place in the Central Synagogue in London’s West End on the 15th December 2021, delivered yet another engaging and riveting session.

Three influential and game-changing speakers had the opportunity to engage with the 11 JNF UK Fellows.

Introduced by Gary Mond (Honorary Treasurer of JNF Board of Trustees), the Fellows enjoyed a truly memorable 40-minute first session with Lord Stuart Polak (Honorary President of Conservative Friends of Israel) who has advocated to share the achievements of State of Israel by taking people, who had little to no knowledge on trips to experience what a truly remarkable place Israel is.

Lord Polak addressed the Fellows. “As a result of this amazing JNF UK Fellowship programme, you are future Ambassadors.  See for yourselves.  Learn for yourselves. You have a job to do.”

The second speaker, Gary Mond, followed the theme introduced by Lord Polak and took the Fellows through a question-and-answer session that focussed on the some of the amazing projects JNF UK supports and how fundraising in the UK is truly crucial to building Israel and Israeli infrastructure. Gary Mond concluded “The Fellows were given a solid introduction to what JNF UK is doing in Israel and what its projects are about, namely a substantial improvement in the quality of life of Israelis outside the main cities and the development of Israel as a whole.”

Rabbi Sam Taylor took Lord Polak, Gary Mond, Natasha Hausdorff and the Fellows on a tour of the Central Synagogue, sharing stories of its illustrious166 year history and significance to Israel and world Jewry.

And finally, this memorable evening concluded with a session by Natasha Hausdorff, a barrister who in her spare time serves as legal director for ‘UK Lawyers for Israel’ Charitable Trust. Natasha focused on the misrepresentation of international law against Israel. Citing the late, great, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ analysis of the evolution of antisemitism, she described how she agreed that the modern, ‘acceptable’ form of Jew-hate was targeted against the Jewish State, and that general lack of awareness of international law enabled it to be easily misrepresented in political discourse,

“I am delighted to be a witness to and part of this incredible JNF UK Fellowship Programme and to see this being embraced by you all with such enthusiasm and engagement; it gives me hope for the future”.  She then went on to say;” the responsibility of educating your peers and colleagues is going to fall on your shoulders.  Embrace it. I think it is a privilege to be able to fight back against the misrepresentations and abuse of the truth with knowledge of the facts.”

Samuel Hayek, Chairman of JNF UK said “It is heart-warming and so special to hear from our esteemed speakers about how impressed they are with the enquiring minds and commitment of our Fellows, who along with their enthusiasm, are determined to make a difference.  JNF UK are thrilled with the success of our Fellowship Programme and are proud to be investing in the future of Israel and Anglo-Jewry”.