ANNUAL REPORT 2017 Mission of the Council
To serve, represent, unite, defend and protect Jewish interests and provide opportunity for collaboration and co-ordinated action in Greater Manchester and Region.
Aims of the Council:
- Provide infrastructure support to affiliated organisations, building their capacity to deliver services and activities;
- Respond to need across the Jewish community, contributing to and, where appropriate, facilitating strategic planning in education, welfare, culture and health;
- Effectively represent the interests of the Jewish community to public sector organisations and positively influence their policies, strategies and plans to give the best outcomes for the community;
- EngagewithbusinessestoimproveprospectsforJewishyoung people and the prosperity of the community;
- Improve perceptions of Manchester’s Jewish community amongst its residents and the wider Jewish and mainstream community.
Chair of Executive’s Report
It has again been an exceptional year for the Jewish Representative Council with so many people involved across our working groups, which are now the bedrock of our work.
I was recently asked by a friend to describe the work of the Representative Council. As I progressed through our achievements, she was taken aback by the breadth of what we do. I had not even got half way to telling her the full story! Whether it be addressing education, health, young people, the elderly, antisemitism, interfaith relations, community safety, policing, shechitah or a myriad of other issues, the Council is here to respond on behalf of our community. More and more, we are forward planning as we become the proactive organisation that is needed to lead our community. The fact that we continue to carry out this work wholly with volunteers, with some administrative and finance support, is a source of both amazement and admiration.
During 2017, over 50 individuals gave their time to help us in our work. Many represented us to Local Authorities or NHS Trusts; on police bodies, SACREs and interfaith groups; to the Board of Deputies and partner organisations and at civic occasions. Other helped run events such as our first ever Variety Show and first Arts Festival, Yom HaShoah, our Councillors’ Seminar, Annual Community Challenge Quiz, the Big Neighbourhood Bash, Collabor8, Lectures and Hustings. Yet more helped update our website, produce RepPresents, sell raffle tickets, collate our Year Book and so much more.
To all who have volunteered and supported us throughout the year, our thanks. To the wider community, we invite you to get involved in our work, attend our events and support our continued developments.
Working Groups’ Progress in 2017
Youth & Community
- Helped organise The Big Neighbourhood Bash II in partnership with 5 other organisations on May 21st at Tesco Cheetham Hill. Around 1,000 people attended throughout the day and it was a superb event contributing to community cohesion. Evaluations of those attending showed that 98% said the event gave them a stronger sense of community and made them more positive to people from other faiths.
- #YouthStandTogether was developed from an initiative brought to the group by Esty Bruck, who is a member, but many of you will know of her because of her amazing work with the Friendship Circle. A meeting of 75 youth workers was held at Bury Town Hall in July and plans are coming together for young people’s events in 2018.
- The community’s first Jewish Arts Festival For All (JAFFA) was held in summer 2017. A Council initiative, we are grateful to Herzl Hamburger and the planning team who took on and developed the events. These included a Food, Wine and Art Day at the Manchester Jewish Museum, Comedy Night at the Comedy Store and Gala Concert at The Stoller Hall and were dedicated to the memory of the ‘22’ who lost their lives in May’s Arena bombing.
- JAFFA also included an Arts Competition for young people with winning entries receiving awards presented by Charles Bloom QC at the Stoller Hall and appearing in the Council’s Yearbook. Our thanks to Judges Aimee Banay, Ruth Silverstone & Chava Erlanger and particularly to Susan Isaacs for her organisational skills.
- Progress towards a structure for young people to have more of a say in their community was made with meetings with young people both attending youth groups and not. This is alongside an ongoing mapping exercise of youth and community provision.
- For a fourth year, organised festive season Transport with over 20 volunteers helping transport 250 people to events in North and South Manchester, co-ordinated by David Lewis. Those helped were diverse including Christian asylum seekers from Syria and other countries that had fled from religious persecution; isolated disabled and elderly people who would otherwise have spent the day on their own; and young people with mental health problems.
- Helped several local authorities organise Holocaust Memorial Day events for their communities.
- Supported the development of St Anne’s new Jewish Social and Cultural Affairs Programme.
- Held a successful Community Sherman Lecture, in partnership with the ZCC and the Centre for Jewish Studies at Manchester Jewish Museum with Professor Abigail Green of Oxford University on ‘A Century of Jewish Liberalism’.
