London’s Jewish community buries time capsule
Philanthropist Dame Vivien Duffield donates £25 million to fund construction of new Hampstead center.
Time capsule buried by British Jewish community Photo: JW3
LONDON – The British capital’s new Jewish community center buried a time capsule
on Wednesday on the site of its purpose- built building to give the next
generation a glimpse of how London Jews went about their lives in
The time capsule was buried in the piazza floor at the
state-of-the-art building – known as JW3, and located in Hampstead, northwest
London – which is nearing completion and will be one of the largest Jewish
community centers in Europe when it opens in September.
The capsule will
be opened in 2113.
“We’re here to provide our descendants, 100 years
hence, with an insight into what makes this community tick, how and why we
identify as Jews, and what motivated us to build this magnificent complex,” said
Sir Trevor Chinn, a JW3 board member.
Among the items placed into the
time capsule, which will tell the story of Jewish life in our times, were the
hundreds of responses to JW3’s Jewish identity project – in which individuals
responded to the question, “What does being Jewish mean to you?”
There is also:
winning art work from a competition for high school children – asking them to
express their answer to the same question pictorially; the speech delivered by
Prince Charles at the 250th anniversary of the Board of Deputies of British
Jews; a Holocaust memoir from survivor Ben Helfgott; and a parchment scroll
bearing the simple inscription “Shalom,” and signed by the religious leaders of
the main branches of Judaism represented in London.
The time capsule has
an embossed lid at each end, one inscribed with the Hebrew and secular date and
the other bearing the celebrated quote from Theodore Herzl’s Altneuland, “If you
will it, it is no dream.”
The project is the brainchild of philanthropist
Dame Vivien Duffield, who was inspired by her visit to the Jewish Community
Center in Manhattan and donated £25 million (about $38m.) to realize the
project. Her Clore Duffield Foundation initiated the £50m. (over $75m.) project
in 2003, and is the project’s major funder.
With the principle of
inclusiveness at its heart, the center is modeled on the Jewish community
centers in the US where an array of events and activities for all ages that
invigorate Jewish life are on offer, also catering to the local community and
Amenities at JW3 will include: a 60-seat screening room; a
kosher café, bar and restaurant; a multi-purpose hall for functions and
performances; an arts and craft studio; dance and rehearsal rooms; meeting
rooms; a demonstration kitchen; and a nursery providing 85 places.
Jewish community center building has been designed to be inspirational – a place
where Jewish culture is made as well as enjoyed,” Duffield said. “My aspiration
is that the quality of the programing and cultural output produced at the center
will earn it a reputation for excellence among the wider community, establishing
itself as a must-visit destination on the cultural map of London.”