Leeds UJIA’s lay leadership course has been hailed a success following its conclusion last week.
Eleven participants completed the training programme, the fourth of its kind to be run in the UK, and will now work voluntarily across organisations in the Leeds Jewish community.
The Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association, Leeds Jewish Housing Association, Leeds Jewish Welfare Board, Council of Christian & Jews, UK Lawyers for Israel, Donisthorpe Hall, The Zone and Maccabi will all benefit from the initiative.
Members of the course will also participate in other projects including Jewish education and interfaith work at local synagogues.
Deborah Selwyn, David Israel and Susie Gordon facilitated the programme.
The course is the brainchild of UJIA UK programme chairman Richard Manning who decided a decade ago that a new generation of lay leaders was needed in Leeds.
“The future of Leeds was in danger,” he recalled. “None of us in leadership positions were getting any younger and we needed to start training the next generation to take the helm.
“This course is an on-going investment for the future and will make our community stronger. “We never imagined we would have eleven extremely motivated people still taking part but it’s been an amazing journey for all of them.”
Participants of the course agreed from the outset that in return for their training, they would commit to work voluntarily within community organisations on a long-term basis.
“The people we selected are very keen to ensure the longevity of our community, they are the future,” Mr Manning noted.
The course comprised of a series of educational sessions throughout a 12-month period alongside a trip to meet London lay leaders and a private meeting with the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.