Chair's Message: November 2011

Embedding a long-term strategy for nurturing and developing the next generation of leadership has been at the heart of the JLC platform since our inception. A fundamental reason for the existence of the JLC has always been to ensure that a new generation of leaders who are both willing and prepared to lead our major institutions is created. This is why we are particularly pleased to have launched the new LEAD initiative as a project of the JLC. It is a natural fit. LEAD is the culmination of three years of work and consolidation of key leadership initiatives. Its development and success will now be a core responsibility of the JLC and our member organisations. I know they will all take that responsibility seriously. I am particularly delighted that outgoing World Jewish Relief Chairman Nigel Layton has agreed to head up this initiative.

Whilst on the theme of leadership I am particularly pleased that JLC member and UJS President Dan Grabiner has contributed a campus update this month. When I heard that Norman Finkelstein, author of "The Holocaust Industry" and Hamas supporter was due to speak at Leeds University I readily agreed to a UJS request to move my pre-scheduled Hillel House talk that day to an open campus venue and provide an alternative perspective. After that session, I joined 150 Jewish students at their protest outside Finkelstein's talk. I was thrilled and inspired not just to see the strong turnout, but by the passion, energy and commitment of our Jewish students. The protest was passionate but dignified. An appropriate response to the politics of hate that is now a regular feature of campus life. I was comforted that with the kind of leadership displayed by Dan, his team at UJS, and the local students in Leeds, the response will continue to be firm and effective.