Brian Kerner – The great achiever

Brian Kerner at the UJIA Annual Dinner 2013. Credit: Blake Ezra Photography
Brian Kerner at the UJIA Annual Dinner 2013. Credit: Blake Ezra Photography

Brian Kerner should best be remembered as one of British Jewry’s outstanding leaders, able to use his unique personality to achieve  great things for Israel and the community.

As chairman of JIA/UJIA (1994-8) he brought together the JIA and Jewish Continuity to create the new UJIA with its twin mission of rescuing Jews in distress from the FSU and Ethiopia and also renewing Jewish life in the UK.

Then in 2002, BICOM was created in Brian’s Hampstead home with its goal of helping to ensure a fair representation of Israel’s case in the media.

David Cohen, who succeeded Brian as UJIA chairman, said it was a privilege to take it over UJIA after Brian left it in such good shape.

Former chairman Sir Trevor Chinn said movingly:  “Brian was a very special human being whose commitment to Israel and the community was astounding.”

About the Author
Michael Wegier is Chief Executive of United Jewish Israel Appeal. He has been in this position since September 2012, having moved back from Israel to take the role. Michael grew up in London and originally made Aliyah in 1990 and has spent much of the last 25 years living in Israel. Michael is a graduate of the Mandel Jerusalem Fellows programme, where his research focused on public policy. He holds a Masters degree in Contemporary Jewry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Michael has worked in Jewish education and fundraising in the UK, Israel and the USA.
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