- Jointly organised with the Zionist Central Council, the Sir Sidney and Lady Hamburger Memorial Lecture with Tim Marshall, former foreign affairs editor of Sky News. He addressed a packed audience at Prestwich Hebrew Congregation on the subject of Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbours.
- Ensured representation on the SACREs across the region and brought together the Jewish SACRE representatives to discuss common issues within our group.
- Participated in Board of Deputies mapping exercise to create a national network of Jewish Ambassadors to go into schools, colleges and community groups
- Began to develop a strategy that will see us act as a facilitator, bringing groups together to become more than the sum of their parts, enhancing what education is available to Greater Manchester Jewry.
- The Jewish Living Experience will be run, jointly with the Board of Deputies, in January 2018 at Manchester Cathedral. It will be aimed at the non-Jewish Community, mainly for school children, but will also be of interest to adults.
- Three editions of RepPresents were produced during the year showcasing the diverse work of the Council and promoting upcoming events, including many being run by our affiliates and partners.
- Several Press Releases were written to the media both prior to and following our events.
- Our Weekly Digest of events enabling affiliated organisations to save time sifting through emails to see what is relevant to pass on to their members
- Our Twitter and Facebook pages continue to reach thousands of visitors and our website continues to be the first port of call for those wishing to know about what is happening in our community with the community directory, communal diary, news and twitter feed. Many thanks to Ray Cook for keeping it updated.
- The Publicity Working Group have done a fabulous job of communicating our work to our, and the wider, community and are planning new promotional literature for 2018.
- Ran successful hustings in partnership with the JLC and Board of Deputies for the Greater Manchester Mayoral elections and for three constituencies prior to the General Election. For the latter, hustings were held in Bury South, Blackley & Broughton and Cheadle and our thanks to Holy Law, Heaton Park and Yeshurun Synagogues for their support.
- Published, with the Jewish Leadership Council, ‘A Jewish Community Manifesto for Greater Manchester’ calling on Government to honour ten pledges to the community.
- A profile review leading to the new Jewish Representative Council identity, which will be launched at the AGM.
- Workshops to develop a specification for a new, integrated internet system to include our website with blogs, calendar,database, event management, membership management and more.
- Representation to Councils, NHS, Police, CPS and other statutory bodies. We have continued to have many representatives on various bodies.
- Interfaith work where we have been key contributors to Salford Interfaith Network, Faith Network 4 Manchester, The Muslim Jewish Forum, Hindu Jewish Association and the wider Greater Manchester Interfaith Network. This has included being a partner in successful initiatives such as Big Neighbourhood Bash II and Collabor8.
- Several Press Releases responding to current issues.
- Ran a successful Councillors’ Seminar in the spring in partnership with the JLC and
Board of Deputies at Heathlands Village. The event was attended by 25 Councillors from across the North West and introduced them to the Jewish community with sessions on antisemitism, Israel, social care and education. Participants were also addressed by Sir Howard Bernstein and Ivan Lewis,MP.
- Created a higher profile at Remembrance Sunday events with a Jewish Magen David poppy appeal in conjunction with AJEX encouraging members of the community to place these at the Cenotaph.
- Organised the community’s annual Yom Hashoah Commemoration in partnership with the Second Generation society. Over 1,000 people attended the event at Audacious Conference Centre where Survivors Manya Stern, Sam Laskier, Icek Alterman, Peter Kurer, Adash Bulwa, Susie Salomon and Shalom Goldblatt lit the memorial candles in memory of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust and Ruth Lachs described her survival as a young girl in Holland under Nazi occupation.
- Visited Masjid Bilal Islamic Centre on the last Friday of Ramadan in response to the concerns of Muslim neighbours after the terror attack on Finsbury Park Mosque. Organised with the Prestwich Mission Partnership of local Anglican churches, this reciprocated an act of solidarity ten days earlier, when Mosque representatives had stood with other community leaders outside J.S. Restaurant to condemn the recent antisemitic arson attacks.
- A Variety Show of ‘Music, Comedy and more’ in February featuring local Jewish talent to celebrate the draw of our raffle. It is fair to say that this easily exceeded expectations with 180 people packing the hall at Bury Shul and 14 wonderfully talented acts. Huge thanks to Susan Isaacs and Steven Pearlman for all their work.
- Annual Quiz – A very successful event was held in November at Bowdon Shul with 19 teams from across our community and credit must be given to Barbara and Linda who make this run so smoothly.
