Apr 09

Nick de Bois Think Jewish London Event

New Nick de Bois

Apr 01

LJF Hosts Second Tour of Jewish London

On 31st March 2014 the London Jewish Forum hosted several London Assembly Members on the second of a series of tours of Jewish London.

 The London Jewish Forum was joined by Jennette Arnold AM, North East, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest; Gareth Bacon AM, Londonwide; James Cleverly AM, Bexley and Bromley and Roger Evans AM, Havering and Redbridge.  The tour is an effective way for London Assembly Members to see the community in action and gain a deeper insight into it. The afternoon showcased the vitality of the community whilst highlighting some of the challenges the community currently faces.

The tour began with a visit to New North London Synagogue where the Assembly Members were joined by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Rabbi of New North London Synagogue and Claire Mandel, Executive Director.

The Assembly Members then visited Hasmonean Girls School where there was a discussion with Alastair Falk, Executive Director of Partnership for Jewish Schools; Rabbi Meyer, Headteacher; Mrs Fink, Head of the Girl’s School; and some pupils.

The final stop was at Norwood, The Kennedy Leigh Family Centre where Angela Duce, Director of Operations and Dolyanna Mordohai, Business Manager for Family Support & Adoption, gave the Assembly Members a tour of the building and explained the vital work that Norwood does in the Jewish community.

Comments on the tour:

Gabi Kobrin, Public Affairs Director for London Jewish Forum said:

This tour was vital to ensure that London Assembly Members deepen their understanding and relationships with institutions and organisations in the London Jewish community. We value their time and interest in us in order to continue to develop a strong and cohesive working relationship between City Hall and the Jewish community in London.

 

Jennette Arnold OBE AM said:

My tour of Jewish London, organised by the London Jewish Forum, was absolutely fantastic. It was interesting, informative and showed me places in London that I’ve never visited previously. The list of places that we visited was a great mix, which incorporated a synagogue, a school and family centre, and gave an excellent, rounded insight into Jewish London – both in the present and the past. I commend the work of the London Jewish Forum, thank them for their extremely stimulating tour and look forward to working with them in the future in my role on the London Assembly.

 

Gareth Bacon AM said:

I greatly enjoyed the tour organised by the London Jewish Forum. It was a highly informative afternoon, and the high point for me was having the opportunity to meet and speak with Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, a fascinating man of tremendous wisdom and tolerance who has devoted his life to his community and the service of others.

 

James Cleverly AM said:

I’d like to thank the London Jewish Forum for giving me the chance to meet people at the synagogue, school and community centre who are making such as positive difference to the Jewish and wider communities.

 

Roger Evans AM said:

The visit really helped me to appreciate the experiences of the Jewish community in twenty first century London and the valuable contribution that they make to our capital city.

 

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Rabbi of New North London Synagogue said:

It was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to meet with members of the London Assembly and to hear of the important work the London Jewish Forum. We very much look forward to furthering our relationships with them, hopefully including a future Shabbat visit to NNLS by the Assembly members

 

Elaine Kerr, CEO of Norwood said:

It was a valuable opportunity to host the Assembly Members to our Norwood Kennedy Leigh Centre and to share with them information about our work and services to the Jewish community. We appreciated their genuine interest in understanding our aims as an organisation, our approach as well as our challenges. We hope that this will be a further way that we could continue to build the links between City Hall and the Jewish community

 

Rabbi Meyer, Executive Headteacher of Hasmonean said:

It was a privilege to welcome the Assembly Members to Hasmonean High School and to give them an insight into the ethical and moral values that underpin Hasmonean and ensure that our students not only achieve standards of excellence in their Jewish and secular subjects, but are also imbued with a commitment  to their community and wider society.  We hope that through this visit they will have a great appreciation of the important contribution Jewish schools, and indeed all faith schools, can play in engendering mutual respect and understanding across all students.

