Vice-presidency race hots up at the Board

By Simon Rocker, May 3, 2012

At least five candidates will contest the three Board of Deputies vice-president posts at elections on Sunday fortnight.

But Board president Vivian Wineman is not expected to face a challenge for a second three-year term when nominations close today.

While serving vice-presidents Jonathan Arkush and Jerry Lewis seek re-election, Daily Mail city editor Alex Brummer, family solicitor Denise Lester and Mitzvah Day founder Laura Marks will also be vying for a seat.

A possible sixth contender, former London Jewish Forum chief executive Alex Goldberg, was considering a late run. "I was asked by other deputies to put my name forward very late, maybe too late in the day. Based on their encouragement I took some soundings," he said on Wednesday.

Each candidate was required to muster 20 deputies in support of his or her bid. Interest in the election has grown to the point where a group of young deputies campaigning for change are planning to stage a vice-presidential hustings ahead of the vote.

‘It’s shaping up to be a lively election’

"It's a strong sign of commitment and faith in the Board that we have candidates vying for places," reflected Mr Arkush, the senior vice-president who topped the poll in 2009. "It looks like being an exciting election."

Mr Lewis said: "I have been asked by many deputies to continue the work I have started in trying to bring the Board into the 21st century and to try to heal the rifts that have occurred recently, including with the Jewish Leadership Council." Mr Brummer, vice-chairman of the Board's international division, said that a number of former presidents and senior Board figures had "urged me to put my name forward. I have got as far as I can with divisional politics. You either step back or take yourself forward to another stage."

On Sunday, the United Synagogue held a meeting for deputies representing its synagogues. But according to Ms Lester, a member of the Board's defence division, there were no instructions on voting. "That's positive because they acknowledge that the Board is cross-communal," she said. "It's shaping up to being a lively election."

She and Messrs Arkush, Brummer and Lewis represent US constituencies. Ms Marks, who chairs the JLC's commission on Jewish women, is a deputy for the Movement for Reform Judaism.

Last updated: 6:40pm, May 3 2012