Community rallies round to help riot repairs

By Jessica Elgot and Jennifer Lipman, August 11, 2011

The Chief Rabbi and community leaders have spoken of their shock after the rioting this week, but praised efforts to help rebuild the cities.

Lord Sacks said: "The riots have been a shocking reminder of how thin the surface of civilisation is, and how quickly, especially in the age of smartphones, individual criminality can become mob violence.

"We should not, though, forget the other face of Britain, the people who helped restore order, clean up the mess and come to the aid of victims of violence."

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, who chairs the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK, said he was "horrified at the criminality and lack of empathy".

He added; "The riots say to us, connect with the alienated young people who do not care what society thinks of their actions, who have lost the moral sense which stops us from rioting and looting."

British Jews are being urged to donate clothing and bedding to people made homeless in the riots. Raymond Simonson, executive director of Limmud, said: "People live in flats above shops that have been set on fire, so their homes have been badly or permanently damaged. We found out Haringey Council needed bedding, clothes and toys and we drove a couple of car loads over."

The Reform youth movement RSY-Netzer has donated spare t-shirts and sweatshirts to the Limmud campaign.

Medical student Richard Daniels was one of more than 80 volunteers who turned out for the riot clean-up in Camden on Tuesday. He said that despite scenes of devastation, it was business as usual in the area.

Last updated: 1:39pm, August 11 2011