Well, 26 days into 2014 and I never would have imagined my life taking a turn in this direction. In 2013 I was, as I liked to describe myself, the CEO of a small local enterprise, namely my family, and when time allowed, I volunteered within my community- both the local Jewish community and wider within Leeds in particular the asylum seeker and refugee communities (or lack of).
Tonight I am a novice adventurer in the world of social enterprise, hospitality and blogging.
Tonight, 26 Jan 2014, it is as if my old self is merging with the new. Tonight, the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day. At one point in my life I seriously considered a career path in the world of Holocaust education and memory. One which would have undoubtedly been incredibly worthwhile, but rigorously tough (For an inspiring blog from a dear friend who has chosen this path, click here ). I chose not to, yes partly because of the strength I would have needed, but more because I wanted to devote my working life to something more positive and directly invested in the future. But the memory has always lingered. And I have strived to live in a way that honours the memory of the many, many, too many victims of persecution.
And then life, infact three little lives in a very short space of time (twins boys born in 2008, a beautiful girl 21 months later) took over and for the last 3 or 4 years I have been immersed in family matters and grabbing opportunities to volunteer and do my bit for community where I can.
And over the past year or so, my volunteering has led me towards the asylum seeker and refugee world in my city, Leeds. And my memory of Holocaust memorial returns, for I believe the true message of Holocaust Memorial Day must be PLAY YOUR PART and in a very small way, I guess I have been.
But tonight is different, and tomorrow hopefully even more so. For tomorrow, I will be at the City of Sanctuary annual conference. It feels so apt that on HMD I will be meeting, sharing, discussing and planning ways to ensure our cities are all cities where those in need of asylum, of safety, of a new start, receive this sweet gift that most of us just take for granted. And boy have I got an idea to share……