Week three of our Forty Under 40 countdown – in association with the Jewish Leadership Council’s – sees us enter the rarefied air of the top 20. Occupants of these prestigious positions include the chief executive of the New Israel Fund, the founder of the Henry Jackson Society, the director of public affairs at the Board of Deputies and the head of Israel engagement at UJIA.
Profiles written by Gabriel Pogrund.
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Phil is director of public affairs at the Board of Deputies and a councillor for the London Borough of Camden.
He made a beeline for the Board after graduating from the University of Oxford in Middle Eastern languages in 2008, heading up its interfaith and social action projects.
Phil is considered to have built key strategic relationships with Christian movements and the charity Oxfam, with whom the Board had historically sour relations. His nominal break from the Jewish community came in 2011, when he became director of the Faiths Forum for London, although he was hardly distant from his co-religionists while in the role.
He increased membership of the FFL council by 50% and rolled out numerous volunteering and grant schemes, as well as working with the London Jewish Forum.
Phil simultaneously served as director at the Fayre Share Foundation, a philanthropic interfaith and conflict resolution group. There, he developed a conference on the London riots called ‘Reclaiming London Together’.
Phil returned to the Board in 2013 and was elected Labour Party councillor for the West Hampstead Ward in Camden a year later. Will he ultimately devote himself to the Jewish community, local politics or interfaith – or all three?
Alan is founder and executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, the neo-liberal foreign policy and security think tank, and Conservative Party candidate for Brent Central in the coming General Election.
The Society has received backing from influential MPs from the Conservatives and Labour parties. Despite the think tank being right-leaning, Mendoza has spoken out against settlement construction and claimed before the last election that Benjamin Netanyahu was past his sell-by date.
He is co-founder and president of the Disraelian Union, a Tory discussion group which he describes as a ‘political networking salon’, and a trustee of the Israel-Diaspora Trust, which hosts debates and discussions on Israeli political matters.
Alan is a sought-after speaker at international conferences and has appeared on television networks including the BBC, Sky and Al-Jazeera. Alan holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, where he studied history and later Anglo-American relations.
Last year he oversaw the selection process of Rabbi Joseph Dweck at The Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation. He is married to Claudia Mendoza, who is head of policy and research at the Jewish Leadership Council.
David co-founded private equity firm Synova Capital, which handles assets of £150million and was last year voted ‘Young Firm of the Year’ at the Private Equity Awards.
He is a director of BICOM, the think-tank founded by Finish-British philanthropist Poju Zabulodwicz, whose company Tamares Capital he worked for between 2000 and 2007. A former Union of Jewish Students campaigns organiser, David co-organised the We Believe in Israel Conference in 2011.
It was then the largest pro-Israel conference in the UK and saw 1,100 delegates drawn from across the political and religious spectra. David is also a non-executive at Clearwater Care, a nationwide business that supports people with autism and learning disabilities.
His involvement is generally behind-the-scenes — the Labour Party donor is a member of the Board of BICOM and the Jewish Care business committee — but his influence in shaping Israel advocacy in Britain and other aspects of communal life is undeniable.
With his flair and prodigious business acumen, David is without doubt one of the next generation of leading communal lay leaders.
Adam is chief executive at the New Israel Fund, the social justice NGO which grants millions of pounds to charities advancing religious pluralism, civil rights and democracy in Israel.
Under his articulate and values-driven leadership, the NIF has made key interventions on the treatment of African refugees and Arabs in Israel — and remained within the fold of Britain’s pro-Israel establishment.
Adam, the erstwhile mazkir of Habonim Dror, started at the Fund in 2011. He has since spearheaded the formation of New Gen, a community of young adults who support the NIF.
The Glaswegian is also a trustee of ReStore Community Projects, a charity which distributes second-hand furniture to people in need. Adam holds a B.A. in politics, philosophy and economics from the University of Oxford and an MsC in comparative politics from the London School of Economics.
Prior to working at the NIF, he served as deputy chief executive of the UK Social Investment Forum, the membership network for ethically-run financial services. On behalf of New Israel Fund he is an executive member and key activist in the Pears/UJIA Taskforce on Israeli Arabs.
Robin is head of Israel engagement at UJIA. The Oxford philosophy and physics graduate curates programming that reaches 11,000 young Jews every year and is regarded as the community’s most erudite and effective Israel educator.
The former LJY-Netzer movement worker has been at UJIA since 2011 and served as JAMS (Jewish Activities in Mainstream Schools) fieldworker and Israel engagement educator before taking up his current role last year.
Whether teaching about Zionist education paradigms at a masters level or speaking with youth movement madrichim on Welsh campsites, Robin infuses discussion on Israel with nuance and a multiplicity of narratives, and offers the cutting-edge education that young Jews need when the pro-Israel/pro-Palestine binary has become so obsolete.
