JC Power 100: Numbers 100 - 51

Who are the most influential figures shaping Jewish life in Britain? From communal activists to multi-millionaires and showbusiness celebrities, we reveal the first 50


August 28, 2014
100: Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris

100: Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris

100: Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris

As principal of London's Leo Baeck College, Dr Kahn-Harris is responsible for training the rabbis of the future for Reform and Liberal communities in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. The Texan, who came here to study in 1989, was the college's first female head when appointed three years ago. An accomplished biblical scholar, she has served as both a student chaplain and a congregational rabbi, combining extensive pastoral experience with a sharp intellect.

99: Michael Ziff

As chairman of Maccabi GB, Ziff stands centre forward for Jewish sport in the UK today, overseeing events on a national and international scale. A retail entrepreneur, he has devoted his time to nurturing his three biggest passions - Judaism, Israel, and sport - which can be seen in the way Maccabi GB has flourished under his leadership.

98: Simon Sebag-Montefiore

A prize-winning historian and author, Sebag-Montefiore is perhaps best-known for his acclaimed work Jerusalem: A Biography. Published in 2011, it was feted by the likes of Bill Clinton and made into a three-part documentary for the BBC, presented by the historian himself. Sebag-Montefiore is the scion of a powerful banking family and the great-great nephew of Moses Montefiore, he counts royals, politicians and wealthy businessmen among his connections. His wife, Santa, is said to be close friends with Prince Charles.

97: Judy Ironside

As the founder and executive director of UK Jewish Film, Ironside has been the inspiration and driving force behind one of the major cultural successes of the Jewish community. Started in 1997 in Brighton, the festival has grown into a nationwide celebration of international Jewish-themed cinema, attracting more than 150,000 visitors over the course of its 17-years. This year, Ironside has had to weather the storm created by the Tricycle Theatre's boycott of the festival.

96: Adam Ognall

Since his appointment as chief executive of the New Israel Fund UK in 2010, Ognall has been widely praised for his fundraising efforts, culminating annually with the flagship Human Rights Awards dinner - 2013's event raised £240,000. In recent years, NIF has been attacked by right-wing groups over its progressive social justice agenda - tackling poverty, promoting religious tolerance, cultivating co-existence and preserving the environment. But under Ognall's guidance, the recipe continues to appeal to many in Anglo-Jewry.

95: Rabbi Jeremy Conway

The Kosher Nosh Guide is the snacker's bible, and for this and other indispensable aids to Jewish eating, we have the Kashrut Division of the London Beth Din to thank. Its energetic director Rabbi Jeremy Conway presides over a kosher supervision industry which pours well over
£1 million into the coffers of the United Synagogue. He also oversees the growing number of eruvs.

94: Jonathan Arkush

The vice-president of the Board of Deputies is widely expected to be among the front-runners for the top job in 2015. The property lawyer is acknowledged as one of the community's hardest-working campaigners, particularly on university campuses, in the fight against antisemitism and as a mediator for the community.

93: Howard Leigh

The former Jewish Care trustee and president of Westminster Synagogue was ennobled by David Cameron last year. As Conservative Party treasurer he made donations to the party totalling more than £200,000 and ran the Leaders' Group which gave supporters the chance to dine with the Prime Minister for a £50,000 annual membership fee. Lord Leigh has a long-standing record of supporting Jewish communal groups. His House of Lords coat of arms features the famous Hillel saying: "if not now, when?"

92: Leonie Lewis

Heading the Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN) means Lewis is responsible for bridging the gap between hundreds of charities and would-be volunteers - a fitting job for someone who has been influential across numerous Jewish platforms. With interests in faith, youth work and community development, Lewis has stood as a role model for Orthodox women, not least through her jobs as co-chair of the Faith Forum in London and community director of the United Synagogue.

