Jewish Community Centre for London

Jewish Community Centre for London

The Jewish Community Centre for London (JCC for London) aims to provide a way into, or back into, active Jewish life for all of London’s Jewish community. The organisation runs a wide programme of events, welcoming everyone in the Jewish community, irrespective of affiliation or level of observance.

Rooted in Jewish values, the JCC's social, cultural, educational and recreational programme is specifically designed to foster an inclusive Jewish community for anyone and everyone who associates with being Jewish. The organisation is not religious, but instead provides a gateway into Jewish life – from sport to arts and culture, from debate to social action, from nightlife to eating and drinking.

The JCC for London launched its programme in 2005. Held in various venues across London, with a wide array of partners from inside and outside the community, the central goal behind the programme is to create a cohesive community; attracting Jews of all ages, persuasions and lifestyles, as well as their non-Jewish friends and families, by creating a welcoming, fun and stimulating environment.


The Jewish population of London is in steep decline. In 1974 there were 500,000 Jews in the UK; now there are under 300,000. [ [ Is this the last generation of British Jews?] ] Not only are the numbers going down, but recent JPR research [ [ JPR Research] ] and the 2001 census [ [ 2001 Census] ] figures should that around half of all Jews are inter-marrying.

The ambition of the JCC is to enliven and enrich the Jewish community of London, bringing it together, reengaging people from all walks of life, and reversing the decline. The JCC aims not just to enhance the lives of individuals but to strengthen both the Jewish and local community too, working co-operatively with other organisations and encouraging new leadership. It also aims to foster a sense of communal responsibility, social action and engagement with the wider world.

Events programme

The JCC London’s world-class events programme attracts thousands of people every year. [ [ JCC London Events Calendar] ] The events are split into three seasons, each with around 30 events. The programme mixes audiences, age groups and content, encouraging experimentation with ideas, a sense of fun, and in doing so, it aims to inspire people to engage in issues that they may never have seen as being relevant to them.

The events are separated into a few broad categories: Arts & Culture, Books & Debate, Nightlife, Food & Drink, Family Fun, Social Action, Health & Fitness, and Around Town.

"Sounds Jewish" podcast

In order to reengage with Jews from the community with a programme that’s relevant to them in the 21st century, the Jewish Community Centre for London (JCC) has developed a monthly podcast, "Sounds Jewish", in partnership with The Guardian. Sounds Jewish is a monthly magazine style programme hosted by Jason Solomons. Each "episode" is about 30 minutes in length.

Jason Solomons is joined in the studio each month by two guests who discuss topical issues and pre-recorded pieces. Guests have included authors Linda Grant and Naomi Alderman; journalists Jonathan Freedland, Daniel Finkelstein, Tim Samuels and Jay Rayner; and an eclectic mix of others, including international world music artist Idan Raichel and Reform Rabbi, Laura Janner-Klausner.

Pre-recorded pieces cover topical and current issues. These have included the cash for honours scandal, Jewish conversion, Israel’s 60th anniversary and a new Jewish prayerbook. There is also a piece in each podcast which highlights a forthcoming JCC event. To maintain variety, vox pops also often feature in the show – for example, a group of Golders Green hairdressers giving their views on Amy Winehouse and parents discussing their views on camping.

The podcast can be downloaded from three sites: The Guardian, The JCC London website and iTunes. The Guardian also trails Sounds Jewish on page 2 of the newspaper each time a new edition goes live. It is also often featured on the podcast homepage. The Guardian dedicates a page to each podcast that is produced – where each edition has a blog page that the JCC uses to provide more information about the content of the podcast and to link to key information about contributors.

Mitzvah Day

Volunteers and participation are central to much of what the JCC does, so they have established an annual volunteering day called "Mitzvah Day". [ [ Mitzvah Day] ] Organising volunteering opportunities that make a difference to the local and London communities, over 1,200 volunteers participated in the 2008 Mitzvah Day.


The JCC for London is part of the wider and well established JCC Movement. It started in 1854 when the first Young Men’s Hebrew Association opened its doors in Baltimore to offer support for Jewish immigrants, help ensure Jewish continuity, and provide a place for celebration. Similar associations opened soon afterwards, serving as libraries, cultural centres, and settlement houses. Today, throughout the world, JCCs are the heart of the Jewish community, providing services and programmes that build and strengthen Jewish communal life along with Jewish educational experiences to and for Jews of all ages and orientations.

Many of the activities at the JCC are not specifically Jewish – the gym, the swimming pool, almost certainly some of the classes (in Manhattan some of the most successful classes are shoe- and jewellery-making and vocational courses). So why is this a JCC? Because these activities bring people in and bring them together. To date, there are over 1,100 JCCs worldwide, including 300 in North America, 180 in the Former Soviet Union, 70 in Latin America, 50 in Europe, and close to 500 smaller centres in Israel.

Board members

The JCC London’s board members are: [ [ About the JCC] ]

* Dr Bernard Bulkin- Chief Scientist, British Petroleum (BP)
* Nick Bunzl - Board member and former President of JCC Manhattan, Executive Director of Israel Policy Forum
* Sir Trevor Chinn - Chairman of The Automobile Association
* Lloyd Dorfman - Founder and Chairman, Travelex
* Dame Vivien Duffield DBE - Chairman, Clore Duffield Foundation
* Andrew Franklin - (Chair) Publisher & Managing Director, Profile Books
* Michael Goldstein - Partner BDO Stoy Hayward
* Jonathan Kestenbaum - Chief Executive, NESTA
* Clive Lawton - Part-time Executive Director & Founder, Limmud; Educationalist
* Jennifer Moses - Chief Executive, CentreForum
* Jeremy Sandelson - Managing Partner, Clifford Chance LLP
* Michael Zur-Szpiro - Founding Partner, venturethree


External links

* [ The JCC London]
* [ Sounds Jewish podcast]
* [ JCCs of North America]

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