Chanukah Newsletter 2020

Top row l-r: Edie Friedman, Colin Yeo. Bottom row: Maurice Wren, Aimée Georgeson

See below for a full report and link to the recording of the event.

Dear supporter,

I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say I shan’t be sorry to see the end of 2020. This year has been particularly challenging for those disproportionately impacted by COVID – including asylum seekers, refugees, black and Asian communities and, of course, our young JUMP clients, who have been even more isolated than before. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to supply them with the technology they needed to stay in touch with their befrienders and keep up with their studies.

But the virtual environment we now live in has had one unexpected upside. This year, JCORE’s messages on race and asylum have reached record audiences, not just from across the UK but also abroad – one event was viewed by 10,000 people! – who joined us for our ongoing series of topical talks and discussions. We’ve also continued to be active in the campaigns for the fair treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, and for justice for the victims of the Windrush scandal. And today we’re launching an ambitious global manifesto – you can read all about it below.

Thank you, as ever, for your continued interest and invaluable support. We wish you a happy Chanukah and a healthy and COVID-free 2021.

Dr Edie Friedman

Executive Director


Global Jewish refugee manifesto

To mark Human Rights Day this week, and in response to the news that a record 79.5 million people are now forcibly displaced, JCORE has launched an international Jewish manifesto on refugee rights.

The manifesto, which draws on Jewish teaching on social justice, seeks to engage Jewish communities worldwide in a year-long campaign to ask their governments to commit to 12 pledges – one a month over the next 12 months – to ensure fairness and justice for refugees and asylum seekers. Alongside each pledge there are also practical actions groups and individuals can take.

See the pledges in full, view the list of signatories and find out how you and your community can get involved. -


Winter coats for young asylum seekers

Over 3,000 refugees, some as young as 13, are currently sleeping rough in northern France in rapidly dropping temperatures. They have no access to clean clothes, water or shelter, while police actions and evictions are harsher than ever. As the winter becomes more severe, the situation is fast turning into an emergency.

With your help last year, we raised £500 for the charity Care4Calais to give each young person a warm winter coat. This year, as the pandemic makes life for refugees even tougher, we desperately need your help again. So, please give as generously as you can today -

Please note that because of COVID restrictions we can’t accept actual coats this year, only donations.


A job with JUMP

We are recruiting for a new coordinator for our successful befriending project for young asylum seekers who are here without their families. Please forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.

The JUMP co-ordinator is responsible for the day-to-day running of the project, including working with our partner organisations, training volunteer befrienders, setting up and supporting the befriending pairs, ensuring compliance with protection procedures, and helping to write reports to funders. They will work with a team of supportive office staff with regular supervision from a registered social-worker manager.

This is a full-time position (35 hours per week).

Salary: £26,400- £29,400.

Closing date: 31st December 2020.

For full detail from


Mending a broken asylum system

Last month, a panel hosted by JCORE discussed the challenges of UK’s asylum system and what could be done to help reform it. Maurice Wren, The Refugee Council’s Chief Executive, Aimée Georgeson from Social Workers Without Borders, and immigration and asylum barrister Colin Yeo (pictured, right) joined Edie and an audience of nearly 100 for an update on the state of the UK’s asylum system and those reliant on it.

We heard first-hand about the current difficulties facing refugees and their lawyers, including the many obstacles to a fair process and a background of increasingly hostile rhetoric from the government. But there was some good news mixed in with the bad. You can read more about the discussion and watch it here - .


Did you know?...

Figures from the UNHCR show that the number of refugees resettled in safe countries will hit a record low in 2020.

Despite travel restrictions being lifted, the UK’s resettlement scheme has been closed since March and will not reopen until early 2021.


Out and about without leaving home

Despite fears of Zoom fatigue, JCORE continues to attract large crowds for its virtual talks and discussions, in both religious and secular settings. Topics have included: Jewish-Black relations seven months on from the murder of George Floyd; the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black and ethnic minority communities; and Jewish heroes of anti-racism activism.

We think that more than 500 people have attended our recent events, which include talks at Beit Klal Yisrael (BKY), West Central Synagogue, and Liberal Jewish Synagogue, where Edie also interviewed Lord Simon Woolley from Operation Black Vote. One attendee wrote afterwards:

"Thank you so much for that fantastic talk. It's a real inspiration to hear about JCORE's antiracism work and that outward-looking sense of identity you espouse."

So, if your community hasn't yet hosted one of our sessions, do put them in touch with us. And look out for Edie's session at the forthcoming Limmud festival.