Oxford mayor: a first for the mazel tov cards

Lord Mayor Cllr Elise Benjamin

Lord Mayor Cllr Elise Benjamin

Oxford has elected what is thought to be its first Jewish Lord Mayor.

Councillor Elise Benjamin, 45, is not only believed to be the first member of the Jewish community in modern history to serve as the city's civic head, she is also the first Green Party representative and the youngest to hold the post yet.

Ms Benjamin, who was first elected as a councillor in 1999, said she was delighted to have achieved "three firsts in one".

"It's nice," she said. "I'm sure I am the first Lord Mayor to receive congratulations cards with mazel tov written on them."

A former deputy Lord Mayor, Ms Benjamin also served as the Sheriff of Oxford between 2009 and 2010. One of her earliest campaigns as councillor was to challenge a ban on having a menorah in the town centre.

"They said it was a traffic hazard, but we pointed out that they didn't say that about the Christmas tree," she said. Ms Benjamin was also involved in changing Oxford's Remembrance Day event to a multifaith ceremony.

She said her priority would be "to support the many community organisations and charities in Oxford that work for both social and environmental justice".

Ms Benjamin is the 51st Lord Mayor of Oxford.

    Last updated: 2:13pm, June 30 2011