Board of Deputies

Race is on for Board president

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The most hotly contested leadership campaign in the 249-year history of the Board of Deputies is under way with four candidates already in the race to become its president.

And nominations do not close until May 1, with deputies due to vote for their leader on May 17.

This week, senior vice-president Vivian Wineman, vice-president Flo Kaufmann, former vice-president Jerry Lewis and former United Synagogue president Peter Sheldon all confirmed that they are standing for the position.

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Dayan attacks plan to twin shuls with mosques

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

A Board of Deputies plan for synagogues to twin with mosques in order to improve Muslim-Jewish relations has been attacked by a senior Orthodox rabbi as contrary to Jewish law.

Dayan Yisroel Lichtenstein, head of the Federation of Beth Din, wrote to communities under its aegis last Friday to say they should not take part “on religious grounds”.

The initiative was among a number discussed by Jewish interfaith organisations at a special meeting at the Board last week to discuss Jewish-Muslim relations.

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Board reaches out to repair faith relations

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

An Islamic community centre will host a major Jewish exhibition as interfaith groups attempt to repair relations in the aftermath of the Gaza conflict.

The Board of Deputies’ Jewish Way of Life exhibition will be held at the centre in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in the spring.

At a meeting on Tuesday, members of the London Jewish Forum, synagogue bodies and the Board reaffirmed their dedication to developing stronger ties with the Muslim community.

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Board asks for help for Iran Bahá’is

February 26, 2009

The Board of Deputies president, Henry Grunwald QC, has written to Foreign Secretary David Miliband with a renewed call to the government to support the persecuted Bahá’i community in Iran.

The Board made representations to the government last May when six community leaders were arrested and detained. The group, including a seventh leader already in custody, has now been charged with various crimes including “insulting religious sanctity”, “undermining the Islamic Republic of Iran” and even “espionage for Israel”.

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Board outraged at Vatican

By Bernard Josephs, February 19, 2009

The reinstatement by the Pope of a Holocaust-denying bishop has been condemned as an “outrage” by the Board of Deputies.

A resolution passed at Sunday’s meeting reflected communal anger at the lifting of the excommunication of the British-born ultra-traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson. The clergyman contends that the Holocaust was a Jewish invention and that “only” up to 300,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

The motion was proposed by former board president Lionel Kopelowitz, who said that a text of the resolution would be sent to the Vatican.

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Board urges shuls to adopt green agenda

By Bernard Josephs, February 18, 2009

Efforts to move environmental issues up the communal agenda have been outlined by the Board of Deputies.

In a report distributed to delegates at Sunday’s meeting in Central London, the board’s Environmental and Social Issues Action Group explained: “The intention is that green issues should become a major concern rather than a minor one as currently — and that the Jewish community should become green in practice as well as in theory.”

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Jewdas sorry over hoax email

By Leon Symons, January 22, 2009

The maverick group Jewdas has apologised to the Board of Deputies for trying to wreck last week’s pro-Israel Trafalgar Square rally.

Jewdas said that it would also transfer an internet domain name that it used to the Board and gave its “guarantee” that it would not impersonate the Board again.

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Helping refugees

December 11, 2008

Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald was part of a Jewish Council for Racial Equality delegation which discussed the plight of destitute asylum seekers with London Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes at City Hall on Tuesday.

The meeting focused on the role of Jewish communities in supporting those refused asylum, who are being assisted at centres such as the New London Synagogue drop-in facility. New London’s Rabbi Jeremy Gordon was also part of the delegation, along with Jcore’s Dr Edie Friedman.

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Charedim fight new marriage visa rules

By Leon Symons, November 6, 2008

The government may face a challenge to a law that will raise the marriage visa age from 18 to 21.

Campaigners, led by Michoel Posen of Agudas Israel Community Services in Stamford Hill, have warned that the law will have a severe effect on many marriages in the Charedi community, involving young people from Israel, America and Canada.

European Union countries are not affected by the law, due to come into force on November 27.

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Birth figures reveal strength of the family

By Simon Rocker, November 6, 2008

More British Jews are being born than are dying each year, according to the latest survey by the Board of Deputies published this week.

And the number of divorces sanctioned by Orthodox or Reform rabbinic authorities dropped to the lowest on record for nearly 20 years.

The number of Jewish deaths last year also dropped - below 3,000 for the first time since the Board began compiling records in the 1960s.

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