Our community can be rightly proud of the array of organisations and initiatives that exist to support so many good causes. The generosity of our philanthropic leaders and the professionalism of our staff are rightly applauded, however it is the tireless work of the thousands of volunteers that continues to amaze and inspire me. The JLC have recently been involved in arranging a number of meetings directly engaging with those volunteers, too often over-looked but who should never be taken for granted. These sessions included focus groups for our Community Vitality Initiative and public meetings of the Commission on Women in Jewish Leadership. We supported the London Jewish Forum in arranging for the community to meet the Mayoral candidates. Working with the Board, our Fair Play Campaign engaged with teachers who are devoting energy to countering anti-Israel boycotts in their Union. Despite the differing contexts, a common theme surfaced on each occasion. That of a proud, engaged and committed community, prepared to devote time and energy addressing the many demographic and financial risks our institutions will face over the next few years whilst also confronting the challenges in the external arena. As Shimon Cohen recently pointed out in the Israeli media, all of this is a far cry from recent descriptions of a cowering, confused community unable to face these problems.
The election of UJS‘s Rachel Wenstone as Vice-President of the National Union of Students is an important development. Not only has it never been achieved before, but some hostile groups committed themselves to preventing UJS members ever occupying such posts. Rachel is a supreme example of a role model for Jewish students. We wish her every success.
The proposed caps on tax relief for charitable donations, were described by CST Chairman Gerald Ronson as “a giant step in the wrong direction”. They will disproportionately impact our community. After consulting our members we took an important decision, that we would fight these proposals as part of the wider charity sector. JLC has joined the major UK charities in the ‘Give it Back George‘ campaign. We urge you to sign up as well.