By COLlive reporter
Prince Charles will be one of the many world leaders and dignitaries visiting Isreal this week to participate in the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
The prince’s own friendship with the Jewish community and his commitment to fighting anti-Semitism was evident last month when he hosted a reception celebrating the Jewish community at Buckingham Palace.
“In every walk of life, in every field of endeavor, our nation could have had no more generous citizens, and no more faithful friends,” he told participants, adding that it was an opportunity “to say thank you, albeit in a small way, for all that you do, and have done, across the country, in major national and international institutions, and in local communities the length and breadth of the land.”
He said that the connection between the Crown and the Jewish community is “something special and precious,” mentioning the weekly prayers that are said in synagogues across Britain each Shabbos for his family.
He said he was “immensely proud” that his grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, is buried in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives.
“She is counted one of the Righteous among the Nations for her actions in 1943 when, in Nazi-occupied Athens, she saved a Jewish family by taking them into her home and hiding them,” he noted.
He recalled how his father, while spending a year in school in Germany in 1933, helped an older schoolboy who had been identified as a Jew and was badly mistreated by other boys. “His act of compassion is a source of great pride and inspiration to me,” he stated.
“In my own small way, I have sought to recognize the contribution of the Jewish community by various means, whether in attending or hosting receptions for the Kindertransport Association, or for Holocaust survivors, or attending events for the National Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, of which I am Patron, or helping to build a Jewish Community Centre in Krakow – where I was privileged to fix a mezuzah to the doorpost – or in agreeing without a moment’s hesitation to become Patron of World Jewish Relief,” he said.
Following his remarks, Prince Charles spoke to the honored participants. One of the guests introduced to him was Rabbi Bentzi Sudak, Shliach of Chabad-Lubavitch UK. He is the son of the late Head Shliach Rabbi Nachman Sudak, who in 2001 has received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth.
Prince Charles asked about Chabad and “what does it stand for.”
Rabbi Sudak replied, “We aim to inspire each person to realize their unique purpose in the world. For Jewish people, that is through connecting to their heritage.”
Rabbi Sudak then quoted Britain’s former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks that Chabad seeks out fellow Jews to embrace them in love, just as in the past they were hunted down in hate.
Rabbi Sudak, who was celebrating his birthday on the day of the reception, went on to give a blessing to the prince, her majesty the Queen, and the royal family.
“He was surprised that on a birthday, the person who has the birthday was wishing the other person well,” Rabbi Sudak told COLlive.com. “In general, it’s the other way around – one usually receives good wishes on your birthday.”
Seeing the prince’s reaction, Rabbi Sudak explained the concept of “mazalo gover” mentioned in Talmud Yerushalmi, that a person’s luck increases on his birth date. The power to bless others is potent on that day.
“He liked the idea,” Rabbi Sudak noted.
Very impressive to be able to think on your feet and have something meaningful to say. It’s not my birthday but I wish you well.
Rabbi Bentzi Sudak is full of amazing knowledge of chassidus and chabad history.