Maccabi GB officially opens a brand new state of the art offices and community space
Tuesday 14th June, London – On Sunday 12th June, Maccabi GB officially opened their brand-new state of the art offices and community space in Kenton, The Stanley S. Cohen OBE Centre. The opening was also an opportunity for the community to gather together to thank former Maccabi GB CEO, Martin Berliner for 20 years of service to the organisation. Over 100 people were in attendance including The Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, The Worshipful the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Abdi Aden, The Worshipful the Mayor of Harrow, Janet Mote and her Mayoress Mrs Anne Moore.
It is only thanks to generous donors that the refurbishment could be completed. These included The Stanley Cohen Charitable Trust, who the new refurbished building has been named after, the Betty Messenger Charitable Foundation who have generously sponsored the renovation work on the Sports and Community Hall on the first floor and the Family of Sergeant Leslie Luck who generously supported the installation of a brand-new accessible lift, the Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Charitable Foundation, The estate of the late Frederick Gunter Steven, The Pierre Gildesgame Memorial Fund, CST, All Aboard, the Berliner Family and The Rind Foundation as well as other anonymous donors.
The building will serve as Maccabi GB’s headquarters; it will provide a base for hosting a wide range of sports, health & wellbeing, informal education and young leadership activities which already engage over 50,000 people on an annual basis. The ground floor will house offices and community space and the first floor contains a purpose-built sports and community hall.
Maccabi GB Chairman Jonathan Prevezer welcomed the guests at the Official Opening and introduced David Judah from the Kenton Youth Aid Trust who gave an overview of the history of the building. In December 2017 after 40 years of ownership, the Kenton Youth Aid Trust gifted a property in Kenton (formerly known as Kenton Maccabi) to Maccabi GB. In its heyday, the Kenton Maccabi building was at the centre of communal life in the local area. Unfortunately, along with many community centres, over the past couple of decades, use of the building has dwindled as the community has moved away and as a result, the building was in in need of modernisation and to breathe new life into the space. David Judah stated that “It is an absolute pleasure to be standing in this beautifully refurbished building that has changed beyond recognition.”
David Pinnick, Maccabi GB Trustee, and former Chairman spoke further about the building and the generosity of the Kenton Youth Aid Trustees, for donating the building to Maccabi GB. Pinnick then used the opportunity to speak about the “incredible impact” that former CEO Martin Berliner had on Maccabi GB. He spoke how with COVID, the opportunity to honour the end of Berliner’s 20-year career was taken away, so wanted to use the event to mark this occasion. The Meeting Room in the building will be named after Martin’s late parents, Sylvia & Gus Berliner. Martin took to the stage and expressed his sincerest gratitude for the gesture.
The afternoon then continued with a few awards acknowledging some special people. Maccabi GB Trustee Ian Aarons who was pivotal in the management of the refurbishment was awarded a gold medal award for outstanding merit. Prevezer praised Aarons’ role in the renovation process and emphasised the time and effort that he had put into the process. A long-time former employee of Maccabi GB, Valerie Parnes was thanked for her 27 years of service and the final award was presented by Amir Peled, Chairman of Maccabi World Union to Sammy Jefferson, whose father, Simon Greenberg a staunch Maccabi supporter, sadly passed away last year. Sammy was awarded his father’s Bronze 2009 Maccabiah Games Medal, which unfortunately had been misplaced.
Finally, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis took to the stage to address the audience on what he believes Maccabi means and stands for. He spoke of the power that Maccabi GB has in “making people fitter, healthier and proud to be a Jew and proud of Israel.” He also told the story of his mother-in-law and wife who had won medals in athletic events at the Maccabiah Games for Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe). The Chief Rabbi concluded the proceedings by affixing a mezuzah on the building’s front door.
Jonathan Prevezer commented, “The afternoon was an outstanding success. To officially open the new headquarters of Maccabi GB with the Chief Rabbi present, as well as dignitaries from the Boroughs of Brent and Harrow, as well as the Chair of Maccabi World Union, Amir Peled and the Chair of Maccabi Europe, David Beesemer was humbling and a privilege.
To also see so many members of the original Kenton Youth Aid Trust Trustees, past Chairs of Maccabi GB and our generous supporters under one roof was quite emotional. Martin Berliner, who thoroughly deserved the accolades for his work over the last 20 years, was overcome with emotion when the plaque commemorating his late mother and father was unveiled and that said everything about Martin and his true dedication to his work.
I also want to thank the Maccabi GB team for their continued support and their unfailing loyalty and the Trustees who give so much of their time.”
- ENDS –
Notes to Editors
About Maccabi GB
Maccabi GB and its affiliates are Britain’s leading Anglo-Jewish Sports, Health and Wellbeing Charity and has flourished for over 80 years. Part of a global movement operating in over 70 countries, our mission is to support the long term future of British Jewry by engaging and developing the entire Jewish Community with a broad range of sporting, educational, social and health and wellbeing activities, whilst promoting Jewish Identity and the centrality of Israel. Each year, through over 250-targeted projects, programmes and events, Maccabi GB reaches over 45,000 people nationally. This is achieved by a dedicated team of professionals based in both London and the North. The Yellow Candle Project is a practical and informal educational tool to remember the victims of the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah and to highlight the lessons we can learn from it. Maccabi GB is distributing a remembrance candle to as many individuals in the community as possible, along with a small card that gives the name of someone who perished in the Holocaust their age, date and place of death.