Compass – (noun) An instrument for determining directions.

Welcome to Compass, a new and timely guide designed to introduce, inform and enlighten readers about some of Europe’s most vital, innovative, effective and sustainable Jewish organisations and programmes.

An initiative of the Westbury Group, a network of more than 20 international foundations with a shared interest in enhancing Jewish life in Europe, Compass reflects the breadth and depth of Jewish activity across the cultural, historical and religious spectrums of European Jewish life in 15 countries.

This directory – the first of its kind to focus on European Jewry, including the FSU – will introduce, enlighten and inform its readers about some of the exciting Jewish projects taking place in cities and towns all over Europe. The 36 organisations and programmes featured in this first edition of Compass reflect the breadth and depth of communities that are innovative, creative, effective and most importantly, sustainable.

In addition to showcasing these programmes, we hope Compass will encourage those who share a concern for the future of European Jewry to step forward and help these projects generate the resources necessary to continue the important work they have begun. As the old saying goes: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

We were truly humbled by the overwhelming response from more than 100 organisations, and genuinely excited by the incredible initiatives that are operating across the continent. While any organisation could nominate itself for inclusion, a committee of more than 40 (Jewish and non-Jewish) professionals and experts across Europe conducted rigorous, in-depth evaluations, including qualitative and quantitative research. That said, Compass is intended as a guide as opposed to definitive research on each organisation. Equally, while we believe the facts, as provided by each organisation, to be correct at the time they were supplied in June 2008, we understand how quickly things change, especially in the current economic climate.

Philanthropy is a fundamental tenet of Judaism, and is also the essence of Compass. We believe the highlighted projects are among European Jewry’s most compelling non-profit programmes; initiatives that can – and will – be sustainable in the long-term with additional assistance and support.

Taken individually, each of these projects is impressive; viewed collectively, they are truly inspiring.

About the Westbury Group

The Westbury Group is an informal association of Jewish philanthropic organisations and individual funders with a shared concern for European Jewish life. Founded in 2000 for the purpose of increasing the breadth and depth of support for Jewish causes and programmes in Europe, other Diaspora communities and Israel, the Westbury Group is now a diverse group comprising more than twenty foundations and philanthropists with international agendas.

The Westbury Group is committed to enabling and empowering our members to explore issues pertaining to Jewish life in Europe in new, educational and inspiring ways, as well as to seek practical and tangible solutions to challenges.

Members of the Westbury Group: