B'nai B'rith UK

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Virtual Meetings 2021

A family tale of Bukovinian Jewry: Prof. Brad Blitz (Heritage Days – 20/12/2021)

Brad Blitz is Professor of International Politics and Policy and Head of the Department of Education, Practice and Society at University College London.

“Between Empire and State: A family tale of Hapbsburg and Post Habsburg Bukovinian Jewry” is the product of an unexpected family history project and explores the history of Jewish life  in Southern Bukovina and the eventual incorporation of Jews in modern Romania.


Sea Reflections – leadership is vital in every walk of life, but what do seafarers bring ashore? (Heritage Days – 15/12/2021)

Rear Admiral Roy Clare CBE DL  Trustee of a number of charities, Roy has been Director (CEO) of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and Auckland War Memorial Museum, NZ. Formerly a Rear Admiral, he commanded HMS Invincible.

Using examples from his own naval experience, and drawing on the stories of men and women who feature in the collections of the museums he has directed, Roy explores timeless themes of leadership that are as relevant now as ever

The National Library of Israel – a dialogue between time and space (Heritage Days – 24/11/2021)

Caron Sethill is Programme Manager Europe at the NLI.

Founded in Jerusalem in 1892, the National Library of Israel is guided by a constantly evolving conversation with the stories and cultures of the global Jewish community, Israel and its people. Each of the millions of items in the Library’s world-class collection is a conversation in and of itself expressions of discourse between teachers and students, singers and their listeners, writers and their correspondents, scholars and their texts

“Pukka” British minorities – 2021 and beyond:  Pandit Satish K Sharma (Bureau of International Affairs – 15/11/2021)

Pandit Satish K Sharma is Director of the Global Hindu Federation Ltd, Chair of the British Board of Dharmic Scholars and  Former General Secretary of the  National Council of Hindu Temples (UK)

Two of the most integrated and settled minorities in the British Isles, the Jewish and Hindu communities, share many similarities and are regularly feted and cited as examples of what “minority integration” could look like. So
why are they both deeply worried about their future in the United Kingdom?

Working Together – Jewish-Muslim relationships in action: Julie Siddiqui (Heritage Days – 10/11/2021)

Julie Siddiqui is a gender equality and faith campaigner with a focus on Jewish and Muslim and other interfaith relations. Co-founder of Nisa-Nashim Jewish and Muslim Women’s network and has worked in grassroots Muslim communities for 25 years. Julie is a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and is a governor in two schools.

Jewish Country Houses: Homes, Collections and National Memory: Abigail Green and Tom Stammers (Heritage Days – 03/11/2021)

Abigail Green is Professor of Modern European History at Brasenose College, Oxford.  Tom Stammers is Associate Professor of European Cultural History at the University of Durham.

Abigail and Tom look at two houses – Salomons in Kent and Upton in Warwickshire – and reflect on what they tell us about the dialogue their owners constructed with British aristocratic ideals

The History of Jews and the Potato – Its effect on European Jewish History: Rebbetzen Ilana Spitz Epstein (Heritage Days – 27/10/2021)

Ilana Spitz Epstein is the Rebbetzen of Western Marble Arch Synagogue, and the founder and director of Ta’am, which is the crystallisation of over three decades of fascination, with Jewish culture, making Jewish cultural history vivid and alive.

Ashkenazi Jews love their potatoes, what would our food be without potato Kugel, potato blintzes, potato latkes, and a potato knish, imagine cholent without potatoes! And yet the potatoes only become part of Ashkenazi cuisine in the 1840s! What did we eat before and what was the impact of the potato on the Jewish community?


The History of Interfaith Dialogue through Culture, Art, Literature & Politics (Heritage Days – 24/10/2021)

A panel discussion in partnership with Jewish Renaissance, UK’s arts and culture magazine

The discussion is chaired by Dame Helen Hyde. The panellists are:

Aviva Dautch: Director of Jewish Renaissance

Elizabeth Harris–Sawczenko: Director at the Good Faith Partnership

Tina Beattie: Director of Catherine of Siena College, based at the University of Roehampton

Syima Aslam: Director of the Bradford Literature Festival


A German life: Against all odds, change is possible: Bernd Wollschlaeger (Bureau of International Affairs – 18/10/2021)

Bernd Wollschlaeger MD A German family torn between faith, family and religion;  a highly decorated WW II German tank commander; a young man seeking the truth and his spiritual orientation; the relationship of father and son entwined in German-Jewish history;  religious conversion, exile and the dissolution of a family.

The Jews of Bletchley Park: Marcus Roberts (Heritage Days – 13/10/2021)

Marcus Roberts is a well-known tour guide, historian, and founder and director of JTrails, the official UK Jewish Heritage Trail – part of the European Route of Jewish Heritage.  Marcus takes us on a virtual tour of Bletchley Park where the Enigma code was broken and brings to life the stories of the Jewish people involved there during the Second World War.

