Communities Secretary Hazel Blears led tributes to the retiring leader of the Board of Deputies, Henry Grunwald, at its annual president’s dinner in London last week.
Mrs Blears said that whatever Mr Grunwald’s professional accomplishments at the bar, “I believe your achievements as president exceed all of them.
“Over the past six years we have come to know and respect your tireless advocacy, your courageous work to build stronger ties with other faiths and your unequivocal championing of tolerance, respect and decency.”
Adding his tribute, former Tory leader Michael Howard said: “There is absolutely no doubt that Henry has been an outstanding president. It’s a job that involved him in considerable sacrifice… but it’s a job which has enabled him to scale the heights of achievement and enable the Board to cement its extraordinary place in British life. He will be a very, very hard act to follow.”
Mr Grunwald, who steps down at the end of the month after a maximum six years in office, received a standing ovation from the 250 guests.
“The strength of our community is greatly increased by communal unity,” he said. “There has been more and closer co-operation between our great communal institutions than ever before and that must continue.”
The dinner raised over £150,000.