B'nai B'rith thanks duo behind Heritage Days
Barbara Nathan (left) and Valerie Bello at the award ceremony
The Byzantine architectural style of the West London Synagogue was a fitting venue to host an award ceremony for the B'nai B'rith UK co-ordinators of the European Days of Jewish Culture and Heritage.
Valerie Bello and Barbara Nathan were honoured with an award at a ceremony on Sunday to thank them for their "outstanding contribution to the Heritage Days for the past 11 years".
President of B'nai B'rith Europe, Ralph Hofmann, and Claude Bloch, honorary president of the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish culture, presented an engraved glass prism to the two women at a lunchtime ceremony at West London Synagogue in front of more than 80 family, friends and members of B'nai B'rith executive.
In his address, Mr Hofmann, who had travelled from Frankfurt for the ceremony, spoke of how the women established the Heritage Days in the UK and built it to such a level of success that more than 90 events were held in recent years across the 10-day period of Heritage Days.
In her acceptance speech Mrs Bellow said that she wanted to see the further development of the European route of Jewish Heritage in the UK and to encourage young people to become more involved in appreciating and promoting Jewish heritage.
They have worked tirelessly on a purely voluntary basis
After the ceremony West London Synagogue's Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers led a group of people around the building to see the interior of the Grade ll listed synagogue, consecrated in 1870.
Mr Hofmann said he was "delighted to have the opportunity to honour Valerie and Barbara, in recognition of their dedication to the European Days of Jewish Culture and Heritage project. They have worked tirelessly on a purely voluntary basis, often for very long hours, and I would like to thank them both for their contribution to this important part of our Jewish culture."
While Mrs Bello and Mrs Nathan have taken a sabbatical from the project, they are still making themselves available to support the events.