Harness your inner Jennifer Hudson and stay put – scream: ‘We’re not going!’

British and Israeli flags. Would you make the big jump? (Credit: Jewish News)
British and Israeli flags. Would you make the big jump? (Credit: Jewish News)

Humour me.

Stick on Jennifer Hudson belting out this Dreamgirls classic and muster your inner diva. Let’s all “Tear down the mountains “Yell, scream and shout”, Corbyn and his cult can say what they want, we’re not walking out.

Yesterday the Jewish Chronicle published results from a poll they commissioned from Survation. The poll suggests 40% of British Jews would consider leaving if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister.

I’m not surprised that many when prompted with the question would answer this way. We’ve had nearly three years of the lid lifting on the looniest parts of the left’s obsessive hatred of Israel and crack pot conspiracy theories about Jews. This summer repeated reminders and revelations surfaced of Corbyn – the “man of peace” and “militant opponent of antisemitism” – othering British Jews “despite them living here all their lives”; “present but not involved” at the mourning of terrorists;  and seeking to diminish Holocaust Memorial Day.

Just in the last week 70,000 Labour members re-elected Peter “Trump fanatics” Willsman to their NEC; Corbyn sought to add a statement during the begrudging full adoption of IHRA and its examples that would give cover to those seeking a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that ends the existence of Israel; and 35% of Labour voters polled agreed that Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic BUT WOULD VOTE FOR HIM ANYWAY.

“All ’cause (they) won’t listen”, listen to too many Jews feeling “not at home in (their) own home”. We’ve “tried and tried, to say what’s on (our) mind … Now (we’re) done believing” Corbyn, Milne and the rest.

And yet we also need to listen and see that there’s much to be comforted by and confident in throughout our thriving Jewish community. Here are just a few reasons to be optimistic as we end one Jewish year and begin the next.

Growth

After decades of a declining population the numbers of British Jews has stabilised, may even be rising, and if people like me could do as we’d prefer and select Jewish for ethnicity instead of religion, there may be many more of us Jews in the U.K.

Jewish Care and New Israel Fund are two charities that delivered fantastic fundraising results in the last twelve months. They and the hundreds of inspiring charities our hugely generous community supports with money and time ensure Jewish people and those of all backgrounds receive services they need or support to tackle discrimination or disadvantage.

In recent years new orthodox and pluralist primary schools have opened. This summer, once again, a staggering 1500 young people took part in educational programmes in Israel. Bushey is seemingly bursting with Jews as their local united synagogue became the second largest US community in the UK.

Progress

Earlier this year the Board of Deputies elected its second ever female President. Three of the last six UJS Presidents have been talented leaders who happen to be female. Britain saw the first women based here ordained as an orthodox Rabbi. As Nicky Goldman has highlighted, women in leadership are smashing the glass ceiling.

This week the Chief Rabbi together with KeshetUK published ground-breaking guidance for ensuring the wellbeing of LGBT+ pupils grounded in Jewish values. The headteacher of Europe’s largest orthodox Jewish secondary school has called on all of us to “be there for all our young people”. Look again at the ten inspiring LGBT+ Jews showcased in the Jewish News during London Pride and consider how many more people will follow their lead in making huge contributions to our community as we become more welcoming and inclusive.

Defence

As Gerald Ronson CBE said in his open letter CST “are doing all we can to provide our Jewish community with the best possible protection … monitoring over 80 million websites daily and giving security assistance to all who need it … I assure you all that neither I, nor CST, are going anywhere. We are proud of the community that we have helped to build and protect. We are British. We are Jewish. That will not change under my watch.”

When we needed to most our community has shown unity and strength. 68 Rabbis across diverse denominations displayed unparalleled unity and ultimately their call has been answered. The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, whose troubles collaborating previously are well documents, came together, galvanised our community at the unprecedented Enough is Enough rally, and are courageously and continually securing steps within and beyond the political left that will in time reduce the current levels of antisemitism.

And we have allies, plenty of allies from all political parties, various faith communities and people with a huge following who are fighting alongside us.

The threats and challenges facing our community are real and serious. Just as we’ve done many times before, with a bit of humour and appreciating the bigger and brighter picture, we will overcome them.

Over the coming weeks hundreds of thousands of us will spend time with our friends and families – and probably too much time feasting; we’ll be spiritually uplifted, comforted among our fellow congregants, and seek forgiveness from each other; we’ll sit in shacks and shake some funny fruits; and we’ll dance as we celebrate the cycle of Torah that epitomises the renewal and resilience of our people.

So, hit repeat on the Dreamgirls diva and sing with me:

And we are telling you

We’re not going
Even though the rough times are showing
There’s just no way…

We’re part of the same place
We’re part of the same time
…And time and time we have so much to share…

There’s no way we could ever, ever go
No, no, no, no way
We’re stayin’
We’re stayin’
And you, and you, and you
You’re gonna love us
Oh, yeah, you’re gonna love us

About the Author
David Davidi-Brown is Executive Director of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS)
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