More than 300 children and adults celebrated Wednesday’s official opening of the youth building at the London Jewish Cultural Centre. The Catherine Lewis Centre is named after a young teacher who died of cancer.
Graffiti, film-making and sushi classes were on offer as a taster for what the LJCC’s youth programme, Fusion, will do with the new Golders Green space.
As the Akiva School choir warmed up for a performance, Catherine Lewis’s mother Hannah said she felt overwhelmed. “It’s a difficult day — it has been a journey.” She said the building, which will be used by 2,200 children this year, “ticks all the boxes. It’s exactly as she would have liked it.” Catherine Lewis’s father David is LJCC vice-chair.
Open since October, the centre has already hosted groups from numerous schools and communal groups. LJCC chief executive Louise Jacobs cited the centre’s work with The Clubhouse — helping teenagers in crisis — as particularly important. It demonstrated that the centre is “for all members of the community from all different backgrounds”.
The Chief Rabbi, who affixed a mezuzah, praised the communal work of Hannah and David Lewis, telling them: “Few things you have done have been so beautiful or so moving as turning her [Catherine’s] memory into a continuous source of blessing.”