Chanukah in the Square 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

5th December 2018

Jewish community gathers in Trafalgar Square to celebrate Chanukah

The Jewish community gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to #UniteUnderTheLight for a fun and entertaining evening to celebrate Chanukah, the festival of light, with exciting new musical acts, speeches and performances.

There were a number of headline acts including the Solomon Brothers (as seen on “The Voice”, Israel), the Kedma Band with Rabbi Levene, alongside traditional performances from Akiva School Choir, appearances around the Square from Dreidleman and speeches from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, Israeli Ambassador, Mark Regev, and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. The evening was compèred by award winning comedian Rachel Creeger.

It is estimated that more than 3,500 people attended the event.

Chanukah in the Square this year was an opportunity for the Jewish community to come together in unity to celebrate a festival, which commemorates the triumph of light over darkness.

A new, temporary menorah was used for the event this year, allowing the event to continue to be a source of pride and a symbol of unity for everyone in the Jewish community.

We were thrilled that there were so many people from the Jewish community, other faiths, backgrounds, and people from all over London joined us to celebrate Chanukah.

The menorah will stay up in Trafalgar Square for the duration of Chanukah, with a new light added on each night of the festival.

Chanukah in the Square this year was jointly presented by the Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad Lubavitch UK, London Jewish Forum, Genesis Philanthropy Group and supported by the CST and Mayor of London.

Read more Share

#UniteUnderTheLight in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday

🕎 It's time to #uniteunderthelight for Chanukah next Wednesday in London's Trafalgar Square. Our JLC Chief Executive Simon Johnson has this message 🕎


JLC Community Wellbeing Task Force

JLC Community Wellbeing Task Force Introduces Pilot Project in 5 Jewish Schools


The Community Wellbeing Task Force is a JLC-led initiative to address the increasing mental health challenges facing Jewish children and young people today. Exemplifying the very best of cross-communal collaboration, the pilot project is the first result of the commitment and dedication of JLC member organisations including Norwood, Jami, Camp Simcha, PaJeS and Reshet, with support and guidance from generous philanthropic individuals and foundations.

The Community Wellbeing Project is a 3-year pilot scheme stemming from the advice of an expert panel and commissioned research, which identified that a positive approach to mental health and wellbeing requires an educated partnership between school staff, parents/carers and students. All stakeholders must work together to ensure a culture of wellbeing exists throughout the school. 

According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in ten children in the UK (three per classroom) aged between 5-16 has a diagnosable mental health problem.  At a recent PaJeS conference, Jewish primary and secondary school teachers spoke of the increasing challenges in managing the additional pressure of student’s mental health related issues and how and where to direct them. The Jewish community offers complementary support to many statutory services and the JLC believes the enormity of the challenge requires no different.

Wellbeing Practitioners are being recruited in 5 pilot schools in London and Manchester to build on existing programmes, run new evidence-based initiatives and work together to share best practices. The pilot schools are Yavneh College, JFS, JCoSS, Broughton Jewish Primary School and Rimon Primary School.

The Wellbeing Practitioner will support the school in the development and delivery of its whole school approach to emotional wellbeing. They will also have oversight of the implementation of all wellbeing resources used in the school, ensuring a holistic, coordinated and thorough programme of activity that reaches out in creative and imaginative ways. The project will combine current communal expertise, resources and capacity with best practise from outside the community.

The Community Wellbeing Taskforce is to be chaired by Nicola Cobbold. Clinical governance for the pilot project is being led by Dr Mark Berelowitz, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Royal Free Hospital and the project is being managed by Julia Alberga on behalf of the JLC. Monitoring and evaluation of the 3-year pilot will be provided by The Anna Freud Centre.

Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council said: “This is the JLC at its best – bringing together the very finest of our community and working collaboratively to identify and implement solutions to address the long term problems we face. I am proud we have banded together to work as one and I am confident that the coalition we have assembled will continue to work towards our collective goal: protecting the mental wellbeing of our children.”

Rachel Fink, Headteacher JFS, said: “We are excited and privileged to be involved in the community wellbeing project which reflects the importance we place on mental health and wellbeing across the community.”

Julia Alberga, project manager said, “In recognising the importance of this project, communal organisations and philanthropic individuals and foundations are working together to ensure the positive wellbeing of future generations of Jewish children.”


JLC hosts lunch for Liberal Democrat Parliamentarians

Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Lord Monroe Palmer, today hosted a lunch for Liberal Democrat Parliamentarians. Representatives from the JLC, including Chair, Jonathan Goldstein were present.

The lunch was an opportunity for MPs and Peers to hear about issues of interest to the Jewish community and JLC member organisations. The discussion covered a wide range of policy areas including education, social care, mental health, antisemitism and community security.
The lunch was attended by 8 MPs and 9 Peers. 

Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Monroe Palmer said:

"I have been delighted to host this afternoon's lunch and continue the collaborative relationship the Jewish Leadership Council have with the Liberal Democrats. It is vitally important we continue to work together against this backdrop of division within our society."

JLC Chair, Jonathan Goldstein, said:
“I was delighted so many Liberal Democrat parliamentarians were able to join us at today’s lunch. It was a fantastic opportunity to highlight the work of our members and strengthen the relationship between the community and the party.”


JLC comments on recent attacks on Israel

It appears that the escalation in Gaza has resulted in Israel coming under repeated and sustained attacks aimed at causing death and destruction amongst its civilians. We stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and support Israel’s right to defend its citizens from these murderous attacks. We pray that all sides will rapidly be able to find a peaceful deescalation to the urgent situation.


