Renewed call for board/JLC merger after chief executive steps down

The president of Liberal Judaism has called on the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council to renew efforts to unite into a single body.

Lucian Hudson said that last week’s decision by JLC chief executive Jeremy Newmark to step down for health reasons created a new opportunity.

Mr Hudson, who is a member of the JLC council, expressed sadness at Mr Newmark’s departure, saying that he was “an outstanding leader”.

But he added that the JLC “must treat this as a strategic opportunity with the Board of Deputies to create one single professional body that serves Jewish leadership. We need to be forward-looking and properly consider options, and see this as a way for the leadership of UK Jewry to be more efficient and effective, whatever temporary arrangements are put in place”.

The Board itself has been without a permanent chief executive since May following the departure of Jon Benjamin. It is currently being managed by an interim chief of operations, Andrea Kelmanson.

The unification talks hit a snag last month when JLC members cancelled a meeting with the Board of Deputies because of a row over the formation of a new political group.

The JLC was furious at not being consulted by the Board in advance about the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews, which was launched this week.

The Board is acting as secretariat for the new group.

A community-wide consultation has been planned to take place to gauge support for the idea of a merger, although details have yet to be announced.

A meeting of the liaison group discussing the issue was scheduled for this week but was cancelled at short notice.

Last updated: 4:45pm, October 10 2013