Barnet Council’s leader cited the Kindertransport as he described how a synagogue persuaded him to take in Syrian refugees.

Finchley Progressive Synagogue is part of refugee charity Safe Passage’s national campaign Our Turn to settle 10,000 refugee children from camps in Europe and conflict zones abroad in the UK.

It is inspired by the war time operation Kindertransport, which brought 10,000 Jewish children to safety in Britain from Nazi-occupied Europe.

The synagogue supports 50 Syrian refugees, and campaigning with Middlesex University Students Union and community group Barnet Citizens won a pledge from council leader Richard Cornelius to take in 30 refugees over the next decade.

Speaking at the synagogue in Hutton Grove, Finchley, yesterday, council leader Cllr Richard Cornelius spoke to Synagogue leader Rabbi Rebecca Kirk.

Cllr Richard Cornelius said: “Rabbi, you persuaded me to take some Syrian refugees in Barnet.

“I think it has been very successful and we your community played an important part in this, and I’m sure you’re going to play an important part in this new proposal.

“In this year, the anniversary of the Kindertransport, Barnet can hardly fail to fulfil its part of this ambitious plan.”

At the synagogue, Mike Freer Member of Parliament for Finchley and Golders Green and the Labour leader on Barnet Council Barry Rawlings attended to make the pledge.

Rabbi Birk said: “By engaging positively with Barnet Council, we have already secured the resettlement of 50 Syrian families that now call our borough home.

“Many visit the synagogue each week and have become true members of our community

“Finchley Progressive members strongly believe that we can and must do more to help refugees, as a borough and as a country.

“I am delighted that Barnet continues to be a leading humanitarian voice on this issue and I hope we can encourage other councils to do the same.”