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London — To encourage this, board members have been drawn from all backgrounds, including the historically unaffiliated. In a bid to challenge intra-communal divides, Duffield has also engaged as much with Orthodox leaders like Lord Jonathan Sacks, Great Britain’s outgoing chief rabbi, as with leaders of the more liberal Jewish streams, like Rabbi Julia Neuberger. There will be no religious services at JW3, enabling everyone, from the traditionally observant to those who are atheist, to take part.
Limmud, the annual festival of Jewish programs and learning that originated in the U.K., and to which some 2,500 U.K. Jews flocked last year, offers a model of the approach the London JCC will take, albeit in a permanent site, and all year round. It’s thus no coincidence that Simonson was recruited after serving as Limmud’s first full-time executive director, nor that other prime movers came via the organization – from the erstwhile creative director, Juliet Simmons (a onetime Limmud conference chair), to Clive Lawton, a board member and Limmud co-founder.
“I don’t think JW3 is really about uniting all shades of Jewish life, and don’t think it’s going to have a huge take-up from the Haredi communities,” said Richard Verber, co-chair of this year’s Limmud festival. “But with a kosher restaurant and sensitive Shabbat policy, it should be able to attract religious and secular Jews from mainstream Anglo-Jewry.”