Board of Deputies

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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Reluctant mohels skew birth figures

By Simon Rocker, October 17, 2008

The Board of Deputies says it is being hampered in the collection of Jewish birth statistics because not all mohelim (circumcisers) are providing figures for brits performed each year.

The number of births is based on the annual circumcisions performed by mohelim registered with the respective Orthodox and Progressive societies.

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Chief’s projects head is to lead volunteers

By Simon Rocker, July 25, 2008
Leonie Lewis, the Chief Rabbi's projects director, is leaving his office after a year-and-a-half to become the first chief executive of the Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN).

The former head of the United Synagogue's Community Development Group - who was number 69 in this year's JC Power 100 - will also be undertaking consultancy work for the US and the London School of Jewish Studies.

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Boris praises Jewish Londoners

By Leon Symons, July 18, 2008

Boris Johnson helped the Board of Deputies to attract a big turnout for its president’s dinner at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel last week.

The London Mayor entertained the 400 guests at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in stitches with a string of amusing anecdotes and asides.

He later paid tribute to the audience for helping him through his speech. “I had a very busy day and I was shattered when I arrived in the room. I had nothing to say but they made it so easy for me to talk about what I want to do.

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