Mitzvah Day: Rantzen's tears as pupils back refugees

Esther Rantzen with Sinai pupils. Photo: Yakir Zur

Esther Rantzen with Sinai pupils. Photo: Yakir Zur

Esther Rantzen was moved to tears as Michael Sobell Sinai School pupils presented a handmade mosaic plaque to Barnet Refugee Service.

The broadcaster and Childline founder heard the children recite poems and speeches they had composed for Mitzvah Day, before unveiling the metre-long plaque, which was inscribed: “Hope, love, safe and home.”

“A lot of you are probably like me — the descendants of refugees,” Ms Rantzen told them. “They were escaping all kinds of things, like oppression and persecution. You understand that in your heart and soul. And that’s why you wrote such beautiful things.”

Sinai’s Jewish studies head Rabbi Nicky Goldmeier reported that pupils at the Kenton School “have been learning all about refugees this week and their connection to the Kindertransport.

“By coming to the refugee centre, we’ve taught the children about how many of us came to Britain. There is an important attachment to the respect and help that we give refugees who have also come here.”

Ms Rantzen is a patron of the refugee service, an independent charity providing social and financial support to locally-based refugees and asylum seekers from around the world.

“It’s terribly important that we look after and welcome people who come to this country,” she stressed. “I find it particularly moving to have Jewish children writing and speaking with such eloquence about why refugees are important to a country and should be made to feel welcome.”

Among the Mosaic-makers was eight-year-old Ben Cason, who described it as “really epic. This is one of the biggest projects of my life.”

Last updated: 10:45am, November 25 2013