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Faith leaders and business figures honour charity at Hampstead tea party

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 May 2015

Left to right: Laura Marks, Julie Siddiqi and Daniela Pears.

Left to right: Laura Marks, Julie Siddiqi and Daniela Pears.

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Faith leaders and business people gathered in Hampstead to celebrate the work of a Jewish charity promoting inter-faith relations.

Camden mayoress Daniela Pears and her husband Trevor Pears, who runs the Pears Foundation charity, hosted an inter-faith tea party at their Hampstead home on May 10 in support of Mitzvah Day, which aims to bring people from all faiths together for a day of social action each year.

Around 60 guests attended the party, including Canon Guy Wilkinson, previous inter-faith advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rabbi Natan Levy, Board of Deputies inter-faith and social action adviser, and Julie Siddiqi, who recently launched the Muslim version of Mitzvah Day, Sadaqa Day.

There were also several high-profile business figures in attendance, including Nicola Mendelsohn, vice-president of Facebook in Europe, and entrepreneur Maurice Ostro.

Ms Siddiqi and Rev Marjorie Brown, the vicar at St. Mary’s Church in Primrose Hill, were guest speakers at the party, highlighting the strong impact Mitzvah Day has had on their Muslim and Christian communities respectively.

Rev Brown said: “Doing to others what we would have done to us is at the heart of all our religious ethics, and Mitzvah Day is a joyful enactment of this commandment.

“I am grateful to the Jewish community for actively enabling us to build friendships that cross religious borders and support our work with homeless people in Camden.”

Ms Siddiqi said: “Mitzvah Day has taught me so much about community organising and inspired me to set up something similar among Muslim communities in March this year, Sadaqa Day.”

Mr Pears, whose wife is a Mitzvah Day trustee, said: “It was a pleasure to host this event at our home. Mitzvah Day is a celebration of community spirit and a great example of faith in action. It continues to be one of our community’s brightest stars.”

Laura Marks, founder and chairman of Mitzvah Day, added: “Mitzvah Day plays a key role in today’s fractured world at a local level where it really matters.

“Mitzvah Day would not exist without the support of the Pears Foundation and JHub.”

As part of the growth of Mitzvah Day, it is currently recruiting its first CEO, and a dedicated staff member working on inter-faith issues has recently been appointed.

Applications to take part in this year’s day of social action on November 22 will soon be open and new ways to get involved will be announced.

To find out more about Mitzvah Day, visit mitzvahday.org.uk

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