Board of Deputies

Saving our lost Jewish communities in the UK

By Leon Symons, January 14, 2010

National communal organisations are facing a desperate plea to do more for small communities.

Ephraim Borowski, chairman of the Board of Deputies’ Regional Council, called on the Board, the Jewish Leadership Council and other bodies to provide more tangible support to the many small outposts of Jewish life around the country.

“The smaller the communities are, the more vulnerable they are likely to be,” he said.

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Angry US rabbis divided over JFS

By Simon Rocker, January 14, 2010

The fallout from the JFS court case continued this week with a split emerging among United Synagogue rabbis.

A statement from the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue (RCUS) which last week attacked non-Orthodox movements over the case has been denounced as “misguided” and “aggressive” by the council’s own vice-chairmen.

Writing in today’s JC, Rabbis Michael Harris and Naftali Brawer have instead called for “all denonimations” to work together in order to reverse the Supreme Court’s judgment through a change in the law.

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Convert challenge to Chief after JFS

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2009

The Board of Deputies faces an uphill battle to secure non-Orthodox support for a change in the law in order to override last week’s Supreme Court judgment on Jewish school admissions.

The Liberal, Masorti and Reform movements have all indicated that their support for any change to the Equality Bill, currently going through Parliament, will be conditional on their converts being accepted into mainstream Orthodox schools.

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Pro-Palestinian carol church gets hate mail

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

The rector of a church which held a carol service with alternative songs condemning Israel was reportedly sent a barrage of hate mail before the service.

Reverend Simon Grigg was allegedly told he would “go to hell” in a series of hate emails sent before more than 60 of protesters demonstrated outside his church in Covent Garden last week.

The service was held by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG) and included readings by Palestinian writer Ghada Karmi, Baroness Jenny Tonge and Lauren Booth.

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The Board grows fangs at long last

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2009

Scrolling through the archive of press releases from the Board would leave you with the impression that its main activity in recent years has been paying courtesy calls on embassies around London.

But something appears to have changed in the past few weeks.

A series of statements on assorted issues suggests that British Jewry’s main representative body wants to be seen as more assertive and vocal. An organisation for which “concern” appeared to be the strongest word in its vocabulary, has now turned into “Angry, of Bloomsbury Square”.

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Expel this race-row union, says Board

By Leon Symons, December 10, 2009

The union that sits on the official Government Group on Antisemitism and Higher Education is facing calls for its expulsion because it hosted a man who made an antisemitic speech.

The University and College Union (UCU) invited Bongani Masuku, international secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), to tour UK universities this week and to speak at an invitation-only conference last Saturday, arguing for a boycott of Israel.

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Minaret ban is really small fry

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 9, 2009

On December 1, a church in central London hosted an anti-Israeli Christmas concert. On the pavement outside, a participant in this event mouthed appalling anti-Jewish sentiments, which you can see and hear on a video posted on the JC website. What did the Board of Deputies of British Jews do? Nothing.

The following day, the website of the Jerusalem Post published graphic film of a Palestinian Arab stabbing a Jewish soldier at a West Bank checkpoint. What was the reaction of the Board of Deputies? There was none.

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Community urges Jews against mosque demo

By Martin Bright, December 3, 2009

Leading Jewish organisations have called on members of the community not to attend a demonstration against the building of a new mosque in west London. The demonstration is intended to highlight the growing influence of Islam in Europe.

The Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust issued strongly-worded statements after the organisers, Stop the Islamisation of Europe, urged Jews to bring Israeli flags to the demonstration and march at Harrow Mosque on December 13.

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Jewish groups criticise Swiss minaret ban

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2009

Jewish groups have criticised the result of the Swiss referendum in favour of banning the building of minarets on mosques.

The referendum, called by the far-right Swiss People’s Party, has been criticised by the United Nations, the Swiss government, most Swiss newspapers, the Swiss church and the Vatican.

But it was supported by 57 per cent of Swiss voters, with 20 per cent more voters turning out than expected.

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Board bid to engage Israeli-Arabs

By Simon Rocker, November 26, 2009

The Board of Deputies and the UJIA have joined a new task force to promote greater interest in Israel’s Arab citizens.

Other founding members of the group are the Pears Foundation, the Zionist Federation, the New Israel Fund and the Abraham Fund Initiatives UK.

Trevor Pears, executive chairman of the Pears Foundation and co-chair of the group with Douglas Krikler, UJIA chief executive, explained: “Our foundation has focused on this issue since the symposium we hosted on the subject in 2007. Since then, interest has grown culminating in the UK Taskforce.”

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