The TBFF's new Faiths Act Fellowship is a 10-month interfaith programme for 30 young people aged 18 to 25 from the UK, US and Canada. Beginning in August, it will include some exceptional young Jews who, as ambassadors for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), will raise money for and awareness of our campaign against malaria. After training in London, Africa and Chicago, the fellows will return to their home countries to work in inter-faith pairs. They will be based in religious host organisations and given the task of spreading understanding of the MDG challenge and through it, to encourage interfaith co-operation against malaria.
As change-makers for the next generation, young people of faith have a particular role to play. They have the creativity to establish new forms of inter-religious co-operation to help the most needy and vulnerable worldwide. The young Jewish "ambassadors" will therefore be making not only a tangible contribution to Africa's development but also helping to reconfigure the contemporary image of religion.
The message is that we cannot ignore the plight of those on the other side of the world when it stares us in the face on a daily basis. This is something that my foundation takes to its heart. Malaria, the main priority of the Faiths Act Fellows, is wholly preventable and this is why we are asking all faiths to face this challenge: "Whoever can prevent his household from committing a sin but does not, is responsible for the sins of his household; if he can prevent the people of his city, he is responsible for the sins of his fellow citizens; if the whole world, he is responsible for the sins of the whole world," (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 54b)
Passover, which begins next week, commemorates the liberation of the Children of Israel from Egypt. It calls us all to a wider liberation of the poor from deprivation, disease and hunger. It holds a resounding message for everyone across the faiths: that we should redouble our efforts to help free those in the developing world from the slavery of poverty.