Building Bridges – connecting Sikh – Jewish community relations

Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, Chair of UK Women of Faith Network, was invited to participate in a one day conference organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews for Jewish volunteers, professionals, rabbis and activists on the challenges and opportunities in interfaith relations with reference to the Sikh community.

Here is Ravinder’s report of the event:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews held a one-day conference for Jewish volunteers, professionals, rabbis and activists on the challenges and opportunities in interfaith relations.

The Israeli Government issued a commemoration stamp in January 2018 for the braveryRavinder Kaur Nijjar was invited by the Board of Deputies of British Jews to suggest ways of engaging with the Sikh community particularly with social action projects.

Participants were surprised to learn that Sikhs and Jews have had a 100-year connection, as Sikh soldiers were instrumental in the liberation of Jerusalem in December 1917 and Haifa in September 1918.

Information was given as to how to engage with Gurdwaras, the Sikh place of worship and social action projects carried out by Sikh organisations that Jewish organisations could link with in particular areas.

For example Nishkam SWAT and Seva Scotland feed the homeless weekly and provide warm clothes and blankets during the winter. Ravinder also gave information aboutsocial action projects led by Religions for Peace UK Women of Faith Network, the Share a Meal, Gift a Meal Campaign and the Restoring Dignity Campaign to help end violence against women.

The day provided an opportunity to meet up with Jewish friends Laura Marks a member of the steering committee of the women’s network, Philip Rosenberg and Andrew Silkoff who was part of a Scottish group of Religious Leaders and young people who visited Jerusalem in 2006 showcasing interfaith faith work carried out in Scotland.

The day was successful in that it has led to enquiries by Jewish organisations to connect with Sikhs working with Asylum seekers and refugees.

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