Marie Van der Zyl thanked deputies “from the very bottom of my heart” after being elected the next president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
She emerged the winner in the third round of voting, defeating Sheila Gewolb, Simon Hochhauser, and Edwin Shuker.
Ms Van der Zyl replaces Jonathan Arkush, who is stepping down.
“I’m really overwhelmed. I want to thank every single one of you for voting for me and placing all your trust and confidence in me,” she said after the result was announced.
“I want to say for my Mum, I hope you don’t mind, I know she will be watching and be so proud, and unfortunately my father’s passed away but I know that this would have been his proudest day.
“It will be an honour and a privilege for me to serve you and the community, and I will put all of my heart and soul into my Board role.”
It was announced 245 ballots had been issued and 238 votes cast for the election, which was conducted under the Single Transferable Vote system.
“Today belongs to the 48th president of the Board of Deputies Marie van der Zyl and I offer her my warmest congratulations,” Mr Arkush, who was chairing the session, said.
“She has been an absolute stalwart: tireless and effective, utterly committed and I know she will make a very, very fine president of this Board of Deputies.
“I am endlessly proud to stand tall and to stand fearless and to be proud of our values and our history and our tradition, and in our determination to continue them sometimes against great odds.”
Mr Arkush took many members by surprise when he announced in January that he would not seek a second term as Board president.
“I would not have had it any other way,” he said at the time.
“But I have decided the time has now come to stand aside and let the Board have the benefit of a new leader who will bring fresh qualities and energies to the role.”
He later told the JC that stepping down would allow him more freedom to progress his “longstanding aspiration to make aliyah”, which began with his first visit to Israel with the youth group Sinai when he was 17.
“It has become an increasingly urgent personal priority,” he said.