By Chris Philp
April 21, 2010
Mitzvah Day stall.JPG
Hampstead & Kilburn’s Jewish community has given me a very warm reception as the Conservative candidate. It helps that I’m an enthusiastic member of Conservative Friends of Israel, and spent a very happy summer living and studying at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot many years ago.
The various communities here are extremely active, and it never ceases to amaze me how many things they are involved with.
The several Jewish charities based at J-Hub on West End Lane (including the national Headquarters of Mitzvah Day, which I was delighted to support last year) is just one example. I’ve been delighted to help with projects where I can – for example, one community is exploring establishing a new school.
I have enjoyed getting to know the Jewish communities here over the past few years. Every time I visit one of the local Shuls, I certainly learn something. I certainly won’t forget Rabbi Shlomo Levin’s sermon which I heard when I visited South Hampstead!
As for the election, there are many dynamics at play. The Lib Dems have come in for severe criticism for their generally anti-Israel stance – particularly Nick Clegg’s call for Israel to be “disarmed” and Sarah Teather’s call for as trade embargo.
Many people (including me) are angry that the Lib Dems sent these anti-Israel messages to specifically Muslim areas in the south of Camden and elsewhere, in an attempt to win votes.
Of course, many of the issues raised by the community are the same as everyone else’s – jobs, the economy, the NHS, care for the elderly and education. Giving schools more freedom, making it much easier to set up new state-funded schools and allowing parents real choice will all help the community.
What’s clear is that this election will be exciting and close – both locally and nationally. I hope to have your support.
Chris Philp is the Conservative candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn.
This blog is part of the JC.com's On The Campaign Trail blog for the Election 2010 where candidates in key Jewish areas have been invited to blog. Read more on our Election 2010 page