Board president is not a part-time job, says Laura Marks


The three candidates to become president of the Board of Deputies are split over how much time should be devoted to the job.

Speaking at a hustings on Sunday, barrister Jonathan Arkush and Alex Brummer, who is a journalist, both gave assurances that they would be able to fit in the role with their working commitments.

But rival contender Laura Marks said she believed that leading the Board was a full-time job.

She said: "This is not being chair of a regular charity. This is being the representative body of the British community... You need to be at the beck and call of the community."

Ms Marks told the 100-strong audience at Edgware United Synagogue that she was “a brave and decisive leader”, citing her track record at Mitzvah Day and her role as chair of the Board’s Women's Commission.

A United Synagogue deputy said he was uncomfortable about the fact that Ms Marks - who represents the Reform movement on the Board - had also joined a US synagogue. It was like being a member of the Conservatives and Labour, he suggested.

She responded: “Over a year ago, I joined Highgate. I worked cross-communally for seven years in the community and still people didn’t believe it. I joined Highgate because I was invited and I have learned so much about how to build a community from an Orthodox perspective.”

Both Mr Brummer and Mr Arkush who are US members - Mr Brummer represents the US centrally on the Board- criticised US president Stephen Pack's remarks that Ms Marks would be divisive choice.

Mr Arkush said: “The Board is not a denominational place. I hope it is never divided by synagogue affiliation. To me that is a destructive and downward path. I disagree profoundly with what Stephen Pack said.”

Mr Brummer called the remark “divisive and unnecessary and unfortunate. I am sure he has had the chance to reflect on it now and he wouldn’t probably say the same thing again.”

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