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

By Simon Rocker, October 10, 2013

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: 5:45pm, October 10 2013