It’s easy to get caught up in the narrative of negativity. Against the backdrop of the increasingly intense assault upon Israel’s legitimacy and the ever-present backdrop of extremism and antisemitism there are certainly an array of reasons for the pervasiveness of pessimism in communal discourse. However, it would be the worst kind of victory to award to the boycotters and delegitimisers if we allowed them to define our collective identity as British Jews. That’s why so many of our member charities felt it important to be represented at the Jewish Living Expo earlier this month. It was a magnificent celebration of the rich tapestry of institutions, individuals, principles and activism that exemplifies contemporary British Jewish life. We coordinated a central presence of many JLC members and ten Jewish schools. Combining resource sharing and communal collaboration. A real reflection of what the JLC exists to achieve.
During the Expo I was privileged to open part of the School’s Israeli Dance Festival, organised by Maurice Stone and his team at the IDI. Looking around the room filled with nearly 600 Jewish schoolchildren and their parents I was reminded of the importance of our ongoing work supporting the Jewish schools sector, as we move towards the launch of our new Partnerships for Jewish Schools division in May – highlighted by Mick Davis in his recent JC interview as our “flagship project”.
We recently organised for Shadow Secretary of State Stephen Twigg MP to visit King Solomon High School. If you are ever feeling depressed about communal affairs I recommend a visit to a Jewish school to lift your spirits. Stephen spent a full morning with pupils as well as teachers and governors from other local Jewish schools. After the visit Stephen reaffirmed his support for faith schools. An important commitment at an important time.
As we approach Pesach, I wish you all a Chag Kasher V’Sameach.