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New Mersey leader wants to give youth a voice

Rep council chair Howard Winik wants pupils and students to have greater involvement

    The new chair of Merseyside Jewish Representative Council is looking to youth.

    Howard Winik, who succeeds Michelle Hayward at the rep council helm, is excited by the imminent appointment of its first youth president.

    “We have a very active JLGB but we want to get young people involved in leadership,” he said. “And we have students here from outside the city who we need to engage with in the hope that some might stay.”

    In a move towards greater involvement of all ages in Liverpool Jewish life, this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration will be more family friendly.

    A lifelong Liverpudlian, Mr Winik headed a busy local dental surgery. He sold the practice in 2003 and later worked as a specialist adviser and associate inspector for the Care Quality Commission. Appointed a magistrate in 1990, at the age of 31, he chaired the City bench from 2005-2007.

    He is now retired, which will allow him to devote more time to rep council duties.

    Mr Winik, a member of the city’s historic Princes Road Synagogue, said Liverpool Jewry faced the issues common to dwindling communities, although numbers had stabilised in recent years.

    “We have a fantastic infrastructure, including a seamless welfare provision from cradle to grave and the King David [schools] campus,” where he teaches Jewish studies on a voluntary basis.

    “And there are a lot of people who are prepared to give up their time to work for the community. If people want to practice their Judaism, we have everything here for them.”

    Mr Winik added that evidence of the high level of co-operation within the community was that his vice-chairs were Paul Levinson, chair of Liverpool Reform, and Paul Schwartz from the fledgling Masorti congregation.

    Although local Jewish MPs Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman have been targets of antisemitism, Mr Winik maintained that Liverpool in general was “exemplary in terms of religious and racial tolerance. We have had very few antisemitic incidents.

    “In these difficult times, it is so important that we keep the profile of the community high.”

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