Dan Kosky, Deputy for New North London Synagogue, has an unusual perspective on the UK Jewish community.
Dan, a PR and communications professional who grew up in Ealing, West London, spent 18 years living in Israel before returning to England a year ago. He feels the community has changed in the years he was away.
He says: “I feel the options for Jewish life are far more varied than they were 20 years ago. Culturally, Jewish Book Week, and Limmud are far bigger than they were in the 90s and now we have a proper community centre in JW3 which has also made a difference.”
However, Dan feels the changes has gone beyond the infrastructure of the community. “I do think we have a stronger voice now. Jews are much less afraid to be outspoken on antisemitism and I see that as a positive. I also think the community is more polarised now than it used to be, especially on Israel-related issues and that is a concern.”
Dan went to Israel because he was excited about the opportunity “to be a part of the first Jewish state in 2,000 years”. Having returned to the UK for the time being, he wanted to stay involved in Jewish life and the Board of Deputies gave him that opportunity. Dan says: “The Board has always been an organisation I have admired and it’s a unique institution among minority communities in this country. I see it as an exciting opportunity to help represent the community to wider society.”
There are some things which haven’t changed in the years Dan was in Israel. “We’re small and we’re friendly and this is a constant. We have a character and an identity which has not changed over the years. It’s still a very welcoming community.”
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