Jonathan Goldstein: Chair's Update February 2018

On behalf of everyone at the JLC, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the scores of people who, over the last few weeks, have sent messages of encouragement to both individuals and the JLC as a whole.  Your support has been hugely welcome and reinforces our resolve and belief that the JLC plays a fundamentally important role for British Jews – providing a cohesive, thoughtful and forceful voice with which to promote and protect everything for which we stand.

You will be aware that there has been much speculation over the last few weeks regarding alleged events at the JLC some four and a half years ago… and a lot has been said about the trustees at the time – some people have questioned their conduct and their motives.  I will not comment on anything that is the subject of any review… but I would like to say one thing:

The JLC’s trustees, past and present, are honourable people. They have committed themselves to the community for all the right reasons over many years. They have devoted their hearts and souls to the JLC’s member organisations.  While we are in the eye of the storm, we ought to show tremendous generosity and kindness to those who devote substantial amounts of time, experience and money to supporting the work of the JLC and its member organisations. The 2013 trustees contains people who have been role models and true leaders of the Anglo Jewish world. Several of them have been mentors of mine. I truly feel that we are immensely indebted to them all.

Since Simon Johnson took over as chief executive – under Sir Mick’s chairmanship and subsequently mine – the JLC has operated under strict governance guidelines. The organisation is fully accountable, transparent and is focused on delivering tangible results for our members and the community as a whole. The trustees, team and I are committed to adhering to the highest standards in everything we do. There are, and will be, no compromises.

Last week, with the approval of our Trustees and the strong backing of our Council of Membership, we reaffirmed our intention to appoint a Review Committee led by a retired judge, supported by specialists in accountancy and charity, to examine the allegations surrounding the events in 2013. The Committee is tasked with fully understanding the alleged events and to determine if any further actions are required.  The establishment of this Review Committee aims to reassure all of you that this important work will be conducted with absolute integrity. 

Whilst the Review Committee carries out its work, the JLC team will continue to focus on making a difference for our members.  We must not forget our recent successes. In recent months we have come together across the country to mark the Balfour centenary, and flocked to Trafalgar Square to proudly celebrate Jewish culture. The excellent work of PaJeS has helped schools potentially save millions of pounds through GiftAid and Reshet is shaping our communal conversation around safeguarding – ensuring that Jewish youth feel safe and secure wherever they go.

Delivering on the key projects I outlined in my Manifesto continues unabated, including our work on elderly care, child and youth mental health, education, and financial sustainability. All of these are making good progress, thanks to the commitment of our members, as well as key stakeholders and partners across the community. Finally, in the very near future, we hope to announce cross-communal plans to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary. We look forward to this historic occasion and are confident that the entire community will unite to celebrate our unbreakable bond with the State of Israel.

There is a tremendous amount of good work being done. We cannot let up.

We were delighted to be one of the sponsors of Jewish News’ Night for Heroes. It was an extremely moving and uplifting occasion and one that highlighted the incredible community to which we all belong. From the inspirational Rio Woolf to the lifelong dedication to volunteering of Norman Rosenbaum, 85 years young, our community is full of brave individuals who devote every waking moment of their lives to the success and happiness of others. You can read a more detailed report of the evening later on in this newsletter.

Lead has been working hard putting on an evening with the talented founders of Fulwell 73, a UK production and film company that has made smash hits such as I am Bolt, Class of ’92, Carpool Karaoke and many more. On Wednesday, 14th March, they will be “in conversation” with the dynamic journalist, Samantha Simmonds, sharing their Jewish journey through life, business, and communal involvement. I sincerely encourage you to attend the event and hear how a group of BBYO boys followed their dreams and conquered the entertainment industry. Tickets are available here:

When I stood for election as Chair of the JLC some 10 months ago, I presented a Manifesto and spoke of principles, which, I believe must guide the JLC and our community – collaboration, transparency, and integrity. I adhere to these principles every day – in my personal life, in my business life, and in my communal life.  I meant it then and I mean it today.

I wish to reassure you once more – the JLC is here for you, our member organisations, and our entire community. We will continue to work even harder than before to demonstrate that we are worthy of your trust and that we play a vital role in the life of every Jewish community across Britain.