Dozens of Jewish communal leaders found themselves in the same room this week where the main debate was the number of Jewish charities and whether they should merge.
Changes at a national level were pushing many organisations in that direction, said Charity Commission head Paula Sussex, arguing that increasing demands for transparency and accountability can put a strain on resources.
The LEAD Jewish Leadership Council panel was chaired by JW3 chairman Michael Goldstein, whose organisation last year agreed to merge with the London Jewish Cultural Centre. “I have just come through nine months of a merger,” he said. “It is all about what is in the best interest of the community.”
The flagship event on Monday night was hosted by Lead, the JLC’s leadership development arm in partnership with the Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN) and welcomed 150 guests to the conversation.
“Paula urged better networking and sharing, including of organisations’ back office functions and premises,” said JVN director Leonie Lewis. “That doesn’t necessarily mean mergers, it can mean collaboration, which is something more Jewish charities are doing.”
Among the other issues discussed were young British Jews’ relationship with Israel. Ella Rose, president of the Union of Jewish Students, said the recent war in Gaza meant that many students were struggling with their relationship with the Jewish state.