JLC at Limmud 2016

Limmud is one of the great Anglo-Jewish creations. It provides a phenomenal opportunity to learn about different aspects of Jewish life, culture and thought. Its success at bringing people together and creating a vibrant atmosphere for growth and the free exchange of ideas has inspired Limmud ‘franchises’ across the diaspora. Limmud is a wonderful example of the successful embodiment of one of the JLC’s core objectives: including more Jews in communal life for the betterment of the whole of British Jewry.

This year the JLC is proud to be contributing two panel discussions to Limmud, with the hopes of both raising issues of importance to Jewish life and also helping to illustrate to the community what the JLC and our member organisations are seeking to achieve.

Our first panel will focus on campaigning against antisemitism and antisemitic protests, using the example of Golders Green Together as a starting point. We are delighted that we will be joined on the panel by Marie Van Der Zyl, Vice-President of the Board of Deputies, who will be able to provide an important insight as to how the Board prioritises campaigns against antisemitism. Hannah Brady (President of UJS) will give us the student perspective and discuss the innovative ‘#LabelFree #AndJewish’ campaign that Jewish students on campus have launched recently. Jemma Levene of Hope Not Hate – who played an essential role in recruiting allies during Golders Green Together – will offer key insight into mobilizing people to take part in counter-demonstrations. The panel will be chaired by Mike Whine of CST who as the preeminent organisation combating antisemitism is a source of huge strength and guidance to the community on this issue.

With figures from the CST and the Home Office attesting to the rise in antisemitic activity that the community as a whole has experienced, the JLC is proud to be able to bring this panel together so as to build a better understanding about the issue of contemporary antisemitic threats to our collective security.

The second panel will deal with an incredibly important issue facing both British Jews and UK society as a whole: the integrity of our university campus discussions. Since the start of the year the JLC has been in ongoing discussions with Universities UK about communal concerns on balance and fairness in discussions of Israel that take place at British universities. Those conversations have been both frank and productive, and we are optimistic that this positive engagement between the community and the academic leadership of the UK will deliver results that satisfy our concerns. The panel will be chaired by Gillian Merron (CEO, Board of Deputies), and have a variety of views. Simon Johnson will discuss the example of Exeter and how engagement with universities is delivering positive results, while Luke Akehurst (We Believe in Israel) will talk about how this interaction with universities bolsters wider efforts to combat delegitimisation of Israel in the UK. David Collier will offer insight into how academic standards can be undermined by an anti-Israel bias, while Hannah Brady will provide the essential student perspective. We are confident that this panel will provide a constructive opportunity to discuss this important issue.

Limmud represents a good opportunity for a wide-range of community voices to be heard on different issues of communal concern. The JLC remains committed to promoting that dialogue and advancing the interests of the British Jewry through it.