Chair's Message: December 2012

As 2011 draws to a close I am pleased to be able to reflect upon a period of solid progress and development at the JLC. Our new governance arrangements implemented earlier this year firmly put the agenda of the Council in the hands of our member charities. This was a very important moment for the JLC and in turn it has led to the development of an organisation collectively prioritising joint action on a range of strategic imperatives. Our current portfolio of initiatives - such as the Commission on Women in Leadership, the Community Chest to fund central service provision, the development of a new central schools partnership, our Community Vitality project, and our political oversight work – really reflect the way that the JLC is now operating as a communal hub spanning the core areas of UK Jewish life.

Unfortunately the situation in the Middle East still provides cause for concern. I am pleased that our Government has taken further firm action against Iranian nuclear proliferation, in the form of additional sanctions and bank blocks. These measures are specific things which, together with the Board of Deputies we have consistently asked for in meetings with the Foreign Office and most recently at our joint meeting with the Foreign Secretary. I am pleased that the community's more unified approach to wider political relations is beginning to bear fruit, specifically, on issues like Universal Jurisdiction and Durban 3.

While my feedback session to the Board of Deputies in July was a lively but disappointing interaction, it left me in no doubt that the interface between the JLC and the Board remains absolutely essential and that there is the need for further understanding between our organisations. It is a matter of record that there is close cooperation on many matters between both the Board and the JLC and I am pleased that the JLC has been able to support the Board as they have pursued a number of objectives in 2011. In particular our joint President, Vivian Wineman, is an important part of the fabric that keeps our Community on track.

I wish you all a happy Chanukah and every best wish for 2012.