Sweet finish to Montefiore tribute

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2008

A bygone treat — a lemon tart baked according to the recipe of Judith, Lady Montefiore — was served to 120 people at Lauderdale Road Synagogue, Maida Vale, including the Israeli Ambassador, the Chief Rabbi and the Earl of Balfour.

The historic dessert rounded off a dinner to celebrate two of British Jewry’s greatest supporters of Israel — Lady Montefiore’s husband, Sir Moses, the Victorian philanthropist, and Dr Moses Gaster, who led the Sephardic community as Haham from 1887 to 1918.

Sir Moses made seven visits to Israel and sponsored the first Jewish settlement to be built outside the walls of Jerusalem. Haham Gaster “brought Zionism into England when the bulk of the Jewish people did not want to know about it,” said Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy, spiritual head of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation. “He introduced Theodor Herzl to England.”

The dinner, supported by UJIA, was organised as part of Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations and hosted by Uri and Ruth David.

Rabbi Levy said he would have liked to invite some Arab envoys, but thought they would have found it “difficult” to attend an event celebrating the founding of Israel. However, Arab envoys had been at the synagogue the previous week for a farewell lunch for the Moroccan Ambassador.

Last updated: 10:42am, December 23 2008