Council Q & A, Uri Goldberg, University Jewish Chaplaincy Chairman

1.      How do you feel about joining the JLC?

We feel enormously privileged to be joining the JLC and to have a seat at the table alongside some of the premier communal organisations in Anglo Jewry. University Jewish Chaplaincy has been at the forefront of Jewish campus life, working with students and universities for more than 43 years, and we look forward to helping help shape the future of Anglo Jewry.

2.     What opportunities do you hope to get from joining the JLC?

There is a vast amount of experience and expertise within the membership and leadership of the JLC which can help us grow and enhance every aspect of our organisation. From educators and best practice to fund raising, P.R. and profile, the JLC can advise and facilitate or just point us in the right direction if we need. That said, I do hope that we will be of use to the JLC too. We have been doing what we do for a very long time and have a wealth of experience working with, not only students and campuses but, as the only authorised body, with the universities too.

3.     What motivates you to be involved in communal life?

I think it is a combination of having been brought up in a very communally minded and active home and the sense of having to give something back if one is able. We are part of a wonderful and diverse community hosted by a wonderful and generous country. My family and I have benefited enormously from both and we have an obligation to see that our values, principals and vibrancy remains and grows for our children and grandchildren.

4.     What is the most exciting project you are currently involved in?

University Jewish Chaplaincy is not really a ‘project’ organisation although we do get involved in and help many of the local and national campus projects. We have chaplains up and down the country who are empowered to create and promote their own ‘micro projects’ and we obviously support those too. The project which, if not exciting me the most, is vexing me the most, is securing a chaplain for Bristol this coming academic year. Due to financial constraints in 2009/2010 we were not able to renew the position when it was vacated by the departing chaplain. Bristol has a large and growing Jewish student population who are desperate for a full time chaplain. It is only money that is preventing it and at the moment I am working hard to overcome that obstacle.

5.     What are the biggest challenges facing the community today?

I think there are many but the biggest has to be apathy. Apathy towards a commitment to Judaism, to Jewish values and to Jewish organisations. We are a religion, a people and a community with huge potential and the infrastructure to harness that potential for the benefit of so many, yet the malaise of apathy which seems to have gripped the youth of our country has spread to ours. My parents and grandparents, all our grandparents were builders. They emerged from devastation to build schools and shuls, lives and businesses, even a new homeland – all these in less than three quarters of a century. As a community we struggle to inspire our generation and the next, to continue and develop that heritage of building so indispensable to the healthy future of our communities.