Leeds Jewish Representative Council

Working together is key in making a difference and ensuring our community flourishes.

If you wish to contact LJRC please call 0113 218 5869 or email info@ljrc.org

About LJRC

The Leeds Jewish Representative Council (LJRC) is a remarkable not-for-profit organisation with a rich history spanning more than 150 years. It has been a significant force in supporting and representing the Jewish community living in Leeds and the surrounding areas within the United Kingdom. The council’s primary objective is to foster unity, advocate for the community’s needs and interests, and coordinate various communal activities.

Our Role

The LJRC provides a unified platform for collaboration and representation that helps strengthen the bonds among the Jewish population in the area and promote a sense of belonging and solidarity.

The LJRC is a significant and inclusive organisation that serves as the umbrella for the Jewish community in Leeds. As the central representative body, the LJRC supports various 50-plus partner organisations (affiliates) that operate across a range of diverse sectors, including social welfare, social housing, primary and high school education, as well as faith and youth institutions.

The LJRC also has a substantial membership base comprising over 8,000 Jewish individuals from different age groups, ethnicities, religious backgrounds (from religious to secular), socioeconomic statuses (ranging from severe poverty to extreme wealth), and various levels of abilities and disabilities. Their focus is on supporting and promoting inclusivity and diversity within the Jewish community, ensuring that individuals from all walks of life are included and represented within their network.

Our Core Values Are:


Sustainable Development




Unity is essential for the growth and well-being of any community, as it allows for shared goals, effective problem-solving, and the celebration of diversity.

Members feel connected, supported, and empowered to work towards a brighter future together. The LJRC focuses on the following strategies:

Shared Goals and Effective Problem-Solving

The LJRC provides opportunities that brings people together under common goals, making it easier for the community to work collectively towards solutions for various challenges. When individuals come together and collaborate, they can leverage their diverse perspectives and skills to address issues effectively.

Community Contribution
The LJRC recognises and values the contributions of every individual within the community. Encouraging people to give their time, money, or skills creates a sense of ownership and responsibility for the community’s development and well-being.
Interactive Online Hubs
The LJRC provides technology and online platforms like the community website and Facebook groups helps in promoting accessibility and inclusivity. Such digital spaces provide a means for people to connect, engage, and participate, irrespective of their physical location or limitations.
Kindness and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)
The LJRC recognises that prioritising kindness and promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion is essential for building a cohesive community. The LJRC provides training and policy development to help raise awareness and sensitivity towards diverse perspectives, ensuring that everyone feels welcomed and valued.
Collaboration with Multiple Organisations and Stakeholders
The LJRC promotes a collaborating effort with various community organisations and stakeholders to help foster a feeling of togetherness and shared purpose.
Safe, Inclusive, and Accessible Events
When planning events, the LJRC ensures that they are safe, inclusive, and accessible to all members of the community. This practice helps in breaking down barriers and ensuring that everyone can participate and enjoy the benefits of community activities.

Sustainable development

Sustainable development is obtained by optimising resources, conducting research for evidence-based improvements, fostering collaboration among various stakeholders, and ensuring financial support to meet the long-term needs of the community. By following these principles, the organisation can work towards creating a positive and lasting impact on the community it serves. The LJRC focuses on the following strategies:

Maximising Assets and Reducing Duplication
The LJRC recognises the importance of supporting affiliate organisations is paramount to ensure that all assets are maximised. This means making the most of available resources and avoiding unnecessary duplication of efforts. By collaborating and coordinating efforts, the organisations can ensure a more efficient use of resources to achieve community goals.
Delivering Research and Evidence-Based Improvements
The LJRC recognises that investing in research, they can gather data and insights about the needs of the community, which can be used to make evidence-based improvements to the services offered. This approach ensures that resources are directed towards solutions that have a proven impact.
Building and Implementing a Community Strategy
The LJRC recognises the need for a cohesive and comprehensive community strategy. This strategy should involve the active participation and input of partner organisations and grassroots groups to create a unified approach that addresses the various needs of the community effectively. A well-structured strategy can guide and align efforts, ensuring that resources are allocated strategically.
Collaborating with Funding Bodies
The LJRC recognises the importance of working closely with funding bodies at different levels (locally, nationally, and internationally). By fostering strong relationships with these entities, the organisation can secure ongoing financial support for community provision initiatives. This collaboration ensures the sustainability and continuity of programs and services.