91: Paul Harris

As editor of the Manchester-based Jewish Telegraph, Paul Harris has maintained a loyal following among the northern Jewish constituencies - from Leeds to Glasgow. The publication was famously set up by his parents, Frank and Vivienne Harris, in their Salford dining room in 1950, with £50 and a borrowed typewriter.

90: Jeff Shear

A leading fundraiser specialising in major donor campaigns. Shear was once Jewish Care's associate chief executive and has helped many charities boost their ability to raise cash. He also leads training courses helping fundraisers to hone their skills.

89: Clive Lawton

The non-conformist who prefers sandals to suits is the unofficial spiritual leader of Limmud, helping to transform it from British-Jewry's best-kept secret to its most celebrated export. A charismatic lecturer who is a regular at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, he showed a generation that Jewish education is the place to be.

88: Alex Brummer

Alex Brummer often faces questions about his move across the political spectrum from the left-leaning Guardian to the right-wing Daily Mail, where he is now city editor. But the hard-hitting journalist has often used his columns to focus on boycotts of businesses with links with Israel. He defended his paper over its coverage of Ed Miliband's father. A well-respected vice-president of the Board of Deputies.

87: Naomi Alderman

With Geoffrey Alderman as a father, one could easily fall silent in the shadows - but not so Naomi. One of the leading young writers on Jewish-related themes, she won acclaim early in her career, picking up the Orange Award for New Writers, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and Granta's Best of Young British Novelists 2013. Also the co-creator of the successful iPhone game, Zombies Run!

86: Andrew Gilbert

The Labour stalwart and former chairman of the Reform movement is a consummate communal politician who takes a close interest in what goes on in the salons of British-Jewish leadership. Representing UJIA on the Board of Deputies, expect him to play a significant campaign role behind the scenes in the election of the Board president next year. He has been a force in the growth of Limmud and particularly its take-up by other countries.

85: Nicola Mendelsohn

85: Nicola Mendelsohn

85: Nicola Mendelsohn

Proof perhaps that you can have it all, Mendelsohn has combined a high-flying advertising career with marriage to Labour peer Lord Mendelsohn and the raising of four children. She was appointed head of Facebook's European operation in 2013 after setting up her own advertising agency, Karmarama, and becoming the first female president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. Regarded as an inspiration to young women, she had her own role model in her mother, kosher caterer Celia Clyne. Manchester-born, Mendelsohn describes herself as "a proper northern lass".

84: Stephen Pack

The genial president of the United Synagogue was recently elected unopposed for a second term as head of the community's largest religious organisation. He chaired the selection panel for Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and, when moves to enable women to become synagogue chairs and US trustees seemed stalled, he helped to see them through. He does not seek to be a power-player on the wider communal stage but is a voice of common sense in the Jewish Leadership Council.

83: Louise Jacobs

As Chief Executive of London Jewish Cultural Centre, she oversees the running of one of the leading providers of Jewish education and culture. The mother-of-three considers herself lucky to be working in what she says is the best building in north London - Ivy House, LJCC's base in Golders Green, and the elegant former home of prima ballerina Anna Pavlova. More than 1,700 people come through its doors each week.

82: Jonni Berger

When his mother fell ill and needed a bone marrow transplant, Berger ran an innovative campaign which persuaded thousands of Jews to sign up to the Anthony Nolan Trust bone marrow register. The Spit4Mum project is thought to be responsible for the largest concentration of stem cells donors being in Jewish areas of London.

81: Giles Coren

Among the seemingly limitless ranks of restaurant critics, Coren stands out as much for the quality of his writing as the discernment of his palate. And that writing regularly draws on his background. With his unique style, he is one of the leading and most influential Jewish writers around. His regular television appearances have brought him to the attention of an even wider audience.

80: Gillian Merron

It is too early to predict the impact of the former Labour health minister who came to the Board of Deputies as its new chief executive in July. She will bring political savvy to an organisation often outwitted by the Jewish Leadership Council but also has to keep the peace with the JLC as the two bodies continue to talk about merger. She should be a credible public face of the Board - but will she be able to keep her honorary officers on a tight rein?

