Leeds Jewish Representative Council's new president Hilton Lorie is making it his priority to convince young Jews that the city is a good place to live. "We have a strategy to try to attract people to Leeds," he said after Sunday's annual meeting.
There had been a good response to the council's appeal to local families for a voluntary £3 monthly levy to help fund the post of a community development officer. "We now need to find a high calibre person to take up the post." The search will be spearheaded by Robert Bartfield, who was involved in the "Leeds Jewish Future" research project.
Commitment to actions to prevent another Shoah was the focal point of Sunday’s Leeds HMD commemoration, held at the town hall and attended by 300 people.
A drama inspired by artwork by children in the Theresienstadt camp was performed by young members of the Carriageworks theatre group. Survivor Iby Knill read her poem, I Was There, and other speakers included the Lord Mayor, Councillor Judith Elliott.
Many people in Leeds tell the story of their forebears’ supposed exodus from eastern Europe to Yorkshire.
Fleeing Russian persecution, they boarded boats in the belief that they were bound for New York. But rather than seeing the Statue of Liberty, they alighted to the very different skyline of Hull, going on to Leeds to work in the clothing mills.
Whatever the veracity of the tale, Leeds became home to Britain’s third largest Jewish community, flourishing first in Chapeltown and latterly in the more affluent suburbs of Moortown and Alwoodley.
Jeremy Dunford faced his first major decision as head of Leeds’ Brodetsky Jewish Primary just two days into the job when heavy snow forced the school’s closure on Tuesday.
“It was a difficult decision and an interesting way to start my time at Brodetsky,” said Mr Dunford, 42. “We attempted to stay open but very few pupils came in and all but one of the senior members of staff were unable to get in.
“Plans have been adjusted now to allow for easier management of the site and routes into school which should allow it to stay open in future when there is snowfall.”
Sixteen Leeds teenagers have been speed dating: not to find romance, but to find out how to run the community.
The Leeds Leaders Group met representatives from 21 local organisations. And to make it engaging each teenager spoke to a community leader for 2.5 minutes. The event was held at the MAZZ Centre and organised by Zone chief executive Raina Sheaf. ‘’The evening gave future leaders much to think about,” she said.
Participant Joe Sheaf, 16, said: “I now know a lot more about how the community works.”
Leeds Leaders is funded by the Sparks Clore Development Fund.