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WATCH: Prime Minister Theresa May & Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's full keynote speeches to the Balfour Centenary celebration at Lancaster House

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Simon Schama’s Balfour Centenary Lecture hails Israel as the perfect “retort” to the Holocaust

Acclaimed historian and documentary maker Simon Schama has delivered the Balfour Centenary Lecture at the Royal Society. Closing the lecture, Schama celebrated Israel as a “living, breathing, thriving democracy” [sic] of “six-million Jews who are nothing short of a crushing retort to Hitler and the Shoah.”

The event was the centrepiece of the UK Jewish Community’s Balfour celebration which has included over 160 events up and down the UK.

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How to mark Balfour & why it is important

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Reflections on Balfour from Rabbi Sacks

 

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Jewish Leadership Council Supports Jewish Legacy Awareness Month

The Jewish Leadership Council has confirmed that we will become a partner in supporting Jewish Legacy Awareness month.

Commenting on the new partnership, JLC Chief Executive Simon Johnson said;

"With so many charities in the Jewish community both UK and abroad now reliant on Gifts in wills to help them carry out their vital work, supporting JLG to help raise awareness seemed like a natural partnership for us. We are looking forward to helping JLG shine the light on the vital role Gifts in wills play whilst helping to make a difference to their 50 member charities."

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A Message From Our Chair - Jonathan Goldstein September 2017

Jonathan_G.jpgI would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a Shana Tova.

The last year has been a trying one for Britain. Our country has been the target of terrorism and our community has been the target of increasing antisemitism and hate crime. We were shocked by the tragedy of Grenfell Tower because of the terrible loss of life but also because it accentuated the growing gaps within our society. But as we gather round our Rosh Hashana dinner table, attend services in synagogue and reflect on the difficulties we have experienced, it is incumbent upon us not to forget the good we have in our lives. Indeed, there is much for which we can be thankful. 

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UJIA’s Summer of Israel Engagement

UJIA.PNGUJIA is the main UK Jewish organisation supporting informal education for our community’s young people and summer is their busiest time. Between 12 June and 26 August, UJIA supported 52 Israel programmes and UK summer camps, involving nearly 3,700 Jewish youth. This includes 27 Israel tours, 10 UJIA Birthright groups and 13 youth movement summer camps.

Whether in Israel or the UK, UJIA is enabling Jewish 8-26 year-olds to come together, not just for an afternoon, but for days and weeks, outside the home, outside the classroom. The value of coming together with their peers in a Jewish context is completely invaluable to building a strong Jewish identity and future communal participation.

The programmes taking place in Israel, which over 1,000 young people are enjoying today, are helping to make our homeland relevant to an age group that will soon be selecting universities or colleges, maybe becoming Jewish leaders where they study, and considering what they want to do in the future. A close relationship with the people of Israel is central to all of this and we are proud to support the 10 youth movements in delivering that powerful educational experience.

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Maccabi GB Celebrate the 20th Maccabiah Games

Maccabi_-_Maccabiah.jpgThe 20th Maccabiah Games are the pinnacle of Jewish sporting achievement. Our Great Britain team of close to 400 people can proudly say that together we have represented our country and our community

There were many firsts for the Great Britain Delegation at these Maccabiah Games.

This was the first time the competition venues were spread from Jerusalem to Haifa.  It allowed our athletes to experience far more of Israel which in turn only added to their connection to the country. 

It was the first time our Jewish Identity Pre Camp Programme was based in the North of Israel.  This allowed our delegation to visit the inspirational Beit Halochem rehabilitation Centre for IDF soldiers and experience Paralympic sports with the residents.  To visit the Ghetto Fighters Museum to learn of the resistance movement against the Holocaust. And it gave us the wonderful opportunity to visit a number of projects funded by our partners UJIA. From the Equaliser Programme in Acco to Magic Moments in Shlomi, this was a truly special meeting of young Brits and Israelis.

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PaJeS to Launch Mental Health and Wellbeing Programme for Jewish Schools

pajes-logo.pngPaJeS together with Place2Be, the mental health and wellbeing charity will be beginning their Mental Health and Wellbeing Programme for Jewish Schools this coming school year.

Research conducted by PaJeS into the current provision offered across Jewish schools, unearthed a considerable need for effective and professional training in order to manage and treat matters of student mental health and wellbeing across the Jewish schools community, funding was awarded from the Wolfson Jewish Education Fund and the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust.

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Key Work Streams Developing in Scotland

Peter_S_2_small.jpgThis will be my final update for the JLC, as I am off to pastures new. As such, I would like to update you on my two key work streams. Firstly, on political outreach I have continued to build and deepen relationships between the community and political figures. I recently attended a meeting with the Home Secretary, the MP for East Renfrewshire Paul Masterton, and a group of religious leaders from across the West of Scotland. In my time at the JLC I have met with and built connections with dozens of politicians and civic figures from all levels of government. The relationships that I have initiated will be sustained and built upon by the community in the future. An example of the usefulness of such relationships between the community and political figures is the Shalom Festival. The organisers and I lobbied a variety of senior politicians to ensure their support for the Shalom Festival, an event that was a huge success and attracted national and international media attention. This support is invaluable to giving credibility to the event, which I know will go from strength to strength.

Secondly, we are continuing to advance in community co-ordination. There has been tremendous progress on events to mark the Balfour Declaration in Scotland. In my capacity as chair of the Balfour Sub-Committee I, along with others, have been able to advance to late stages the commemoration plans. The Cross-Party Group on Building Bridges with Israel will host a marquee meeting, and the live-stream of Simon Schama’s London lecture on Balfour has been planned. I am now working to secure broad and senior political support and endorsements for the Scottish events. 

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