Chair's Message: October 2013

As the new Jewish year got underway, my colleagues and I were delighted to attend the installation ceremony for Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. We were equally honoured that the Chief Rabbi addressed the JLC Council of Membership at JW3 so soon after taking office. He spoke inspirationally about the contribution he wants to make to the growth of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom and his goals in the coming period of time. I look forward to continuing our close collaboration with the Office of the Chief Rabbi and to working with and learning from Rabbi Mirvis in the coming years.

The new JW3 building is a great resource for our community offering an endless array of activities. If you haven’t yet visited JW3, I encourage you to do so.

When I assumed my position as Chairman of the Board of Trustees I identified a number of strategic imperatives for our community and our member organisations. One of those was ensuring that we had the best and most representative leadership for our
community and its constituent organisations. Two initiatives were launched to help us achieve this goal. One was the Commission on Women in Jewish Leadership and the other was the establishment of Lead. At the last meeting of the Council of Membership the fruits of these two efforts were evident. Firstly, we received a presentation from Laura Marks and Norma Brier on the Women in Jewish Leadership’s Award for Change. This was one of the recommendations of the JLC’s 2012 commission. Proposals for a ‘kite mark’ award for community organisations which meet an appropriate set of benchmarks in respect of women in leadership positions commencing in January 2014 were outlined. I encourage organisations to engage with this important initiative so that we can rectify the current state of gender imbalance within the leadership of communal organisations.

Secondly, Lead, under the guidance of Miles Webber, launched GAMECHANGERS. In my view this has the potential to be the most significant leadership experience that the UK Jewish community has developed to date. This programme, if well supported, will be an essential component in identifying and developing our future lay leaders. The programme will provide the opportunity to engage with today’s most inspirational leaders and develop strategic responses to the key challenges facing the community. I urge the community to respond to the programme and nominate individuals who are committed and passionate about a vibrant and vital Jewish community. The JLC exists to facilitate, amongst other things, the development of a set of strategic plans and initiatives for our community and these two programmes are outstanding examples of this intent.

It is that time of year again when preparations are well underway for the annual Chanukah in the Square event. This will take place on Thursday 28th November 2013 and we look forward to again welcoming thousands of community members and Londoners, to join us together with the Mayor of London, in publicly celebrating the festival of Chanukah and lighting Europe’s largest Menorah in the landmark location of Trafalgar Square. It is a wonderful example of cross communal cooperation as organisations join together in partnership to deliver an event that sends a message to the world that this Jewish community of the United Kingdom is proud of our great history, heritage, values and our contribution to mankind and that we are confident to stand together in the
world’s greatest city to publically celebrate that fact. It is an event that you should not miss.

Finally, I would like to thank Jeremy Newmark for all his hard work and dedication over the past six years. He has been a tremendous servant not just to the JLC but to the wider community. On behalf of the JLC we wish him well and all the very best for the future.