79: Stanley Fink

Multimillionaire hedge-fund manager Lord Fink bankrolled Boris Johnson's bid to become London mayor, became co-treasurer and chief fundraiser of the Conservative Party, and was ennobled in 2010. One of the City's sharpest minds, he is widely regarded as a genuinely nice guy and was brought up in an Orthodox family before moving to a Liberal synagogue in north-west London with his wife, Barbara. He has raised millions of pounds for children's hospitals and is patron of a number of Jewish charities.

78: Miles Webber

The former director of Labour Friends of Israel, Webber has turned his attention to sourcing the best young leaders in the community as the chair of the JLC's Gamechangers project. A former UJIA committee chair, the Manchester University graduate is one of the best placed front-runners to guide the direction of a new generation of communal leadership.

77: Elaine Kerr

As chief executive of Norwood, Kerr leads one of the community's key charities. She arrived in 2011 after four years as CEO of Chai Cancer Care and a successful career in the public health sector, where she held several board posts. Regarded as a no-nonsense character with a quietly effective approach to her role.

76: Jonathan Goldstein

The man behind the regeneration of the Redbridge campus incorporating King Soloman and Ilford primary schools. He was called in by the JLC to take radical action to preserve the character of Jewish education in the east London borough. "The infrastructure is here for a vibrant Jewish school," he has said.

75: Poju Zabludowicz

The Finnish billionaire rose to prominence in the community in 2001 as the founder of the Israel advocacy group, Bicom. Since then, he has been active in communal affairs and as a donor to David Cameron and the Conservative Party, giving £131,805 in 2010. He is said to be close friends with both Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres, and is reportedly the largest landowner in Las Vegas through his property company, Tamares Real Estate.

74: Benzion Freshwater

The strictly Orthodox property investor and his family are crucial to the charitable economy of the Charedi community. A long list of educational, welfare and other causes in the UK and Israel benefit from their deep pockets. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, the Freshwaters gave away over £16 million in the past year.

73: Harry Styles

The One Direction star may not be Jewish but he seems very much at ease with a Jewish lifestyle. He was pictured wearing a silver Star of David at the Teen Choice awards and makes regular references to Jewish life on Twitter, hangs out at kosher eateries and is not afraid to throw the odd Yiddish word or two into the conversation. Thanks to his close relationship with Jewish music video director Ben Winston, his Jewish knowledge is stronger than one has any right to expect from a 20-year-old boy-band singer from rural Cheshire. Thanks to Styles, millions of British teens have become familiar with Purim, Pesach and shepping nachas.

72: Trevor Chinn

A former businessman and serial philanthropist with strong ties to the Labour party, some suggest that his influence is on the wane after stepping down as a JLC trustee. Nevertheless, he remains active as president of the UJIA, and in his role as a senior advisor for a major private equity firm. Publicity shy, he hit the headlines earlier this month over his role in the Tricycle Theatre boycott row. His son Simon is double-Oscar-winning film producer.

71: Richard Ferrer

Ferrer has become a leading voice on Jewish matters during his time as editor of the London freesheet Jewish News. Overseeing a revamped website and new community section, he has seen the publication's popularity grow. On TV, he has carved a niche as a commentator on Jewish issues. His appearance on the critically panned Channel 4 series Jewish Mum of the Year in 2012 allowed him to reach an even wider audience, but may not be regarded as his finest hour.

