Chair's Message: May 2015

The JLC Council of Members Meeting of April 2015 was the last to be chaired by Vivian Wineman, before he stepped down as President of the Board of Deputies. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vivian for his service as Chair of the JLC Council of Members as well as his dedicated service as President of the Board of Deputies. Vivian was the first Chair of the Council of membership of the JLC, taking the role as Chair at the very first meeting of the newly constituted Council in October 2010.During Vivian’s period as Chair of Council, the Schools Strategy Implementation Group completed its work which culminated in the formation of PaJeS, and two commissions were set up and completed their work: the Commission on Women’s Leadership and the Commission on Informal Provision for Young People. The recommendations of both commissions were accepted by the JLC and either have been or are in the process of being implemented. During Vivian’s term of office there has been a substantial increase in the membership of the JLC. At his first meeting in October 2010, there were 19 member organisations, whereas today the membership stands at 29 organisations spread across the various facets of communal life across the United Kingdom. I am sure that Vivian will look back over these past 6 years as President of the JLC with much satisfaction as the organisation has grown to represent almost every facet of Jewish Life in the UK. It has also been a very complex period in the history of the Community and I pay tribute to Vivian’s commitment to the service of the Community. He leaves office with the best wishes of all the members of the JLC.

Congratulations are due to Jonathan Arkush on his election as the new President of the Board of Deputies and to the newly elected honorary officers. The Board is a founding member of the JLC and we look forward to its ongoing participation in our forums.

The UK General Election has taken place and we are beginning to work with the new Government.  Our members already had very constructive relationships with the previous Government and I have no doubt that areas which are important for our community such as security, Israel, faith schooling, welfare, shechita and Brit Milah will be high up on their agenda. The JLC staff will now look to cement and continue to build relationships with the newly appointed ministers and MP’s as well as those with whom we had previous relationships.

It was a pleasure to see the Jewish News 40 under 40 poll reach its climax. The full list, together with the list of all those nominated, shows the depth of talent and commitment in our Community; in both the professional and lay world. Seeing these younger leaders taking responsibility within the community provides me with great hope for the future. Simon Johnson, who was part of the voting panel, has written a piece focused on these leaders elsewhere in the newsletter. You can view the top 10 here.

I am very sad that Dermot Kehoe has left Bicom. As its CEO he made an enormous contribution to the understanding of Israel – its imperatives, opportunities and threats. He will be greatly missed but I think that the recent We Believe In Israel conference (which can be read about in our previous newsletter) was a fitting farewell to his three years in charge of Bicom. He was a true asset not just to BICOM but to the community as a whole. I wish him all the best in his new role at the Health and Social Care Information Centre.