I joined around 50 delegates at the Chief Rabbi’s annual Regional Leaders meeting, which was held this year at UHC in Leeds.
Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Southport, St Annes, Leicester, Nottingham, Norwich, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, and Brighton communities were all represented (sorry if I’ve left anyone out).
Leicester and Norwich both presented substantial Heritage Lottery projects which will both enhance their communities’ resources and provide educational and visitor centres where schools and others can learn about Judaism and the Jewish legacies of those cities.
Brighton outlined how they are implementing a scheme to revitalise the local community, with innovations to provide more reasons to engage in community life, a residential scheme to help fund it, and a collaborative building sharing scheme with the neighbouring church school, which will also see the curriculum swap Latin for Hebrew.
There were also presentations from Shrubberies, in Manchester, on boosting engagement with children; Albert Chait, minister of Leeds UHC, on finding fresh ways to engage community; Rabbi Kleiman, of Leeds, on how rebranding the youth centre and cheder as The Zone boosted cheder attendance from 4 to 60; Bowden shul spoke about grassroots involvement with Shabbat UK; the President of United Synagogues gave insights into their spreading realm of influence; and the Chief Rabbi’s communications office, Mark Frazer, spoke about Marketing community in the Digital Age.
The Chief Rabbi spoke eloquently about ways he hopes communities will innovate and find new ways to welcome people. He also gave some highly entertaining insights into time he and his wife have spent with the Queen, and how much she likes his wife’s home made Florentines!
Ed Horwich – Director JSCN