Community marks First World War centenary

By Daniel Easterman, August 5, 2014

Jewish leaders from across the community gathered together for a candlelit service to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.

The Board of Deputies organised the event on Monday night at Bevis Marks synagogue in London as part of the national “Lights Out” campaign which called on people around the country to switch off their lights in unison to remember the moment Britain entered the Great War.

The evening featured speeches by the Board’s new chief executive Gillian Merron, a keynote address from Rabbi Joseph Dweck, senior rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregations and readings from war poems and letters of Jewish soldiers from the front.

The anniversary fell on the same evening as Tisha B’Av, the date for mourning the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish people.

Nicholas Coral, a member of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX), said: “The service was very moving. I’m not a religious man but nevertheless I was moved by the whole occasion.

A service at Westminster Abbey attended by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Mayor of London Boris Johnson also took place at the same time on Monday night.

Last updated: 11:50am, August 5 2014