The treasurer of the Board of Deputies, Michael Ziff, has become the fourth candidate to join the contest for its presidency in spring.
The businessman, originally from Leeds, who is president and former chairman of Maccabi GB and a former president of Western Marble Arch Synagogue in London, promised a “strong, practical and collaborative approach” in the announcement of his bid to deputies this week.
He will compete against Amanda Bowman, Phil Rosenberg and Sheila Gewolb to succeed Marie van der Zyl as president in May’s election.
Mr Ziff, 70, told deputies: “The fight against the awful rise in antisemitism today must go beyond statements and complaints… At Maccabi GB, we did that and implemented education campaigns and grassroots workshops that have had deep, lasting results across sports and interfaith settings.”
His experience in business, he said, “taught me that preparation is the key to overcoming crises and achieving success. Our community must be prepared and must never again play catch up.
“The best media performers, PR people, lobbyists, lawyers, social media gurus and other experts will be assembled into a crisis team. Every business has one and representative bodies should have one too.”
He also pledged the creation of a president’s advisory group comprising some of “the most accomplished and exceptional talents” in the community, as well as the strengthening of the Board’s partnerships to “achieve the most effective results”.
Over the past year, Mr Ziff has travelled widely across the community, having set himself the task of reciting Kaddish for his mother Marjorie in 200 different synagogues.
Having visited “a wide variety of shuls”, he said: “I learned so much about our different communities and I listened to your challenges and concerns. There are still ten weeks until the end of my year of mourning, and I will visit more shuls and continue to do so after.”
He was elected treasurer in late 2022 following the resignation of previous incumbent Ben Crowne stepped down.
Candidates will have to have secured the endorsement of 20 deputies when nominations — which formally open next Thursday— close on March 7. There will then follow a lengthy, two-month campaign.