- Year Book – This continues to be a key resource for community information as well as a major fundraiser for the Council. The updated format was welcomed by many as a far smarter publication as well as being produced at a lower cost.
- The JNet project on facebook is progressing well with over 400 members. Plans for a networking event in 2018 are also progressing.
Antisemitism & Human Rights
Worked with the Board of Deputies and Churches Together on a major initiative, Invest in Peace, involving conversations between bereaved Palestinian and Israeli parents, promoting peace and reconciliation. This resulted in an event in November at Stenecourt Shul with two bereaved parents, which was hugely appreciated by the
Highlighted to the community antisemitic, racist and human rights abuses against women and minorities through our ‘Repco-Human Rights’ facebook page and other social media and encouraged the community to advocate against antisemitism, racism and human rights abuses.
- Spoke at several Iftars and Open Days put on by Mosques across Greater Manchester
Outside of our Working Group structure, we convene the Manchester Jewish Care Forum, bringing those organisations involved in social and health care in the community together twice a year to discuss issues of common interest. Our two meetings this year enabled organisations to touch base, share some of the challenges they face and input into the Memorandum of Understanding being developed between the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership and the Faith Sector.
In just over a week it will be a year since the Manchester Arena terror attack, which claimed 22 lives. One week after the attack, our Council organised a special tehillim service that brought together over 400 Jews from all sectors of the community at the Holy Law Synagogue with the Chief Rabbi, local rabbonim and dignitaries. My particular thanks to Rabbi Benjy Simmonds for his help with this and to all those who responded so quickly.
There are so many other pieces of work, visits, events and other activities we get involved with, it is a daunting but incredibly rewarding undertaking remit that we take on. We continue to respond to numerous queries on diverse issues related to the community, from requests to undertake research; invitations for representation at forums, meetings and networks; how to provide kosher food; requests to volunteer and much more. Our thanks go to our Administrator, Laurie Burnley-Myers, who is our first contact for these queries as well as supporting our increasing workload.
Many thanks also to:
Marc Levy, North West Manager for the JLC, for his support for so many of our initiatives as well as the amazing success he has had, which complements our work;
Kate Lurie for her work on minute taking;
Our Past Presidents, Linda Jacobs and Joy Wolfe for all their support.
Our Officers, Jay, Jeremy, Susan, Clive, Jacky and Michael, and their teams, including all our Executive members and volunteers, for all their efforts that have produced such amazing achievements;
Sharon Bannister, our President, who has led this Council with great dignity and brings us great respect.
My apologies for any of our activities I have missed out and to anyone I have failed to thank. As we continue to grow, I hope that this is one task that will become ever more onerous for my successor.
The Council employs a part-time Administrator who is line managed by the Chair of Executive.
- President – Sharon Bannister. Responsible for civic matters – liaison with Lord Mayors and Mayors and other representational affairs.
- Chair of Executive – Jonny Wineberg. Responsible for operational matters including overseeing the Executive and Working Groups of the Council.
- Vice-Chair (Education) – Jeremy Michelson. Links to SACREs and Jewish Schools, oversee and develop speakers to outside agencies (schools, community groups etc.), involved in planning Sherman Lectures, Hamburger Lecture, Limmud liaison.
- Vice-Chair (Public Relations) – Jay Charara. Oversee links to Councils, NHS, Police, CST, Interfaith groups etc., Press Monitoring and Press Releases responding to current issues.
- Treasurer – Jacky Buchsbaum. Budgeting and Accounting. Fundraising – Eliciting Advertising (for Yearbook, RepPresents etc.), Sponsorship (for Quiz, Lectures etc.), run annual Raffle, Grant applications.
- Secretary – Michael Rubinstein. Chairs Antisemitism & Human Rights Working Group – Dealing with issues relating to Anti-Semitism, Racism and other human rights abuses. Involved in Yom HaShoah, issues around Shechita, Brit Mila and social media.
- Publicity Officer – Clive Moss-Barclay. Work on RepPresents, Website, Publicity Flyers for events, promotion of Council’s work including Press Releases in that regard.
- Youth & Community Officer – Susan Isaacs. Link to Jewish Youth Groups, Youth Leadership Training, New Jewish Youth Council, support for affiliates, organising events (Quiz, JNet etc), Awards, partnership work with affiliates.
The JRC Annual Report for 2017 can be downloaded in pdf file format by clicking the link below.