West Midlands Combined Authority adopts International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism

After consultation with local Jewish groups and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) adopted the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism at its Board Meeting on 24th July.

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Reshet - Busy b’Bayit during Covid-19 and Bouncing Back

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Reshet, a partnership between UJIA and the JLC supporting the Jewish informal education and youth sector, has increased its hands-on and strategic support for the community. The organisation has responded to the changing ways in which our community is providing provision to young people.

Reshet has led and facilitated training sessions on a wide range of pertinent issues including wellbeing, grief and change during the pandemic and decision making at a time of Covid-19, as well as running a number of online educational forums for those in the sector.

The way in which we engage with young people has dramatically changed since the Government announced the nationwide lockdown and since its relaxation. Much engagement initially moved online and therefore the emphasis on how we keep our young people safe has also had to change. In response, Reshet has produced updated guidance for safeguarding young people in Jewish communal settings.

The organisation has also pooled the virtual activities and events that our communal youth organisations have been providing during the crisis through its Busy b’Bayit portal on the Reshet website.

In addition to this work, Reshet has been supporting the sector in preparations for a very different kind of Summer Jewish experience, with all overnight camps and tours cancelled, and day camps and online activities being the only possible mode of informal education delivery.

Plans are already in place to continue to provide the flagship, CPD accredited Professional Development Programme for Jewish professionals working directly or indirectly with Jewish young people 2020/21 and applications for this are open until 4th September.

Reshet will be holding its Annual Gathering on 7th September.  At every Annual Gathering, we explore different educational themes as well as having a meaningful opportunity to network with colleagues old and new, enjoying an evening together which is both valuable and supportive.

In 2020, our theme is ‘Bouncing Back’, hosted online and participants will receive a ‘Bounce Back Pack’ in advance of the event.


Shelley Marsh, Executive Director of Reshet said:

“The way we engage our young people has dramatically changed as a result of Covid-19. The Jewish community has been nimble in its work and I am proud of the work Reshet has delivered, guiding and supporting the sector during this challenging time.  It is essential that as we learn from and with each other, continuing to support informal Jewish educators in bringing the best of themselves to the young people they serve. 


The JLC raise £2m for emergency projects as community donates over £8m during the pandemic

Through the Emergency Community Fund and Social Care Assistance Fund, the JLC have raised over £2m for 235 families facing financial hardship and 28 organisations protecting and providing for over 15,000 vulnerable people.

We also provided modest support and broader backing to the Jewish Homes Emergency Appeal, which raised almost £4m for fourteen charities running 20+ residential care homes for older people across the UK. 15 charities’ direct appeals raised over £2.3m during the last three months. Many more charities have benefitted from generous giving during these difficult and distressing times.

At least £8.3m and probably over £10m has been raised from our community during the pandemic. Jewish charities have also been grateful recipients of support from the National Lottery, London Funders, Manchester Together and other national and local crisis funding providers.

The coming together of 10 foundations, 36 philanthropists, and dozens of community members to fund our two emergency projects was unprecedent in scale and speed. The sense of collective responsibility and collaborative leadership has been demonstrated beyond the heart-warming way so many have provided additional and urgent support.

Charities have paused fundraising appeals to allow frontline care providers to be the focus for our community’s tzedakah. Regular sharing of information and resources has been a feature of a cooperative spirit, including charities donating PPE to other organisations or transferring staff to expand meal provision to those ill or isolating.

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First Twenty Recipients of JLC Social Care Assistance Fund Announced

The Jewish Leadership Council has announced the first twenty recipient organisations of its Social Care Assistance Fund. The fund aims to provide urgently needed additional funds for charities protecting and providing for over 15,000 people: including people with disabilities; victims of abuse; cancer patients; vulnerable children; and adults experiencing mental health problems.

People relying on these services include women and children moved to emergency accommodation; young adults with substantial additional needs unable to see visitors in residential care homes; and those who have attempted to take their own lives.

Charities are facing increased costs for extra expert care, measures to enable safe continuation of counselling, physical therapy and face-to-face contact with those most at risk, and more one-to-one support for those that would usually access group activities.

Many are providing additional practical assistance including safe transport for immune compromised children to hospital, kosher food to thousands of ill or isolated people and technology to ensure access to online support and programming.

Our fund seeks to address the immediate and additional increased costs of providing care during the pandemic and these challenges are quite stark.

From social care community charities surveyed by the JLC it is predicated that there will be:

  • At least £2.6m in increased costs due to Covid-19
  • A minimum lost income (through routine fundraising) of almost £6.5m

To date from those charities surveyed savings of almost £3.5m have been secured whilst reserves amounting to over £1.3m have been allocated to continue providing essential services.

