HRH The Prince of Wales awarded the CCJ Bridge AwardPosted Fri, 06/25/2021 - 10:05 by Robert
HRH The Prince of Wales has been presented with the Council of Christian and Jews’ prestigious Bridge Award.
The award took place at Spencer House in central London, attended by CCJ’s Chair, Trustees and one of its Presidents, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.
Introduced in 2017 for CCJ’s 75th anniversary, the Bridge Award is an annual award for someone who has made an exceptional and leading contribution to building bridges between peoples, in a Christian-Jewish or wider setting. HRH received the Bridge Award for 2020, but the presentation of it was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In previous years, the awards have been received by:
2017 - Smith family (for Holocaust education work)
2018 - Rabbi Lord (Jonathan) Sacks (Chief Rabbi from 1991-2013)
2019 - Lord (Jacob) Rothschild (businessman and philanthropist)
Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave, Chair of CCJ and Bishop of Lichfield said:
“We are delighted to present our Bridge award to The Prince. Since 1942, CCJ has been building bridges between peoples and communities. In a similar vein, His Royal Highness has been a bridge builder extraordinaire, supporting diverse faith and ethnic communities over several decades. He has been a steadfast friend of all the faith communities, reflecting the duality of the monarchy’s role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England but also at the helm of a multi-faith country and Commonwealth. To borrow the words of the famous American Jewish folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, The Prince has been a Bridge over Troubled Water.”
Zaki Cooper, CCJ Trustee and Founder of the Bridge Award said:
“The task of building bridges remains as necessary as ever, as an antidote to polarisation, division and ignorance. The Prince has been a long-standing champion of this important work between different religious groups, and also as a particularly steadfast friend to minority faith and ethnic groups. Whilst diversity and inclusion has become a buzzword recently, The Prince has been championing this agenda over many years, out of a sense of humanity and the common good. He not only has an acute understanding of the value of faith in theory but is also a friend of all the faiths in practice.”
Below is the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis' congratulations speech to HRH.
"Your Royal Highness, my Lords, Bishop Michael,
I can, likewise, think of no better person on this entire planet to be the recipient of the 2020 CCJ Bridge Award than His Royal Highness.
Reference has already been made to the Prince being a bridge-builder extraordinaire, but there is a further significance to the concept of a bridge in Jewish thought. The 18th Century Hasidic Great Master, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, famously taught that the whole wide world is a very narrow bridge, and as we all walk upon it together, we should always remember to never fear.
One of the great lessons of Covid-19 has been the fact that we are all on the same side. The virus does not differentiate between people of different faiths, ethnicities, colours or genders; the virus does not recognise borders; as far as the virus is concerned, we are all on the same side. Now as, thank God, we are emerging slowly towards the post-Covid era, we are all the more aware of how narrow this bridge is that we are all treading upon, within our very challenging environment.
You, Sir, are our leader, you set the personal example through your work and through your comments, but most importantly, through the personal example that you provide. To teach our society of the ills of enmity and bitterness and, most of all, bloodshed, and how crucially important, as we move together on this narrow bridge, tolerance, love, unity, peace and harmony at all times are.
So, we cannot thank you enough for all that you are doing to strengthen this bridge, and to teach all of us that we are indeed on the same side and how, regardless of different ethnicities and faiths, or whatever other differences we have, we must tread this path together, blessed to be part of one single family of all of humankind.
This is represented by this Bridge Award. What an outstanding, inspirational choice His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales is. May Almighty God bless you to continue with your truly extraordinary work and endeavours for and on behalf of our great nation.
The inscription on the plaque reads: 2020 Bridge Award HRH The Prince of Wales: For outstanding efforts to build bridges and understanding between communities.