Roger Evans AM, Gabi Kobrin, Alastair Falk, Mrs Fink, Jennete Arnold OBE AM, Gareth Bacon AM, Rabbi Meyer, James Cleverly AM and Yael Simon at Hasmonean Girl’s School

Roger Evans AM, Gabi Kobrin, Alastair Falk, Mrs Fink, Jennete Arnold OBE AM, Gareth Bacon AM, Rabbi Meyer, James Cleverly AM and Yael Simon at Hasmonean Girl’s School

James Cleverly AM talking to Gareth Bacon AM, Roger Evans AM, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, Yael Simon, Gabi Kobrin, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg and Claire Mandel at New North London Synagogue

James Cleverly AM talking to Gareth Bacon AM, Roger Evans AM, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, Yael Simon, Gabi Kobrin, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg and Claire Mandel at New North London Synagogue

Mrs Fink, Roger Evans AM, Gareth Bacon AM, Rabbi Meyer and Jennette Arnold OBE AM look at a Science class at Hasmonean Girl’s School

Mrs Fink, Roger Evans AM, Gareth Bacon AM, Rabbi Meyer and Jennette Arnold OBE AM look at a Science class at Hasmonean Girl’s School

Angela Duce, Dolyanna Mordohai, James Cleverly AM, Gareth Bacon AM, Roger Evans AM, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, Gemma Freeman an Yael Simon at Norwood, Kennedy Leigh Family Centre

Angela Duce, Dolyanna Mordohai, James Cleverly AM, Gareth Bacon AM, Roger Evans AM, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, Gemma Freeman an Yael Simon at Norwood, Kennedy Leigh Family Centre

Rabbi Meyer talks to Mrs Fink, Gareth Bacon AM, Yael Simon, Roger Evans AM, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, James Cleverly AM, Gabi Kobrin, Alastair Falk and Hasmonean pupils about the school

Rabbi Meyer talks to Mrs Fink, Gareth Bacon AM, Yael Simon, Roger Evans AM, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, James Cleverly AM, Gabi Kobrin, Alastair Falk and Hasmonean pupils about the school

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Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Gemma Freeman, Claire Mandel, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, Gareth Bacon AM, Roger Evans AM, Gabi Kobrin and James Cleverly AM at New North London Synagogue

Claire Mandel, Executive Director of New North London Synagogue; Gareth Bacon AM; Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Rabbi of New North London Synagogue ; Jennette Arnold OBE AM; Gabi Kobrin, London Jewish Forum Public Affairs Officer, James Cleverly AM, Roger Evans AM and Yael Simon, LJF Trustee at New North London Synagogue

Claire Mandel, Executive Director of New North London Synagogue; Gareth Bacon AM; Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Rabbi of New North London Synagogue ; Jennette Arnold OBE AM; Gabi Kobrin, London Jewish Forum Public Affairs Officer, James Cleverly AM, Roger Evans AM and Yael Simon, LJF Trustee at New North London Synagogue

Feb 26

LJF Hosts Tour of Jewish London for Assembly Members

On 24th February 2014 the London Jewish Forum hosted several London Assembly Members on a tour of Jewish London.

Enabling London Assembly Members to see the community in action, the participants heard directly from chosen community representatives and were able to ask questions, whilst gaining insight into the operations. Assembly members included Andrew Dismore AM, Barnet and Camden; Joanne McCartney AM, Enfield and Haringey; Murad Qureshi AM, Londonwide; and Navin Shah AM, Brent and Harrow.

Beginning with a tour of JW3 by the CEO, Raymond Simonson, the participants heard the philosophy behind the establishment ofJW3. They were then taken to visit the Independent Jewish Day School, where they met Rabbi J Ebrahimoff, Head Teacher and Lady Kestenbaum, Deputy Head Teacher. Alastair Falk, Executive Director of Partnerships for Jewish Schools gave an in depth explanation on the context of Jewish Schools in London. The Assembly Members then toured the school and observed pupils learning about their current fair trade project. The last stop on the tour was a visit to Jewish Care, Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Campus. Participants were met by Daniel Casson, Assistant Director of Business Development and Lisa Wimborne, Head of PR and External Affairs. Daniel and Lisa showed the Assembly Members around the multi-purpose building and then led a discussion on the social care policy challenges currently facing the Jewish community.

