Board's ex-social action chief has faith in new role


The Board of Deputies' interfaith and social action officer has left after five years to join a new government-backed faith venture.

Rabbi Natan Levy has become head of operations at the Fayre Share Foundation, the charity founded by Jewish interfaith activist Maurice Ostro, vice-chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews.

The foundation is the lead partner in a consortium recently chosen by the Department for Community and Local Government to run Strengthening Faith Institutions.

Rabbi Levy, 42, feels that "global engagement among faiths is in a crucial stage. Religion matters. It drives wars and causes great acts of kindness. But nothing is standing still.

"The low-risk, low-reward approach that characterises a venerable organisation like the Board of Deputies holds an important role and long may it continue.

Global engagement among faiths is in a crucial stage

"But there is a crying need for bridges that push further, engage with more difficult voices and have less of a need to look over our shoulders."

The Board made a "tremendous impact" on a limited budget.

With better funding it could "develop a long-term proactive strategy focused on examining why certain faith-based problems continue to rise again and again, and devote dedicated resources into creating constructive solutions towards them.

"Why do certain church organisations push BDS year after year? Can we move the needle on antisemitism within the Muslim community?

"One could envision it nurturing an interfaith team of experts, who could support Anglo-Jewry to confront the various issues of the moment, while laying the foundation towards 10-year change."

Rabbi Levy explained that the Strengthening Faith Institutions' programme would "support churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and gurdwaras to become healthier, more inclusive and professional.

"There is a recognition in both the government and third sector that faith centres are the oft-overlooked fulcrums of grassroots and effective change in a community."

The foundation had a track record in innovation, he said, including the launch of a hub, Collaboration House, for a dozen interfaith charities, the CCJ among them.

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