Jewish News Record number of London councillors at Jewish local government event

Record number of London councillors at Jewish local government event

More than 120 council representatives from every London borough hear about issues such as housing and social action

London councillors attend a November seminar organised by the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and London Jewish Forum

Councillors from every London borough attended a seminar organised by Jewish groups on Sunday, where they heard “powerful testimony” from Holocaust survivor Dr Martin Stern.

Organisers at the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and London Jewish Forum (LJF) said more than 120 councillors made it “the biggest attendance for any such event”.

Among the issues discussed were antisemitism, Israel, education, social care, the housing needs of the Charedi community, and social action, with speakers including Board vice-president Edwin Shuker and the JLC’s Claudia Mendoza.


Read more Share

More than 120 local councillors attend largest ever local government seminar on Jewish issues

More than 120 councillors from almost every London borough attended a councillor seminar organised by the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and London Jewish Forum.

This was the biggest attendance for any such event, with a significant number of council leaders and cabinet members in attendance. Many of the Labour councillors said that they had felt it particularly important to attend in solidarity with the Jewish community, in light of tensions between the Party and British Jews.

The seminar covered a wide range of issues including antisemitism, Israel, education, social care, the Charedi community and social action, with sector leaders from different parts of the Jewish community talking through the areas of expertise.

Among other speakers were Lee Scott, special adviser to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and former MP for Ilford North.

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said “We have run these events around the country for councillors from all parties. They are critical to winning the arguments on issues like antisemitism. We were delighted by the response yesterday and look forward to working with councillors across London and the UK going forward.”

Claudia Mendoza, the Jewish Leadership Council’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “For many of our members, engagement and funding from local authorities is a necessity. It is vital that councillors hear directly from us the issues we face, particularly where there are cultural sensitivities. Having every London Council represented made the event a tremendous success”.

Adrian Cohen, the chair of the London Jewish Forum said: “It was encouraging to see so many councillors from all over London at the seminar yesterday, engaging with a range of issues that affect Jewish Londoners. We are a diverse community and we were pleased to be able to provide insight and understanding to councillors on social care, housing, security and social cohesion and the value we place on social action and education.”


You can read more about the event here:


Jewish Community Leaders meet with Prime Minister Theresa May

A delegation of Jewish community leaders today met with Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the challenges we face and highlight the community’s contribution to British society including social care, education and security.

The Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), which facilitates the annual meeting with the Prime Minister, worked with its member organisations to put together an appropriate agenda, including topics of national and international significance. 

Under JLC Chair Jonathan Goldstein’s leadership there has been a concerted effort to increase the number of women in leadership positions within the Jewish community and this was reflected in the delegation that met with the Prime Minister this year.

The meeting with the Prime Minister allowed the delegation to raise potential issues and share ideas.

During the meeting, among other things the JLC discussed their submission to the Integrated Communities green paper and the Jewish community’s plans to address issues around children and young people’s mental health, particularly in schools. We thanked her for her support for the Holocaust Memorial and the grant to UJS from MHCLG and the Department for Education which, joint with the Holocaust Educational Trust, will take 150 sabbatical officers and vice chancellors to Auschwitz.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“I was pleased to meet with the Jewish Leadership Council to discuss the challenges their communities face, particularly as we react to the shocking attack in Pittsburgh.

 “Today’s meeting was an opportunity to pay tribute to the tremendous contribution British Jews make to this country, to praise the community for its resilience and optimism, and to reaffirm my commitment to stamping out antisemitism in this country.”

Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council said:

“It is vital that we continue to have such constructive meetings with the Prime Minister to discuss issues that are important to the British Jewish community. We are grateful for Theresa May’s support in the face of antisemitism and appreciate her continued assurance that tackling hate crime will remain a priority.

“There are many members of the Jewish Leadership Council who work closely with the government on a number of issues and successfully create partnerships and support on ongoing issues. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Prime Minister and government departments to strengthen our work and the work of our members.”

Read more Share

Show up for Shabbat

To honour the memory of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims and standing up to antisemitism and all forms of hate, we encourage you to participate in the AJC international #ShowUpForShabbat campaign.

We join American organisations in calling on Jewish communities across the country and around the world, along with leaders, politicians and other allies, to attend a synagogue this coming Shabbat (Friday night and Saturday, 2nd -3rdNovember).

For those who want to #ShowUpForShabbat and need help finding a local synagogue, please be in touch with one of the following denominations:


Liberal Judaism:

Reform Judaism:

Masorti Judaism:

S&P Sephardi Community:

The United Synagogue:

University Jewish Chaplaincy:


Chanukah In The Square Is Back for 2018


Get ready for a jam packed evening with live music, dancing and festivities as we celebrate the festival of light on Wednesday 5th December 2018 in the heart of London, Trafalgar Square from 5.30-7.30pm.

Hosted by award winning comedian Rachel Creeger, enjoy live music from The Solomon Brothers, the Marc Levene band, Akiva School Choir and hear from Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. There will be thousands of free doughnuts given out on the square and you will even get to see the famous Dreidelman live in action!! This event is brought to you by The Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad, the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the London Jewish Forum and is supported by The CST and Mayor of London. The Jewish News is the media sponsor. 

The evening will be a perfect opportunity for the community to come out in numbers and #uniteunderthelight.

Remind yourself about how good Chanukah in the Square was in 2017 here.

Stay up to date with the latest news on our Facebook page and enter our competition to win a brand new Fitbit Alta.

We cant wait to see you and celebrate Chanukah in style with you.