Feedback given was that the tour was highly successful and praised by both the participants and those whom they had met. It showcased the vitality of the community and also highlighted the challenges it faces. The London Jewish Forum are organising a series of these tours to enable many Assembly Members to see the community in action and strengthen their relationships.

 

Comments on the tour:

Gabi Kobrin, LJF Public Affairs Director said:

“This tour was vital to ensure that London Assembly Members deepen their understanding and relationships with institutions and organisations in the London Jewish community. We value their time and interest in us in order to continue to develop a strong and cohesive working relationship between City Hall and the Jewish community in London.”

Rabbi Ebrahmioff, Head teacher of Independent Jewish Day School said:

It was a privilege to host the Assembly Members in our school.  This special visit was an opportunity to celebrate our achievements as a school and build further links with other communities who face similar challenges and aspire to achieve common goals.

 

Lisa Wimborne, Head of PR and External Affairs for Jewish Care said:

“We were delighted to be able to welcome the GLA Assembly members and staff from the London Jewish Forum to our Maurice and Vivienne Wohl campus. This has been a fantastic opportunity to both showcase and discuss our approach to meeting the welfare and social needs of the community.”

“Funding of local social care services has been hit hard by austerity cuts, the impact of these are felt heavily by the already over stretched NHS. We called on the assembly members to reinforce the value of good social care for both recipients and the economy and to use their powers to ensure a more strategic approach to health and social care provision in the capital”

 

Navin Shah, AM said:

“I was hugely impressed with the JW3 building designed with the concept of openness and inclusivity. From the visit it was evident that JW3 is a resource for all communities – thus celebrating London’s diversity as well as being totally inclusive. Overall, I was overwhelmed in the way the high quality facilities and services are provided to the members of the Jewish community of all age groups ranging from children, to the elderly and the survivors.”

 

Joanne McCartney AM said:

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to be invited to the Tour of Jewish London by the London Jewish Forum yesterday. Part of the tour included visiting JW3, a new Jewish cultural centre which was very impressive, open and a vibrant addition to the wider local community. I would recommend that local people visit this great new centre.”

 

Andrew Dismore AM said:

“I am grateful to the London Jewish Forum for the opportunity to visit JW3 and to renew acquaintances at Independent Jewish Day School and Jewish Care. I think the range of Jewish life was well illustrated by this snapshot afternoon visit and I’ve put forward various ideas for a repeat afternoon for Assembly Members to see other Jewish institutions and activities.”

 

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Andrew Dismore AM, Navin Shah AM and Lady Kestenbaum speak to students at Independent Jewish Day School

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Andrew Dismore AM, Rabbi Ebrahimoff, Head teacher of Independent, Alastiar Falk, Director of PaJeS, Joanne McCartney AM, Navin Shah AM, Gemma Freeman, Administrator for LJF and Yael Simon, LJF Trustee with students from the school at Independent Jewish Day School

 

Gemma Freeman, Daniel Casson, Andrew Dismore AM, Murad Qureshi AM, Gabi Kobrin, Yael Simon and Navin Shah AM at Jewish Care, Wohl Campus

Gemma Freeman, Daniel Casson, Andrew Dismore AM, Murad Qureshi AM, Gabi Kobrin, Yael Simon and Navin Shah AM at Jewish Care, Wohl Campus

Murad Qureshi AM, Daniel Casson, Assistant Director of Business Development for Jewish Care, Andrew Dismore AM and Navin Shah AM

Murad Qureshi AM, Daniel Casson, Assistant Director of Business Development for Jewish Care, Andrew Dismore AM and Navin Shah AM

Navin Shah AM speaking to elderly people in Jewish Care

Navin Shah AM speaking to elderly people in Jewish Care

Raymond Simonson, CEO of JW3, Navin Shah AM, Joanne McCartney AM, Murad Qureshi AM, Andrew Dismore AM, Gabi Kobrin, Public Affairs Director for London Jewish Forum and Yael Simon, LJF Trustee

Raymond Simonson, CEO of JW3, Navin Shah AM, Joanne McCartney AM, Murad Qureshi AM, Andrew Dismore AM, Gabi Kobrin, Public Affairs Director for London Jewish Forum and Yael Simon, LJF Trustee

Feb 18

London Jewish Forum Takes Senior Citizens to City Hall

On 13th February The London Jewish Forum (LJF) teamed up with Jewish Care from the Michael Sobell Jewish Community Centre to provide a visit for ten senior citizens to City Hall. The purpose of the visit was to enable Jewish Londoners to gain a deeper understanding of how City Hall works. The tour provided a valuable opportunity for Assembly Members to interact with representatives of the Jewish Community. The tour received much praise from both the participants and Assembly Members.

