Board of Deputies of British Jews
by Comunidad Judía · 15 Heshvan 5779 – 24 October, 2018
COMMUNITY BRIEFING Parliamentarians from across the divide unite to support Mitzvah Day Twenty-nine parliamentarians from across the political spectrum came together this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Mitzvah Day by taking part in a social action event inside the Houses of Parliament.
Parliamentarians – including Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable, Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Conservative Party Vice Chairs for Communities Helen Grant and Rehman Chishti and SNP Westminster Group Leader Ian Blackford – packed pencil cases for School Aid, a charity that helps provide educational equipment for children in Africa.
The event, organised by the Board of Deputies and the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews, was sponsored by Wes Streeting MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on British Jews. It marked the start of the month leading up to Mitzvah Day, the UK’s biggest faith-based day of social action. Mitzvah Day has long enjoyed support from across the political divide. Many MPs and councillors will once more take part in activists in their constituencies on, and around, November 18.
Over the last 10 years, Mitzvah Day has seen Jews, Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths, and none, come together in social action. The charity, which was established in 2008, asks people to give their time not their money to help those in need.
This year more than 40,000 volunteers across the globe are expected to take part in projects to help the homeless, elderly, refugees and some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker said: “Social action is a big part of our work, whether it is convening the Jewish Social Action Forum or volunteering to feed the homeless. We are so pleased to support Mitzvah Day, particularly on their 10th anniversary, and to bring together MPs and peers from across the political spectrum, via the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews.”
On Mitzvah Day 2018, more than 40,000 volunteers across the globe are expected to take part in projects to help the homeless, elderly, refugees and some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
Mitzvah Day Founder and Chair Laura Marks said: “Mitzvah Day not only sees all of Britain’s different faith groups come together in social action, but it also brings together civil society and Government.
“Mitzvah Day encourages Government to engage in civil society. Over the last 10 years we have seen politicians from all parties and all levels of Government taking part in projects – from the Prime Minister and Mayor of London to local councillors across the length and breadth of the country.”
Vince Cable said: “I was very much inspired by what I saw in Parliament earlier today. Mitzvah Day encourages people of different faiths to come together in a common good cause and has been doing this important and inspiring work for a decade.”
Emily Thornberry said: “I support Mitzvah Day because we are all one big community and we need to make sure that we pay back. Events like this remind us all that everyone is not as lucky as each other and we must always think about helping those less fortunate.”
Laura Marks and Edwin Shuker were joined at the Parliamentary launch by Mitzvah Day’s Interfaith Chair Lady Daniela Pears, Board of Deputies Parliamentary Officer Joel Salmon, School Aid’s UK and Africa Operations Manager Thomas Broom and Daniel Kosky and Grace Diamond from the Union of Jewish Students.
Photo: (from top left) Peter Chubb, Grace Diamond, Simon Rothstein, Joel Salmon, Daniel Kosky, Edwin Shuker, Daniela Pears, Laura Marks, Tulip Siddiq MP, Thomas Broom
Marie van der Zyl pays tribute to former Board of Deputies President Jo Wagerman Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has paid tribute to past President of the Board of Deputies Jo Wagerman, who died this week.
Marie said: “Jo Wagerman was a pioneer – the first female headteacher of JFS and the first woman to lead the Board of Deputies as President. She made an immense contribution to our Jewish community and she will be sadly missed.”
Board of Deputies reacts to ‘shocking’ rise in religious hate crime Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has reacted with shock to this week’s reported increase in religious motivated hate crime.
Marie said: “Today’s shocking revelations of a 40 per cent rise in religious hate crime must serve as an urgent call to action. All of us – faith leaders, politicians, and the media – should today step up our efforts to stamp out this cancer in our society. The figures reveal that the most commonly targeted groups are Muslims and Jews. The Jewish community will continue to work in solidarity with Muslims and people of all faiths. We cannot let Britain become a place where a Hijab or a Kippah marks someone out as a target.”
