The JC’s Power 100 may, in the end, be no more than a bit of fun — although to judge from the anticipation with which it was awaited, it is treated extremely seriously in some quarters. But it does draw attention to a number of themes within our community. When we last compiled the list, in 2008, there was never any doubt who would be top. Lord Sacks was clearly the most influential figure both inside and outside Anglo-Jewry. And many of the names alongside him on the list remained the same from year to year. Six years on and very few communal organisations have the same people in charge. It is no insult to the current Chief Rabbi that he is not top. Ephraim Mirvis is a very different man, with different aims and a very different style, to Jonathan Sacks. A year into his tenure, he has imposed himself in many significant ways — such as his ground breaking attendance at Limmud. But Lord Sacks remains hugely influential. When he speaks, it is not just Jews who listen: so, too, does the nation.
As for the number one: it had to be Mick Davis. Given that he is one of the world’s leading businessmen, he not only gives an astonishing amount of his time to the community — he is also a major philanthropist. But there is also something very different in this year’s list. Limmud is undoubtedly the major cultural phenomenon of the past decade. Not only has it redefined the hinterland of the community, it has engendered a new and innovative self-confidence. The grassroots activism which has been so vibrant in recent weeks is in some ways a legacy of Limmud. An analysis of power and influence within Anglo-Jewry without it would be ridiculous. But there is no one figure who represents Limmud; that is its whole point. Limmud is its volunteers — and so they are now on the list. There are, of course, many others who could and perhaps should have been included. Let the debates now rage!