More than 60 Deputies from all around the UK attended the Board of Deputies annual regional weekend, held in Exeter, one of our smallest communities. Sunday’s Board meeting took place at the historic Guildhall in the city. The meeting was addressed by Exeter University Vice Chancellor Sir Steve Smith and there were several workshops, one of which was given by the university’s Associate Professor in Early Jewish Studies Dr Siam Bhayro, who is a world authority on ancient Aramaic bowls. Deputies attended Friday night and Shabbat morning services at Exeter Synagogue which dates from around 1763. After Saturday morning services, Deputies and members of the local community were addressed by Exeter University student Murray Brown and went on a walking tour of historic Exeter. To read the JC report on Sunday’s meeting, click here.
President Jonathan Arkush has become the first Board of Deputies President in living memory to address the United Synagogue Council. Jonathan told the council, which is made up of representatives from every synagogue within the organisation, that the Jewish community needed to adapt to face “common challenges”. To read a report of his speech, click here.
Parliamentary Officer Joel Salmon was the guest speaker at Jewish Women’s Aid’s event launching its Safer Dating programme. He spoke about the importance of educating about relationships to enable the younger generation to understand the nature of contemporary domestic violence.
Treasurer Stuart MacDonald, Vice President Marie van der Zyl and Chief Executive Gillian Merron attended the ORT UK business breakfast.
Senior Vice President Richard Verber attended the Jewish Interactive Dinner at Google HQ.
Jonathan Arkush and Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff visited Wightman Road Mosque in Haringey. They were given a warm welcome and had a very positive dialogue on Jewish-Muslim relations with elders and younger members of the mosque, led by mosque secretary Bibi Khan and mosque president Abdool Alli.
Government Officer Marcelle Palmer travelled to Newcastle and Gateshead for meetings ahead of a seminar for local councillors in the North East on April 2.
Richard Verber welcomed the announcement by the Department for International Development of a dedicated Counter Terrorist Financing Officer. Read the statement here.
Jonathan Arkush met the Austrian Ambassador, Deputy Head of Mission and Hannah Lessing – Secretary General of the National fund of the Republic of Austria for victims of National Socialism – on their visit to the Board of Deputies offices.
Gillian Merron and International Relations Officer David Walsh attended a diplomatic reception for St Patrick’s Day at the Irish Embassy.
Gillian Merron attended the Tunisian National Day reception at the Tunisian Embassy.
Gillian Merron attended a “Schools That Work for Everyone” reception, hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Gillian Merron spoke about her role at the Board of Deputies and her previous career as an MP and minister at the Jewish Sixth Form Conference for Girls entitled “Making your Mark” at Hasmonean School, organised by the Association of Jewish Women’s Organisations. Vice President Sheila Gewolb and Education Policy Officer Dawn Waterman also attended.
Sheila Gewolb attended the North North-West SACRE (Standing Advisory Committee for Religious Education) hub meeting with representatives from Cheshire West/Chester, Halton, Rochdale, Lancashire and Cumbria. Topics discussed included collaboration on standards for assessment on religious education, and how to engage parents and carers in school RE activities. Interfaith week was suggested as a time when events could be organised.
Two Jewish Living tours for over 70 young people and six teaching staff took place this week. The Royal School from Surrey participated in a mock Passover Seder developed by our volunteer educators. The second tour included a visit to a synagogue, Jewish cemetery, kosher shops and restaurant for a kosher meal and to learn about the laws of kashrut.
The Board of Deputies’ education programmes include bespoke teacher training sessions across the UK, The Jewish Living Experience traveling exhibition, tours and school assemblies or workshops. If you would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joel Salmon and Director of Public Affairs Phil Rosenberg met Tom Tugendhat MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Counter-Extremism. They discussed how to respond effectively and appropriately to extremism.
Joel Salmon and Phil Rosenberg met the Shadow Foreign Minister, Catherine West MP. They spoke about a range of concerns, including antisemitism and the community’s opposition to BDS.
Marie van der Zyl spoke on LBC Radio about hate videos hosted by YouTube.
Designs for the new National Holocaust Memorial and learning centre, which have been produced by some of the world’s very best architectural talent, are available to view online. The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation wants to hear from you. Consultation with the public, those working in the field of Holocaust remembrance and education, as well as technical experts will play a crucial role in informing the final decision of the jury. You can view the designs and have your say here.