The visit started with an educational session about the Greater London Authority (GLA) and its functions lead by Richard Nicholson, Education Coordinater at the GLA. The senior citizens were then taken on a tour of City Hall which included sitting in a public meeting in the Council Chamber.

A highlight of the visit was lunch, where the senior citizens were joined by members of the LJF Steering Group and several Assembly Members including: the Deputy Mayor, Victoria Borwick AM, the Chair of the London Assembly, Darren Johnson AM, Jenny Jones AM, Andrew Dismore AM, Valerie Shawcross AM, Jennette Arnold AM and Nicky Gavron AM.

Adrian Cohen, Chair of LJF and Darren Johnson, Chair of the London Assembly addressed the lunch; and Gabi Kobrin, Public Affairs Director of LJF gave a presentation about LJF. Victoria Borwick together with other Assembly Members took the senior citizens to  London’s Living Room to see spectacular views of London from City Hall.

Darren Johnson, Chair of the London Assembly said:

“It was a real pleasure to welcome senior citizens from the Jewish Community to City Hall and explain a little bit about the work of the London Assembly as well as chatting informally and showing them around the building. The job of Assembly Members is to hold the Mayor to account and speak up for Londoners on the issues that matter to them. We can only do that if we engage with the many different communities that make up London. Visits like this one are an important part of that.”

Victoria Borwick, Deputy Mayor said:

“It was an honour to welcome senior citizens and volunteers from Jewish Care to City Hall last week. The work Jewish Care do, along with the London Jewish forum I know is very much appreciated within the community and I hope they go from strength to strength.”

Adrian Cohen, Chair of LJF said:

“This was a first for the London Jewish Forum and Jewish Care and it was a great success. The Senior Citizens clearly enjoyed the visit, especially their interaction with the assembly members and staff of City Hall who all put in a lot of effort to make the visit a tremendous success.”

Andrew Dismore AM, Jenny Jones AM, Adrian Cohen and Darren Johnson AM

Andrew Dismore AM, Jenny Jones AM, Adrian Cohen and Darren Johnson AM

Senior Citizens with Victoria Borwick AM, Jenny Jones AM, Adrian Cohen, Chair of LJF, Andrew Dismore AM, Darren Johnson AM, Gabi Kobrin, Public Affairs Director of LJF, and Jewish Care Volunteers

Senior Citizens with Victoria Borwick AM, Jenny Jones AM, Adrian Cohen, Chair of LJF, Andrew Dismore AM, Darren Johnson AM, Gabi Kobrin, Public Affairs Director of LJF, and Jewish Care Volunteers

Darren Johnson AM and Victoria Borwick AM talking to the senior citizens during lunch at City Hall

Darren Johnson AM and Victoria Borwick AM talking to the senior citizens during lunch at City Hall

Jan 30

GLA Conservatives Reception at City Hall

Gabi Kobrin, Public Affairs Director for LJF and Adam Cannon, a LJF Trustee attended the GLA Conservatives annual reception in London’s Living Room, City Hall on Tuesday 21st January. The speakers included Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Leader of the Conservative Group, Andrew Boff.

photo 2 photo 3. photo 1.

Dec 04

Record Numbers at Chanukah in the Square

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson addressing the crowds at Chanukah in the Square

 On Thursday 28th November over 7,000 people joined Mayor of London Boris Johnson for the annual Chanukah in the Square Mayoral menorah lighting.

Set in the landmark location of Trafalgar Square, Europe’s largest Menorah will stand bright for the entire 8 day duration of Chanukah, reminding Londoners of the miracle of the festival of light; and reminding Londoners of the religious and cultural contribution the Jewish people make to this diverse city.

