The candidates for President

May 7, 2009

Flo Kaufmann

Chairman of the council of the European Jewish Congress and vice-president of the World Jewish Congress.

Board experience:
Vice-president for the past six years, she is chair of its international division who has ensured that Board has “had a seat round the table with many world leaders” and who has “led many Board missions to Israel”. Deputy for Hampstead Garden Suburb United Synagogue and previous Board treasurer.

What she says:
● “I will tackle the issues that confront us; the tough challenges we will face in the coming few years.”
● “As Jews, whatever our affiliation, together we form a single minority community in the UK. We share many common interests and to strengthen our entire community must co-ordinate our efforts even more.”
● “Yes, Flo can.”

Manifesto includes:
● Addressing urgent concerns such as rising antisemitism, demonisation of Israel, “the hostile atmosphere” on campuses and the availability and quality of Jewish education.
● Expanding dialogue with government ministers and ambassadors in UK.
● Ensuring that “individual voices of deputies can be heard more clearly”.

Jerry Lewis

Lobby and parliamentary correspondent for Israel Radio, political and diplomatic editor of the Jewish Telegraph and broadcast pundit on Israel.

Board profile:
Deputy for Hampstead United Synagogue since 1976, he has twice served as vice-president including one as senior VP. Currently on the defence division, he is a former chair of the community issues division with interests ranging from Jewish demography to the environment.

What he says:
● “I am convinced that the Board of Deputies is best run as a team effort with its leadership headed by a listening president, one who will regularly visit constituencies.”
● “Attention should be given to issues ranging from growing antisemitism to concerns about Israel’s image in this country and how it affects our community.”

Manifesto includes:
● Establishing an advisory panel including academics and business people to address racism and contemporary antisemitism.
● Setting up a national forum to tackle media bias and provide media training – “there is a distinct need for a community-wide media rapid response unit”.
● Reviewing relations between Board and other Jewish organisations, particularly the Jewish Leadership Council, to “restore the Board’s traditional role as the Jewish community’s main voice to government and to the media”.

Peter Sheldon

Former executive director of Hambros Bank, chartered accountant with 45 years’ business experience. President of the United Synagogue for six years, chairman of Kerem School with “virtual full-time commitment” to the Jewish community over the past 10 years.

Board experience:
Deputy for United Synagogue since 2006 and member of the Board’s international division.

What he says:
● “At a time when we are facing daunting challenges, the Board and the British Jewish community must have an articulate president with stature, wide experience, skill, tact and diplomacy to command respect from politicians, the media and the wider community.”
● “I am totally familiar with government and other public institutions in the UK and believe that I am highly respected by many senior ministers and parliamentarians across the parliamentary spectrum, in this country as well as Israel.”

Manifesto includes:
● Create strategy to meet challenges posed by growth of antisemitism and to deliver on Board’s obligation to “advance Israel’s security, welfare and standing”, including need to challenge “a fundamentally biased media”.
● Continue interfaith work encouraging “moderate friends”.
● Develop new form of relationship with Jewish Leadership Council and ensure Board remains “unambiguous sole recognised representative” body of British Jewry.

Vivian Wineman

Commercial lawyer, who has been vice-chairman for the past two years of the UK Interfaith Network. He is a patron of Norwood and a former chairman of the New Israel Fund, “which works for religious pluralism”.

Board experience:
Elected senior vice-president — topping the five candidates for VP in 2006 — he chairs its defence division which covers the fight against antisemitism. Deputy (together with Mrs Kaufmann) for Hampstead Garden Suburb United Synagogue.

What he says:
● “The Board needs leadership that… can represent it effectively to outsiders and at the same time reach out to all groups in the community with sensitivity and tact… I have good relations with all religious groups in the community from the far right to the left.”
● “I have extensive experience of the business world and of negotiating and forging consensuses between different groups.”
● “I have published on Jewish and legal topics and spoken on them at Spiro, Limmud and on BBC Radio Four. I believe I have the intellectual weight to represent the Board.”

Manifesto includes:
● Hold more events in the community to showcase work of the Board.
● Make overtures to the Charedi community.
● Reach out to younger members of the community – “I am the youngest candidate and the only one with a youngish family.”

He is 59.

Last updated: 11:29am, May 7 2009