The JLC has secured just under £1.5m and is seeking close to or over £2m in total for the Social Care Assistance Fund to ensure as many charities as possible are able to avoid facing this challenge alone. We are encouraging all members of the community to give at

The first twenty recipient organisations of the fund have now been announced. In the Orthodox community, grants were awarded to:

  • Bayis Sheli, a sanctuary, a ray of hope, a home away from home for children with special needs.
  • Beenstock Home, a residential care home, based in Salford, run by Agudas Israel Housing Association
  • Chabad Lubavitch (Manchester) & Kids Trust for their work providing mental health and wellbeing support for young people
  • Ezra Umarpeh provide patient support services for those challenged by illness and disability, whether at home or in hospital.
  • Noa Girls provides practical, emotional and therapeutic support for adolescent girls in the Orthodox Jewish Community.
  • Step by Step, based in Stamford Hill, is London's charity for Jewish children with disabilities.

Other recipients of the first tranche of grants included:

Jewish Women’s Aid


Camp Simcha

Langdon Foundation

Leeds Jewish Welfare Board

Chai Cancer Care  

Merseyside Jewish Community Care

Neshomo & Jewish Action for Mental Health

The Fed

The Friendship Circle, Manchester



Jewish Care Scotland

The Zone (Leeds)


Jewish Community Leaders Second Meeting with new Labour Leadership

Speaking on behalf of the Jewish delegation, Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, Gerald Ronson CBE, Chair of the Community Security Trust and Mike Katz, Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, said:

"We were grateful to Keir Starmer for making the time for today's meeting.

"We began the meeting with a discussion of the current Coronavirus crisis and an expression of our solidarity with black people in the face of the reminders of their experience of racism on both sides of the Atlantic.

"We then moved on to consider the progress that had been made on tackling antisemitism since Sir Keir's election as leader and our first meeting with him a few days after that. 

"There was broad agreement that things are moving in the right direction, albeit with a long way still to go due to the scale of the mess that Sir Keir inherited. We urged Sir Keir to: 

  • Take a tough line with MPs, senior Labour figures and other members who still trade in the tropes and behaviours of the last few years;
  • Continue to make strenuous efforts to detoxify the culture of the Party in relation to the Jewish community, including the accusation that antisemitism was falsely used by Jews to smear the former leadership;
  • Publish the documents relevant to EHRC inquiry at the earliest opportunity that he is able after it is released; and 
  • Proceed with all due haste to the implementation of his pledge to implement an independent disciplinary process, beyond the reach of factional considerations. 

"Overall, we give credit where credit is due and thank Sir Keir for the progress made so far, and hope to be able to reflect on further advances in the fight against antisemitism in the Labour Party at our next meeting in October."


Jewish Volunteering Network Joins the JLC

The Jewish Leadership Council are delighted to welcome the Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN) as our latest member.

JVN are the primary national hub for volunteering opportunities across the Jewish community and in 2017 was awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

During the Covid-19 pandemic inquiries to JVN for volunteering opportunities in the Jewish community and wider society have significantly increased and the organisation has become central to the community’s response to the crisis.

JVN already have a relationship with the JLC through the joint Lead-JVN Annual Trustees Conference for leaders of Jewish charities and during the pandemic created a joint platform for furloughed staff from Jewish organisations to access volunteering opportunities. JVN Chief Executive Nicky Goldman was previously the Executive Director of Lead, the leadership development division of the JLC.

Michelle Janes, Joint Interim Chief Executive of the JLC said:

“Volunteering is essential to the success and sustainability of the Jewish community.  It is important that those who give their time and energy to our community through their volunteering have a voice and can be supported through JVN.  In line with the JLC’s renewed mission of connecting and coordinating the Jewish charitable sector, we are thrilled to welcome JVN to the JLC.”

Nicky Goldman, Chief Executive of the Jewish Volunteering Network said:

“We believe that volunteering changes lives, communities and society and everyone can be encouraged to do it. We look forward to working together with the JLC, expanding our reach across the community and continuing to create opportunities for volunteers.”


Jewish Leadership Council appoints Joint Interim Chief Executives

The Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) is delighted to announce that Claudia Mendoza and Michelle Janes are to be appointed Joint Interim Chief Executive Officers with effect from 23rd June 2020.

To ensure maximum continuity, current Chief Executive Simon Johnson has agreed to remain with the JLC as Company Secretary and as a consultant until the end of the year.

Claudia is currently the JLC’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs. She has led her team on some of the most significant moments our community has seen for generations. She joined the organisation in 2011 bringing her expertise in policy, public affairs and relationship building.

