Board of Deputies election show moves north

Three debates in three days – the candidates will set out their stall this week in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow


Bidding for glory: Board presidential candidates (from left) Phil Rosenberg, Sheila Gewolb, Michael Ziff, Amanda Bowman

Candidates to be the next president of the Board of Deputies face an intensive three evenings on the campaign trail this week with hustings in the North of England and Scotland.

Beginning in Manchester on Tuesday, they will move on to Leeds and Glasgow in successive nights, along with the five competitors for the three vice-presidencies, who will also be taking part.

Current vice-president Amanda Bowman and the Board’s former public affairs director Phil Rosenberg were the two names most commonly tipped to win by some of the audience who gave their view to the JC after last week’s first hustings in London.

One said it was a contest between Bowman’s experience and “the energy of youth” represented by Rosenberg.

But others stressed that it was early days yet. “All four are very experienced. We have some very good candidates. Let’s see what happens,” one deputy said.

Board treasurer Michael Ziff and former senior vice-president Sheila Gewolb are the other two presidential hopefuls looking to succeed Marie van der Zyl in May’s election.

“It was a learning curve, they all acquitted themselves well,” said one audience member. “I think we will get a truer picture as the hustings proceed.”

But another member who thought Bowman “the best qualified” of the prospective presidents found the event to be “low energy” and hoped for better in the weeks ahead. He believed overall that vice-presidential candidate Adrian Cohen was the “stand-out” performer of any of those standing for office on the night.

As far as atmosphere, it might not have helped that the venue for the first event — the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood — was sparsely populated with most of the audience opting to attend online.

One longstanding deputy, a supporter of Bowman, who said he had polled half of the Board before the start of hustings, put her well ahead with 50 per cent, followed by Rosenberg on 25 per cent.

Another deputy said the candidates “will get better and the one who will master the format will win. None has taken a significant lead as yet.”

A further set of hustings will take place in London, for the presidency on May 7 and the vice-presidencies on May 2. 

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