Board of Deputies of British Jews – 30 mar 2017

Board of Deputies
Community Briefing
Parliamentarians briefed on challenges faced by Charedi community

Left to right: Rabbi Avroham Pinter, Parliamentary Officer Joel Salmon, Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg, Chief Executive of the Interlink Foundation Chaya Shpitz and Vice President Sheila Gewolb

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Jews this week held a briefing in Parliament on the challenges faced by the Strictly Orthodox Jewish community

MPs, peers, members of  the interfaith community, think tank members and Deputies came to hear Chaya Spitz OBE, Chief Executive of the Interlink Foundation, explain the nature, culture and quirks of the Charedi community.

At the meeting, chaired by Board of Deputies Vice President Sheila Gewolb, the discussion ranged from education to traditional family life to the economic problems facing the community.

Wes Streeting, Co-Chair of the APPG and MP for Ilford North, spoke of the importance of the event, noting that it was one of the first times that a briefing on a specific section of the community had been delivered in Parliament.

Board of Deputies Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg, said: “The event showcased the Charedi community – the fastest growing section of UK Jewry – to parliamentarians, faith leaders and Jewish community representatives, exploring the unique dynamics and challenges that British Charedim experience. The event demonstrated the warming relationship between the Board of Deputies and this significant sector of our Jewish community.”

The Board of Deputies provides the Secretariat to the APPG.

President Jonathan Arkush participated this week in A Bridge for All Communities – a memorial event for the Westminster attack arranged by the Metropolitan Police. Vice President Sheila Gewolb and Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff also attended. Last Thursday Chief Executive Gillian Merron attended a candlelit vigil for the victims of the attack and their families in Trafalgar Square

Chief Executive Gillian Merron joined 25 women CEOs of Jewish communal organisations and Muslim women in senior management positions at Palmers Green Mosque (see story below)



Board of Deputies praise for Government challenge to UNHCR over bias

Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush has praised the UK Government, which has stated its intention to put the United Nations Human Rights Council “on notice” for its  bias against Israel.

Jonathan said: “This is a hugely significant step by the UK Government and we would like to thank the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary for showing this international leadership by ‘putting the UN Human Rights Council on notice’ about its outrageous bias against Israel. Human rights is not served by a body so clearly partisan that its judgements cannot be taken seriously, so the UK’s decision represents a clear victory for both fairness and human rights.”

Read the JC report here.


Women CEOS and Muslim leaders discuss shared challenges

Around 25 women CEOs of Jewish communal organisations and Muslim women in senior management positions met this week at the Palmers Green Mosque for a tour of the Mosque and networking.

The women were addressed by Dr Husna Ahmed OBE, and enjoyed discussing the shared challenges that women can experience when assuming managerial positions in a faith community, as well as approaches to conquering any problems.

The tour of the mosque provided plenty of opportunities to examine similar religious practices, and to discuss issues specifically relating to women in prayer spaces. The meeting was convened by the Board of Deputies Women CEOs Forum, working with Global One and Nisa-Nashim.

Board of Deputies Activity

Senior Vice President Richard Verber attended the AIPAC conference in Washington DC. While in Washington DC, Richard met with a number of American Jewish community organisations and with officials at the British Embassy in Washington alongside the Jewish Leadership Council.

Chief Executive Gillian Merron travelled to Warsaw to attend the opening gala for AJC’s Central Europe office. Gillian held talks with AJC CEO David Harris and AJC Europe Director Simone Rodan-Benzaquen on a number of upcoming joint projects.

As recipient of the World Jewish Congress Ralph Goldman Award, International Relations Officer David Walsh participated in the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Programme of the German Marshall Fund in Brussels. The cohort, which included elected officials, NGO representatives and private sector leaders from the US and Europe, took part in a number of seminars and workshops on transatlantic relations and inclusion in advocacy.

David Walsh participated in the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum. Key speakers included Senator John McCain, Guy Verhofstadt MEP, First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, and Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders. David was interviewed by Serbian public television on the sidelines of the forum.

David Walsh met Executive Vice President Raya Kalenova and Director of EU Affairs Nuno Wahnon Martins of the European Jewish Congress to discuss current areas of cooperation.

President Jonathan Arkush addressed the opening of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Exhibition at JW3 on People, Book, Land – the 3,500 year relationship of the Jewish people to the Holy Land.

Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg spoke to Israeli social business IDEA about supporting UK training and learning opportunities for the Israeli local government sector.

Phil Rosenberg met Maureen Fisher of WIZO UK to talk about possible opportunities for joint work on promoting UK-Israel relations and coexistence projects.


Education Development Manager Sara Perlmutter and Education Consultant Sandra Teacher attended the National SACRE conference held on Sunday. More than 25 representatives from across the UK attended. The Board of Deputies coordinates this training and networking conference annually to support the important work of our Jewish SACRE members. For more information, click here. If you would like to be involved in representing the Jewish community to develop statutory, locally agreed syllabi for religious education, email

Vice President Sheila GewolbPhil Rosenberg and Parliamentary Officer Joel Salmon met the Partnership for Jewish Schools and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research to discuss future Jewish education opportunities.


Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff joined volunteers from across the country for Sadaqa Day – a day of social action led by Muslims. At Sunridge Court Care Home in Golders Green, Anthony joined residents and Muslim and Jewish volunteers to help pack toiletries which were later sent to Sufra Food Bank. Photos here.

Vice President Marie van der Zyl and Anthony Silkoff attended the Council of Christians and Jews’ Freedom Seder, on the theme of tackling human trafficking and modern slavery.

Anthony Silkoff attended an interfaith panel discussion on “Success, Faith and Philanthropy,” featuring members of the Sikh and Jewish communities of the UK.

Sheila Gewolb met Phil Champain, Director of the Three Faiths Forum (3FF) to discuss the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London’s Council on Faith which has recently been launched as part of his Building Bridges for a Fairer London initiative. This framework articulates the Lieutenancy’s mission and suggests ways it will use its influence to make Londoners’ lives better by helping to increase their sense of belonging.


Phil Rosenberg and Joel Salmon met David Barclay from Faith in Labour to discuss the Jewish community’s policy priorities and the need for the party to tackle antisemitism with conviction.


Phil Rosenberg led a discussion with the Croydon Central Labour Party on antisemitism.


Sheila GewolbJoel Salmon, Education Policy Officer Dawn Waterman and Grassroots and Advocacy Consultant Steven Jaffe attended a private viewing of ‘Jerusalem’, an exhibition of 12 portraits of Jerusalemites, by artist Colin Davidson. Each portrait was of someone with a unique story, and the subjects were each from wholly diverse backgrounds. The underlying theme was of common humanity.


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.

Copyright © 2016 Board of Deputies of British Jews, All rights reserved.

You may also like...