Leeds wants Jew
by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2007-06-06
Leeds Town Hall
The Leeds Jewish community is set to launch its first marketing campaign to encourage Jews from other communities in the UK as well as the rest of the world including Russia and France to choose Leeds as their home.
Under the direction of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council, a steering group has been established to look at ways to secure the future of Jewish life in the north east of England city.
A website to offer information for Jews seeking to make a new life in Leeds is planned to be created in several languages including English, Russian, French, Spanish and Hebrew.
From a peak of over 20,000 Jews, Leeds has seen its Jewish population halve in recent years.
"There are about 8,000 identifying Jews and a guesstimate of about 2,000 that we don't formally know of," said David Israel of the Leeds strategic planning group.
According to Israel, Leeds is positioning itself as a place that is welcoming to Jews both in terms of being affordable to live there as well as offering career prospects.
"The idea of the marketing is to ensure that people realise just how great Leeds is as a place to be Jewish, what we offer and why we think our community is a great place to live," he said. "As a result of this we hope people who are looking for alternative communities to live in will at least have us on their radar as an option."
The marketing initiative follows that of other Jewish communities in New Zealand and Australia looking to encourage Jews to settle with them.
"Leeds is not seeking, per se, to compete against the many Jewish communities doing similar exercises," Israel added.
Among the incentives being offered to those looking to choose Leeds as their home will be cut price synagogue membership as well as help in finding work.