For me, the attachment to the Jewish people and the state of Israel reflects the feeling of belonging to a family, a tribal feeling of unerring loyalty. My lifelong Zionist activity and the privilege of having served Israel’s first president underscore my commitment to the Jewish state and its prosperity, security and survival.
Grandma’s chopped liver, Mum’s kneidlach, ageing relatives smoking and playing kalooki, being humiliated as a teenager by being forced to wear hideous velvet jackets and flares at weddings, a love of books, learning, justice and the Arsenal.
My answer to this question is clear and simple, although I know that Orthodox Judaism has a different definition: for me being Jewish means considering oneself Jewish, identifying oneself with the Jewish people.
To add two lines to the great Jewish song: one acknowledging the gift of my forebears, looking back at the long journey travelled; and one returning home to Israel after 2000 years, inviting a response from those yet to come.
My conventional upbringing kept me well within the community until I went into public life. Being outside, looking in, made me realise the tremendous contribution the Jewish community has made to the United Kingdom in the arts, science, medicine, business, philanthropy, law and government and that fills me with quiet pride.
Being part of a community that believes in tikkun olam. Rejoicing in family and community, serving God and humanity, celebrating good things without embarrassment, and comforting the unhappy, for loss is part of life. And pride — in our history, our destiny, our values.
My relationship with my Jewishness is complex but the duty I feel to remember, understand and discuss my family history grows over time. Although my wife, Justine, is not Jewish, when we got married, we broke a glass. My parents were not religious, but they brought me up with the sense that the world could be a better, fairer and different place.