Empowerment is the process of enabling individuals or groups to gain control over their own lives and make informed decisions. By implementing these principles and practices, the LJRC can create a truly empowering environment that enables leaders, staff, volunteers, and community members to come together and make a meaningful difference in filling gaps in services or enhancing existing ones through volunteering, donations, or the creation of new grassroots groups. The LJRC also focuses on the following strategies:

Respectful and Safe Environments
The LJRC establishes environments where everyone feels respected and safe to express their ideas and opinions. They encourage open communication, active listening, and constructive feedback.
The LJRC ensures that all voices are heard and that diverse perspectives and experiences are valued. They create opportunities for individuals from different backgrounds to participate and contribute to the decision-making process.
Support and Recognition
The LJRC acknowledges and appreciates the efforts and contributions of individuals and groups. Providing positive reinforcement and recognition for their work will motivate them to continue engaging in empowering activities.
Capacity Building
The LJRC offers training and skill development programs that equip people with the necessary tools to actively participate and take on leadership roles effectively.
The LJRC encourages collaboration and teamwork among leaders, staff, volunteers, and community members. They emphasise the benefits of working together towards a common goal.
Resource Access
The LJRC ensures that individuals have access to the necessary resources, information, and opportunities to contribute effectively. This might include providing access to technology, funding, or relevant networks.
Clear Purpose and Goals
The LJRC communicates a clear mission and vision for the community or organisation, along with specific goals and objectives. This provides a sense of direction and purpose for those involved.
Celebrating Success
The LJRC celebrates achievements and milestones, both big and small. They recognise the impact of the collective efforts and showcase the positive outcomes resulting from the empowerment initiatives.
Continuous Improvement
The LJRC fosters a culture of continuous learning and improvement. They encourage individuals to reflect on their experiences, learn from mistakes, and adapt their approaches based on feedback and outcomes.


Performance is measured through a dynamic and resilient platform that effectively addresses the needs of the Jewish community whilst also contributing positively to broader societal challenges. The LJRC focuses on the following strategies:

Networking and Collaboration
The LJRC facilitates regular meetings, conferences, and workshops where organisations facing similar challenges can come together to share experiences, knowledge, and best practices.
Establish online platforms or forums
The LJRC fosters ongoing communication and collaboration between organisations, enabling them to connect and seek assistance when needed.
Advocacy and Support
The LJRC formulates clear advocacy goals and objectives that address issues affecting the community.
Public Awareness Campaigns and Lobbying
The LJRC engages in public awareness campaigns and lobbying efforts to promote social justice, human rights, and protect the community’s societal entitlements.
Continuous Improvement and Flexibility
The LJRC regularly assess the organisation’s effectiveness and adapt strategies based on feedback and changes in demand.
Collaboration with Local Authorities and Institutions
The LJRC fosters open communication and collaboration with Leeds City Council and other local authorities to contribute to citywide initiatives and address community-specific challenges. The LJRC also engages with NGOs, charities, and civic organisations outside the Jewish community to identify areas of common interest and work together on shared projects.
Skill Development and Knowledge Sharing
The LJRC offers workshops, training sessions, and learning opportunities for members to acquire new skills and knowledge relevant to their roles and the organisation’s objectives.
Sustainability and Resilience
The LJRC implements strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organisation, such as diversifying funding sources and building strong leadership succession plans.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The LJRC sets measurable performance indicators for each goal and regularly monitors progress to assess the organisation’s effectiveness. They also gather feedback from stakeholders and beneficiaries to continuously improve services and initiatives.

