The Board of Deputies’ 250th anniversary celebrations yielded a financial dividend with fundraising events producing a surplus of £112,000 last year.
Treasurer Laurence Brass said that in a tough economic climate, it was “an accomplishment of which I and the finance and organisation division are justly proud”. The Board also benefited from an unexpected £10,000 legacy from a Jewish man who died in Grantham.
Mr Brass told Sunday’s plenary meeting in London that he had inherited a “significant deficit” when starting his first term three years ago.
Now there were positive signs, such as the reversal of the decline in synagogue members paying a £25 voluntary levy to the Board. But he warned big synagogues that he was unwilling to give them a discount on representation fees that they pay for each deputy sent to the Board.
“For tiny communities out in the sticks, I am willing to be flexible,” he said. “But that doesn’t apply to huge shuls in London.
“This is the future of the Jewish way of life we’re talking about and I’m not willing to engage in a Petticoat Lane bartering session over our future.”
For the first time, the Board has set a budget, including £5,000 earmarked for the defence of brit milah.
But Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue deputy David Simmons contested the notion that London shuls could afford to pay their representation fees.
“The big north-west congregations are ageing and our resource is fading,” he said.