Everything we do is for, and about, people. Our trustees, staff, sponsors and partners are the people leading at the front in our work.
Trustees Staff Partners History & Values
Jonathan Middleburgh, Chair of Trustees, is a Barrister by training and first career. He retrained as an occupational psychologist and his day job consists of coaching and developing individuals and teams, focusing on leadership development. He got involved with Tzedek as a result of seeing its work on the ground in Northern Ghana and feels passionate about Tzedek’s international development work and its role in inspiring the UK Jewish Community to engage constructively with the challenges of international development.
Jonny Persey, was Chair of Trustees from 2013 to 2017, an appointment which marks his return to Tzedek some twenty years after he was first involved in the charity. Jonny is a film producer and Chief Executive of Met Film. He says: “Tzedek is a place where values, words, and deeds sit together side by side, all pushing in the same direction. By remembering these issues to ourselves and others, we can in turn multiply the impact of our action.”
Paul Joseph is a partner in the Intellectual Property and Technology group of an international law firm. He advises on IP and technology transactions and disputes. Paul brings legal expertise to the Tzedek Board and more importantly (at least for him) an enthusiasm for Tzedek's mission of directing Jewish education and communities towards tackling global poverty.
Debbie Cowen is an active member of her community, initiating and running new activities for children and teenagers. She is especially interested in engaging teenagers with volunteering and giving back to society. She is excited to be part of Tzedek because of its commitment to education and its core Jewish values which empower and help the most needy.
Frances Khalastchi brings to the Tzedek board professional skills in marketing, communications and fundraising. For Frances, "Tzedek encapsulates the best part of many faith groups - channelling community activity and energy for the greater good.” Frances has also enjoyed participating in a number of sporting fundraisers for Tzedek
Katie Wiseman works for the UK Department for International development as a Governance Advisor. She's worked in international development for nearly two decades, mostly living and working in East Africa and South Asia. She's passionate about initiatives that facilitate locally-led change, bringing people together to problem solve, negotiate and find solutions. Having returned to the UK she's excited about joining Tzedek as a Trustee and contributing to its unique vision of an active Jewish community engaged in the fight to end extreme poverty.
Gila Sacks works in government and has held policy roles in No.10, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office, and Education and Business Departments. She has a background in voluntary sector strategy and in Jewish education. Gila says: Tzedek has a key role to play in educating, enabling and inspiring people to understand their potential to make a difference and act upon their responsibility to make a difference.
Hirsh Cashdan joined Tzedek as a volunteer member of the Overseas Project Team (OPT) in 2009 and has been Chair of the team since Nov 2010. He brings a passion for development with skills and experience in project management to help ensure Tzedek selects the best projects to fund and supports them actively through the lifecycle of their grant. Hirsh says "It is great to be involved with a thoroughly Jewish organisation that focuses attention on the world outside the Jewish community".
Dr Robert Stone is a political economist who has worked in international development for 40 years. He says: "I love the idea of working with a committed and dynamic team who bring Jewish values to bear on the task of fighting world poverty, through a combination of innovative work in the field and an effective education programme at home."
Susannah Finch joined Tzedek as Treasurer in 2009. Susannah says: Tzedek is a small but beautifully formed organisation. The different strands of our work all feed into and support each other. It is also important to me that it is not an insular organisation, but looks beyond the Jewish community and out into the world.
Ilana Lever works in Strategy for Itsu, having started her career as a management consultant. She has a passion for the intersection between international development and the corporate world, where businesses build social impact into their core operations and third sector organisations operate with the efficiency of the commercial world.
Nik Kafka is the founder and CEO of an award-winning international development charity focused on enterprise & skills education for young people. He says, “Tzedek represents such an exciting opportunity to harness the energy and expertise of the Jewish community towards tackling the injustice of global poverty – it’s a privilege to be part of this collective effort.”
Judith Stanton, Chief Executive Judith joined Tzedek in 2017. Judith is responsible for the overall running of the organisation and is involved in all aspects of Tzedek's work. Judith's background is in population health and wellbeing in the UK and abroad. Judith says "I am delighted to have joined Tzedek which is unique in allowing the Jewish community to make its contribution to alleviate global suffering."
Maureen Kendler, Education Consultant Maureen is a Teaching Fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies and a long-time educator in the Jewish community. She has degrees in literature and Jewish education and writes and broadcasts. Maureen is proud to have been involved with Limmud since the beginning and has presented at Limmud events around the world. She teaches texts, ancient and modern, preferably at the same time. She is excited to engage with the message and values of Tzedek.
Ben Salamon, Education Programmes Manager Ben joined the education team in 2014 from UJS. He spent three months in Ghana running Tzedek’s Ghana Project and now delivers Tzedek workshops in schools, youth groups and university J-Socs on global development issues and the Jewish responsibility to get involved. Ben says ‘I love how Tzedek is proudly motivated by Jewish values, and uses them to affect positive changes across the world.’
