The most in­flu­en­tial in Jewish life

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPECIAL REPORT -

RICHARD BEN­SON

23(44) Not one to seek the lime­light, the Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive ful­fils a cru­cial role in over­see­ing se­cu­rity at syn­a­gogues, Jewish schools and other com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions and around 1,000 com­mu­nal events through trained and ded­i­cated vol­un­teers. In­deed, Mr Ben­son’s ini­tial in­volve­ment in the trust was as a vol­un­teer in the early 1990s. The CST has won the ad­mi­ra­tion of po­lice and gov­ern­ment. Visit­ing its Hen­don head­quar­ters last month, Home Sec­re­tary Jac­qui Smith praised its work and co­op­er­a­tion with the au­thor­i­ties. Mr Ben­son was pre­vi­ously in the prop­erty field.

ME­LANIE PHILLIPS

24(5) The tren­chant writer, au­thor and blog­ger is one of Is­rael’s strong­est me­dia sup­port­ers. Nor does she pull her punches when com­ment­ing on po­lit­i­cal and so­cial is­sues. But the con­tro­ver­sial JC and Daily Mail colum­nist can bit­terly di­vide opin­ion — and our panel ques­tioned the ex­tent of her in­flu­ence on Bri­tish Jews. Born in 1951, the Ox­ford-ed­u­cated jour­nal­ist made her name on The Guardian, mov­ing on to The Ob­server and The Sun­day Times be­fore join­ing the Mail in 2001. Once seen as a cham­pion of the left, she now ad­vo­cates tra­di­tional val­ues, be­moan­ing the moral fail­ings of so­ci­ety. How­ever, she prefers to con­sider her­self a de­fender of “au­then­tic lib­eral val­ues against the at­tempt to de­stroy West­ern cul­ture from within”. She is mar­ried to le­gal jour­nal­ist Joshua Rozen­berg.

STEPHEN RU­BIN

25(22) A gen­er­ous bene­fac­tor to UJIA and Re­form, among a plethora of char­i­ta­ble in­ter­ests, Stephen Ru­bin has been in­stru­men­tal in work­ing to­wards the es­tab­lish­ment of a non-Ortho­dox or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­mot­ing ethics on a range of is­sues. This fol­lows an ac­ri­mo­nious split in the Jewish As­so­ci­a­tion for Busi­ness Ethics over the ex­clu­sion of non-Ortho­dox rab­bis. Mr Ru­bin runs sports­wear com­pany Pent­land, whose brands in­clude Berghaus, El­lesse, Kick­ers, La­coste, Red or Dead and Ted Baker. The com­pany is among re­cip­i­ents of this year’s Queen’s Awards for En­ter­prise in the in­ter­na­tional trade cat­e­gory.

RAPHAEL ZARUM

26(48) An in­spir­ing per­son­al­ity who is ad­mired for mak­ing Jewish learn­ing ac­ces­si­ble as chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Lon­don School of Jewish Stud­ies. Pop­u­larly known as Rafi, Dr Zarum orig­i­nated the suc­cess­ful To­rah L’Am crash course, stud­ied na­tion­wide, which em­pow­ers stu­dents to “talk To­rah”. His “48 things you can do to make a dif­fer­ence” guide has been dis­trib­uted to thou­sands of schools and youth clubs. His ed­u­ca­tional ex­per­tise is in de­mand for con­fer­ences in Is­rael, Amer­ica and Europe.

THE FRESH­WA­TER FAM­ILY

27(54) Lead­ing phi­lan­thropists in the strictly Ortho­dox com­mu­nity who con­trib­ute to hun­dreds of char­i­ta­ble causes, both or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als, here and abroad. Ben­zion Fresh­wa­ter chairs the fam­ily’s prop­erty busi­ness and is val­ued at £970 mil­lion by the Sun­day Times Rich List. As well as be­ing part of the busi­ness, younger brother Shlomo has made a huge im­pact on the spir­i­tual scene as rabbi of the Sassover Beis Hame­drash in Gold­ers Green and head of the Chaye Olam yeshivah on Finch­ley Road, the only yeshivah in North-West Lon­don, to which he de­votes a con­sid­er­able amount of his time.

RABBI DANNY RICH

28(31) An ef­fec­tive chief ex­ec­u­tive of Lib­eral Ju­daism, which rep­re­sents around 10,000 peo­ple in some three dozen com­mu­ni­ties, many out­side of the ma­jor Jewish ar­eas. The South Lon­doner was ap­pointed in late 2004 af­ter serv­ing the Kingston Lib­eral con­gre­ga­tion for al­most two decades. He be­gan his rab­bini­cal train­ing at Leo Baeck Col­lege in 1984, hav­ing been ac­tive in stu­dent pol­i­tics at Manch­ester Univer­sity, where he stud­ied pol­i­tics and mod­ern his­tory. Rabbi Rich is an ad­vo­cate of equal re­li­gious and civil rights for women and ho­mo­sex­u­als. He is a Jewish prison and hospi­tal chap­lain and heads in­ter­faith ini­tia­tives in Sur­rey.

GOR­DON BROWN

29(New) The Prime Min­is­ter may not have Tony Blair’s nat­u­ral affin­ity with the Jewish com­mu­nity, but he has built on the good re­la­tions es­tab­lished by his pre­de­ces­sor. The gov­ern­ment has ex­tended its fi­nan­cial back­ing of sixth-for­m­ers’ vis­its to Auschwitz and Mr Brown has ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion to be­come a JNF pa­tron. To rap­tur­ous ap­plause, he told a Board of Deputies din­ner last year: “Is­rael will al­ways have our sup­port. We will be a friend in good times and bad and we will never com­pro­mise our friend­ship for po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency.” He is an ad­mirer of the Chief Rabbi, whom he says he con­sults reg­u­larly.

POJU ZABLU­DOW­ICZ

30(57) A “quiet power” in key or­gan­i­sa­tions, par­tic­u­larly Bicom, the Lon­don-based Fin­nish bil­lion­aire is a re­cent ad­di­tion to the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil. A ma­jor prop­erty player, Mr Zablu­dow­icz, 56, is said to own 40 per cent of down­town Las Ve­gas in­clud­ing half-a-dozen casi­nos. His wife Anita is a prom­i­nent art col­lec­tor.

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