Our Vision

The LJRC’s vision is to foster unity and cooperation among community members, leaders, and affiliate organisations to achieve positive and lasting change. Coming together and working collaboratively can pool resources, talents, and ideas that lead to innovative solutions, a stronger support system and growth.

Our vision can be achieved through:

Partnerships: Developing partnerships with local organisations, businesses, and government agencies that share similar values and objectives.
Supportive Environment: Creating an environment where people feel valued, supported, and empowered to contribute. Acknowledge and celebrate the efforts of individuals and groups making a positive difference.
Shared Resources: Encouraging the sharing of resources, skills, and knowledge among community members. This fosters a sense of interconnectedness and collective responsibility.
Volunteerism and Community Service: Promoting volunteerism and community service opportunities. Engaging in volunteer work can strengthen social bonds and encourage a culture of giving back.
Community Events and Gatherings: Organise events and gatherings that bring people together. These occasions foster social connections and provide opportunities for collaboration.
Celebration of Successes: Celebrate collective achievements and milestones. Recognising accomplishments boosts morale and encourages further collaborative efforts.
Deepening Knowledge and Workshop Provision: Offer educational workshops and training sessions that focus on teamwork, collaboration, and conflict resolution.

The LJRC Team

Our aim as an organisation is to cultivate and maintain a high-performing, strong, and resilient organisation as well as be part of a high-performing, strong, and resilient community.

Achieving these objectives requires careful planning, effective strategies, and continuous effort.

To do this well we:

• Have effective visionary leaders.
• Have a talented team.
• Have transparent communication channels.
• Have a culture that embraces change, adapts quickly and fosters innovation.
• Coordinate activities that promotes collaboration and partnership opportunities to address common challenges and achieve collective goals.

• Support local initiatives to engage in local projects that aim to strengthen the community.
• Contribute to community resilience by leading disaster preparedness and response efforts.
• Encourage employees to be active members of the community, volunteering and participate in community events.
• Support policies and initiatives that promote the overall well-being and growth of the community.

The LJRC Board

Judge Laurence Saffer:
LJRC President
About Laurence
Laurence Saffer has lived in Leeds all his life and has been involved in several communal groups over the years, including Habonim Dror. Laurence is also a judge who sits in Bradford and London.
Simon Myerson:
LJRC Chair
About Simon
Simon Myerson, KC has been a barrister since 1986, became a QC in 2003, and has sat as a recorder since 2001. He practises in both civil (largely defamation and commercial fraud) and criminal (murder, harassment and fraud). He is a member of the NE Circuit and practises from Leeds and Manchester.

In his spare time, he travels between his four children, three of whom live abroad, drinks wine, studies Talmud, and heads the Leeds Jewish Representative Council. Teaching is something for which he has real enthusiasm: he teaches advocacy for Middle Temple, of whose Education Committee he is vice-Chair, and he was the first diversity trainer on circuit. He has taught and written undergraduate courses on Judaism for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Before taking Silk, Simon supervised a total of 8 pupils. He began the website “Pupillage and How To Get It”, to help applicants and to improve diversity at the Bar.

Lisa Baker:
LJRC Director (past President)
About Lisa
Having initially completed a Criminal and Common Law pupillage in 2008 Lisa Baker qualified as a Solicitor in 2009 and quickly developed an expertise in Public and Private Law Proceedings. Her ability to offer a complete approach both in terms of preparation of cases from first appointment and advocacy in all courts through to final hearing made her popular to local Guardians and parents.

This enabled forging of relationships between Lisa and parent, grandparent and intervener clients during what is often their only interaction with the court system and stressful proceedings, which often considers the removal of children permanently from the family.

For CAFCASS her ability to grasp complex medical issues, her criminal bar training where forensic analysis was required and her ability to speak to young people made her a popular choice amongst Guardians for the most complex of cases including contentious Private Law Proceedings and the most serious of public law cases concerning serious injury, sexual abuse, death and Factitious Illness allegations as well as chronic neglect.
Lisa’s expertise as an advocate has enabled her to “lead” several colleagues whilst in private practice appearing against QC’s and in the Court of Appeal.

