London joins global Jewish cities

Jewish communities from the greatest cities across the globe are to be linked for the first time through the World Jewish Cities Project.

The new scheme was launched by London and New York when the London Jewish Forum met representatives of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council in the American city last week.

In the first phase of the project, Paris and Budapest will be approached to join and in the second phase Buenos Aires in Argentina, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo in Brazil, and Johannesburg in South Africa.

LJF chief executive Alex Goldberg said: "This is a very exciting initiative that has been born out of a scheme called '40 Cities' that was started while Ken Livingstone was mayor of London. The NYJCRC and the LJF have agreed to work together and we have formed links to take this forward.

"We believe cities are the future because today they are global and they have powerful mayors. There are great city Jewish communities who are of a certain size and dynamic who have built up relations with other communities and governments that would benefit from being brought together."

One example he pointed to was a medical and welfare link between NYJCRC and Jerusalem and which London has been invited to join.

"We will be talking to the key groups that make up the LJF about whether or not we will join," said Mr Goldberg.

As well as welfare and medical matters, the project will cover such diverse areas as education, development, leadership training, how the different communities deal with their city authorities and government and areas where they can form partnerships and exchange ideas.

"We are talking about some communities that have major infrastructures and can share their experiences of dealing with local and national government with those that maybe don't have as much experience.

"One area that will be examined is migration patterns. The NYJCRC wants to get in touch with British and Russian Jews there while we would like to hear from New York Jews living in London. This will open up all sorts of opportunities for us and for them," said Mr Goldberg.

    Last updated: 9:39am, November 18 2008