Michelle is currently the Executive Director of Lead, the Leadership Development division of the JLC.  She has brought her strengths in organisational and strategic development as well as relationship building to enable success for teams and individuals across communal organisations. 

They will be taking on this role alongside their existing responsibilities. Simon has been CEO Since October 2013. He announced on 1st February 2020 that he intended to step down. 

Commenting on the appointments, Jonathan Goldstein, the Chairman of the JLC said: “We are delighted to introduce new Interim Leadership for the JLC to give us continuity, advance our strategic projects, led ably by David Davidi-Brown, and to maintain the efficiency of our operations. Having spent considerable time with both Claudia and Michelle, we are of the view that they have the full complement of

skills to guide the JLC through these challenging times building on the excellent platform developed by Simon.  The Trustees are enthused about the impact this change could make.

We also wish to thank Simon for his sterling service over the years.  He has led the JLC with distinction.   We will be sorry to see him go and wish him well for the future” 

Claudia Mendoza said “It is a tremendous honour to be leading the JLC with Michelle through this difficult period. I am hugely proud of our community and my priority will be to magnify and amplify the voices of our members, many of whom are exemplars of the very best of civil society”.

Michelle Janes said “It is with pride and honour that I am able to bring my varied skills and experience to lead this organisation along with Claudia.  Our members are at the heart of all we do and together with them we will strive to strengthen and support the growth and development of our wonderful community”.

Simon Johnson said “I am delighted that Claudia and Michelle have been appointed to act as Interim CEOs. They have both been hugely valuable colleagues, well respected amongst the members, in the wider community, and beyond.  I am thrilled that their talent has been recognised as leaders of the superb JLC team. They will do an outstanding job and will be extremely well supported by Director of Community Strategy, David Davidi-Brown. I am pleased to remain as Company Secretary of the JLC until the end of the year to ensure the timely handover of JLC’s outstanding governance”.


JLC meets Mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region to discuss Community Coronavirus response

The Jewish Leadership Council are at the forefront of assisting communities across the whole country in effectively dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Like all communities during this unprecedented time, we are constantly monitoring the situation to ensure the vulnerable in society are cared for.  As is being reported in wider society, charities are facing the dual pressures of a major reduction in income whilst demand for their services has dramatically increased.  This has led to the JLC undertaking a series of initiatives to support social care charities and those families struggling financially due to redundancy. 

Since their election, the JLC and regional Representative Councils have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram.  We are grateful that they have taken time to address concerns raised by our community and member organisations during this difficult period.  We have been assured that our requests for action have been heard and will be relayed back to national government.



“We are grateful that Andy and Steve have once again made time to engage with the JLC and the Jewish community.  Ever since they have assumed their roles, we have always enjoyed regular, open and constructive dialogue.  Their concern for the wellbeing of the Jewish communities in Greater Manchester and Merseyside is hugely appreciated.  The manner in which our concerns have been taken on board and immediately actioned will be of great comfort to the community.” 



“Thank you to Marc and the JLC for ensuring that we are kept up to date on issues that are affecting the Jewish communities in Greater Manchester and Merseyside.  We have always enjoyed engaging with the Jewish community and have seen first-hand the outstanding work undertaken by charities across both regions.  We would like to thank the JLC and all of our local communities on their outstanding efforts across multiple sectors to ensure that people in need receive the necessary care and support.  We have heard the concerns raised by the JLC and commit to raising them at the appropriate levels of government.”


JLC and major donors launch new £3m+ initiative for Jewish social care charities COVID-19 response

A group of major philanthropists and family foundations have partnered with the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) to launch an initiative targeting £3m as urgently needed support for Jewish social care charities - with half of that sum already committed.

This joint work will enable organisations to sustain their direct care services, which provide essential support for over 10,000 people across our community including cancer patients; children with life-limiting illnesses; vulnerable children; people with physical and learning disabilities; young people with significant emotional needs; victims of domestic abuse; and adults experiencing mental health problems.

The demand for charities’ services has never been greater and the pandemic’s financial fallout has caused the loss of millions from charities at a time when they need more resources than ever before. Indeed, the JLC surveyed 31 charities including nine social care providers, of which eight project lost income this year totalling £5m; 4 have reduced staff; 8 have or expect an increase in demand for services; and 7 are facing cash flow disruption. In partnership with the JLC, major funders will work together to asses and respond to these pressing needs.

The JLC is aiming to raise at least £3m for this communal priority with half of that figure already pledged. It is expected that substantial further resources will be available through this collaboration to strengthen vital communal services caring for some of the most vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19.