He is a much sought-after speaker and resembled a Duracell Bunny at Limmud 2014, jumping between sessions as a panelist, speaker and presenter.
Robin served on the Board of Deputies-Jewish Leadership Council liaison committee and is a current trustee of Liberal Judaism. He was tipped by some for the progressive rabbinate, but is now seen as more likely to head up a major communal organisation.
Alma is a social worker based at Hackney Council. She co-chairs Keshet UK, the LGBT+ forum for British Jews, which works with schools, synagogues and communal organisations. Alma became the first “ally” (non LGBT+ member) on Keshet’s steering committee three years ago and has since worked tirelessly to make the Jewish community a more inclusive place for sexual and gender minority groups.
The former JFS head girl wrote a public letter to her alma mater in 2012 when its used material from ‘homosexual cure’ group JONAH in a Jewish studies lesson and subsequently lobbied the school to provide anti-homophobia lessons. The episode resulted in an educator being shipped in from the US to provide anti-homophobia training courses to Jewish organisations.
Alma is a devout Limmudnik and has spoken at the South African version of the conference. She grew up in the Reform community (her father is senior rabbi at Edgware & District Reform Synagogue) and was a movement worker for RSY-Netzer (2010-11). Alma is married to Daniel Reisl, former chair of Yachad.
Daniel has been the education director at Aish UK, the Orthodox Jewish outreach group, since 2007.
The organisation has just announced that as of September he will become its co-director. He studied for five years at the prestigious Yeshivat Kerem b’Yavneh in Ashdod, whose alumni include Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and a former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger.
Daniel returned to the UK in 2003 to study philosophy at University College London, where he won the A.J. Ayer prize for his dissertation on the mind, before going to Jerusalem to study at Mir Yeshiva, the largest in Israel with some 7,500 students.
There, he received his smicha and also enrolled in The Jerusalem Kollel, a highly-regarded rabbinic educational programme. Daniel is not only an intellectual warrior: he was a tank driver in the IDF and won an “Outstanding Solider” award for his service.
Daniel also serves as senior educator at the Forum for Jewish Leadership. He is one of the Orthodox community’s most accomplished and eminent educators. Daniel is son of Joshua Rowe, the Jewish philanthropist, Zionist activist and chair of governors at Manchester’s King David School.
Danny is director of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism and oversaw the publication of its landmark report into the rise of antisemitic incidents last summer, which recommends the government funds security at synagogues. Alongside John Mann MP, he is the key conduit between the Jewish community and Westminster when it comes to anti-Semitism.
Danny is a well known face in parliament having worked as a top adviser to senior Labour politicians. He took a break from Jewish political affairs in 2007, working as a political adviser to the Royal Society for the Protection of birds for two years before taking up his current role.
Danny was previously campaigns director for the Union of Jewish students for two years and served as a Young Diplomat for the World Diplomatic Corps.
Both his parents are communal professionals, but it is believed Danny will divert from that path and has set his sights on a career in national politics.
Bentzi is chief executive at Chabad Lubavitch UK. He received his smicha in 2001 from the Rabbinical College of America and served as the editor and creative director of chabag.org for the next five years, overseeing the development of what became the Jewish world’s richest online resource.
In a two year interregnum, Bentzi served as rabbi and director of programme development at American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, DC. He returned to chabad.org afterwards.
By the end of his tenure, the website was replete with resources for Jews of all ages and totalling almost a million hits every month. Bentzi, who speaks Yiddish and Hebrew, moved to London with his three children in 2009 to take up his current position as CEO.
He has maintained the growth of Chabad primary and secondary schools and made mainstream appearances at events such as the Zero Tolerance to Anti-Semitism Rally last summer, reflecting his steadfast commitment to Jewish unity.
Rabbi Nachman Sudan passed away last year and was the man who built Lubavitch in the UK. It is fitting that his son, Bentzi, has guided the organisation through an era such of dynamism and growth.
David is executive director of the Union of Jewish Students. In that role, he helps the UJS’ president translate general aims into longterm strategy.
That is no mean feat: there are 60 Jewish societies in the UK on one hand and only 12 months per presidential term on the other. David has helped presidents Tarsh and Rose realise their aims for cross-communal inclusion immeasurably
The Nottingham Trent youth studies graduate began his professional career with a year long stint in corporate social responsibility at the UJIA in 2009, and went from there to the Jewish Social Action Forum, serving as campaigns manager and focusing on issues including fair-trade, climate change and homelessness.
David was a key volunteer with Keshet UK, the Jewish LGBT+ forum, and ran its first ever session in a Jewish school. He is set to shape the direction of Jewish life on campus for years, but could easily return to UJIA or an adult community organisation in a more senior capacity.