Mar 06

Think Jewish London with Tessa Jowell MP

Article from Jewish News:

Tessa Jowell has called for security at Jewish community organisations to be funded by the government “based on risk”.

Speaking at JW3 on Tuesday night, the MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, who is seeking to become Labour’s London mayoral candidate, paid tribute to the work of the CST before stressing: “Funding of protection must be risk based if it is to be publicly funded. Some parts of the community will feel more at risk.”

She also spoke about the relationship between Jewish voters and her party, insisting leader Ed Miliband was “sincere” in his Jewish identity and claiming she had heard him speak “passionately” about Judiasm.

Jowell was quizzed on her ‘fact-finding’ trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories with Labour Friends of Israel in November 2014, warning that the current “stalemate” has now become “normalised”.

She added: “I can’t see where the traction for impetus for a negotiated solution will come from. There is a lot of pessimism. It is a tragedy – given that Israel is one of the knowledge leaders of the world. I can’t see how this potential can be realised whilst this is the case.”

The event was media partnered by Jewish News and co-hosted by the London Jewish Forum. It was chaired by LJF’s Adrian Cohen.

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Feb 23

Think Jewish London with Stella Creasy MP

On 22nd February London Jewish Forum held the second of its latest series of Think Jewish London discussions with MPs from across London. The event was an open and varied discussion with Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, Shadow Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs and Sarah Sackman, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Finchley and Golders Green.

Over 30 people attended the event, which was held Alyth Reform Synagogue. Issues discussed ranged from Europe and foreign policy to tax avoidance, payday loans and housing issues across London.

Andrew Gilbert, Trustee of LJF and the event said – “Dr Stella Creasy is one of the most articulate voices of the next generation of politicians. As shadow minister for consumer protection and MP for Walthamstow, where nearly a 1/4 of residents are Muslim, it was a great opportunity to compare and contrast experiences. The meeting discussed a wide selection of topics ranging from suitable housing for large Haredi families, to the future of free schools and the state of special needs education, to issues of security and the Middle East conflict. Sarah Sackman, the Labour PPC for Finchley & Golders Green, was also present and she answered some of the specific local questions asked.

Our next event will be held with Dame Tessa Jowell, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood and former Minister for London, on March 3rd at JW3. Please click here for tickets via the JW3 website.

Jan 29

Think Jewish London with Mike Freer MP

On 28th January London Jewish Forum held the first of its latest series of Think Jewish London Discussions with MPs from across London. The event was a lively and fruitful discussion with Mike Freer, MP for Golders Green and Finchley, talking about the challenges that face the community ahead of the 2015 General Election. Around 50 constituents attended the event, which was held at the LJCC in Golders Green. Issues discussed ranged from the security at Jewish schools, police levels in the Golders Green area and housing problems in the constituency.

Adam Cannon, Trustee of LJF and chair of last night’s event said – “The latest ‘Think Jewish London’ event was a great success. A large audience of constituents turned up to hear Mike Freer speak about the big issues facing the community ahead of the General Election. We are grateful for his time and look forward to similar discussions in the future”

Our next event will be held with Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, on February 22nd, please contact gemma@ljf.org.uk for more information on that event and any others.

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Dec 17

CHANUKAH IN THE SQUARE ATTRACTS RECORD CROWD

Chanukah in the Square, held on December 16th 2014, attracted a record crowd of 7500 people, drawn to Trafalgar Square by the 25 foot Menorah, free doughnuts, and music.

The event, organised jointly by The Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad Lubavitch, and the London Jewish Forum, with support from the Mayor of London and Board of Deputies of British Jews, provided an opportunity for the Jewish community and Londoners of all faiths to celebrate Jewish culture with the lighting of the first light of Chanukah in the heart of Central London.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, addressed the crowd, and there were also speeches from the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis and the Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Daniel Taub.

The Blessings for the first night of Chanukah were beautifully sung by the “Three Chazzanim” – Avromi Freilich (Hampstead Garden Suburb), Stephen Leas (Central Synagogue) and Adam Musikant (Lauderdale Road Spanish & Portuguese).

