Chair's Message: December 2013

Looking back as we reach the end of the year, it has been a pleasure to attend numerous community events culminating in the fantastic Chanukah in the Square event in Trafalgar Square. Thousands of people gathered to watch the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, lead the Menorah lighting. What a great s inclusive spirit and the unity of our community.

The Mayor’s prediction that there would be “a boom in giving, a boom in the spirit of community and aboom in the spirit of doing things for other people’, in the Capital was inspiring. Philanthropy is part of our DNA; it is the foundation on which our community is built. This has been reflected in the numerous communal charity dinners held recently in the UK in support of the welfare, educational and other needs of our community. As the Chanukah lights glistened in the windows of our homes they carried a message not only of freedom, but of responsibility, care and accountability; which are the essence of Jewish Life.

Over the holiday season, JLC staff will have a significant presence at National Limmud Conference in Warwick. There will be sessions given by all divisions of the JLC including by Interim Chief Executive Simon Johnson. I am certain that this innovative and thought provoking conference will be a great success, as it is every year.

I was deeply saddened by the recent passing of Nelson Mandela who I first met shortly after he was released from his long sojourn in jail. As Prime Minister David Cameron said, “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death”. May Nelson Mandela’s legacy of magnanimity, generosity of spirit and pragmatism be an inspiration to us all as we strive in our own small way to make a contribution to humanity.