May 6, 2011
One of our local churches was holding an Israel night and I was invited to attend. I never cease to be amazed, and indeed feel gratified, when I meet non Jewish people who support Israel.
One local Catholic priest whom I have got to know pretty well during the past year is so incredible knowledgeable and supportive hops over to Israel when ever he can get away.
Also I attended an evening in Liverpool recently (went in disguise) addressed by the Jewish Members of Parliament Louise Ellman and Luciana Berger and of the hundred and twenty or so attendees about thirty five were non Jewish people fighting anti Semitism in all parts of northern England.
These incredible people are so active. One lady, incensed by a Pro Palestinian leafleting in her town, had a counter leaflet printed at her own design and expense and stood opposite the pro Palestinian giving out our version in support of Israel.
Meanwhile back in the church, which was bedecked with Israeli flags, I was put on the front row and the service began. A band had assembled with keyboards, drums and guitars and songs and flag waving commenced. I was bewildered by this and the huge PowerPoint projected onto a screen with the words for us all to sing and join in.
We had a sermon followed by a few words from a Jewish colleague of mine who had just returned from Sderot and Jerusalem and related some of his experiences. Then more songs, some in Hebrew, and finished with Hatikvah with the words written in English up on the projector.
Then we went into a side room for the equivalent of a Kiddush with kosher cakes that these people had been over to North Manchester to collect and my two colleagues and I were mobbed with questions.
I have to admit I felt uncomfortable hearing familiar religious phrases coming from non Jews in a church but they were so warm and sincere that I have arranged for them to get more support from the Israel information centre and visit the Jewish Museum as they are good friends and we need them.
Also I marked their cards as to where they can purchase wonderful Kosher patisserie without schlepping north.
The Jewish Representative Council of Manchester and Regions is involved with about twenty eight inter faith groups and it with these moderates that we see some hope for our future and one day tolerance, education and understanding will prevail.