Refugee flat project launches with special Shabbat

27 February 2017

A special Shabbat service and lunch was held at South London Liberal Synagogue (SLLS) on Saturday, as the community launched a fundraising appeal to turn part of their building into a home for a refugee family.

The event was attended by faith and community leaders from across London, including former Mayor of Lambeth Donatus Anyanwu, Reverend Alan Gadd and members of the Muslim and Hindu communities. Jewish leaders at the event included Liberal Judaism’s chair and senior rabbi, Simon Benscher and Rabbi Danny Rich, Baroness Rabbi Neuberger DBE and Gillian Merron and Stuart McDonald from the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

The refugee flat project – titled Abraham’s Tent – was a gift from the community on the retirement of Rabbi Janet Darley, as a commitment from SLLS to continue her pioneering work with refugee families.

The project has so far already raised £8,975 towards its £50,000 target, and has made headlines in the UK, Europe, Israel and the US.

Liberal Jews and members of the public are encouraged to donate at

The fundraiser launch featured a traditional religious service led by Student Rabbi Nathan Godleman, followed by a home-cooked meal for all the attendees. Local dignitaries gave speeches about the importance of the project, while members of the local Jewish community told their own stories of their families escaping persecution and finding refuge in the UK.

SLLS chair Alice Alphandary said: “This project is so important to us as Jews. My dad was a refugee from Egypt. Many people in our community were refugees from Germany and Eastern Europe. We want to give refugees the same welcome and hospitality we received when we came to this country.”

Janet Darley added: “It was wonderful to see so many congregants, neighbours and friends coming together to support this project. Every house or flat made available means rescue and resettlement for another family.”

Photo: Alice Alphandary, former Mayor of Lambeth Donatus Anyanwu and Rabbi Janet Darley.

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