LFI chair Adrian Cohen to stand for Board of Deputies vice-presidency

Four candidates say they have secured enough nominations to stand for the three VP posts in May


Adrian Cohen

Adrian Cohen, the husband of Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl, is standing to be a vice-president of the organisation in its May election.

As co-chair of the London Jewish Forum and chairman of Labour Friends of Israel, he has a long involvement in the community and is a former trustee of the Jewish Leadership Council.

Nominations for the next triennial’s officers close on Thursday and candidates validated a week later.

But Cohen is one of four contenders for the three vice-presidencies who have confirmed that they have secured the requisite 20 endorsements from fellow deputies to be able to stand.

He said, “I hadn’t previously thought of standing (for the Board). It is a contribution to communal service that is driving me.”

He was one of van der Zyl’s campaign team that helped to propel her to the presidency in 2018. They married in autumn 2022.

She will step down in June after serving a maximum two three-year terms.

Also in the running for VP is Denise Lester, a long-serving deputy of 30 years’ experience who was the youngest female deputy when she was first elected to the Board in 1994. A member of the Board’s defence division, she is the only female candidate for the vice-presidency so far.

Jeremy Michelson, who chairs the Board’s regional group and holds the education portfolio for the Manchester Jewish Representative Council, has also cleared the first hurdle.

As has Owen Power, the deputy for the York Liberal community. Power, who is Deaf, holds the inclusion and social action portfolio on the Liberal Judaism board and is LGBTQ+ officer for the Jewish Labour Movement North-West.

But Cohen’s fellow co-chair of the London Jewish Forum, Andrew Gilbert, has pulled out of the VP race despite receiving sufficient nominations.

He instead wants to focus on his role as an executive member of a newly launched international organisation, Global Jewry, whose mission is “to strengthen the bonds that unite the Jewish people”.

Fellow Brits on Global Jewry’s executive committee are JW3 chief executive Raymond Simonson and Israel-based Eli Ovits, who was executive director of Limmud.

Former Board treasurer Ben Crowne, who stepped down during the last triennial in 2022, is planning to make a comeback and will be contending the post in the election.

The presidency is being contested by current VP Amanda Bowman, treasurer Michael Ziff, former Board vice-president Sheila Gewolb and former Board public affairs director Phil Rosenberg.

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