Yom Shabbat, 4 Elul 5774
Saturday, 30 August 2014
TV Cameras 'capture' Mary and Jake's Courage

Joe Seager, Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, 17th October 2011

“It is thanks to couples like you that it became easier for other people who later faced the kind of problems you had to build a life together”.

George Alagiah, the well-known television presenter, paid that compliment to Mary and Albert ‘Jake’ Jacob when he interviewed them for his BBC2 programme, Mixed Britannia, a compelling story of the hardships they endured when, for their cruel detractors, they had accepted Forbidden Love.

Mixed-race marriages immediately after World War II were bitterly opposed by the racial bigots who envisaged the collapse of moral standards and a solid British identity.

I joined Mary and Jake to watch the programme in their Solihull home and I could see they were re-living the struggles they had as a young Jewish girl and a West Indian who met and fell in love only to find doors closed on them, literally when landlords refused to house them and, in Mary’s case, the pain of being cast out from her family home.

But as stories of similar experiences were portrayed in the documentary, the one overriding strength of character displayed by all the different couples involved was their courage and determination to believe in the love that brought them together.

“It really did show how hard it was to deal with the kind of prejudice and racial discrimination we faced, said Mary and Jake who, in spite of all of that, can treasure the joys of 63 years of married life and a long fulfilling membership of Birmingham Progressive Synagogue.

And that ability to show they had the willpower to overcome adversity should serve as a positive example and inspiration to younger couples setting out on similar paths today.

Well done, Mary and Jake. You played your impressive part in showing that when dark clouds form, the light of hope and happiness can still shine through.