The Duchess of Kent to visit JW3 this weekend

The royal is attending an event organised by a Hasmonean schoolgirl in memory of Jo Cox.


The Duchess of Kent is expected to attend an inter-faith event organised by a Hasmonean schoolgirl as part of this weekend’s Great Get Together events.

Ruby Levy, 15, was one of a group of 15 girls from Hasmonean, Islamia School and UCL Academy who took part in JW3’s Open Door programme earlier this year.

Over two months, they met weekly for after-school sessions, with discussions led by outside speakers and joint activities including cooking and weaving. 

Once the project ended, Ruby was inspired to continue with interfaith work and initiated an event at JW3, the Jewish cultural centre.

It will be held under the banner of the Great Get Together, the nationwide initiative marking the first anniversary of the death of Jo Cox, the MP who was murdered by a far-right activist. 

Pupils from all three schools will attend and speeches will be made by Ruby and girls from the other two schools.

According to Ruby’s mother Juliet Levy, the Duchess of Kent contacted The Jo Cox Foundation to express an interest in the national initiative.

Mrs Levy said: “I had a phone call from the Jo Cox Foundation last week to ask if it was OK for the Duchess of Kent to attend.

“She had been in touch with Brendan Cox [widower of Jo Cox] and asked him if she could attend a get together in London. There are a huge number of events going on across Britain, but he recommended this one.

“Ruby can’t believe that a member of the royal family has asked to come to something that she set up.”

Mrs Levy added: “I’m so proud that she goes to an Orthodox Jewish school, but it’s even more important that she mixes with wider society and represents Jewish people in a really positive way, so I’m really proud that she is so enthused by the inter-faith work which celebrates our differences. That was Jo Cox’s vision.”

The Duchess’ is married to the Duke of Kent, a first cousin of the Queen. The 84-year-old was for many years a familiar face at Wimbledon and FA cup finals. Today she is largely retired from public life.

The event at JW3, in north-west London, will also be addressed by Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, and Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Faith Matters and Tell MAMA.

Raymond Simonson, JW3’s CEO, said: “We are honoured that HRH the Duchess of Kent will be joining us for this very special event, on a day in which we are bringing people together from around the community, across cultural divides, inspired by the late Jo Cox’s message of #moreincommon, which now, sadly seems more important to stress than ever”

Jewish groups around the country are taking part in Great Get Together events this afternoon, celebrating Jo Cox’s view, expressed in her maiden speech in Parliament, that different communities have more in common than that which divides them.

Ephraim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi, said the Great Get Together was "a national celebration of the values that British people share in common.

"Together with other faith and community groups in the U.K., if we take responsibility for investing the effort into the Great Get Together, we will be rewarded with a more harmonious and more peaceful society.”

South Hampstead Synagogue and neighbouring St Saviours Church will holding a joint gathering on Sunday afternoon.

There will be a “street kiddush” at midday on Saturday outside Muswell Synagogue, where visitors will be invited to participate in an optional tour of the synagogue and an explanation of common Jewish customs and rituals.

Later that day New North London Synagogue is inviting neighbours and local residents over for the final hours of Shabbat, from 7pm to 10.30pm, to “share all we have in common”.

In Yorkshire Bradford Reform Synagogue is joining forces with a range of other organisations to host a combination of the Great Get Together and the Big Iftar in City Park – marking the Muslim festival of Ramadan -  on Sunday evening.

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