Should Orthodox deputies cover their heads?

By Simon Rocker
May 24, 2012

One of the novelties of the vice-presidential elections at the Board of Deputies on Sunday was that they were live-streamed, enabling web spectators to follow events.

The same was also true of the hustings a few days before, where the candidates also had to endure the sight of sometimes critical commentary on their performance being tweeted on a live screen by outside viewers as well as members of the audiences.

Meanwhile, here is one view of Sunday’s events which was blogged by Bnei Akiva deputy Noah Nathan:

“It was probably the most exciting election that the Board has ever seen with live streaming and twitter playing an important role in creating the atmosphere. Unlike the previous plenary sessions that I’ve attended, the number of twitter users tweeting with the #bod hashtag that I did not know of, was astounding. It just shows the growing interest that the young Jewish community is having with the Board or perhaps the growing number of older Deputies using twitter.

"The event however, was marred by controversy when one candidate was interrupted by a Deputy multiple times regarding a long-standing argument between them. The other controversy happened when one deputy took issue with one of the candidates’ Reform background. The most chutzpadik thing was that this deputy wasn’t even wearing a kippah at the time.

“This gets me onto another point – there are a ridiculous number of deputies representing Orthodox synagogue that don’t wear kippot. Why do so many shuls choose someone who won’t even cover their head in a public Jewish setting? The fact that some of the deputies chosen by the United Synagogue trustees don’t wear kippot is totally wrong and shows a bad dugma ishit (personal example) too as well. Even the President, who represents Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue won’t even wear a kippa in front of the queen!

"On a final note, after today’s plenary session, I’ve thought about a couple things. Firstly, I’ll need to wear a movement shirt to future sessions; Bnei Akiva’s other Deputy – mazkir Alex Cohen – wore his and it definitely allowed him to stand out and network better. Secondly, there was a lot of talk about ‘change’ at the Board which most candidates stressed was about introducing younger and more female deputies.

“However, if we want the Board to be a true representation of Anglo Jewry, we must also make efforts to bring back in the fastest growing group – the Charedim.”



Mon, 05/28/2012 - 10:58

Rate this:

0 points

Mr Rocker,

What are your thoughts on the webcam and Twitter feeds of BOD meetings?

The terms "novelty" and "endure" in your paragraphs do not give the impression of favourable inclination.

Also, do you have any thoughts on the issue of removing the age barrier to serving as a Deputy?

Simon Rocker

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 12:13

Rate this:

0 points

Dear Troy

Most people thought the live streaming of the elections and the hustings was a good idea and that it should be extended. I am not sure how many people would want to give up a Sunday morning to watch a Board meeting online, though.

As for the tweet-screen: I think displaying tweets on a screen as they come in are liable to distract attention from what people are actually saying at the Board.

Age barrier? Not sure what you mean, I think the Board has lifted the age bar on over-70s standing for office....


Mon, 07/09/2012 - 15:51

Rate this:

0 points

Mr Rocker,

Thank you for your response.
I agree that the tweet screen does seem a rather outlandish choice. Relevant comments or questions could certainly be monitored and put to the Board via a designated officer however, sifting through in much the same way as the support staff of a radio station do.

The age barrier I am thinking of is actually the bar on younger people standing. As far as I am concerned, if you are old enough to be elected as an MP you should be capable of being elected to the Board.

Sorry for the delay in responding, but there doesn't seem to be an auto-notify option on here and the latest comments list can get rather hot!


Mon, 07/09/2012 - 15:56

Rate this:

0 points

Troy, there's no bar on young people - in fact, there are more now than ever before. If you were to come to a Board meeting, you'd see many in their 20s and 30s. The only bar is younger people's lack of desire to take part in communal leadership. I think they see what has gone before and hear what some of the "usual suspects" have to say and are put off.


Mon, 07/09/2012 - 16:27

Rate this:

0 points

Mr Millis,

It was my understanding that the under 35's were observers rather than deputies in their own rights.

I have now had a good look at the constitution and am heartened to see that it is open to over 18s! I happily withdraw my comments, but would say that it could do to be a little clearer on the website.

Much like voting, you don't have a right to complain if you don't take part. Hopefully a telecommuting Board may be achievable in the future!

Real Real Zionist

Tue, 07/10/2012 - 14:26

Rate this:

0 points

"The event however, was marred by controversy when one candidate was interrupted by a Deputy multiple times regarding a long-standing argument between them.

Hoffie harassing Jerry Lewis, right?


You must be logged in to post a comment.