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl was in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland this week for a series of events and meetings, including a celebration of the centenary of the birth of Belfast-born former Israeli President Chaim Herzog. Also pictured are (left to right) Executive Director of the Zionist Federation Arieh Miller, Jewish Leadership Council Chief Executive Simon Johnson and Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, who is Chaim’s son ACTIVITY REPORT INTERFAITH The Board of Deputies, together with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, has announced the latest series of Invest in Peace. Our groundbreaking national project brings together churches and synagogues across Britain to support Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding, and this year we are working with the charity Solutions Not Sides. Limited free tickets are now available for all seven events, through the Eventbrite links below: Cardiff – 29 October; Birmingham – 30 October; Bristol – 31 October; Oxford – 1 November; Woodford – 12 November: Bushey – 13 November; St Albans – 14 November. For further information, contact Anthony.Silkoff@bod.org.uk
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg led an interfaith tour of West Hampstead, including the JHub, Hampstead Synagogue and JW3, for the Camden Faith Leaders Forum.
INTERNATIONAL Around the anniversary of the Sobibor extermination camp uprising, Phil Rosenberg met diplomats at the Russian Embassy to discuss Holocaust commemoration, antisemitism and the current situation in the Middle East.
International Relations Officer Marius Bischoff attended a reception to mark the National Day of Spain at the Spanish Embassy.
Marius Bischoff attended and spoke at the Jewish Community Roundtable with Martin Longden, Head of the Near East Department, and Lucy Green, Israel Desk Officer.
Marius Bischoff met Lithuanian diplomat Asta Chaladauskiene to discuss further collaboration on an exhibition about the Vilna Ghetto.
POLITICAL Phil Rosenberg and Parliamentary Officer Joel Salmon met Lord Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, to discuss antisemitism and relations with the Jewish community.
Joel Salmon met Emma Dent Coad MP to express the Board of Deputies’ strong concerns regarding antisemitism in the Labour Party. They were joined by Deputy Dori Schmetterling, a constituent of Ms Dent Coad’s.
EDUCATION Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb attended the Cumbria SACRE meeting where items discussed included their successful Westhill NASACRE award for local RE projects. Sacred texts from several religions are identified to form a ‘Treasure Chest’ which will be used as a teaching resource for primary children transitioning to secondary school.
Sheila Gewolb visited Broughton primary school in Cockermouth, Cumbria, where she led an interactive session on Shabbat with 20 year four pupils.
COMMUNITY Phil Rosenberg and Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger worked with the Birmingham and West Midlands Jewish Representative Council to put on a visit to key Jewish Birmingham institutions for the Bank of England’s Chief Economist Andy Haldane. Read a full report here.
President Marie van der Zyl attended the Holocaust Educational Tust annual dinner.
Marie van der Zyl attended the Reform Judaism annual dinner.
Marie van der Zyl attended a meeting of the northern representative councils.
Chief Executive Gillian Merron was a panellist at a Question Time event organised by Sutton and District Synagogue and Kingston and Surbiton and District Synagogue. Fellow guests included: Sarah Baxter, Deputy Editor, Sunday Times; former chair of Limmud and blogger Ben Crowne; United Synagogue President Michael Goldstein and Paul Sculley MP, Conservative MP for Sutton and Cheam. Proceeds from the event were donated to JAMI.
Joel Salmon and Heritage and Archives Adviser Dawn Waterman represented the Board of Deputies at the Work Avenue employment fair, showcasing the Board of Deputies as a great place to work.
ANTISEMITISM Phil Rosenberg attended the Cross Government Working Group on tackling antisemitism, to discuss the latest hate crime figures and Whitehall initiatives to tackle hate crime. Copyright © 2018 Board of Deputies of British Jews, All rights reserved. You are receiving this email because you subscribed on our website, or because you are a deputy or designated under-35 observer of the Board of Deputies. If you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click here.