Hostile takeover, merger or a better future?

21 Jun

This is a guest post by Elliot Jebreel, Deputy for Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue. Follow him on twitter @ejebreel

[Disclaimer: before starting my current job, I used to work for the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC). For some, this equates to me being their spy at the Board. I’m not.]

Certain parts of the UK Jewish community have been ablaze with conversations surrounding the future of our communal leadership and representative structures. Most of this has stemmed out of the Board-JLC Liaison Committee; a group, from what I understand, that was set up to help both organisations work together for the benefit of the Jewish community. In recent weeks it has emerged that the group probably overstepped their remit by discussing a possible merger between the two.

Understandably, many (including myself) were shocked to find out about this through the Jewish press. Just as understandable were deputies’ initial worries and fears that this signalled an attempted “hostile takeover” of the Board by the JLC.

However, it is now time to look to the future rather than spewing unfounded and fear-mongering arguments against talking to the JLC.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that we’re not representing British Jews as well as we should be – and this goes for all of the major Jewish communal organisations. Whether it be the charedim, LGBT Jews, unaffiliated Jews…or even your bog standard (if such thing exists) Jew in the pew.

This is why I want us all – British Jews of all and no affiliation – to take this once-in-a-generation opportunity to help shape the future of the Jewish community. We have the opportunity to get input from experts, see how other communities do it and ultimately come up with the best possible representative body for British Jews.

As part of this, Changing the Board will soon be releasing some basic principles we want to see in any future representative organisation. We will publish them on this site and welcome your thoughts.


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