Music and entertainment was a major feature of the event. The crowd sang and danced to music from Neshama, under the direction of Danny Shine, the Jewish and Irish violinist, Daniel Ahaviel, and the highly popular Israeli singer, Itzik Dadya under the musical direction of Gershon Freistadt.

This was the seventh year of Chanukah in the Square. In attendance were many communal leaders, Members of Parliament, Local Councillors and members of the GLA.

Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said “This was a wonderful celebration of Jewish culture, music and faith. We were thrilled with the joyful atmosphere that was created and that so many people came out to share in this most joyful of festivals”.

Bentzi Sudak, Chief Executive of Chabad Lubavitch UK, said “Once again, the Menorah in Trafalgar Square, showed the true spirit of the London Jewish community, gathering in huge numbers with to proudly celebrate our heritage and the message of Chanukah, which, like the lights of the Menorah, endure through all times”

Adrian Cohen, Chairman of the London Jewish Forum, said “’We were delighted with last night’s very successful ‘Chanukah in the Square’. It provides a focal point for the engagement between the city’s representatives with London’s Jewish Community and it is striking that so many thousands of Jewish Londoners came to celebrate in one of London’s most iconic sites, especially after the troubles of the summer and autumn. The heart-warming words of encouragement from the Mayor, Boris Johnson ,were particularly appreciated as was the attendance of Members of Parliament. London Assembly Members and Councillors.

 

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Dec 15

Dedication to Mrs Gitty Pinter

Many people gathered at Yesodey Hatorah Girl’s School for a dedication ceremony for the late Headmistress, Mrs Gitty Pinter.

 

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Rabbi Pinter, David Lammy MP and chair of LJF, Adrian Cohen at Yesoday Hatorah Girl’s School for the dedication to the late Headmistress, Mrs Gitty Pinter

Dec 04

Think Jewish London with Sadiq Khan MP

On 3rd December 2014, London Jewish Forum met with Sadiq Khan MP, as part of our Think Jewish London series.  The meeting was chaired by LJF trustee Andrew Gilbert and was attended by, amongst others, LJF chair and director Adrian Cohen and Jay Stoll respectively. Also in attendance were elected Jewish councillors  and a number of representatives and professionals from the Board, JLC and the CST.

Sadiq addressed the challenges for London and the Labour Party’s vision in a meeting he later described via Twitter as a “thought provoking (and) wide ranging”.

Immigration, cohesion, citizenship, antisemitism, South London, transport, faith schools, Jewish-Muslim relations and Ed Miliband/Israel were all discussed. Chair of LJF Adrian Cohen said ‘It was an impressive discussion with one of the leading figures in British politics…. A discussion we need to continue’.

In this spirit, LJF will be soon announcing our next two ‘Think Jewish London’ events and we hope to open such events to much bigger audiences.

 

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Dec 03

London Jewish Forum meets with Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Steven Greenhalgh

On 2nd December the London Jewish Forum convened a meeting with Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), Steven Greenhalgh. MOPAC is the strategic oversight body which sets the direction and budget for the Metropolitan Police Service on behalf of the Mayor. Also in attendance were representatives from the Community Security Trust and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

The agenda for the meeting, chaired by LJF Chair Adrian Cohen,  focussed on contemporary matters relating to the policing of antisemitism. We discussed the responses of the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to incidents reported on UK demonstrations during this Summer’s Israel-Gaza conflict and the general effect the increased tensions had on community cohesion. Also raised was the prevalence of online antisemitic abuse, particularly on social media, and the effect it is having on London’s Jewish Community. Most of these matters were factored in to a broader conversation about MOPAC’s Hate Crime Reduction Strategy, an initiative LJF clearly supports.

Proactive measures that could be taken by the GLA and its Assembly Members were also discussed, and LJF looks forwards to working with MOPAC and associated partners on such matters in the future.

The meeting was the latest in our productive relationship with MOPAC and we would like to place on record our thanks to the Deputy Mayor for his time and hospitality.

