Spiro Ark

Registered Charity No 1070926


Temple of Solomon Exhibition Launches in London

A two-week exhibition on the replica Temple of Solomon in São Paulo, Brazil opens at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London's St John's Wood on Sunday 21 February. Called Get to Know the Temple of Solomon, its aim is to explain the cultural and spiritual relevance of the ancient temple for modern times and encourage positive attitudes towards the state of Israel.

The exhibition is a joint initiative of the Spiro Ark, a distinguished London-based Jewish education, history and cultural charity, and the UCKG HelpCentre, representing its parent organisation in Brazil, which opened the replica temple in 2014.

In a truly interfaith, interdenominational event, the Revd. Malcolm Weisman OBE, who has had a distinguished career in Jewish chaplaincy and the law will welcome guests to the exhibition launch on 21 February. The keynote speaker will be Miguel Peres, head of communications for the Temple of Solomon, and Dr Jane Clements, the Anglican head of the Council of Christians and Jews, will be summing up.

Miguel Peres explains: "Two ideas drove the UCKG to build the replica temple. Firstly, although there are only around 120,000 Jews in Brazil anti-semitism is on the rise as it is around the world. Yet like me, many Brazilians have Jewish ancestry.

"The European Inquisition caused a further scattering of Jews all over the world with many fleeing to Brazil. They were called 'Bnei Anoussim', Jews who were forced to abandon their faith. Today, many Brazilians are of Jewish descent and don't know it. The idea is to help each person develop an interest in their Jewish ancestry and turn to Israel, their true homeland.

"Secondly, the UCKG saw an opportunity to try and recapture the wonder and holiness of the Temple of Solomon for modern times. The original was built in Jerusalem in 957BC, destroyed in the sixth century BC and rebuilt before finally being destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.

"We felt that a more-than-life-sized replica would enable us to accommodate large numbers of visitors, and help in building understanding of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism as its precursor. At the same time we would be able to boost knowledge of modern Judaism and the state of Israel, without getting too political."

Co-founder and director for the Spiro Ark, Nitza Spiro added: "Both our organisation and the UCKG are committed to life. Understanding the links between Jewish and Christian history, culture and faith is enriching for members of both faith groups and everyone who is interested in the current state of the world. The exhibition provides a level playing field where we can all learn and share our different ways of thinking without any pressure."

The exhibition will comprise of photographic and video displays so that visitors can gain an appreciation of both the modern temple in São Paulo and its predecessors in Jerusalem with their common thread of spirituality.

The exhibition is free of charge, but for security reasons people are urged to book online at education@spiroark.org. Places are still available for the launch.

Notes to editors

Spiro Ark is a London-based charity which organises Jewish cultural events and courses in Jewish history, culture and languages. It was established over 20 years ago by Nitza and Robin Spiro, who are well known for their pioneering work in Jewish education in the UK. Spiro Ark aims to teach and enthuse about Jewish history and culture, because of the intrinsic fascination of these subjects, and to help in maintaining a Jewish sense of identity in the 21st century.

UCKG is a Christian church and a UK registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort and welcomes all-comers. It was founded in Brazil in 1977 and reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith. There are UCKG HelpCentre branches in England and Wales.

For further information and bookings please contact the Spiro Ark on: education@spirosrk.org or 020 7794 4655