Essex man runs as 'rank outsider' for Board president


A dark horse has emerged in the race to be the next president of the Board of Deputies after Essex solicitor Richard Cohen announced his bid for the top post.

Mr Cohen, 59, who has represented Loughton, Chigwell and District Federation Synagogue on the Board for nine years, is the third candidate to step forward after Board vice-presidents Jonathan Arkush and Alex Brummer.

Describing himself as politically “ever so slightly left of centre”, he said, "I think north-east London has been under-represented at the Board and that I can bring a different perspective from the north-west London beltway."

He added that he was "a rank outsider but I have fond memories of Foinavon in the Grand National years ago" - a reference to the horse which won the race against the odds in 1967.

Mr Cohen, who is a great-nephew of Tesco founder Jack Cohen, decided to enter the contest after Board senior vice-president Laura Marks and treasurer Laurence Brass ruled themselves out.

“I think both Jonathan Arkush and Alex Brummer are good eggs – I am not doing this to have a go at them,” he said.

“I’m stepping into the breach to give deputies more choice. I don’t think you want to have more than three otherwise it’s a bit fragmented.”

On Israel, he said that he believed that it was “the role of the diaspora to support Israel and if its electorate has chosen Benjamin Netanyahu, it’s not for me to gainsay that.”

Mr Cohen's Facebook page lists among his favourite quotations Winston Churchill's "Never ever ever give up" and W.C.Fields's "Do unto others before they do unto you."

Nominations for the mid-May Board election close on May 1 and candidates must be backed by at least 20 deputies in order to stand.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive