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Chanukah in the Square 2019

Join thousands of people as we celebrate the first night of Chanukah in the heart of London. A family fun event with stalls, entertainment and food this is not to be missed!

Keep up to date with all the festivities here.

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Jewish Leadership Council Releases Statutory Accounts for 2018

The Jewish Leadership Council has released its Statutory Accounts for the year ended December 2018.

The JLC has regained its financial footing and finished the year with an overall surplus across the organisation and its divisions. The overall surplus for 2018 is £164,753.

2018 was a year that was dominated by two high profile events. We celebrated Israel’s 70th birthday at the Royal Albert Hall in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales and the year marked the beginning of an unplanned campaign to eradicate rising levels of anti-Jewish racism within the Labour Party, starting with the Enough is Enough protest in Parliament Square.

The JLC also acknowledge that 2018 was a tough year as, with the agreement of the Charity Commission, the JLC launched the Independent Review into Historical Allegations. The report of the Independent Review was published by the JLC at the end of January 2019. The report made a series of recommendations that the JLC has been implementing throughout 2019. The costs of the Independent Review created a significant challenge, and the year end performance is very pleasing in the circumstances.

The Charity Commission also issued an action plan which has been implemented. The Charity Commission have now closed the case file.

The JLC has continued to make progress on two major initiatives launched by our Chair Jonathan Goldstein.

The Elderly Care Commission led by Sir Howard Bernstein and comprising the Chairs of the major community elderly care providers and experts from within the community, assisted on a pro bono basis by McKinsey & Co made significant progress in analysing the needs and challenges of the elderly care sector in the future.

The Youth Mental Health Taskforce that was established in 2017 has now successfully initiated a three year pilot project in five Jewish schools to improve the wellbeing of our young people. The pilot involves placing wellbeing practitioners in these schools and empowering those practitioners with support, access to programme materials, a programme of activities, signposting and professional support.

Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, said:

“The JLC has continued to invest heavily in long term strategic priorities of our community, including in social care, political activity and defending our community against rising anti-Jewish racism within the Labour Party. I am delighted that we have increased the breadth of our donor base since becoming Chair and proud of all that we have achieved to date. We have been able to do so thanks to our members, donors and the dedication of the staff team, led by our Chief Executive Simon Johnson. The JLC, along with PaJeS and Lead continue to provide unique and essential support for our whole community.”

Latest blogs

Simon Johnson: Tackling Racism

Over the Summer, and since June 2019, I have spent a fair amount of time with leaders of Jewish communities and senior representatives of Jewish communal organisations from around the world.

There had been one topic that has been at the forefront of their mind- antisemitism.  And this global focus amongst jewish communal leaders on the topic is leading to a slight policy difference with us in the UK; which is ironic, since the high profile focus on anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party here in the UK is one of the factors that is cited for an increasingly hard line approach on the issue coming out of the United States community and Israel.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the outgoing Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations,  made a speech at a gathering of jewish communal leaders in Israel in June in which he described there being a “global war against the Jews”. For him, from his vantage point, the stakes were that high. Of course, he is able to take a much more global view of the threats around the world than we do in the UK, looking parochially at our own issues. But even we, as leaders of Jewish communal organisations in the UK, with all the threats that we are familiar with- including record numbers of reported antisemitic incidents and our main Opposition Party under investigation by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission- would not describe what we face in the UK in such bellicose terms. Perhaps it is our typical English reserve and stiff upper lip attitude, but we have sought frequently not to use alarmist language in confronting the challenges that we face.

The United States Government has begun to make policy interventions in this area. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has stated that it is US Government policy than anti-Zionism is the same as antisemitism.

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Tackling loneliness is a community priority

This article first appeared in the Jewish News on 3rd May 2019.

JLC Director of Policy & Public Affairs Claudia Mendoza writes:

Public attitudes and awareness towards mental health have changed significantly over the years. This is in no small part due to the fact that there has been a sea change in the way mental health is addressed. From government to charities to celebrities drawing attention to the issue, the taboo is slowly being eroded. This is certainly true in our own community, where more people are coming forward to talk about their own experiences.

Indeed, the Community Wellbeing Task Force – a Jewish Leadership Council led initiative – was set up to address the increasing mental health challenges facing Jewish children and young people today. The Community Wellbeing Project is a three-year pilot scheme stemming from the advice of an expert panel and commissioned research, which identified that a positive approach to mental health and wellbeing requires an educated partnership between school staff, parents/carers and students. Wellbeing Practitioners have been recruited in five pilot schools in London and Manchester to build on existing programmes, run new evidence-based initiatives and work together to share best practices. The Wellbeing Practitioner will support the school in the development and delivery of its whole school approach to emotional wellbeing.

Having a mental health condition increases your chances of being lonely but loneliness – which we tend to associate with older people – can affect anyone. Loneliness does not discriminate when it comes to age or background and even if you are surrounded by colleagues, friends and family, you can still be affected by loneliness. The effects can be as detrimental on a person’s health as that of many physical health conditions.

The wonderful thing about being part of a community is the sense of belonging and structure it provides. Indeed, Judaism as a religion offers much needed order in an increasingly chaotic world. There are practices around every life event helping us to navigate our way from cradle to grave and the laws around Shabbat provide tranquillity after a working week.

At the end of last year, the Prime Minister launched the government’s loneliness strategy which confirmed that all GPs in England will be able to refer patients experiencing loneliness to community activities and voluntary services by 2023. This is known as ‘social prescribing’ and will allow GPs to direct patients to community workers offering tailored support to help people improve their health and wellbeing, instead of defaulting to medicine.

The Jewish community has much to offer when it comes to social prescribing. Of our 35 members, many have programmes aimed at tackling loneliness. This week the JLC facilitated a meeting between Jewish Care, JAMI and Mims Davies MP in her capacity as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society. In this role, she has responsibility for the cross-government work on loneliness and we were able to share some of Jewish Care and JAMI’s work as well as some of the work done by our other member organisations.

The Apples and Honey nursery based at Nightingale House for example, is the UK’s first nursery to be based at a care home, allowing older people to take part in activities with children such as baking and singing. The benefits of intergenerational activities go far beyond alleviating loneliness but on this issue, it has proven a huge success.

As with all our engagement with government, we want to be seen as a community who can offer best practice and innovation on issues affecting society at large. The Jewish community faces some unique challenges but most of the challenges we face are faced by many outside the community. Being part of a community allows us to problem solve together but we want to make sure that the things which work for us can work for others too and we hope that the Minister took away some ideas.

 

We say to the Labour Party that Enough is Enough. It is time to deal with antisemitism within the Labour Party that has grown in recent years. Click here for updates on our campaign.

Enough Is Enough on Labour Antisemitism