As we have sadly said too many times this year, our 2020 Chaggim will be like no other we have experienced. This is also true for Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah this weekend.
The rates of COVID-19 infection have dramatically increased in recent weeks all around the country and especially in areas of high Jewish population. We must all play our part and follow guidance which is written to keep us all safe.
We have a duty as citizens to protect our neighbours and obligations as Jews to protect life (Pikuach Nefesh).
Our festivals, celebrations or times of reflection will come again next year when we can hopefully celebrate fully with family and friends.
Our community has suffered since the beginning of the pandemic. We have lost too many. Only by following the rules will we avoid further avoidable sorrow and grief.
I urge all members of our community to strictly observe the laws and guidelines this Chag to keep us all safe.
Chair, Jewish Leadership Council
Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice & Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irving Younger – may their memory be a blessing and may their families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Only two months ago Jews around the world stood shoulder to shoulder in synagogues reciting in unison the awesome words of Unetaneh Tokef – “On Rosh Hashanah it is written. On Yom Kippur it is sealed.” I could not have imagined that such a short time later we would come together to mourn the brutal murder of 11 of our brothers and sisters in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and my heart breaks for their families. To lose someone so abruptly and so ruthlessly is hard to fathom.Read more
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.Read more
Statement by JLC Chair Jonathan Goldstein Regarding the Antisemitic Article Published in the Sunday Times (Irish Edition)
Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, said:
“The Editor of The Sunday Times, Martin Ivens, phoned me last night to apologise for the antisemitic article published in this weekend’s Sunday Times (Irish Edition).
“We will meet in September and Mr Ivens has agreed then to discuss how this article managed to get through the editorial process.
“I am grateful for the swift initial steps taken by Mr Ivens. However, given the record-breaking rise in antisemitic incidents reported by CST and antisemitism’s unfortunate prominence in our national discourse over recent months, it is the editorial process that remains a concern.
“I look forward to meeting Mr Ivens to discuss how such incidents can be avoided in the future.”
Ahead of his election as JLC Chair, Jonathan Goldstein produced a manifesto, setting out his vision and goals for the JLC under his chairmanship. You can read the document here.
A collaborative, coordinated and considered JLC will meet the challenges and uncertainty we face as a community. Working together is the key to our collective success.
Britain today is divided, confused and polarised. Our political discourse is more antagonistic and less inclusive. From London to Manchester, our streets, markets and places of worship are the targets of terror attacks, increasing fear and unrest pervading our daily life and the way in which we look at our fellow citizens. Growing economic inequality, which manifested itself so vividly and tragically in the Grenfell Tower fire, is threatening to unravel the fragile fabric of our diverse society.
Yet I am eternally optimistic because, fundamentally, I believe that human agency has the capacity to make a difference in the life of every single one of us, in the life of our community and our country. We do so by coming together, by pooling resources and by maximising our potential. Our Jewish community is greater than the sum of its parts. We set an example by working together in good times and bad. And it is for this reason, that we – a group comprising just 0.2% of the UK’s population – are able to punch so far above our weight. It is for this reason that the JLC exists.
The JLC’s goal is to guarantee the longevity, vitality and success of Anglo Jewry. As Chair, my priority is to bring people together in the most collaborative, coordinated and considered way possible to solve the long-term problems we face as a community. The JLC brings together the best of our community. Our 33 member organisations each make a unique and fundamental contribution to our communal and individual lives. By bringing people together, we have the capacity to ensure that the right people take the right decisions to address the burning issues we must confront.
In order to do so, we need leadership, which involves pushing limits and stepping out of your comfort zone. Our community is thirsty for more people to step up and the JLC is at the forefront of developing and promoting communal leadership and responsibility. I am therefore delighted to be addressing “Leading In” on 10th July as one of my first public events as JLC Chair. The event is run by Lead, our leadership development division, and will focus on organisational leadership and I hope to see you all there.
Over the next three years, the JLC will lead by example, making a concerted effort to tackle some of the long-term, strategic challenges we face. We are laying the groundwork for a comprehensive effort to ensure the financial sustainability of our community – addressing cost, duplication and waste. We are increasing our efforts beyond London to guarantee that Jews all across the country have a voice and to effectively represent their needs. We are developing educational initiatives to train, nurture and retain good teachers in Jewish schools and to empower our children to be prouder of and more confident in their Jewish heritage and connection to our ancestral homeland. As I set out in my manifesto, I am keen to reach out to groups across our community to make sure that our “big tent” is warm and welcoming to all.
Reaching out beyond London is the first in a series of steps to realise the commitments in my manifesto and I am proud that Mark Adlestone OBE has accepted the JLC Board’s invitation to join as a trustee. Mark’s expertise across social care, and the optimisation of charitable resources, as well as his understanding of Jewish life outside London, make him a profound asset to the JLC.
The JLC is and will continue to be a force for good – to move the community forward by encouraging collaboration and cooperation. For that, we need your help. So help us reshape Jewish education for the next generation, help us guarantee that our outstanding charities can continue providing superb services to all in need, and help us reflect and represent the needs of our membership – and through them those of the community – to enable all Jews across our community to live up to their dreams. Challenges will undoubtedly come our way, but if we come together there is no limit to what we can achieve.