Rudd praises the 'extraordinary' work of Emunah


Amber Rudd hailed the work of British Emunah at the charity's annual gala dinner, going on to pledge to fight antisemitism across the country.

Attending her first Jewish communal event in her new role, the Home Secretary said the social welfare group - which helps more than 12,000 children in schools, homes and therapy centres in Israel - was going from "strength to strength".

Ms Rudd told the 350 guests at London's Guildhall that the dinner theme, Believing in Israel's Children, was "entirely appropriate".

British Emunah "exemplifies the values and very essence of the Jewish community in terms of education, commitment, philanthropy, and making sure that no child is left behind" she said.

The charity had "an extraordinary record of supporting disadvantaged and 'at risk' children through your centres and services in Israel".

On antisemitism, Ms Rudd added that she understood the community's concerns, acknowledging that many felt "vulnerable and fearful."

She said: "I stand before you tonight to reassure you that this government will never waiver in its determination to fight antisemitism."

Other speakers at the dinner, which raised £400,000, included Sara Kulp, a 21-year-old who grew up in Emunah's home in Afula, northern Israel.

When Ms Kulp's mother fell ill and later died, Emunah provided therapy and schooling for her and her siblings. She now lives independently and works at an MDA emergency call centre.

"I am where I am today because Emunah was there and believed in me," she said.

An emotional appeal was made by David, an Israeli boy whose mother was stabbed to death by his father. Shortly before David's barmitzvah, his father took his own life. An Emunah programme helped the teenager to enjoy the simchah alongside other youngsters.

Describing the support he had received at the Afula home, David said: "Here I get a lot of help from staff from the moment I get up until I go to sleep. I love my counsellor very much. He is taking care of me and makes sure that I have everything I need."

Actress Maureen Lipman received the biggest ovation of the night after delivering a series of jibes about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and a skit on US presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

An Emunah Supergroup, made up of contestants from the charity's young singer competitions, performed When You Believe from the animated film, The Prince of Egypt, alongside members of the Four Sons group, which raises funds for charities.

"It was a fantastic evening," said Hilary Pearlman, the British Emunah chair.

"We hope it has shown the community the importance of our work as there are so many children who are reliant on our help."

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