Board Deputies february 2017

Board of Deputies
Community Briefing

Board of Deputies to integrate work on women in the community following completion of Women in Jewish Leadership project

The work of Women in Jewish Leadership is to be incorporated into the Board of Deputies following the successful completion of the project.

Women in Jewish Leadership was established in order to examine and improve gender equality across the Jewish community. Following its initial findings, WJL made a number of key recommendations which were followed up by a variety of highly successful initiatives and pilot projects aimed at tackling the problem of gender inequality in the community.

After six years of working to embed the need for change and successfully demonstrating the target areas within communal organisations, WJL is delighted that the Board of Deputies has stepped forward to continue this important work. The Board is centrally and strategically ideally positioned to highlight and tackle the issues that affect women in the Jewish community and it has committed itself to the ongoing improvement of gender equality.

To read a full report, click here

Jonathan Arkush and historian Deborah Lipstadt discuss the future of the diaspora at a seminar hosted by Limmud FSU. Also discussing the topic was Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. To read the JPost article, click here

Left to right: AJC Chief Executive David Harris, AJC Europe Director Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, Chair of the Board of Governors Harriet Schleifer and Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron outside 10 Downing Street for a meeting with a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (see story below)


Anti-Israel speakers ‘discredited, nasty and hateful’

Anti-Israel speakers at a demonstration to protest against the meeting between British and Israeli Prime Ministers Theresa May and Benjamin Netanyahu have been branded ‘discredited, nasty and hateful’ by Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush.

At the protest, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Vice President of CND Bruce Kent was heard telling Jews to « overcome » the horror of the Holocaust.  Also speaking at the event were Baroness Jenny Tonge, PSC chair Hugh Lanning and representatives from Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, and Jews for Justice for Palestine.

Jonathan said of the PSC speakers: “This motley band of people from the past shows why we can be confident that when we make the case for Israel calmly and reasonably, we will expose the malicious posturing of those who think that the only way forward for a just and secure peace for all is to push Israel into the sea.

« That’s what we’re up against. It’s discredited, it’s nasty and it’s hateful, but that must be so obvious to all that we can be sure that history is with us.”

Read the JC report here


AJC and Board of Deputies hold series of joint meetings

The Board of Deputies and AJC (American Jewish Committee) held a series of joint meetings and engagements in London last Friday.

Chief Executive Gillian Merron, Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and International Relations Officer David Walsh welcomed AJC Chief Executive David Harris, AJC Europe Director Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, Chief of Staff Joey Resnick and Chair of the Board of Governors Harriet Schleifer. Diplomatic meetings with the Bulgarian and Japanese Ambassadors took place, followed by a meeting with Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev and discussions with a Special Adviser to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. 

The Board of Deputies and AJC signed an association agreement last October following a number of successful collaborations including the European Mayors United Against Antisemitism initiative and the Board of Deputies-AJC Europe Diplomatic Reception.

Board of Deputies Activity


President Jonathan Arkush addressed a demonstration supporting the meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street. Senior Vice President Richard Verber and Grassroots and Advocacy Consultant Steven Jaffe also attended.

Steven Jaffe met Rod Langston, Deputy Chair of Operation Exodus UK, a Christian charity which has partnered with the Jewish Agency to support Aliyah from the Former Soviet Union and around the world.

Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg spoke to French umbrella body CRIF about antisemitism and life after Brexit. French speakers can read the article here

Chief Executive Gillian Merron participated on a UK Taskforce study tour with colleagues from organisations including UJIA, Pears Foundation and UJS. She met with non-government  organisations, senior civil servants, entrepreneurs and politicians including MK Ayman Odeh. She also visited villages, schools and the SodaStream factory near Rahat.

International Relations Officer David Walsh met a civil servant at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to discuss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the UK, bilateral relations and trade.

The Board of Deputies hosted a briefing and Q&A on the Trump administration for communal stakeholders with Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Jonathan Arkush and David Walsh met with ADL (Anti-Defamation League) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and Assistant Director for International Affairs Andrew Srulevitch to discuss recent developments in the US


Vice President Sheila Gewolb and Education Development Manager Sara Perlmutter attended a meeting of the Judaism Development Professional group, which is looking to develop resources for teachers and educators, focusing on non- Jewish primary school children. 

Sheila Gewolb visited Southbank International School in Hampstead and spoke to children aged 8-9 years about core beliefs and practices in Judaism.

Together with Sonya Daniels (a Pinner volunteer) Sheila Gewolb presented an interactive session at Stanmore synagogue to 60 children aged 5-6 years. She spoke about the Torah, Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah and Jewish identity.

Phil Rosenberg participated in a faith communities roundtable with the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education, to discuss faith schools.

Education Policy Adviser Dawn WatermanSara Perlmutter and Education Consultant Sandra Teacher took part in a meeting at the Department for Education to discuss a variety of issues of interest to faith schools.

Dawn Waterman and Phil Rosenberg visited Yavneh College, Borehamwood

Jonathan Arkush attended a Chagigat HaSiddur presentation at Hertsmere Jewish Primary School.


Adviser on Medical Issues Professor David Katz and colleagues met the new safeguarding team at the Care Quality Commission to discuss their advice to their inspectors about non-therapeutic neonatal male circumcision (i.e. Brit Milah)


Phil Rosenberg and Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff participated in a roundtable discussion with interfaith professionals from the different national church bodies about how to improve discussion on the Israel-Palestine conflict, hosted by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.


Phil Rosenberg and Dawn Waterman participated in a roundtable policy discussion with representatives of the Charedi community.

Vice President Marie van der Zyl spoke spoke at Edgware and District Reform Synagogue on Shabbat.

Marie van der Zyl spoke on a panel with CST Communications Director  Dave Rich and Michael Freeman on the Israeli Embassy on topics including antisemitism, Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency.

Phil Rosenberg met Birkbeck College’s Ruth Sheldon and Ben Gidley, to discuss their research on the Jewish community.


Marie van der Zyl was interviewed by London Live news on the CST report on the rise of antisemitic incidents in 2016. See the interview here.


Jonathan ArkushMarie van der Zyl and Anthony Silkoff attended the launch of WIZO’s exhibition of the Women and their Olive Trees project, featuring Israeli women from all cultural and religious backgrounds, at the Houses of Parliament.

Government Affairs Officer Marcelle Palmer attended a meeting of the Association of Jewish Women’s Organisations (AJWO).


Jonathan Arkush attended the opening of the Limmud FSU Elie Wiesel exhibition at JW3 in London.


Jonathan Arkush and Dawn Waterman met Stephen D Smith of the USC Shoah Foundation to discuss issues of interest to both organisations. Dawn Waterman attended the Spiro Tribute lecture Holocaust in Holograms at JW3, given by Stephen Smith.

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 and the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation want 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.

13 SH’VAT 5777

Shabbat times:

LONDON 4.49pm/6.00pm
MANCHESTER 4.52pm/6:06pm
LEEDS 4.48pm/6.03pm
GLASGOW 4.53pm/6.11pm


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