At a boisterous Channukah party in London’s Trafalgar Square last week, the city’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, who was photographed dancing with an over-sized dreidel, thanked the Jewish community for leading the world in the spirit of charitable giving, according to the UK’s Jewish News.
Speaking to a record crowd of 6,000 at an event called ‘Chanukah in the Square,’ organized by the Jewish Leadership Forum and Chabad, Johnson described London Jewry as “the greatest Jewish community” on Earth and said he was hopeful for an economic recovery in London, while calling for a simultaneous “boom in giving.”
Asked by the Jewish News what London Jewry could do to help achieve that goal, Johnson told the newspaper, “Just what they’re doing. The Jewish community traditionally leads the world in its spirit of giving, there’s no question about that. It’s something that’s been so for hundreds of years and it’s a wonderful thing to see it happening in London. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just do more of it.”
The record turnout for ‘Chanukah in the Square’ also prompted the mayor to call on other groups to emulate what the Jewish community had achieved by bringing so many together for a celebration.
Johnson said, “This is extraordinary. It’s proof of the dynamism, vitality of the Jewish community. It’s a great thing for London. People of other faiths or no faith look at this and they think what a wonderful city it is that it can bring people together and celebrate.”
As students some thirty years ago, Johnson and his sister Rachel once lived on a Kibbutz in Israel. The conservative politician, who was educated at Eton and Oxford and is serving a second term as London’s Mayor, reached out extensively to London’s Jewish community during his last campaign, donning a black fedora, a photograph of which was widely circulated before the election.