New Board research unit ‘not a threat to JPR’
THE BOARD of Deputies is to launch a new policy and research unit, to be overseen by a leading independent academic.
Deputies will be told at Sunday’s plenary meeting that the new unit will replace the existing community research unit.
Paul Edlin, Board vice-president in charge of communal issues, told the JC: “This is a very exciting project. It will be open to use by all communal organisations, both here and abroad. We want this to become the gold standard worldwide for Jewish policy and research in the future.”
In October last year, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) announced a major relaunch and expansion into Europe, part of which will be overseen by a leading academic. But this week its executive director Antony Lerman welcomed the Board’s proposal, saying: “I think it is a very good thing for the Board to do. If there is friendly discussion, or even friendly competition in terms of ideas, then it is all to the good of the community. I see absolutely no conflict with what JPR is doing.”
Mr Edlin said the Board felt it was a “good opportunity” to take the lead in policy and statistical research and that the Board was hoping to attract users from Anglo- and European Jewry.
But he dismissed the suggestion that the creation of the unit was the Board’s response to perceived threats to usurp its communal position by the Jewish Leadership Council and the creation of Community First in Manchester.
“The honorary officers decided it was the right time to increase the scope of the unit from only research to policy as well. We hope the whole community will benefit from the work we are doing,” he said.
Mr Edlin added: “This also provided us with an opportunity to change the governance of the unit to bring it up to date.
“It will have its own executive, who will report to the executive committee of the Board. The work it undertakes will be overseen by a leading academic, who has yet to be appointed.
“The final structure will establish a unit that will be the foremost policy, strategic and demographic research unit not only in Britain but in Europe and beyond.”
As the unit will be replacing an existing Board department, the cost will come out of existing budgets.