Gesher group come to UK to see unity in action

A group of 20 Israelis have spent a week in London, learning how Jews of different stripes can rub along together.

The delegation was brought over by Gesher, an organisation whose mission is to bridge the secular-religious divide in Israel.

Their itinerary ranged from visits to the Charedi Interlink Foundation in Stamford Hill, the North-Western Reform Synagogue (Alyth) and the new JW3 centre, as well as a meeting addressed by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.

Rabbi Yoni Sherizen, a director at Gesher, said that advancing co-existence was “one of the most crucial challenges facing our people”.

The visit was part of a new leadership training project initiated by the organisation. Diaspora Jewry is often more advanced than Israel in developing voluntary institutions which foster a sense of Jewish community, Rabbi Sherizen explained.

One of the strictly Orthodox participants was Menachem Bombach, a Vishnitz Chasid who is part of an emerging tendency among young Charedim who want to preserve their religious traditions but play a greater role in Israeli society.

He said he wanted “to make sure that more Charedim go to the army, take part in Israel and have equal opportunities”.

Last updated: 7:45pm, July 11 2013