70: Jacob Rothschild

Regarded as one of the most significant philanthropists in the community, the fourth Baron Rothschild has dedicated a sizeable portion of the family's fortune to charitable causes and the arts. His Yad Hanadiv foundation helped provide the funds to build the Knesset and the Supreme Court buildings in Israel. A former trustee of the National Gallery and a key figure in the restoration of Somerset House and Waddesdon Manor, the Rothschild home in Buckinghamshire, he is honorary president of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

69: Gail Ronson

The ultimate lady who lunches. Dame Gail gave up her career as model when she married tycoon Gerald Ronson at the age of 21. Clearly the power behind the throne when it comes to the couple's philanthropic efforts, she has raised hundreds of thousands for charities, including Norwood, UJIA and the one closest to her heart, Jewish Care, of which she is deputy president. It is thought this is possibly driven by a desire not to live in her husband's shadow. "He was successful at a very early age," she has said. "I didn't want to be left behind." She was appointed president of the Royal National Institute for the Blind in 2012.

68: Paul Anticoni

Although Not yet 50, Anticoni is one of the longest serving chief executives of a communal organisation. But the father-of-two hates wearing a suit and once aspired to be a farmer. For 12 years, he worked with the British Red Cross and headed their disaster operations in high-risk conflict zones. He has brought drive and vigour to World Jewish Relief, pushing forward humanitarian projects in Haiti, the former Soviet Union and, more controversially, Syria.

67: Ita Symons

The Stamford Hill-based Agudas Israel Housing Association is a lifeline to many Charedi families, providing affordable housing in a city where the cost of accommodation is spiralling. Its founding chief executive is the formidable Ita Symons, who arrived here as a young refugee from Poland in 1946. Not a woman to mince her words if she feels her community is being shortchanged.

66: Baroness Deech

A celebrated leader and noted academic, Baroness Deech has trail-blazed the way forward for Jewish women in the fields of law, science, education and politics. She has been principal of St Anne's College, Oxford, a governor of the BBC, and is currently chair of the Bar Standards Board. Other roles include membership of the JLC and of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews.

65: Bentzi Sudak

The chief executive of the Lubavitch Foundation in Britain, Rabbi Sudak has overseen the rapid expansion of the organisation across all aspects of Jewish life. A former media director of Chabad in the United States, he is credited with developing online resources that have attracted a new generation of supporters. Education is another key area - he has worked to promote schools in Stamford Hill and Chabad houses on university campuses. Affable, polite and welcoming, his stock should rise.

64: Louise Ellman

The veteran Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside is a stalwart of Jewish leadership and campaigning. Ellman can always be called on to defend Israel on the green benches, and regularly contributes at the Board of Deputies and for the Jewish Labour Movement. The former Lancashire County Council leader chairs the influential Transport Select Committee.

63: Naftali Schiff

After years of widespread mistrust from the communal establishment, the Aish executive director believes his organisation has truly arrived as a force in Anglo-Jewry. Since 1999 he has raised at least £35 million for Aish UK and its sister charities, ensuring a strong presence on university campuses and schools across the country to counter assimilation and intermarriage.

62: Maureen Lipman

The film, theatre and television actress is a high-profile advocate of Jewish causes, especially Israel. Still known for her role as Beatrice Bellman, the archetypal Jewish grandmother in a series of television commercials for British Telecom, she is on the editorial advisory board of Jewish Renaissance magazine and is an accomplished writer as well as actor. Definite national treasure candidate.

61: Mike Freer

The Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green is among the strongest advocates for the Jewish community in Parliament. A former Barnet Council leader, the affable backbencher is a popular character in both his constituency and Westminster. Although he is not Jewish, Freer is warmly received at the many synagogues and charity events he attends. Also an acclaimed campaigner for gay rights.

60: Kate Goldberg

Chief executive of the Wohl Foundation, the largest donor to the UK community, for the past five years, Goldberg has managed and allocated its funding projects, ensuring the generous legacy left by Maurice and Vivienne Wohl continues to do inconceivable amounts of good for the whole community.

59: Simon Johnson

The Jewish Leadership Council's chief executive is a new face on the communal leadership scene. A high-flier who led the Football Association's bid to host the 2018 World Cup alongside David Beckham, David Cameron and Prince William, he is renowned for his networking prowess. Johnson is a Prestwich-born sports lawyer and chair of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue. He has widely-impressed since arriving at the JLC with his polite manner and straightforward approach. He has a range of interests in the wider community, and is a non-executive director of the Rugby Football League.

