Cause for optimism

TWO surveys, reported in this week’s edition, highlight the changing — and evolving — face of British Jewry. Jewish Policy Research concluded that in the early part of the pandemic — up to July — charitable donations, synagogue subscriptions and voluntary contributions to schools remained pretty much the same as pre-Covid, with respondents suggesting that they planned to continue their level of giving. While the poll was conducted eight months ago, Jewish charities have reported since that online events, replacing annual dinners that had to be cancelled, achieved results that surpassed expectation, as we highlighted some weeks ago. Many families’ financial circumstances may well have changed considerably as the pandemic has bitten deeper, so the JPR’s updated survey this year will give a clearer indication of the picture.

However, while the level of donations might, for some charities, not have altered noticeably, welfare organisations particularly have obviously experienced far greater pressure on their resources in the past year, requiring additional funding.

But, amid all the vicissitudes, hardship and misery occasioned by coronavirus and its devastating effects, there is increasing optimism among Anglo-Jewry, which now believes it has a future in this country — in stark contrast to the dark days of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party leadership when the possibility of his leading the country loomed large. His defeat led to a collective sigh of relief — or as Campaign Against Antisemitism chief executive Gideon Falter put it: “Britain’s Jews are back from the brink.”

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