Richard Stroud MBE: Yorkshire faith campaigner given Platinum Jubilee honour
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Richard Stroud, aged 73, of Shadwell in Leeds, is the fourth generation of his family to be involved with Bradford Synagogue after his great grandfather Joseph Strauss became the founding rabbi in 1873.
The MBE award recognises the work he has done in that time with highlights including interfaith forums which work to resolve conflict, protect and enhance working and living in harmony; using the success of these to help save the only Jewish synagogue in Bradford; and to influence discussions with faith and political leaders getting the international definition of anti-Semitism to be accepted by political parties, local councils and other organisations.
In addition he is the vice-chair of the Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation (YYAF) which has raised more than £1.4m and provides essential equipment to YYAF members and financially supports the charity ‘Support Dogs’ which trains support dogs for autistic and epileptic children and their families.
He said: “The Jewish community in Bradford is getting smaller because of people moving to Leeds where there is a bigger Jewish community, but more so to London and around the world and with the demise of the textile industry, people have moved on.
“It (the synagogue) has become a centre of inter-faith work and we have tried to broaden that to West Yorkshire. There are lots of different cultures and religions in Bradford and people who don’t believe in God.
“What we are trying to do is bring people together and to find the common attributes and values that we all have. The Muslim community, particularly, we work very closely with and have built up links to many of the leaders there, Hindu and Sikh. Family values are very similar and people are open to helping.”
He added that the Jewish community had experienced anti-semitism but there are cases of anti Islam and anti Hindu acts, but, by standing together they can start to make a difference and awards such as the MBE may inspire other people to get involved.
Mr Stroud added: “People may say you are wasting your time but we are one together if we stand together.
“The MBE is a wonderful honour and a very special time with the Platinum Jubilee. I hope it will encourage more people to get involved. It has not sunk in yet and I don’t suppose it will but I feel very honoured. It is not just for me but the people I work with.”