58: Melanie Philips

A staunch advocate for Israel and a prolific writer (now with The Times), she has been an influential voice, also racking up the column inches for the JC, in a media career spanning well-over three decades. In 2013 she stepped down as a Daily Mail columnist and in the same year launched an ebook publishing company focusing on the US market.

57: Edward Misrahi

Well-known for his activism in Jewish and Israeli organisations - in particular educational bodies. The Spanish-born businessman, a founding partner of Ronit Capital, is co-chair of governors at Immanuel College and chair of governors at Naima JPS.

56: Michael Gove

Deposed as Education Secretary but still in the Cabinet as Chief Whip, Gove remains the most ardent Zionist in the government. He paid his first visit to Israel last year after overcoming a fear of flying. Equally determined in criticising Islamic extremism and supporting faith schools, Gove regularly attended Jewish communal events. His decision to relent on allowing Hebrew to be placed on a list of Department for Education-approved languages for primary schools was a victory for the community. His career future should be clearer after next year's election - a return to journalism or another top government job are both possible.

55: Dina Brawer

The Italy-born informal educator is the first UK ambassador for American group, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. While juggling a day-job at Jewish Care, she has pushed forward Jofa UK educational seminars and pamphlets in the hope that more women will take an active role in Orthodox Judaism.

54: Adrian Cohen

Boris Johnson has his mobile number on speed dial - or if he doesn't, he should. Cohen has been chair of the London Jewish Forum since 2006 promoting the interests of the capital's Jewish community with the Greater London Authority and the mayor's office. He is deputy for Highgate United Synagogue on the Board of Deputies and an influential member of Labour Friends of Israel. When not involved in communal and London matters, he is a partner in the banking and finance practice of international law firm Clifford Chance LLP.

53: Debbie Fox

In 2005, she was a Jewish Care volunteer. Now she is the organisation's vice-chair. One of a new generation of female communal leaders, she is a well-regarded contributor to many of the largest Jewish charities as a board member, advisor, donor and fundraiser, including UJIA and Lead. She is a member of the JLC's Commission into Women in Jewish Leadership. A solicitor and former law lecturer, she is also a qualified Pilates trainer.

52: Michael Wegier

The captain of a major communal ship, as chief executive of UJIA, Wegier is a key influence on the community's relationship with Israel. He is well qualified - he spent his gap year in the country, made aliyah in 1990, and spent five years as executive director of the Melitz educational institute in Jerusalem. Appointed UJIA CEO in 2012 after a spell as the charity's director of programme and planning from 2002 to 2007. A key figure behind the new plan to invest £240 million into Jewish education in the diaspora, he has professed the view that aliyah was "bad for the British Jewish community" but a price worth paying as it represented the "ideal form of Jewish living". He has said: "I believe a passionate commitment to the Jewish people, to Judaism, is linked with a passionate connection to Israel." He and his Chilean-born wife, Daniela, have three children.

51: Lord Kestenbaum

Lord Sacks, Lord Rothschild, Ed Miliband - all have reason to thank Jonathan Kestenbaum. The Tokyo-born innovation and technology expert was the first director of Chief Rabbi Sacks's office; he is chief operating officer at RIT Capital Partners PLC, the investment trust founded by Lord Rothschild, and chairman of Five Arrows Limited, the investment company controlled by Lord Rothschild's family interests. And as a Labour peer, he has guided Ed Miliband's attempts to win over the Jewish community. He is also the closest Anglo-Jewry gets to Arsene Wenger - a former Maccabiah player himself and a devoted Arsenal fan, his Team GB class of 2009 came close to winning Maccabiah gold - losing narrowly to Argentina in the final on penalties. He will be president of Team Maccabi GB at the 2015 European Maccabi Games in Berlin.

Last updated: 9:42pm, September 10 2014