New Board re­search unit ‘not a threat to JPR’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEON SY­MONS

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.

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