‘Cold gefilte fish’ and a warm World Jewish Relief tribute from Prince Charles at £1m fundraiser

Royal patron addresses WJR's digital event. And there's also a song from Chris Martin


If the Prince of Wales’ “cold gefilte fish” dinner represented a downgrade from the fare at previous World Jewish Relief galas, there was ample compensation for WJR’s royal patron in the £1 million-plus raised from the digital replacement.

BBC news anchor Emily Maitlis hosted Tuesday’s event, viewed by 1,270 people, which featured an address by the prince, a performance by Coldplay’s Chris Martin and the stories of some of those the charity assists in Eastern Europe.

In a pre-recorded segment, the prince expressed his regret “that we cannot come together in person — and how dearly I wish that we were all tucking into a delicious kosher dinner at [London’s] Guildhall.

“Instead, I fear it’s cold gefilte fish at home for me again. The past year has been a deeply challenging one for people everywhere and I’m afraid the Jewish community has suffered badly, as so many other communities have too.”

The prince became patron of the charity in 2015 and last year announced that he would extend his patronage for a further term. He has taken a particular interest in WJR’s home repairs programme, which restores the homes of older, vulnerable Jews in Eastern Europe.

Prince Charles also used his address to reflect on the contribution of his “dear and much valued friend” Lord Sacks, who died in November.

He recalled a joke the former Chief Rabbi told him about a Jewish mother buying two ties — one red and one blue—for her boy. When the boy proudly wore the red one, the mother asked: “What was wrong with the blue one?”

The story was an apt metaphor for what vulnerable Jews were going through around the world. “He was making a serious point about the choices available to us in life. I am acutely aware that for many of the people World Jewish Relief assists, there is no choice.

“No choice but to be cold and lonely; no choice but to have one meal a day; no choice but to leave their homes and flee from conflict. With these people in mind, Britain’s Jewish community is renowned for making the choice to assist others. This event is a testament to that choice.”

Chris Martin gave a solo rendition of the Coldplay track A Sky Full Of Stars.

Outgoing WJR chair Dan Rosenfield, now Boris Johnson’s chief of staff, announced that he would be succeeded by Maurice Helfgott, who recently served as chair of the Union of Jewish students.

His father, Sir Ben Helfgott, was one of 732 survivors rescued by WJR (then known as the Central British Fund) after the liberation of the concentration camps.






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