The key in­flu­ences

The Jewish Chronicle - - News -

WE PRESENT week two of our count­down of those who ex­ert the great­est in­flu­ence within Bri­tish Jewry. An in­de­pen­dent panel of judges (listed on page 6) con­sid­ered nom­i­na­tions from JC read­ers and added some of their own be­fore ar­gu­ing out the com­po­si­tion of the 100. Judges’ chair­man Ben Rich — a se­nior pub­lic-af­fairs pro­fes­sional who ad­vises com­mu­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions — ex­plains that the main cri­te­rion for in­clu­sion is im­pact, in what­ever form, on UK Jewish life. This has ex­cluded some well-known Jews whose power is con­fined largely to the wider com­mu­nity. Next week, we will re­veal the top 30 and then ask for your opin­ions on the panel’s se­lec­tions


31(New) Cred­ited with im­prov­ing the com­mu­nity’s re­la­tions with Ken Liv­ing­stone through his chair­man­ship of the Lon­don Jewish Fo­rum, which pro­motes the in­ter­ests of the cap­i­tal’s Jewry with the Greater Lon­don Author­ity. The fo­rum draws its mem­ber­ship from across the re­li­gious and po­lit­i­cal spec­trums. A part­ner at Lon­don law firm Clifford Chance spe­cial­is­ing in in­sol­vency and cor­po­rate re­con­struc­tion, Mr Co­hen is a past chair of the Union of Jewish Stu­dents who has also been con­venor of the Ca­nary Wharf ke­hilla. He would prob­a­bly have been higher on the list had he not been on sab­bat­i­cal in Is­rael.


32(15) The drop in po­si­tion of the ed­u­ca­tional phi­lan­thropist is the re­sult of the on­go­ing de­bate on whether the Jewish school bub­ble has burst — a re­port from the Board of Deputies’ Com­mu­nity Pol­icy Re­search Group sug­gests an ex­cess of Jewish day-school pri­mary and sec­ondary places within five years in the main­stream sec­tor. How­ever, Mr Perl re­mains bullish, declar­ing: “We have been told on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, ‘We don’t need more schools’, yet ev­ery one I have opened is now full.” Mr Perl’s sup­port has been cru­cial to the build­ing of a num­ber of Ortho­dox schools here and in Is­rael. His Hunt­ing­don Foun­da­tion takes its ti­tle from the Cam­bridgeshire lo­ca­tion of his gift com­pany.


33(26) As chief ex­ec­u­tive of UJIA, Doug Krik­ler oc­cu­pies one of hottest seats within An­glo-Jewry. In the words of one panel mem­ber, the 42-year-old Lon­doner has “learnt a lot from the Ger­ald Ron­son school of man­age­ment... he runs a tight ship”. He has taken over the reins at a time the char­ity is com­mit­ted to an am­bi­tious fundrais­ing pro­gramme, ex­pand­ing its ed­u­ca­tional work and di­rect­ing money to help al­le­vi­ate poverty in Arab towns and vil­lages. He was pre­vi­ously ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust and di­rec­tor of the Mai­monides Foun­da­tion, pro­mot­ing Mus­lim-Jewish re­la­tions.


34(88) The vet­eran prop­erty player is a hugely sup­port­ive pres­ence to ed­u­ca­tional projects in­clud­ing the Kisharon spe­cial-ed­u­ca­tion school and out­reach or­gan­i­sa­tion Project Seed. He es­tab­lished the Rachel Char­i­ta­ble Trust — which has helped more than 30 spe­cial-needs schools to achieve spe­cial­ist sta­tus — and is the Spe­cial­ist Schools and Acad­e­mies Trust’s Spon­sor of the Year. He re­cently hosted the an­nual Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust din­ner. Mr Noe is the found­ing part­ner at REIT As­set Man­age­ment, whose global port­fo­lio of prop­er­ties un­der man­age­ment is val­ued at over six bil­lion euros.


(45) The Bury South MP and Care Ser­vices Min­is­ter is keenly at­tuned to the wel­fare de­mands of his con­stituents, hav­ing been chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Manch­ester Jewish Fed­er­a­tion prior to his elec­tion in 1997. Re­garded as a good con­stituency MP, work­ing as­sid­u­ously to im­prove lo­cal ameni­ties, he is pas­sion­ate about his min­is­te­rial brief. Has the happy knack of be­ing able to get peo­ple work­ing to­gether. In March, he ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of be­ing out of touch with or­di­nary vot­ers, al­beit adding: “This is not a crit­i­cism of Gor­don [Brown].”


