There were laughs aplenty as comedian, writer and broadcaster David Baddiel was interviewed by journalist Jonathan Freedland at JW3's gala dinner, which raised a record £330,000.
Asked by Freedland, a friend since their Jewish youth movement days, how he balanced his strong Jewish identity with his “fundamentalist atheism”, Baddiel responded: “I don’t believe in God but I do believe in Larry David.
“I’m really interested in and connected to the culture, the comedy and obviously the identity, which is core to my being. It’s also why I like JW3.’’
JW3 chief executive Raymond Simonson told the 180 guests that the Finchley Road centre’s “unique role in the community is more important than ever”.
He noted that after Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis made his unprecedented attack on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, JW3 had hosted TV news crews and print journalists from around the world.
“They all contacted us knowing that JW3 is the hub for cross-communal Jewish life. The space where they could find a plurality of Jewish voices from across the spectrum. And a Jewish space where they would find non-Jews, who as always, are welcomed with opened arms.”
Against the current political backdrop, JW3’s mission to “increase the quality, variety and volume of Jewish conversation” was never more vital.
Long-time supporter and trustee Sir Lloyd Dorfman was presented with an outstanding contribution award, recognising “exceptional visionary leadership and long-term critical friendship to JW3”.