Chanukah in the Square was organised by the London Jewish Forum, the Jewish Leadership Council and Chabad-Lubavitch UK, and supported by the Mayor of London.

In addition to the lighting ceremony, attendees were treated to fantastic live performances by Neshama, the Wolfson Hillel School Choir, and Chazan Avromi Freilich along with the Ne’imah Singers of St. John’s Wood Synagogue conducted by Jonathan Weissbart and the colourful, ever spinning Dreidelman. Not only were guests kept entertained by these fantastic acts throughout the evening, but they were also treated to 6,000 free doughnuts, a traditional food eaten during Chanukah. Kosher hot food was served at the event by The Diner London.

Along with the Mayor of London, addressing the crowd on the night were Adrian Cohen, Chair of LJF, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, and Gillian Merron, Vice-President of the JLC.

A VIP reception was then held after the lighting at the Trafalgar Hotel.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said he was delighted to take part in the celebrations, noting that the crowd gathered in Trafalgar Square for the annual event was the largest yet.

The Mayor said:

One of the joys of being able to mark Chanukah in the Square is that it enables all Londoners to share in the rich cultural heritage of Jewish people. It is also a time that can be shared by other faith communities, who can recognise in their own beliefs, the strength and redeeming power of the story of miracle of the lamp, and who also celebrate in so many ways the festival of lights. My best wishes to all celebrating at this special time. Chag Sameach.

Adrian Cohen, Chair of London Jewish Forum commented:

            “The Menorah lighting in Trafalgar Square has now become one of the iconic moments in London’s celebration of the winter season. Light is important in many faiths. Within Judaism, the lights of the Menorah stand for tolerance and religious freedom and we are required to publicise that message to the world. How much better for Jewish Londoners to do so than the lighting of Europe’s largest Menorah by the Mayor of our great city.”

Simon Johnson, Interim Chief Executive of the JLC, said:

Chanukah in the Square 2013 was a memorable event. The lights on the Menorah shone out to the crowd and will burn throughout the festival as a symbol to London of peace, unity and tolerance.  The words of The Mayor and the Chief Rabbi will have touched all who heard them. I want to thank everybody who worked to make it a success and who came to witness this symbol of joy.”

Rabbi Bentzi Sudak, CEO of Chabad-Lubavitch stated,

Once again it has been a pleasure to work with the Mayor of London and our communal organisations, the Jewish Leadership Council and London Jewish Forum, on this spectacular event which unites the entire Jewish community and brings the light of the Menorah and the warmth of the message of Chanukah to the wider London community.

For a  chance to win a night’s stay in the luxurious Trafalgar Hilton Hotel please visit www.london.gov.uk/menorah-survey to fill in a short survey.

Organisers – Jewish Leadership Council, London Jewish Forum, Chabad-Lubavitch UK

Sponsors – Community Security Trust, the Jewish News, Israel Discount Bank and the Board of Deputies.

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Gillian Merron, Vice-President of the JLC, Adrian Cohen, Chair of LJF, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and JLC Officials at Chanukah in the Square

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Dreidelman enjoying the Chanukah celebrations

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Oct 29

Chanukah in the Square 2013

On Thursday 28th November, Trafalgar Square will be full of festivities for the annual Chanukah in the Square event. With over 5000 people attending last year, this is an event not to be missed.

There will be a special lighting ceremony by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, as well as entertainers, live music and of course plenty of doughnuts.

Make sure you don’t miss out!!

CITS Flyer2

Dec 17

London Jewish Forum at Limmud Conference 2012

Limmud Conference is an annual gathering of over 2000 Jews from across the UK and the globe. Participants gather to take part in over 1000 sessions of debate and discussion on some of the key issues facing the Jewish community, not unlike the fringe at Party Conferences.

Last year, LJF presented a number of sessions at Limmud, including an Audience with Maurice Helfgott, holocaust survivor and Olympic athlete as well as a debate in advance of the 2012 London Mayoral and Assembly elections which featured Val Shawcross AM, Andrew Boff AM and Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor Brian Paddick.