From Disputation to Dialogue – Jewish-Catholic relations in our time : Rabbi David Rosen KSG CBE (Heritage Days – 01/09/2021)

Rabbi David Rosen KSG CBE helped negotiate full diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the Vatican. He is the Jerusalem based international Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee. Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and of the largest Jewish congregation in South Africa, he is an International President of Religions for Peace

The Grocer, the Dutch aunt, the rabbi and more…. forgotten rescuers of the Kindertransport : Mike Levy (BBUK  – 28/07/2021)

Who were the men and women who helped bring over 9000 Jewish children from Germany to safety in Britain before the outbreak of war?

Mike Levy, Holocaust educator and researcher and  Chair of Harwich Kindertransport Memorial Appeal, reveals the full story of the forgotten rescuers – Jews and non-Jews – including the remarkable role played by B’nai B’rith 

What does a Jew look like? : Keith Kahn Harris (BBUK  Bureau of International Affairs – 19/07/2021)

Keith Kahn-Harris is a sociologist, lecturer and music critic, currently associate fellow of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and lecturer at Leo Baeck College. He has written several books, including Uncivil War: The Israel Conflict in the Jewish Community and Denial: The Unspeakable Truth.)

The people on the beach: journeys to freedom after the Holocaust: Rosie Whitehouse (BBUK  – 31/06/2021)

Rosie Whitehouse is a journalist specialising in Jewish life after the Holocaust. She writes for BBC Online, the Observer, The Independent, Tablet magazine, The Jewish Chronicle, Haaretz and others. A graduate of the London School of Economics, she is an historical advisor at the Vienna-based Centropa, a Jewish history institute. (Source: https://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/the-people-on-the-beach/  )

The risk of Islamic extremism and antisemitism: Fiyaz Mughal (BBUK Bureau of International Affairs – 21/06/2021)

Fiyaz Mughal, founder and former director of the hate-crime reporting project Tell Mama. He also helped to found Muslims against Antisemitism, an organisation which fights antisemitism in all its forms

Leaving the Ultra Orthodox Community – The Struggles and the Triumphs: Emily Green (BBUK – 16/06/2021)

Emily Green grew up in Stamford Hill and left the Chasidic community in 2012. She is founder and chair of GesherEU – a charity which supports those who have left the Charedi community

The rebirth of Jewish life in Krakow: Jonathan Ornstein (BBUK – 26/05/2021)

Jonathan Ornstein is Executive Director of the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow, which opened in 2008.  Its aim is to rebuild Jewish life.  With over 700 Jewish members, they welcome over 10,000 visitors a month, becoming one of Poland’ most visible signs of Jewish revival

An unsung cultural hero – British Jewish choral music: Michael Etherton (BBUK – 12/05/2021)

Starting in the 19th century, Britain’s Jewish community quietly developed its own unique choral tradition, which has gone on to have considerable influence worldwide. In a musically illustrated presentation Michael Etherton musical director of Mosaic Voices, former director of the London Jewish Male Choir and Chief Executive of UK Jewish Film, looks at how this came about, and how this distinctive musical heritage is being heard and appreciated well beyond the Jewish community

Getting bugged – following in my grandfather’s footsteps: Judy Weleminsky (BBUK – 14/04/2021)

Judy Weleminsky has a new challenge in retirement – recreating a forgotten treatment for Tuberculosis! Once a charity chief executive, now she is humble microbiologist with the grand ambition of taking on a disease which still kills more than a million people a year. Judy will take you through her exciting roller coaster experience as well as the fascinating historical background to the treatment – Tuberculomucin-Weleminsky

Jeremy Havardi in conversation with HE Ishmael Khaldi, Ambassador Elect to Eritrea (BBUK/BIA – 31/03/2021)

Ishmael Khaldi is the first Bedouin diplomat in Israel’s Foreign Ministry and has been appointed as the next Ambassador to Eritrea. He has been a political analyst in the Ministry of Defense, the Israel Police and the IDF and has written A Shepherd’s Journey: the story of Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat.

What’s happening to Labour’s stance on antisemitism and Israel since the change from Corbyn to Starmer? : Luke Akehust (17/03/2021)

Luke Akehurst is Director of We Believe in Israel and is a long standing Labour activist.  He has been a Labour Councillor for any years and is a member of the party’s NEC

With vaccines – when will the pandemic end? : Professor Alan Silman (03/03/2021)

Professor Alan Silman is Senior Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford. He is the lead on the college’s Global Health Policy and a world-renowned epidemiologist and a rheumatologist.

For Alan’s bi-weekly COVID 19 blog, go to https://makingsenseofcovid19withs.com/

What’s wrong with the Middle East? – uncovering the issues
that plague the world’s most troubled region : Noru Tsalic (17/02/2021)

Noru Tsalic, former IDF soldier and current management consultant has spent many years engaging in pro-Israel advocacy. He writes regularly for Times of Israel and is the editor in chief of‘ Politically Incorrect Politics’.

From Clothing to Corona – the life and legacy of Sir Montague Burton: Nigel Grizzard (03[02/2021)

Nigel Grizzard is a leading Jewish Heritage Guide and Researcher

Is it important to remember the Holocaust? – Dame Helen Hyde (19/01/2021)

Dame Helen Hyde, DBE is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Imperial War Museum.  She is a Trustee of the Holocaust Education Trust and the National Holocaust Centre and Museum.
In 2012, Helen was made Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to national education and Holocaust education and in 2018 she was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Education by the University of Hertfordshire.