left to right: Sinai Community Director, Becky Teiger; Julie Siddiqi MBE; Cantor Rachel Weston
Last Shabbat, Sinai Synagogue in Leeds welcomed Julie Siddiqi MBE to address the congregation during this devasting time for Jews in Israel and around the world.
As a leading Muslim voice in the UK, Julie has 25 years of grassroots experience working with faith communities with a particular interest in working with women. She’s a regular guest on radio and TV news and a contributor to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’.
Holding back her tears, Julie expressed her solidarity with the Jewish community following the murderous attacks by Hamas in Israel on 7th October:
“I know that so many of you feel scared, and this week has been so tough for everyone. In the Jewish community here and around the world, your pain is my pain”.
Julie continued: “I believe in a loving and merciful God, and I continue to pray for you all that your pain is eased. Please know that you have friends and supporters among UK Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths and none. And we will stand by you with love and support as and when you need it”.
Julie concluded her remarks by saying: “There are no easy or quick answers to any of this, but let’s stand together in love and solidarity as friends and as cousins in faith.”
The congregation warmly applauded her words and Cantor Rachel Weston thanked her for coming to the Synagogue at such a difficult time for the Jewish community.
Speaking after the service, Cantor Weston said:
“During this challenging and heart-shattering time, I was very moved by the message of peace and justice that Julie spoke from the bimah at Sinai. Julie’s visit demonstrated Sinai’s values in action, of tolerance, love and working in solidarity with people of all faiths and none for a better world.”
Sinai Community Director, Becky Teiger, added: “It was wonderful that Julie took the time to come and see us. Her visit will strengthen the already positive relations we have with the Muslim community across the city.”
The visit had been arranged thanks to Susie Gordon from the Leeds Jewish Representative Council.
A recording of Julie’s short address is available here: https://vimeo.com/874568939?fbclid=IwAR2ddCAjFaMqUm1b8PkMGZg_wEQpQkVQeEhkNNiQ9xYL7Y0Jx56UOQ6cKiA