Just before the beginning of the Second World War, 500 Jewish children, mostly refugees from Nazi persecution, were evacuated with their teachers to Shefford, a small Bedfordshire town 15 miles north-west of Stevenage, where the North Herts Liberal Jewish Community is now based. The children were taken in and looked after by Shefford families until the end of the war.
When NHLJC heard of “this amazing generosity”, the congregation decided “to use Mitzvah Day as a means of demonstrating that a mitzvah like this is never forgotten”.
Working closely with the Mayor of Shefford, Councillor Paul Mackin, shul members arranged an afternoon tea for 50 residents of the town. And the guests included relatives of some of those who hosted the young Jews 70 years ago. “We also received offers of help from Churches Together in Shefford and the Shefford Historical Society, making this a truly interfaith event,” said shul chair Gillian Wolfe.