Senior figures in Manchester’s Jewish community have attacked the Jewish Leadership Council as “an old boys’ club” that ignores regional communities in its decisions.
They also criticised controversial plans to merge the JLC with the Board of Deputies.
The president of Manchester’s Jewish Representative Council, joined by two past presidents, voiced concern that the JLC had overstepped its remit as a representational body of large Jewish organisations and was now seeking to speak for the entire community.
Past president Louis Rapaport, a member of Manchester’s Reform movement, told a meeting of the council on Sunday that, to “carry on with two organisations opposing one another is not good for the community.
“Neither is it good when public statements are made by the JLC which ought to have been made by the president of Board, which should be the pre-eminent organisation.
Mr Rapaport added that the departing JLC chief executive Jeremy Newmark had “too many times acted as spokesman for the community”.
Council president Frank Baigel praised the JLC for “good work” and increasing co-operation with Manchester’s Council in recent months, but said: “To throw away 250 years of the Board of Deputies’ credibility is very difficult, and the problem is people in JLC seem to be in enormous hurry to rush [a merger] through:
“The JLC tends to be a little bit of an old boys’ club. Its trustees make all decisions between meetings, and the quarterly meetings regional delegates are invited to are mainly just to hear reports.”
But former Manchester Representative Council president Barbara Goldstone, said the JLC should remain in its current state, recognising that the regions needed the JLC “more than they need us”.