A group led by JLC Chair Jonathan Goldstein will be comprised of Baroness Ros Altmann CBE, Sir Mick Davis, Robert Gibber, Henry Grunwald OBE QC, Dame Gail Ronson and Hilda Worth will work together to analyse the needs and allocate support. This will be based on a robust and evidence-based application process, working to a series of comprehensive criteria, to ensure the funds go where they are most needed. This group will be supported by financial professionals.

This initiative comprises one facet of the JLC’s broad range of work to support the community through this crisis, which also included the establishment of the Emergency Community Fund in partnership with Work Avenue for families whose financial situation has been impacted by COVID-19. The JLC and many of these philanthropists and foundations have also supported the Jewish Homes Emergency Appeal.

Commenting on the need for collective responsibility and collaborative action, Jonathan Goldstein, JLC Chair said: “At its heart, the JLC drives greater cooperation across the Jewish charitable sector. Our entire community recognises that now is the time to join forces and help one another through this crisis. I am hugely grateful that many of our community’s most generous supporters have joined the JLC in this collaborative spirit to deliver immediate and substantial support to our social care sector.”

Baroness Ros Altmann CBE said: “Our community, our country, indeed the entire world has not faced such a public health and economic crisis in any of our lifetimes. Extraordinary circumstances require creative and flexible responses. The Government has stepped in throughout many parts of the economy and health sector, yet gaps remain, and many vulnerable people still rely on our social care charities. With charities facing very difficult circumstances for raising funds, this wonderful JLC initiative aims to help the front-line services who care for some of the most vulnerable in society”.


The JLC and Work Avenue launch fund for those affected by Covid-19 with initial £285,000

We at the JLC are hugely grateful to be able to announce the launch of a fund in partnership with Work Avenue to support those across the community whose earnings have been directly affected by COVID-19. The fund specifically assists those who are ineligible for Government support or who face delays accessing Government funds. This is launching with almost £300,000 and a commitment of additional funds if needed.

So many people, communities and organisations are performing thousands of acts of kindness every day, often in the most difficult of circumstances. Keeping people connected and cared for is a pressing need and a precious responsibility to fulfil. There are also many people facing difficult and uncertain financial situations.

Throughout the response to the pandemic the community has been working hard and working together to provide assistance and advice in these uncertain times. As a coalition of the largest Jewish charities in the UK with regional managers working alongside the representative councils in Leeds, Manchester and Scotland, and divisions responsible for schools, leadership and youth provision, the JLC has been well placed to connect, coordinate and add capacity to efforts across many sectors and parts of the UK.

Work Avenue, the community's leading employment and business charity, has the experience and expertise to administer this fund open to everyone in the community whose employment or earnings have been directly affected by COVID-19.

This fund has been made possible by the swift and hugely generous response of these first contributors: The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust, The Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation, The Max Barney Foundation, The Wohl Legacy, Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, Genesis Philanthropy Group, The Bloom Foundation, The Goldstein Family and Investream Charitable Trust.

For more information and to apply please visit the Work Avenue website here. There are also further details on eligibility and how the fund will work in answers to these frequently asked questions [FAQs] .

We hope the JLC’s ongoing contribution to a collective and coordinated response can assist all our efforts to protect and provide for everyone in our community.

Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of the JLC, said:

"The world as we know it has changed. What has not changed are the acts of chesed that we so often see amongst our wonderful community. Small acts of kindness, often between strangers, have transformational power. Whether it being phoning someone just to check in, helping with shopping or countless other examples. In a time of great uncertainty and discomfort, I am proud the JLC is coordinating and contributing to the many ways our community is striving to alleviate some of the challenges all across our community are facing."

Mark Morris, Chair of Work Avenue and Trustee of JLC said:

"Through no fault of their own many people are facing financial difficulties during this crisis. Whilst the Government has announced measures and packages of support, some will fall through the gaps or face delays in accessing those funds. I am proud that Work Avenue is working with the JLC to provide immediate assistance so that these individuals and their families can cover essential expenses in the coming months."

David Davidi-Brown, JLC Director of Community Strategy, said:

"The cooperation and collective responsibility within communities and across our communal leadership is a much needed uplifting response to this terrible virus - and it is ensuring we can deliver quicker and increased support. We have seen this with the Jewish Homes Emergency Appeal, in our ongoing work to support the wider Jewish Social Care sector continue delivering vital services, and with this fund coming together to offer immediate assistance to families."

Debbie Sheldon, CEO of Work Avenue, said:

"My team have been working tirelessly to ensure that immediately after Pesach this fund is open to everyone within the community. Our staff and volunteers have the compassion, expertise and experience to support people and review financial applications sensitively, confidentially and swiftly to get funds to those who need them most. Beyond this initial period of immediate assistance, Work Avenue is here to support people restart and grow their businesses or re-enter employment."