CST: Don't cower because of worries over hate

PEOPLE should not let the worry about antisemitism ruin their lives, a CST spokesman told Sunday's Leeds Jewish Representative Council's annual meeting.

"The situation we are in is serious, but that doesn't mean we have to bury our heads and cower away," he said.

"We want the community to go about their business and enjoy their lives to the full.

Last year, there were a record number of antisemitic and hate incidents in the UK.

In West Yorkshire, 41 incidents were recorded - out of these 27 were in Leeds and nine in Bradford.

The spokesman said the most common incident in 2014 was random verbal abuse directed at Jewish people in public places, but there was also an increase in antisemitic remarks on social media.

"We must be security conscious - we need people to be aware and vigilant at all times," he added.

He warned the community, especially organisations, not to put out too much detailed information on social media and not to make it easy for people to pick up vital details - "we need to be sensible and cautious".

President Simon Jackson, entering his third and final year of office, said: "We owe the CST a huge debt of gratitude."

Mr Jackson reported that he regularly attended Jewish Leadership Council meetings.

He said: "While we don't have a heavy voice, they do listen to us and take notice, so we have some standing there."

The council held a few meetings on strategy with "lots of ideas floating around," he added.

"There are changes afoot on how we will run the organisation in future. Exciting times are planned with lots of challenges ahead."

Funding continues to be an issue. The Year Book has seen an increase in advertisers, but a dramatic fall in patrons - "so we need to explore new ways of recruiting a younger element".

Mr Jackson described delegates as "major shareholders" in the organisation and urged them to "go out and sell" the Rep Council to the uninitiated.

"We need to raise our profile and inform the public what we're all about," he said.

"I'm just the conductor of the orchestra with a great set of musicians."

New executive officer Ann Dewar and development executive Susie Gordon gave a PowerPoint presentation about their roles.

Philippa Lester, co-author with Diane Saunders of From the Leylands to Leeds 17, gave a presentation about the book.

Makor delegate Helen Frais advocated the need to enlarge and broaden the educational scope of interfaith work for youngsters, suggesting training interested bodies for the Speakers' Panel.

Also elected were Alan Dunwell, senior vice-president; Abigail Levin, vice-president; Keith Ackerman, secretary; and Eva Peros, administrator.

Mike Fligg and Alex Webster have been appointed to the executive committee.

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