 

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Philip Rosenberg, Adrian Cohen, Deputy Mayor Steven Greenhalgh, Jonny Newton and Jay Stoll

 

 

Oct 31

LJF is proud to support World Jewish Relief’s Emergency Appeal

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Sep 12

LJF hosts first Jewish Community Seminar for Local Councillors

The first ever Jewish Community Seminar for local councillors drew over forty councillors to Bloomsbury Square for a five hour introduction to our community’s most pressing issues.

The London Jewish Forum, Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies co-convened the event, which drew in around 20 expert panellists from across the Jewish community. Areas that were discussed were Israel, antisemitism, social care, housing, planning, education and the Jewish media.

After hearing about the demography of the London Jewish community from Dr Jonathan Boyd of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research, delegates had a chance to discuss the most pressing issues with a panel including Board President Vivian Wineman, JLC CEO Simon Johnson and LJF Chair Adrian Cohen. The councillors then separated in to break-out sessions to discuss key issues in detail.

Councillors representing the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP attended from a total of 20 of London’s boroughs, ranging from Jewish strongholds in Barnet, Hackney, Haringey, Redbridge and Harrow, to areas with smaller Jewish populations like Merton, Lambeth and Waltham Forest.

Councillors were alarmed about the rise in antisemitic incidents over the summer and were interested in the fine line between anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric and behaviour. One councillor with a portfolio for crime confided that she did not think enough had been done to prosecute antisemitic incidents in her borough and pledged to raise the issue with the Borough Commander.

A number of councillors were very keen to hear about how they could present Israel’s case to council colleagues and their ward residents, including how to counter divisive boycotts and promote peace projects instead.

In the session on social care, one councillor expressed gratitude to the organisers for signposting who to contact when her residents enquired about Jewish social care providers. She had found it difficult to get this information from her local synagogue and now felt more empowered to help.

Over the course of the day, councillors were able to hear expert presentations from the CST, Holocaust Memorial Day, We Believe in Israel, UK Lawyers for Israel, Mitzvah Day, Norwood, Agudas Israel, Jewish Community Housing Association, and a range of Jewish papers. Chaya Spitz from Interlink in Stamford Hill and community leader Rabbi Avrohom Pinter helped to create a much better understanding of the strictly orthodox community’s needs, including on social care and schools.
LJF Chair, Adrian Cohen said: “The seminar provided a timely opportunity to bring together politicians and communal leaders and executives, so that they could gain a better understanding of the interaction between the community and local government, especially given the current environment with sometimes acute local hostility to the community’s interests. We look forward to building on these relationships, which have now been forged in nearly two-thirds of London’s boroughs.”

Board President, Vivian Wineman said: “At a time of increased anti-Israel and antisemitic activity, it was extremely important to bring together local politicians and communal organisations and help them to better understand each others’ needs. Throughout the day, there was a very strong sense of turning strangers in to friends. This first event was a huge success and we will now be looking at repeating it in in other cities around the UK.”

JLC CEO Simon Johnson said: “With Israel delegitimisation campaigns often targeted at councillors, this event is particularly timely. We hope to continue to build resilience to activities which target Israel and Jews. This was a fantastic opportunity to discuss our community’s infrastructure and offer our collective resources to the councillors, who seemed very appreciative.”

Aug 06

LJF Responds to Boris Johnson’s Comments on Gaza

The London Jewish Forum, whose stakeholders include the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council, wishes to express deep concern about the outspoken comments of the Mayor of London regarding the conflict in Israel and Gaza and in particular their potential impact on community relations in London.

 

It is irresponsible for Boris Johnson to be so selective in his criticism of Israel in light of the recent conflict, particularly in a climate where Jewish Londoners are feeling vulnerable and isolated, including by reason of the pernicious targeting of prominent Jewish cultural events in London. The Mayor shouldn’t be bringing the Israel-Gaza debate into London politics.

 

LJF calls upon the Mayor’s Office to be proactive in expending efforts that boost community cohesion, rather than making unhelpful comments about Israel that could encourage divisions and entrench local tensions.

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