Office of the Chief Rabbi

Chief Rabbi backs The Great Get Together

On 17th and 18th June this year, The #GreatGetTogether, in memory of Jo Cox MP, will look to celebrate the values that the British people share in common. These values will be expressed through events throughout the country, at which people of all backgrounds can sit and share food together.

“What could be more Jewish than celebrating a significant occasion with food?

Food is often at the centre of whatever we are doing and celebrating. We frequently elevate significant achievements by holding a ‘seudat mitzvah’. We have countless intricate laws about what we can eat, when we can eat it, what blessing we must make over it, etc.

But one thing, perhaps even more definitively Jewish than eating, is the sharing of our food with others.

The centrality of food in Jewish tradition is no accident. Nor is it merely a cultural predisposition to enjoying lavish feasting. It is a way for us to embrace the spiritual world with our physical form.

When we make a blessing over bread, we thank God, ‘who brings forth bread from the earth’. Yet, as we know, God Himself does not provide the bread. He provides the grain and the natural conditions from which people are able to make bread. The blessing teaches us the powerful lesson that God expects us to meet him halfway. If we take responsibility for investing the effort into growing the crops, processing them into ingredients and then taking the time to mix and bake them, only then will we be rewarded with the staple food for our physical sustenance.

Similarly, we strive to create a more tolerant, more sensitive and more understanding world. Every day in our tefilla, we pray for peace and it us up to us to meet God halfway to hopefully make our prayers a reality.

The 17th and 18th June this year provide us with an opportunity to do just that. #TheGreatGetTogether is a national celebration of the values that British people share in common and we will express those values by holding events at which people of all backgrounds can sit and share food together.

The event was conceived by the family and friends of Jo Cox MP and it marks the anniversary of her murder last summer. It is an opportunity for all of our communities to make an effort to reach out to their non-Jewish neighbours and, in doing so, foster better links and greater understanding between communities.

Find out if your community is planning something and make sure you get involved!”

To read more about The Great Get Together, click here.