Chief Rabbi uplifting visit to Holocaust Survivors’ Centre

30 May 2022

Members, volunteers and staff warmly welcomed the Chief Rabbi yesterday during an uplifting visit to Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre at the centre’s new home at Jewish Care’s Michael Sobell Jewish Community Centre in Golders Green.

Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors Centre and Outreach Coordinator, Sarah-Jane Burstein, welcomed the Chief Rabbi before he addressed members, answered questions and joined the members at their pre-Shavuot cheesecake tea, prior to his attendance at a Royal Garden Party in advance of the Jubilee at Buckingham Palace.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis shared stories with members and told them, “You are all so young and will be with us for many more years. I feel honoured to be here with all of you today because there’s nobody more inspirational to me than yourselves.

“I am so inspired by all of you and your incredible demeanour after being in the midst of sadness. As Holocaust survivors, you give so much happiness to others and go forward with such positivity.

“You ensure that you leave your legacy, the lessons of the Holocaust, which will continue to be with us all for generations into the future and I thank you all for all you do to ensure that we never forget. I also thank all of the wonderful staff and volunteers at Jewish Care for their important work in providing care and support for you in all that you do.”

In the Q &A which followed, questions from survivors ranged from asking the Chief Rabbi about his visit to Buckingham Palace to whether there is reference to the Holocaust in this week’s Sedra portion. Member and Holocaust survivor, Ivor Perl BEM, who lives at Jewish Care’s Selig Court Retirement Living apartments on the same site, asked Chief Rabbi Mirvis whether we do enough to remember the Holocaust. 

Rabbi Mirvis responded, saying, “The Shoah is commemorated throughout the year in our Jewish calendar, on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day and also on Tisha B’av when we recall tragedies of the past.  I remember the Holocaust every day and members of my own family who we lost. I believe that we all should remember the Holocaust all year to ensure that lessons are learned, not just for our good but for the good of our society.” 

Holocaust survivor and Centre member, Sylva Herzberg said, “It was a great honour for us that the Chief Rabbi came to speak to us at the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre and we feel very grateful for his presence here. It means a lot to us all.”

Jewish Care Chief Executive, Daniel Carmel-Brown, responded, saying, “We thank you, Chief Rabbi, for all that you do, for your leadership of our community and for your interest and care for our members, especially for the Holocaust survivors, each day. And I want to thank all of the survivors, who are working so hard to create a legacy for us all and just as importantly I want to thank all of my colleagues and volunteers for all that you continue to do to support our survivors to continue to live life to the full.”