Nottingham Hosts Czech Mates

A group of 40 non-Jewish students from the small Czech town of Slavkov visited Nottingham Liberal Synagogue as part of their 8 day visit to England. Having spent time in London, the group came to Nottingham following an invitation of the shul’s Nottingham Friends of Austerlitz Group who work to keep alive the memory of the now extinct Jewish community of Austerlitz (now re-named Slavkov) because they have a Torah scroll that was saved from the town as one of the Czech Memorial Scrolls based in Westminster.

The Nottingham group has developed close links with the town over the past 20 years and makes regular trips there – usually linking programmes with NLS’s cheder children and local Czech students.

The Czech students enjoyed an evening at the synagogue where they heard more about the links between Nottingham and Slavkov. They enjoyed a fish and chip supper before musical entertainment led by NLS young members Max and Megan Sugarman. The evening ended with a disco where children from Nottingham and Slavkov danced together.  During a tour of the city the following day, the guests met the local legend ‘Robin Hood’ as well as having a VIP tour of the Council House where they were welcomed by the Sheriff of Nottingham.

NFOA Chairman, Jeff Cohen, who orchestrated the visit to Nottingham, said that the interaction with  the Czech children was significant not only because they had a great time, but because it helped to break down stereotypes and misconceptions with children who are unlikely to ever meet Jewish people.

Neil Pike

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