Leeds woos leaders

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 31, 2011

A fashion photographer, print advertising executive and a barber could be the next leaders of Leeds' Jewish community.

They are just three of the diverse group of people joining UJIA's 10 latest recruits to its lay leadership course which started on Sunday.

UJIA's Deborah Selwyn said it is hoped that the year-long course will develop the "very mixed bunch" into the next generation of community bastions.

"Training will include strategical planning, leadership skills, approaches to fundraising and the centrality of Israel in leadership. They will be visiting London, meeting Manchester's UJIA course members and the Chief Rabbi," said Ms Selwyn. "The group has a wide range of ages and focuses, and some are people who may not have been affiliated with the community, which is what the course is about."

Fashion photographer David Dresser, 49, said he was convinced to join only because his wife had completed one of the two previous courses. Also a qualified solicitor, he returned to live in Leeds following stints in London, America and Israel, and now believes his experience could be used for the good of the community.

"This group widens the range of people who could get into communal roles rather than self-appointed leaders or certain types of personalities. My idea is to help get people who may be alienated or uncomfortable and broaden their community involvement."

Last updated: 12:43pm, March 31 2011