JLGB Menorah Grammar School DoE Bronze Awards Photo John Rifkin

A ceremony held on Friday celebrated the achievements of seven Menorah Grammar School (MGS) boys who each received the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award thanks to JLGB. This was the first time in recent years the school has taken part in the scheme for which JLGB has the exclusive licence to offer ‘Kosher DofE’ in Jewish schools across the United Kingdom.
Dovid Gabai, Yisroel Jacobs, Shlomo Lazarus, Naftoli Lebrecht, Raphael Moses, Aryeh Peters and Akiva Spector, were “happy and proud” to get their awards. All aged 14 or 15, the boys are Year 10 students at MGS, an independent orthodox Jewish school in Burnt Oak. An eighth student, Zvi Joseph, has since completed his Bronze DofE Award and 10 further students are nearing completion.
Presenting the certificates, MP Matthew Offord said: “I wish mazal tov to each and every one of you who has merited this DofE Award. It is a wonderful achievement, something that you can be very proud of. You are an inspiration to the school and to everyone around you. The awards encourage younger people to do volunteering and to prepare themselves physically and mentally – and socially – reaching out to others who are perhaps less fortunate… They are a good foundation for a bright and worthwhile future and career.”
Earlier, Rabbi Dovid Sulzbacher addressed a 130-strong audience including head teacher Neil Moir and JLGB Chief Executive Mr Neil Martin OBE. Explaining “that it has to fit in totally with our religion” Rabbi Sulzbacher paid tribute to JLGB for taking on the provision of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for the Jewish community. Thanks also went to Shmuel Davidsohn of Chaverim Youth Organisation who helped the boys complete some of the activities.
Later, students spoke about volunteering and skills they had learned in order to gain the awards.
Dovid, 15, learned to play the guitar and looks after a younger boy on Shabbos afternoons. He enjoyed the challenge of the expedition and learning to read maps and was happy with his achievements: “DofE helps families and it helps the community and it will help with my CV.”
Naftoli, 14, enjoyed learning to interact with people who have learning disabilities while visiting a Kisharon home as a GIFT Shabbat Walk volunteer. “Seeing how happy the men are gives me great satisfaction and I know I am giving something back [to the community].”
Meanwhile, Shlomo, 15, said volunteering at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre was “very rewarding… I’m very happy that I got my Bronze DofE and my parents are also proud.”
JLGB chief executive Neil Martin commented: “Today’s ceremony is a major stepping stone in expanding the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award among orthodox and Charedi Jewish communities by offering a single gender provision that is fully kosher and Shabbos and Yom Tov compliant. We hope that by partnering with organisations such as Chaverim that many more Jewish students will feel inspired to take on the challenge of a Bronze DofE Award and that today’s award winners will go on to do their Silver DofE Award.”
Jewish schools in areas such as Stamford Hill, Manchester or Gateshead, who would like to find out more about the ‘Kosher’ Duke of Edinburgh’s Award should call JLGB on 020 8989 8990.