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It is with enormous sadness that the Board and the staff of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research learnt of the death of Peter L Levy OBE, one of our most loyal and longstanding Patrons.
Peter supported the Institute of Jewish Affairs (IJA), as JPR was then called, since the 1980s. He succeeded William Frankel CBE as Chairman of the Institute of Jewish Affairs in 1992 after serving for some years on its Executive Committee. Although the IJA had its own governance, it was still the research arm of the World Jewish Congress at that time. Peter's priority was to make the IJA fully independent. This was effected by ending the formal association with the WJC and entering into a cooperation agreement with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in 1994, which lasted for four years. Peter was subsequently instrumental in overseeing the transformation from IJA to JPR in 1996 and the development of our new policy research agenda, with a greater emphasis on research on European Jewish communities and a commitment to Jewish demography.
During his tenure as Chairman, he participated actively in two landmark conferences organised by the Institute, Planning for the Future of European Jewry, held in Prague in 1995, during which he chaired sessions and met with Vaclav Havel, amongst others, and Strengthening Jewish Life in Europe, held at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in 1997, where he met Simone Veil and other European figures of distinction.
Peter stepped down from the Chair in 2008 but remained on the Board until 2014, and continued to support JPR's work as a committed and most generous Honorary Vice President until his passing.
Beyond his commitment to JPR, he was also involved with many other Jewish organisations, including Reform Judaism, the Jewish Youth Fund, the Akiva School at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley and the European Association for Jewish Culture. He was Chairman of the Jewish Chronicle for five years, stepping down in 2009. In 1984 Peter succeeded his father Joseph Levy CBE as Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Research Council and he was also a great supporter of Macmillan Nurses and Dementia UK. However, what was absolutely typical of Peter was his preference for his charitable giving to remain unacknowledged.
Peter will be remembered by all of us at JPR with warmth and affection as a very supportive, modest, courteous and private man of great integrity, deeply held beliefs and generosity of spirit. We send our sincere condolences to his wife Colette, his children and grandchildren.