A few days after the inaugural meeting of our new Commission on Provision for Young People, I was privileged to attend the annual Yom Ha’zikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut service led by B’nei Akiva. The evening was an exemplar of one of our youth movements at its very best. Taking a leadership role in the wider Jewish community fusing together a cocktail of ideology, passion and commitment. The keynote speech delivered by B’nei Akiva Mazkir Jonny Sherman reinforced the role that Zionist youth movements play in ensuring the vitality of our community. The work of our youth commission is at its very early stages, however it is already clear that our commissioners will need to engage in real depth with the movements that make up the ZYC. We often refer to them as the ‘leaders of tomorrow’, however in a very real sense they already play a leadership role today.
Earlier this month, together with colleagues from CST and the Board of Deputies I spent a day visiting key Jewish institutions with a number of Government Officials from departments whose work touches upon the Jewish community in some way. It is always interesting to see our community through the eyes of others. As you will read below the day covered all of the key sectors of UK Jewish life. The overwhelming feedback was the impression that as a community we have taken real responsibility for ensuring that all of the key services we require are provided, rather than demanding that others do so on our behalf. A refreshing alterative to some of the negativity that all too often dominates the communal airwaves.
I was pleased to be able to address the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and Region. We had a valuable discussion covering areas as broad as leadership training and Israel advocacy. Manchester is a wonderful community and the leadership of Rep Council President Frank Baigel is deeply valued within and beyond it. I also visited Birmingham last week to meet with representatives of Jewish Social Care providers from across the UK. There is an acute need for a serious strategic plan looking at future provision in this sector. We have been asked by the Jewish social care sector to lead an initial scoping and mapping process which will lay the ground for wider strategic work in this area.
Finally, following a fabulous array of diverse communal celebrations for Yom Ha’atzmaut I urge you to visit www.closertoisrael.org.uk/main and register your organisation to be part of our unified, national central London celebration of Israel at 65.