Lisa’s expertise isn’t just as an advocate, but her knowledge of Family legal aid is nationally known, and she is always willing to share her expertise offering training to local practitioners, the judiciary and social workers.

Lisa Baker is a native Mancunian and in her spare time has held a variety of positions within the community since her move to Leeds, including with the LJHA, Brodetsky and BHHS as well as the LJRC President.

Lisa aims to be accessible and inclusive for members and to successfully represent the community externally on local civic and national issues.

Alan Dunwell:
LJRC Director
About Alan
Alan Dunwell’s background comprises over 30 years’ experience in advising privately owned and public sector organisations. Latterly I was external auditor / adviser to a number of multi academy trusts and previously was national lead in the Academy sector for RSM Tenon.

Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease some years ago, Alan retired from RSM but continues to act in a trustee capacity for a number of local charities, particularly in the areas of education finance and risk management.

Alan was born and bred in Leeds and has held a variety of communal positions including his current ones as a Governor at a voluntary aided primary school, a Free School Director and a trustee of two education charities.

Alan’s remit as CE is to ensure the financial integrity and continuity of the LJRC and look at the strategic management of the organisation.

Simon Phillips:
LJRC Director of Interfaith
About Simon
Simon Phillips is a proactive and dedicated professional, with research, report-writing, leadership and management skills. Experience of project managing range of successful small and medium-sized projects, as well as developing trust and active citizenship amongst minority and seldom-heard communities. Involved in variety of leadership positions within Jewish community and inter-faith sectors.

Previously a lecturer and researcher in academic institutions, Simon worked as a community engagement officer at West Yorkshire Police and is currently the community engagement officer as the Leeds Jewish Housing Association.

Simon has held leadership positions within the Jewish and wider communities, both locally and nationally, for almost 25 years.

In his spare time, Simon is the director of interfaith to establish links with other faith communities in Leeds and neighbouring areas, including minority communities, where there is an opportunity to work together to encourage community cohesion.

The LJRC Employees

Susie Gordon:
LJRC Chief Operations Officer
About Susie
Susie Gordon grew up in London and moved to Leeds in 2005 and where she found a desire to want to be part of the Jewish community. Since 2011, Susie has been supporting the development of the Leeds Jewish community. Her role has been ever evolving depending on need, opportunities, and priorities, to ensure the community can remain vibrant, engaging and sustainable for many years to come.

Susie works closely with European-wide community development initiatives, the Local Authority, local councillors and multifaith organisations to represent the community in wider community conversations, such as supporting the West Yorkshire Safety of Women and Girls Strategy or discussing more politically motivated issues such as during increased periods of increased antisemitism.

Susie is a qualified personal and business coach and workshop facilitator. In her spare time Susie supports up-and-coming professional leaders to enable the creation or the development of a strategic plan for both public, third sector and faith organisations to enable others to reach their goals well.

Alan Benstock:
LJRC Operations Officer
About Alan
Through his volunteering with a number of affiliate organisations, Alan joined the LJRC team during the Covid pandemic. He is committed to ensuring the Leeds Jewish community is represented in the city, county and nationally so the needs of its members are met whether they be religious, health and welfare, economically or culturally.


In addition to his work for the LJRC and other Leeds based organisation, Alan is part of the chaplaincy team at Manchester Airport, national co-ordinator of the British Isles and Ireland Airport Chaplains Network and a council member of the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains. He is currently researching a PhD looking at religion in airports

Naomi Goldman:
Community Development Officer
Suzanne Benjamin:
Community Engagement Officer
The LJRC is a public limited company by guarantee but also has a charitable arm,
the ‘Leeds Jewish Community Charitable Trust’.

We want to say a huge thank you to the National Lottery Community Award
to enable the Leeds Jewish Representative Council (LJRC) to create this website.

If you can’t find what you are looking for on this website,
please contact the LJRC Office info@ljrc.org and they will be happy to help.

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