Women and young people advance in Board elections

By Simon Rocker, July 19, 2012

A campaign to change the face of the Board of Deputies was celebrating this week after helping to secure more seats for women and young people on Board committees.

Ten of the candidates backed by Changing the Board, a lobby group set up this year, won places in a poll which saw many veteran deputies voted off.

Richard Verber — a leader of Changing the Board, who won a place on the finance division — said the group had “pulled off the most sensational set of election results.

“The change agenda has been heard loudly and clearly at the Board and we will work together in the coming triennial to create a more effective, representative Board of Deputies.”

Division members failing to gain re-election included former United Synagogue president and past Board presidential contender Peter Sheldon.

More than a third of the places — 17 — went to women, compared to 10 three years ago. The community issues division now has a female majority. Besides the women who captured seven out of 12 places on Sunday, the division is chaired by new senior vice-president Laura Marks.

Eleven of the new division members are under 35 — there were three in the last triennial. Student representatives Dan Mackenzie and Gabriel Webber were among those who won seats on the defence and international divisions. Youth movement delegates Rachel Elf (RSY-Netzer) and Ilana Fenster (Noam) join the community issues division.

One newcomer to the finance division is Buckhurst Hill Masorti’s Hana Birks, a charity governance and tax specialist. “I hesitated until the last minute before deciding to run,” she revealed. “And, boy, was it a close call. Due to an admin error, I wasn’t even returned as a deputy until one day before the deadline for submitting nominations.”

Last updated: 1:55pm, July 19 2012