Chair's Message: July 2012

Last month I was privileged to host a small lunch with His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

We were joined by Vivian Wineman and Laura Marks from the Board of Deputies, together with a number of other communal figures, some of whom have been involved in interaction with the Jordanian Royal Court. The meeting followed a series of discussions I have had with the Ambassador of Jordan, at the instigation of his Government. Our discussions centred on the benefits of investing in peace, specifically addressing how the region would benefit from co-operation around skills, economic development and greater social entrepreneurship. His Majesty reaffirmed Jordan’s commitment to facilitating dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians. The discussion also looked at the impact UK Jewry can make through fostering inter-faith dialogue and understanding. I now hope that this unique moment forms the basis of an on-going relationship between His Majesty and our community. We were all hugely impressed with the time and commitment His Majesty continues to devote to furthering peace in the Middle East. It is only right that we utilise our experience and energy as a community to do what we can to support the peace process and interfaith collaboration in the UK.

This month the Commission on Women in Jewish Leadership publish their findings. I am proud that the JLC established and has supported this long overdue initiative. I congratulate Laura Marks on the magnificent job that she and her fellow Commissioners have done and look forward to seeing the recommendations being implemented across the community in an appropriate way. Laura herself is a tremendous role model of a Jewish woman leader and I also wish her mazeltov on her recent election as Senior Vice-President of the Board of Deputies.

Last month, at the invitation of its Chair, MK Einat Wilf, I was asked to give evidence to the Knesset sub-committee on Diaspora Affairs about the challenges faced by our community and how we work together to respond to them. I was particularly pleased that she agreed to take forward some of our suggestions to the full Knesset plenum, in particular the idea of developing mechanisms for broadening and deepening the conversation between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.