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NEWS - News of the Lodges

Report from Wally Sacks

Jean's address to AGM

An appeal for members to contribute to the future and continuity of the organisation was made by BBUK National President Jean Etherton at the recent AGM. She told members:

"You will have noticed that we did not have elections this year although my term of office should have ended. I will be carrying on for one more year (but only for one year). My honorary officers also cannot go on for ever. This year we expect to have volunteers available to shadow us in our positions in preparation to take over these posts. I am sure we have many experienced and skilled people to fulfil our needs and we may well call on you."

jean

Turning to Lodge activities she said: "You will see from their programmes just how imaginative and innovatory our Lodges are. My one regret is that Lodges still regard themselves as separate entities instead of parts of the whole organisation - BBUK. However the gap is closing as I note that many events initiated by individual Lodges are open to and shared with all members. I see this as evidence of a gradual centralisation of our efforts whilst at the same time retaining the unique characteristics of each Lodge. We should aim to be working together towards more communal activities and to unify our efforts.

 "This also ties in with communications, we need to keep you abreast of everything happening within B'nai B'rith, be it in the UK, Europe, or elsewhere in the world.

 "We have introduced a new BBUK website which is more user-friendly, easier to read and tells you all you need to know about what's going on in our organisation - http://www.bbuk.org/ A new LBIA website has also been introduced which can be accessed at http://www.bblbia.co.uk/

 "I would also at this point like to mention the new BBE website which was the result of Ernest Simon's effort - Ralph Hofmann says that this has provided a great boost for BBE.

 Undoubtedly there were two special events celebrated in the past BBUK year: the wonderful mission to Israel so ably organised by Malcolm Factor and Walter Breindel and the presentation of well-deserved awards to Valerie Bello and Barbara Nathan by BBE for their outstanding work on Jewish Heritage days. "We are all very proud of these successes," said Jean.

 This year 2012 is also a very important one for Manchester Lodge which is celebrating its centenary.

 Jean also told members that the highlight of this year's activities will be the Young Jewish Adult Forum which BBUK is hosting in London. She said: "this is our opportunity to encourage a younger generation in the UK to become involved in B'nai B'rith. We are working hard to make a success of this endeavor both in organising it and in raising funds and we are very pleased with the response from the Lodges that have either promised funds or are arranging events in support of the forum. The organising committee includes five young adults from different European countries (including the UK) who have taken part in previous forums and show a commitment to our ideals. They play a key role in planning the programme and ensuring that the event will inspire this new generation. It is most important that we follow up the forum afterwards and develop a strategy to provide continuity for BB in the future. John Reeves is the Chair of the YJAF organising committee

 "I would also like to mention the Armed Forces Jewish Community with which we have a special relationship. Each year BBUK financially supports the Jewish families weekend enabling Jews in the forces to enjoy time together. This year Wally was present at the moving ceremony where a Sefer Torah was rededicated in memory of one of this community killed in action in Afghanistan.

 "I would like to thank all the members of our Exec team who work so hard and give hours of their time on a daily basis. I have mentioned some names but can't mention all - Derek Levy (unable to be here today), representing Northern Lodges, is marvellous in that he travels to London regularly for meetings at his own expense.

 "I would particularly like to thank my honorary officers - Pamela Gold, National Secretary who organises all our events so magnificently, our membership co-ordinators Joe and Valerie Melnick, who are always on call, Tony (Etherton) who manages the money so efficiently, Wally Sacks, publications, website, U-tube and video whiz kid and of course my mentor and chief advisor Martin (Kudlick) who always tries to ensure that I am not overburdened too much."

 Jean also mentioned that BBE President Ralph Hofmann had sent special greetings mentioning how much he appreciates the work  we do in the UK" He also added: "There is a lot happening in Europe particularly in Eastern Europe and I would particularly like to mention the recent inauguration of a new Lodge in St Petersburg."