|Purpose||The Jewish Leadership Council is a Jewish charity which brings together the major British Jewish organisations to work for the good of the British Jewish community.|
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The Jewish Leadership Council (previously known as the Jewish Community Leadership Council) is an organization in the United Kingdom, founded in 2003, which aims to forward the interests of the organised Jewish community in Britain. The Council was founded by its first Chairman, then President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Henry Grunwald QC and an array of other senior UK Jewish leaders. The Council acts as an umbrella group for various Jewish community organizations, charities, Zionist and pro-Israel advocacy groups.
The JLC states that its mission is:
to work, through our members, to ensure the continuity in the UK, in this and future generations, of a mainstream Jewish Community (that) is:
On 1 June 2009, after taking office as President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Vivian Wineman became the second Chairman of the Council. In July 2009, Mick Davis, Chairman of the United Jewish Israel Appeal was appointed as the first Chairman of the Council's Executive Committee. In 2017, Sir Mick Davis stepped down as Chair of the JLC.
In May 2017, Jonathan Goldstein was elected as his replacement. Before becoming JLC Chair, Goldstein was involved in a variety of charitable organisations. Most recently, he was Chair of Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS), the education arm of the JLC where he also led the effort to restructure Jewish education in the Redbridge area. He was also Chair of the Chief Rabbinate Trust, overseeing planning and fundraising efforts. Previously, Jonathan was Vice Chairman of Jewish Care, Chair of Governors of Kerem School in Hampstead Garden Suburb and a Trustee of Camp Simcha, a charity working to improve the quality of life of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
Jeremy Newmark (former spokesperson for the Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks) was appointed as Chief Executive of the JLC in January 2006. Under Newmark, the organisation increased its expenditure from £192,000 in 2007 to £2,782,000 in 2013. He was succeeded by former Football Association Executive Simon Johnson in 2013.
The JLC brings together the most senior lay leaders of the major institutions in each sector of UK Jewish life. Membership includes the Chairs and Presidents of synagogue movements, leaders of the main charities, welfare organisations and representative bodies as well as a group of Vice-Presidents comprising a number of Jewish VIPs and individual leaders such as The Lord (Michael) Levy, Sir Ronald Cohen, Lord Harry Woolf, Lord Stanley Fink, Sir Trevor Chinn CVO, Leo Noe and former Board president and politician Lord Janner.
The Jewish Leadership Council's member organisations are the major institutions of British Jewish life. Together, they touch on every aspect of Jewish life, from synagogues to social care organisations, political bodies to youth movements, community centres and charities. The JLC believes that bringing these different perspectives together helps joined-up and coherent thinking about the Jewish community. Together we are stronger, able to draw on each other's expertise and support each other.
The JLC's current constituent members are:
Cross Communal Group
The Jewish Leadership Council has been criticised as self-appointed and unaccountable by major Jewish organisations, including the Jewish National Fund. When, in January 2019, the JLC reiterated its call for a "unified communal structure" with the Board of Deputies, after a previous merger proposal was rejected in 2015, Board leader Marie van der Zyl said that "the representative body that speaks for the community must have the legitimacy and accountability that comes from being broad based, democratic and elected." Deputies have in the past noted that, while Board honorary officers are accountable to deputies, who themselves are accountable to their constituencies, the JLC had no such governance structure.
In February 2018, The Jewish Chronicle published an internal audit report into the conduct of Jeremy Newmark, while he was CEO of the council between 2006 and 2013, that alleged that he deceived the council out of "tens of thousands of pounds". The Jewish Chronicle claimed the council had covered up the former CEO's alleged behaviour, and accepted a resignation on the grounds of ill health. Newmark denied any wrongdoing, though he resigned as Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement two days later. The Charity Commission stated it had not been informed of these allegations of financial impropriety in 2013 which raised serious potential regulatory concerns which they were assessing. In March 2018, a three-member panel, with Charity Commission approval, began investigating the allegations. In February 2019, a police investigation was also opened. The panel later said that they could not quantify any missing funds due to the absence of key documents and records. The police closed their investigation in March 2019.
In early 2010, the Council's Schools Strategy Task Force launched a web portal promoting Jewish faith-based schools in the UK.
In September 2011, the Council published a report on the impact of its 2008 Commission on Jewish Schools, and the work of the JLC Schools Strategy Implementation Group. The report was launched by JLC Vice-President Leo Noe and Secretary of State for Education, Nick Gibb MP at a gathering of 200 key figures from the Jewish schools sector. The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and Policy Exchange Chairman Daniel Finkelstein also spoke at the launch. The report announced the establishment of a new central agency for Jewish schools.
In December 2006, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews formed the Fair Play Campaign Group, a pro-Israel advocacy organization. The Fair Play Campaign coordinates activity against anti-Israel boycotts and other anti-Zionist campaigns.
In December 2009, the Council sought and published a legal Opinion from Lord Pannick QC advocating a change in UK law to prevent the issuing of arrest warrants against Israeli leaders without prior consent of the Attorney General.
In June 2011, together with BICOM and the Board of Deputies, Council Chair Vivian Wineman, Chair of Trustees Mick Davis and CEO Jeremy Newmark, met Foreign Secretary William Hague to discuss developments in the Middle East.
In September 2010, the Council published a paper warning that the new Equalities Act could expose Jewish charities to a higher risk of discrimination claims.
In December 2010, the Council advised the Government on its Big Society agenda. In talks with Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government it elicited a commitment that Jewish faith-based charities should not have to dilute the Jewish elements of their ethos. The Council published a report on this topic which contained recommendations to both the UK Jewish voluntary sector and the Government.
On 16 January 2012, the Council met with prime minister David Cameron. The meeting covered topics including the Middle East peace process, equalities legislation, terrorism and antisemitism, Jewish schools, shechita (religious slaughter), circumcision, and the Big Society.
In 2008, the Council launched the 'New Leadership Network', a project designed to create a forum for the development of the next generation heads of the major agencies of the UK Jewish community.
In October 2010, following a governance review, a 'joint liaison committee' was established to formalise relations between the JLC and The Board of Deputies of British Jews.