Mitzvah Day appoints Rabbi Jeff Berger as its first Interfaith Advisor
Rabbi Jeff Berger has joined Mitzvah Day as Interfaith Advisor, as the charity seeks to further enhance and build on its work in bringing faith groups together through social action. Rabbi Jeff will work closely with the Mitzvah Day team, including Interfaith Chair Lady Daniela Pears, to deepen Mitzvah Day’s connection with communities, groups and people of all faiths and none.
Mitzvah Day’s Founder and Chair Laura Marks OBE said: “Rabbi Jeff has a wealth of experience and contacts in the interfaith world. Around 85% of Mitzvah Day’s projects include non-Jewish charities or people and we are excited to continue building strong relationships with people from other backgrounds, through social action, particularly with people from different faith traditions. This has never been more important.”
Mitzvah Day Chief Executive Georgina Bye added: “We are thrilled to have Rabbi Jeff joining the Mitzvah Day team, as we look to grow our projects, learning and approaches to working with other faith communities.”
Rabbi Jeff has been at the forefront of interfaith work for many years. Originally from New York, he was ordained at the London Montefiore Semicha Programme, before becoming the founding rabbi at Rambam Sephardi Synagogue in Elstree & Borehamwood.
He left Rambam in the summer of 2018, after seven and a half years, to concentrate on his interfaith work. Over the past six years, he has taken part in the Cambridge Senior Faith Leaders Programme, the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship and the KAICIID International Fellows Programme. He is a regular writer and speaker at interfaith conferences, enabling him to build a network of colleagues among like-minded faith leaders.
Rabbi Jeff said: ‘It is a great privilege to be appointed the rabbinic interfaith adviser to Mitzvah Day 2019. For the past 6 years, I’ve been fortunate to attend multi-faith conferences and participate in year-long fellowships both in the UK and abroad. More recently, I’ve been an invited speaker to such conferences enabling me to build a network of colleagues among like-minded faith leaders.
We have seen a serious decline in recent years in the civility of our engagement as well as a rapid deterioration in the sanctity which used to be allotted to places of worship. We believe one of the best ways to counterbalance the attempts by a small handful to instil fear and to sow seeds of hatred is through active dialogue and engagement with one another.
Mitzvah Day is the largest single day of faith-based volunteering in the country and its popularity is expanding around the world. My hope is to continue building on these enormously successful achievements to help bring more communities to experience the remarkably inspiring result of working together for a common good.’