In case you want to learn how to appeal to the Jews, British diplomat Matthew Gould gives a free lesson. Haaretz reported yesterday that Gould, the newly appointed British Ambassador to Israel, wasn't too connected to his Jewish roots until he served in Tehran. Seemingly, now he knows where he belongs.
"Being posted in Iran made me go to shul more regularly", says the new Ambassador. "I did it to reach out to the Jewish community in Iran and to show that Western embassies were watching out for its welfare," Gould explains. "I was determined to go to shul to show both the Jewish community and the Iranian authorities that I was Jewish and not embarrassed of it."
Gould says that his two-year stint through 2005 in Tehran as deputy head of mission has given him "a real expertise in an issue of profound security importance to Israel."
The religious process that began in Tehran continued in Britain. "I got more active [with Judaism] and over the last couple of years I've spent a lot more time and a lot more thought on my Jewish identity and what it means to be Jewish," says Gould.
Haaretz reports that Gould and his wife go to shul every week at the West London Synagogue. As a child, Gould recalls going to Middlesex New Synagogue in Harrow with his parents, who still live in London as "proud but inactive" members of the Jewish community.