OPINION: Chairman of Forty Under 40 panel: ‘We are looking for impact’

OPINION: Chairman of Forty Under 40 panel: ‘We are looking for impact’

headBy Andrew Gilbert, Chairman of the panel

I’m pleased Jewish News is re-running its Forty under 40 and delighted it is adding to it a Twenty-Five Under 25.

FORTY UNDER 40: to nominate CLICK HERE


I am also honoured to accept the Jewish News’ invitation to chair the panel.

When one reviews the 2010 list, one can see the growing impact on our community of so many of the members of the list.

The 2010 panel managed an accurate and rigorous review of the community and in 2015 we must try to emulate them.

However, the process does show that UK Jewry has an incredible record of developing young leaders in our community.

Stephen M Cohen, the leading Jewish sociologist and demographer, said that you cannot compare British Jewry with US Jewry but it is more appropriate to measure British Jewry’s relative strengths and weaknesses against communities of similar size around the world.

While the other communities may be more wealthy, have even greater Jewish academic institutions, have more and larger Jewish cultural centres or even be centres of liberal social action, we can be proud of the strength of our volunteer led activities for youth, students and young adults.

Graduates of youth movements, UJS, Limmud, Adam Science and now Gamechangers continue to go on to impact on our community in a myriad of different ways. Unlike North American communities, we have developed an incredible pathway of leadership.

Our final list will be a snapshot of today’s young leadership. Many may have been leaders in youth movements or in Jewish societies on campus.

Many may have continued their involvement in Limmud or young adult programmes.

One important benefit of the process is to give kavod to emerging leaders, but in truth they emerged long ago.

We need to nurture them and give them the opportunity to continue on that journey.

The panel has been charged to look for impact.

What does impact mean?

I think there maybe a number of characteristics for which the panel could look.

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Formative impact

Those who already have emerged into leadership positions in existing organisations or taken leadership positions in the community in youth, student and young adult organisations. Are they the future foundation stones or leading donors and fundraisers?

Transformative impact

Those who are creating new aspects of our community whether they be the pied pipers, change agents, the signposts or the innovators.

Depth Impact

Increasing the content of our community and its offerings through intellectual development including communal builders, gurus, scribes, thinkers, mavens and maybe prophets.

Width Impact

Widening communal impact reflects on how our community changes and develops and this can be through ambassadors, celebrities, outreach and even rebels. I’m sure that the 2015 panel will be challenged not just by many nominations from many fields of activity, but they will also have to consider how the new list will be as remarkable as the 2010 list.

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