Sarah Brown has spoken of her pride in supporting Jewish charities and her desire to take her family on holiday to Israel.
The wife of the former prime minister addressed a full house of 350 people at Finchley Synagogue on Tuesday in the launch event of the five-week Kinloss Learning Centre programme.
She was interviewed by Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis about her time at 10 Downing Street and her new book, Behind the Black Door.
He praised her for hosting a variety of Jewish charities at Downing Street, among them the Jewish Museum and the Alan Senitt Memorial Trust.
"I was very proud to host receptions for the Jewish charities," Mrs Brown said.
Recalling visiting Auschwitz under the auspices of the Holocaust Educational Trust in 2009, she reflected: "I didn't know until I went there how much I needed to go. You think you have read so much and seen things and talked to people but you have to go to know.
"When Gordon talks about it, he talks about the courage and people's capacity to do good and their bravery and will to live. He finds that uplifting. I find it a greater struggle to understand that and take much more darkness from it."
She also spoke of "an amazing visit" to Israel in 2008. "I felt we walked away far richer for it. It is one of the few places I went to where I'd like to return with my family on holiday. "
Other topics covered included her fear of public speaking, dealing with criticism of her husband and her feelings about not being invited to the royal wedding.
Introducing her, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks had said: "I have one thing in common with the former prime minister - we know we are just the front man and the real movers and shakers are the people we have the privilege of being married to.
"Sarah never said 'no' when any Jewish charity asked for support or patronage or a reception in 10 Downing Street.
"She has been a fresh, honest, straight and deeply admirable figure."