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The Wonder Years..how much of this life can we do? : Outside your comfort zone but feeling proud

Friday, 29 November 2013

Outside your comfort zone but feeling proud

On Monday night I hosted the annual fundraising Gala dinner for World Jewish Relief, a charity close to my heart as it works to transform the lives of individuals and communities living in poverty, with a focus on the Eastern European Jewish community, although the charity work in over 20 countries. WJR is also UK Jewish Communities first response for the DEC and currently working tirelessly to provide aid in the relief for Typhoon Hiayan

The dinner was a special one, it was the 80th aniversary of WJR, formerly the CBF (Central British Fund for German Jews) and this year marks the 75th anniversary of the organisation being largely responsible for organising the Kindertransport, bringing over 10,000 unaccompanied, mainly Jewish children, from Nazi-occupied Europe.

I was hosting to a room of nearly 600 in the incredibly grand dining room at London's Guildhall, during which I was to interview a brother and sister who had come to England, fleeing Vienna on the Kindertransport and also speaking to a Holocaust survivor, who came to England as one of 'The Boys'.

My fear was not only to ensure I did my subjects justice. I was to help them share their remarkably brave stories on the stage in a limited time frame due to the evenings events. I was also using an autocue for the first time which I was somewhat nervous about and I'd never hosted such a formal event before, attended by Lords and Ladies and the newly appointed Chief Rabbi.

Yes I've stood in front of thousands, for pop concerts, fireworks displays and charity fun runs - but this was different.  I wanted to be involved for so many reasons from my respect for what the organisation does to help the impoverished communities ancestors came from. Also, because the opportunity to speak to such remarkable and inspiring people won't be available to our generation for too much longer. I was so humbled by their tales of extraordinary bravery and how they had built their lives here in the UK. I was proud to be associated with them. I was proud to stand up and take myself out of my comfort zone. I was proud when I cycled from London to Amsterdam to raise over ¬£1000 for World Jewish Relief in 2009. My point being - Monday night highlighted to me the importance of doing things that we can be proud of, I'm not sure enough of us challenge ourselves often enough. More likely we get fed up with the monotony of our days. But it doesn't take much to push yourself that little bit further, to get that little bit more out of your day...  and I can highly recommend it. 

To find out more about about WJR visit www.wjr.org.uk or follow them on twitter @WJRelief

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