Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sent his best wishes to the British Indian Jewish Association (BIJA) on their 25th anniversary reception, at an event held on Thursday 19th January at the Rosenblatt Memory Crystal office in Fleet Street.
Co-Chair Dr Peter Chadha read out PM Sunak’s letter at the start of the packed event, attended by around 100 people.
The letter read, “I applaud the work of BIJA in bringing the Indian and the Jewish communities together, along with the vision of your founders. We need organisations such as yours to build the bonds of friendship between different communities together. Furthermore, I know how much the Indian and the Jewish communities have in common. The values such as the importance of family and education are very similar, and there are even parallels in the festivities, which I noted when I recently hosted a Chanukah reception at No10…”
The event included the presentation of BIJA Community Awards to Justin Cohen (News Editor of the Jewish News), and CB Patel (Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar), in recognition of their work to build the bonds within and between communities.
Congratulating CB and Justin, PM Sunak wrote, “I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to CB Patel and Justin Cohen for receiving the BIJA Community Awards for their remarkable contribution to civic and public life.”
The event also featured interviews with Josh Glancy (Sunday Times and JC) and Manveen Rana (co-host of The Times podcast, Stories of our times), who were quizzed by Co-Chair Zaki Cooper. They spoke about their careers as well as the similarities between the two communities.
Manveen spoke about being kidnapped as an investigative journalist and foiling a terror plot in London, whilst John spoke about interviewing famous people such as Bill Clinton and Pamela Anderson.
Other speakers included Anil Rajani (Partner at Rosenblatt and BIJA Trustee), who welcomed everyone, Sophie Ross (BIJA Committee), Cllr Reena Ranger (BIJA Committee) and Lord David Pannick KC (BIJA Advisory Board).
Co-Chairs Zaki Cooper and Dr Peter Chadha said, “We were delighted that the atmosphere was so positive and energetic, in celebrating the friendship between the Indian and Jewish communities. Our guest speakers Josh and Manveen were superb. It was also very important to recognise two stars in our communities, Justin and CB, who both work in media organisations, for the impactful work they have done over many years. This event was to celebrate our first 25 years and will give us encouragement as we head with optimism to the future.”
On receiving the BIJA Community Award, CB said, “I am honoured to receive a BIJA Community Award. I have always seen a very special bonding between the Indian and Jewish communities. I was involved in BIJA’s founding in the 1990s and think of the relationship between Indians and Jews as mutually beneficial, as well as a blessing for the country as a whole. Long may that continue. I can say without any hesitation that the best is yet to come. I feel very happy that at the age of 86 when I look back, I feel satisfied.”
On receiving his award, Mr Cohen added, “Receiving an award for doing a job I have loved for over two decades was unexpected and special in equal measure. All the more so as it came so soon after losing my dad, a proud British Jew who was born in India. Huge thanks to JN editor Richard Ferrer for giving me the freedom to work on a range of innovative projects, and to Russell Bahar whose drive has ensured AJBN’s huge growth over the last three years.”