Khalili hails Chief with £80,000 gift

By Jay Grenby, March 19, 2009

Billionaire property developer, philanthropist and Islamic art collector Professor David Khalili has funded an £80,000-plus refurbishment of the Bloomstein Hall at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue. The hall was dedicated on Sunday in honour of Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and the walls have been inscribed with a dozen quotes from Sir Jonathan’s recent writings.

“It is an absolute privilege for me,” said Professor Khalili, who settled in Britain in 1978. “He is one of the most inspirational and spiritual people I have ever known. He has done an immense amount of good for the community, for Anglo-Jewry and for the whole of Jewry in general.”

Sir Jonathan and Lady Sacks joined the Khalili family at the dedication ceremony, where over 100 guests included Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor, United Synagogue president Simon Hochhauser and an emissary from the Vatican, reflecting Professor Khalili’s contribution to interfaith work.

They were welcomed by senior warden Howard Richenberg, who arranged for the Khalili family to finance the project.

Expressing the congregation’s gratitude, he pointed out that previous gifts to the community from the Khalilis had included historic silk carpets, a 500-year-old Sefer Torah and, most recently, a Sephardi scroll housed, in accordance with Sephardi custom, in an ornate silver case.

Last updated: 3:23pm, March 19 2009