This year, Adrian Cohen – chair of LJF will be participating in a number of panels:

 

British Jewry and our relationship with Israel

Speakers: Adrian CohenNir CohenElizabeth Harris-SawczenkoHannah WeisfeldVivian WinemanGusti Yehoshuah-Braverman 
Location: Arts – Conference
Time: Monday, 15:30pm

The relationship has changed dramatically since the heady days of the Six Day War. As well as unconditional love there is anger, pain and rejection. The panel will consider where the relationship is likely to be in the next few years and how it can be improved.

 

Democracy and accountability within the Jewish community: from grass roots to the highest levels

Speakers: Geoffrey AldermanAdrian CohenAntony LermanNicholas Saphir 
Location: Arts – Conference
Time: Wednesday, 17:00pm

A panel discussion on how the Jewish Community appoints its leaders and whether there may be other alternatives

 

Jewish leadership on the line: staying alive when representing the Jewish community

Speakers: Adrian CohenNicky GoldmanSamuel KleinMichael WegierVivian Wineman 
Location: Hum 1

Time: Wednesday, 18:50pm

‘To lead is to live dangerously.’ True of the Jewish Community? Whether professional, lay leader or teacher, these practical sessions will show how you can exercise ‘leadership on the line’. Join us for an open discussion with two key leaders to explore being community spokespersons and what happens when those representing Jewish community interests find themselves ‘leading on the line’.

To see the full conference line-up, or to attend please go to www.limmud.org

Dec 12

Census Figures Reveal Key Challenges for Jewish London

This week’s census figure reveal a Jewish community that numerically is stable, but one that is increasingly becoming closer together and more significant in fewer areas of the country.

This consolidation of the Jewish community in London into key areas of Jewish population will throw up some key challenges for our community to adapt to in the coming years, and we ignore some of them at our peril. From the increased demand that care providers will face from an ageing community, the demand for primary school places in Jewish Schools to the crisis in affordable housing, we  need to look to find the answers to some big questions we face.

According to census the last time around, our community in London is disproportionately older than London at large. Around 41% of Jews in London at that time were over 50, compared to 27% of London. 13% of us were over 75 compared to just 6% of London. If this picture of an older Jewish London doesn’t change, we can only expect that the need for Jewish adult social care will increase.  At a time of severe cuts in Government and Local Government expenditure, ensuring that culturally specific services that meet the needs of our growing and ageing population are readily available will be a key concern.

With our community moving further North West and East out of London, the location of Jewish communal infrastructure will need to change too. With the increasing trend towards parents choosing faith-based schooling for their children, schools will inevitably need to adapt to the changing environment. With the Government’s Free School agenda allowing parents flexibility in setting up schools with the ethos of their choice in more convenient locations, at the same time as tight budgets for school transport, our migrating community will only force the need further for Jewish schools to adapt over the coming years. With the crisis in primary school places in North London, we can also expect the need for a greater number of forms of entry into Jewish Primaries, or even new Primary Schools being established in Barnet and Hertsmere.

This consolidation is also a key indication that community infrastructure is important to Jewish Londoners. Being close to your community, kosher shops, synagogues and Jewish Schools define for many the search criteria for setting up a Jewish home. But the increasing popularity of a smaller number of locations spells good news for some, and bad news for others when it comes to house prices. In London, despite the economic environment, property prices have continued to rise. Increasingly younger members of the community are finding it almost impossible to get onto the property ladder for the first time with many unable to rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad for support. Just like the rest of London, our community needs to be invested in the drive to ensure that good, affordable accommodation is built in and around our existing communities.

Rapid growth in the Charedi communities too will pose some serious challenges for Hackney and Haringey Councils. With overcrowding already a well recognized issue in Stamford Hill, and with the average size of a family being well over 8 people, the desperate need for large family accommodation is now reaching crisis point. With local reference rents outstripping the housing benefit cap element of the Universal Credit system of benefits due in late 2013, we could well see Jewish families finding themselves statutorily homeless. With such a low dependence on Council Housing now, Councils could well find themselves needing to house large families without houses to put them in.

