The Leeds Jewish Representative Council (LJRC) paid tribute to the community for its ongoing efforts during the current global pandemic at its online AGM in July. Like so many organisations having to embrace the latest technology, the LJRC delivered its yearly update to more than 60 community members via a webinar – its largest turnout in recent years – which was also broadcast live on Facebook.
After welcoming everyone, Lisa Baker, LJRC president and Susie Gordon, executive director, began by looking back at key achievements and outlined future projects. Examples included working alongside global humanitarian organisation, the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which has been helping the LJRC deliver projects on a cross-communal level in areas such as crisis planning, something which has proved invaluable since the global pandemic hit.
Attendees heard about the LJRC’s community day event last November, where people were able to share their thoughts and insights as to how best to build a stronger, more sustainable future, with views also sought from the community’s organisational leaders. This led to a successful bid from the National Lottery’s Community Fund Grant, which is going towards, among other things, developing the community’s voluntary provision, the launch of a brand new community website and safeguarding training for those supporting young people as the lockdown eases.
The AGM also saw Simon Jackson, director and life vice president stand down after more than 20 years of volunteering his services to the LJRC and the appointment of new director, Simon Myerson.
Following the AGM, Lisa said: “During these unprecedented times, our community has shown incredible strength and resilience. So at this year’s AGM, as well as highlighting all the work we’ve been doing over recent months, it was a privilege for me to be able to recognise the achievements of the community as a whole, as well as our partner organisations and volunteers, who have been working tirelessly to support some of our most vulnerable members.
“We are acutely aware of how the pandemic has impacted on individuals and we were deeply saddened at the loss of several community members. While the loss of every life is to be mourned, our community has been hit by the loss of Dayan Rabbi Yehuda Yaakov Refson and one of our past presidents and active community member, John Collins. There are few organisations in our community John wasn’t a part of and he had time for everyone. His is loss is particularly felt.
“The pandemic has also affected the financial stability of our organisations and we will continue to support and represent our community to the very best of our abilities. This includes seeking additional streams of funding to support our organisations, not just within the community but also externally.
“All our work is due to the support of others and without that support we simply do not have a community. So I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has worked with us and supported us, particularly during these last few months.”