Galia Shilo Sum, Overseas Projects Manager Galia is responsible for Tzedek's overseas projects work. She is the primary point of contact for our partners across the globe. Galia says 'I love to work at Tzedek because I’m able to pursue my passion to make a change and help the poorest of the poor to improve their lives and support themselves in a sustainable and honorable way.'
Genna Barnett, Country Director (Tamale, Ghana)
Genna joined Tzedek in 2016 and is based permanently in Tamale, Northern Ghana, managing Tzedek's work with local NGOs and international volunteers on the ground. After doing a year of movement work for Habonim Dror UK, Genna worked in Burundi and created a youth empowerment project with Tevel B'Tzedek, an Israeli community development NGO. As Country Director, Genna is excited to bridge the gap between Tzedek's work in Ghana and in the UK Jewish community.
JHub inspires and supports positive social change in the British Jewish Community and beyond. JHub brings together people and organisations who share a commitment to Jewish values and social justice. JHub was the incubation home to Tzedek from 2008-2012 and continues to be a hub for ideas and networking fr Tzedek.
Pears Foundation aim to create meaningful social change, increase respect and understanding and inspire people to support their communities and the causes they care about. Tzedek has been genrously supported by Pears Foundation.
First Wealth is an award winning wealth management organisation offering innovative and intelligent planning. First Wealth is Tzedek's first corporate sponsor, and we are enjoying sharing learning and events together.
OLAM is a collaborative venture and shared platform to promote global Jewish service and international development.
Jewish Volunteering Network works across the community and throughout the UK with individuals and organisations promoting volunteering and volunteer opportunities. Tzedek is a member and supported by JVN.
Bond is the UK membership body for organisations working in international development or supporting those that do through funding, research, training and other services. Tzedek is an active member.
History & Values
As a Jewish charity, we are motivated by core Jewish teachings, and value our tradition’s approach to complex injustices.
Tzedek (justice, charity) We believe that extreme poverty is man-made and can be solved through action, not as charity (tzedekah), but rather seeking to increase justice (tzedek). Our responsibility is to bring greater justice to the world.
Ahavtah et HaGer (you shall love the stranger) Jewish traditions teach us to see the world globally in ever-widening ripples of responsibility. Our family lies closest to us, our community next, and so on. Tzedek believes that the ripples don’t stop at a certain point – beyond which we have no responsibility. Our belief in repairing the world stretches beyond racial or religious boundaries.
Naaseh v’nishma (we will do and we will understand) Awareness, knowledge and learning lead us to deeper commitments, which in turn drive us to behave in certain ways. And when we act we also learn. The cycle of learning and doing is never-ending; Jewish tradition teaches us and we firmly believe that the two go hand-in-hand.
Shutafut (partnership) In our overseas projects we simply listen to our partners – and so help them to help themselves. Inspired by Maimonides’ definition of charity many hundreds of years ago, we believe the ideal form of Jewish charity is to take a poor person into partnership and give them a way to support themselves.
Lo Alecha HaMelacha Ligmor(It is not your duty to complete the work) It remains our responsibility to keep working towards a better world. It may not be within our grasp to eradicate poverty, but it is our responsibility to be part of activities which work towards doing so.
Our roots go back to Band Aid in 1984, which moved millions of people across the globe, including the British Jewish community. In the spring of 1990 a small group of activists led by Steve Miller held a series of open seminars on global issues called ‘Tzedek’. These seminars set the tone for the organisation – rooted in Jewish values and engaging with the reality of development work. In the autumn of 1990 Tzedek was formally launched as a charity to fulfil this mandate.
Initially, money raised and projects supported were in South India, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Swaziland and public seminars were held for the UK Jewish community.
In 1995 we took a major leap forward. We expanded the Board of Trustees (chaired by Clive Lawton), employed a part-time development officer and began a volunteering programme in Zimbabwe. Five volunteers (mostly graduates of Jewish youth movements) took part in the first scheme co-ordinated by a long term volunteer, Jonny Persey, in Zimbabwe.
The following years saw continued expansion and development. Volunteers increased in numbers each year and, when political circumstances limited our activities in Zimbabwe, new programmes and partnerships were established in West Bengal, Kenya and Ghana. New overseas projects developed in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana. Each project brought new relationships, partnerships and friendships in those countries.
We employed our first full time director in 2007, Dan Berelowitz. In that year we won a significant three year grant from DFID for our education work, matched by the Pears Foundation. Soon afterwards Tzedek was accepted as the first resident of the Pears Foundation’s JHub in West Hampstead. Tzedek called JHub home until the end of 2012 and through that residency we continued to expand in resources, staff programmes and of course impact.
The Pears Foundation has been instrumental in our story of growth and continued success. They are our key partners in bringing our message to the Jewish community in the UK.
Tzedek now boasts a unique set of programmes operating within the Jewish community and growing programmes of development overseas, including an education programme in Ghana co-funded by Comic Relief. We are currently a small staff team of four full time staff working from our new office in Marylebone, London.