36(New) Our judges feel the for­mer Rochdale Labour MP is find­ing her feet at Bicom, the Bri­tain Is­rael Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Re­search Cen­tre, de­voted to im­prov­ing Is­rael’s im­age in the UK. They de­scribe her as “po­lit­i­cally as­tute and us­ing her out­sider [non-Jewish] sta­tus to her ad­van­tage”. Ms Fitzsi­mons, 40, was pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Union of Stu­dents from 1992-94. Her first visit to Is­rael was as an NUS ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber. Elected to the Com­mons in 1997, she be­came a Labour Friends of Is­rael mem­ber. She set up a con­sul­tancy af­ter nar­rowly los­ing Rochdale to the Lib-Dems in 2005 and took up the Bicom post in late 2006.


(New) A low-key prop­erty ty­coon who gives some­thing back as one of North-West Lon­don’s lead­ing bene­fac­tors of the Charedi com­mu­nity. As well as back­ing lo­cal en­ter­prises, Mr Gert­ner looks sym­pa­thet­i­cally on ap­peals to lend small sums to in­di­vid­u­als on an in­ter­est-free ba­sis — for ex­am­ple, to­wards a de­posit on a house. The 50-year-old and his brother Mendi, 48, also have in­ter­ests in cop­per and the Gert­ners are val­ued at £430 mil­lion in the latest Sun­day Times Rich List.


(62) The part­ner in le­gal firm Ber­win Leighton Pais­ner puts his ex­per­tise at the dis­posal of a great many com­mu­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions, among them the Weiz­mann In­sti­tute Foun­da­tion, the Ox­ford Cen­tre for He­brew and Jewish Stud­ies, the Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tional Trust and the Pin­cus Fund for Jewish ed­u­ca­tion in the di­as­pora. Mr Pais­ner, 64, has been an ad­viser to Tony Blair and was awarded a CBE for char­i­ta­ble ser­vices in 2004.


39(93) The private-eq­uity boss and phi­lan­thropist has the ear of Gor­don Brown, al­though he diplo­mat­i­cally couches him­self as “a friend of the Prime Min­is­ter, just as I was a friend of Tony Blair”. How­ever, his rise up the Power 100 rec- og­nises the Cairo-born busi­ness­man’s in­creas­ing ef­forts to ease the path to Mid­dle East peace. His Port­land Trust en­deav­ours to bol­ster eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Gaza and the West Bank. In Jan­uary, the 62-year-old launched a £500 mil­lion Pales­tinian hous­ing project at the Her­zliya con­fer­ence of world Jewish lead­ers. “Pol­i­tics and se­cu­rity have al­ways been on the agenda,” he noted. “It is en­cour­ag­ing now to see eco­nomics com­ing into the pic­ture.” Sir Ron­ald co-founded Apax Part­ners, a global private-eq­uity group ad­vis­ing on funds to­talling $35 bil­lion. His third wife is film pro­ducer Sharon Harel.


40(New) Seen as the younger face of the Lon­don Beth Din, Dayan Abra­ham is mak­ing an im­pact on the syn­a­gogue cir­cuit as an en­gag­ing and in­for­ma­tive lec­turer. Lon­don-born, he ar­rived at the Beth Din af­ter a peri­patetic ex­is­tence which took in stud­ies in Gateshead and New Jer­sey, mar­riage in Aus­tralia and fur­ther stud­ies in Jerusalem. Re­turn­ing to Melbourne, he be­came rabbi of Caulfield He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion in 1995, join­ing the Melbourne Beth Din two years later. In­vited to join the Lon­don author­ity in 2001, he has be­come in­volved in or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing Tribe and the Jewish As­so­ci­a­tion for Busi­ness Ethics.


(72) A non-Jew de­voted to Holo­caust ed­u­ca­tion, Stephen Smith founded the Beth Shalom Holo­caust Cen­tre in Not­ting­hamshire in 1995 with his brother James as “a place of ed­u­ca­tion, me­mory, tes­ti­mony, art, academia and so much more be­sides”. The cen­tre of­fers fa­cil­i­ties for peo­ple of all ages and back­grounds to ex­plore the his­tory and im­pli­ca­tions of the Shoah. Its suc­cess led to his in­volve­ment in the Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day Trust, which he chairs. The trust is re­spon­si­ble for the na­tional HMD com­mem­o­ra­tion, which will next year be in Coven­try on the theme of “Stand up to Ha­tred”.


42(39) The New North Lon­don Syn­a­gogue min­is­ter has been en­joy­ing a dog’s life of late — a 100-mile walk in the com­pany of his pet Mitz­pah to raise funds for the shul’s build­ing de­vel­op­ment. The trek, tak­ing in places re­flect­ing “the val­ues to which the com­mu­nity as­pires”, typ­i­fies the en­ter­prise of the lead­ing voice of Ma­sorti in Bri­tain, who has turned his Finch­ley con­gre­ga­tion into one of the coun­try’s largest and most in­flu­en­tial. Glas­gow-born Rabbi Wit­ten­berg, 50, is also a gifted speaker and writer and is ac­tive in Jewish-Mus­lim di­a­logue.