The story of immigration and integration that the Jewish Community share with newer communities in London has also been reflected in this week’s figures. Just as our community established itself in the East End of London, then moving East and North West, so too are newer communities following the same pattern of migration within London. Tower Hamlets, now the home of a strong Bangladeshi community, just like the Jewish and Irish communities before it, is actually decreasing. As the East End makes way for newer communities, just as we have left behind key pieces of communal heritage, preserving them for future generations will be a concern we will share with others.

As new communities migrate within London, becoming more established in new areas of the city, London Boroughs face their communities becoming ever more diverse than they have been. London is now a city of over 150 languages but these languages are now being spoken in parts of our city that perhaps they haven’t been before. Ensuring that London remains a dynamic place of many cultures, one that welcomes diversity at the same time as delivering on cohesion is now an increasing challenge for us all.

The London Jewish Forum will continue to work with the GLA and London Boroughs on many of these issues, ensuring that when decisions are taken about the future shape and structure of services at a local level, our growing community will be in a position to deliver on the changing needs of our community.

 

Dec 12

Thousands Celebrate Chanukah in the Square

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson led the celebration of Chanukah in Trafalgar Square on Monday evening, attended by over 5,000 Londoners.

Europe's Largest Menorah, at 18ft stands in London's iconic Trafalgar Square

The Jewish community in London gather each year in one of London’s most iconic venues to light Europe’s largest menorah, standing at 18ft tall. The menorah will remain in the square for the duration of Chanukah, with a new light being lit each one of the festivals eight days.

Boris Johnson hands out chanukah gelt to children

The annual event marking the Jewish festival of lights was organised by the Jewish Leadership Council, the London Jewish Forum and Chabad-Lubavitch UK, supported by the Mayor of London, a key event in London’s winter festivities.

The event featured live performances from Neshama, the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade Brass Band, the Choir of the Wolfson Hillel Primary School and the renowned male-voice Shabbaton Choir. Dreidleman also made his first appearance in the UK, dancing with the crowds and later on stage with the Mayor.

The Mayor of London, along with the Chief Rabbi and Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub handed chanukah gelt (chocolate gold coins) to children, whilst the crowds were given doughnuts, both being traditions associated with the festival.

Bentzi Sudak, CEO of Chabad-Lubavitch explained the importance of the event, “Chanukah is a holiday of miracles. But it’s not just miracles of thousands of years ago, we also celebrate miracles of here and now. Today, the entire community coming together and celebrating proudly like this in the streets of London joining thousands of Jewish communities around the world is also a miracle“.

Adrian Cohen, Chair of LJF greeted Boris’ arrival “It’s been a great year for London with the Golden Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics and what better way to help bring this year to a close than to light the world’s largest Chanukiah in Trafalgar Square, with its message of tolerance and freedom.  Who better to light it than the effervescent, perpetual source of energy and light than the Mayor of London himself, the one and only Boris Johnson.

Children from the Hillel Wolfson School Choir perform in front of the National Gallery

Mick Davis, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council said “Soon we will light this giant menorah, and we should all take a moment to remember the miracle of Chanukah; a moment to remember how lucky we are to live as Jewish in this great city; and a moment to remember those around the world who live in oppression and are denied those fundamental freedoms.  May the light of this menorah shine a light upon all of their lives as well as our own.

Jeremy Newmark, CEO of the JLC said “It was a magnificent celebration.  A really special moment that crystallised the thriving vitality of Jewish life in the UK.  We were delighted to see the numbers grow once again for an event that is now firmly established as part of London’s civic calendar.

Rebbeca Saunders (9) and Indigo Smith (8) from JCoSS, the Jewish community’s first cross-communal school also addressed the crowd.

Other speakers taking part in the event included Gerald Ronson, Chair of CST, Leonie Lewis, Co-Chair of the Faiths Forum for London & Louise Jacobs – CEO of the London Jewish Cultural Centre.

A reception was also held at the Trafalgar Hotel to thank event organizers and sponsors, including Community Security Trust & adot.com where Deputy Mayor for Policing Stephen Greenhalgh and Barnet & Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore spoke.

Boris Johnson celebrating Chanukah with Dreidelman on his first appearance in the UK