43(21) A ma­jor Manch­ester ed­u­ca­tional player and phi­lan­thropist, whose goal is for young peo­ple to grow up with a Jewish iden­tity. To this end, he is an un­stint­ing sup­porter of the Manch­ester King David School, of which he is gov­er­nors’ chair­man. Mr Rowe was one of the fiercest crit­ics of Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Ed Balls for nam­ing faith schools said to have breached the gov­ern­ment’s ad­mis­sions pol­icy, ar­gu­ing: “You are not deal­ing with gang­sters, but peo­ple who give their time for the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity.” The qual­i­fied pilot is also a re­spected Manch­ester speaker on other is­sues of con­cern.


44(56) Progress up the list for the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive recog­nises that the JLC is “be­gin­ning to find its legs” in its mis­sion to en­hance the ef­fec­tive­ness of the com­mu­nity’s po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, in­flu­ence strate­gic pri­or­i­ties and en­cour­age greater co­op­er­a­tion. A savvy and diplo­matic op­er­a­tor, the 35-year-old built his rep­u­ta­tion as an ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, hav­ing pre­vi­ously served the Board of Deputies as in­ter­na­tion­alaf­fairs of­fi­cer. Af­ter his stint for the Chief Rabbi, he ran a con­sul­tancy work­ing for a num­ber of Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tions and was di­rec­tor of the An­tisemitism Co­or­di­na­tion Unit, mon­i­tor­ing threats in the UK and abroad.


45(13) The long-time spir­i­tual head of the Span­ish and Por­tuguese Jews’ Con­gre­ga­tion is liked and re­spected as a voice for unity and mod­er­a­tion. But judges ar­gued that his rank­ing last year re­flected deference to the Sephardi com­mu­nity rather than an ac­cu­rate as­sess­ment of his in­flu­ence. Gi­bral­tar­born Rabbi Levy, 68, pre­sides over his com­mu­nity’s largest syn­a­gogue, Laud­erdale Road in Maida Vale. He founded the Naima Jewish Pri­mary School and su­per­vises the UK’s only mod­ern Ortho­dox rab­bini­cal or­di­na­tion course.


46(18) There was a di­ver­gence of views among the panel over the plac­ing of the 56year-old ed­u­ca­tion­ist. His sup­port­ers laud him as one of the com­mu­nity’s most charis­matic per­son­al­i­ties, ex­press­ing ad­mi­ra­tion for his chair­man­ship of Tzedek, the UK-based over­seas-de­vel­op­ment char­ity which works with some of the world’s poor­est com­mu­ni­ties. The for­mer Liver­pool King David High head and Liver­pool ed­u­ca­tional author­ity deputy di­rec­tor was a ma­jor force be­hind the rise of the cross-con­gre­ga­tional Lim­mud ed­u­ca­tional project.


47(New) A steady hand in the progress of chil­dren and fam­ily char­ity Nor­wood, Norma Brier has served as chief ex­ec­u­tive since 1997. Fam­ily break­down ac­counts for a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of Nor­wood’s caseload and Mrs Brier, 58, points out that such cir­cum­stances can leave chil­dren in a “very vul­ner­a­ble state, need­ing a great deal of sup­port at a time when they might not be get­ting it from their fam­ily”. She was for­merly ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ravenswood Foun­da­tion, a lec­turer in so­cial work and a psy­chi­atric so­cial worker.


48(New) The re­search pro­fes­sor in mod­ern his­tory at Royal Hol­loway, Univer­sity of Lon­don, is one of Bri­tain’s fore­most au­thor­i­ties on the Holo­caust and ad­vised the Home Of­fice unit re­spon­si­ble for Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day. He has writ­ten widely on the sub­ject and was en­gaged as a con­sul­tant to TV doc­u­men­taries on Nurem­berg and Auschwitz. Pro­fes­sor Ce­sarani was pre­vi­ously di­rec­tor of the Parkes Cen­tre for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish re­la­tions at Southamp­ton Univer­sity. Awarded an OBE in 2005 for ser­vices to Holo­caust ed­u­ca­tion, the 51-year-old has been over­see­ing a ma­jor re­search project on Jewish phi­lan­thropy and so­cial de­vel­op­ment in Europe (1800-1940).


49(9) The long-serv­ing Maiden­head Re­form min­is­ter re­mains a ca­pa­ble me­dia per­former and has added a new string to a size­able bow as chair of the As­sem­bly of Re­form Rab­bis. But some on our panel con­sid­ered his 2007 top 10 plac­ing some­what gen­er­ous. The 53-year-old min­is­ter has helped his con­gre­ga­tion grow from 80 fam­i­lies to 700 over the past 30 years. A


34 Leo Noe


39 Sir Ron­ald Co­hen

36 Lorna Fitzsi­mons


44 Jeremy New­mark

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