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Jewish traditions under 'unprecedented attack', warns Board presidential candidate

Board of Deputies vice-president Marie van der Zyl releases manifesto as she bids to become only its second female president

    Marie van der Zyl has become the first of the candidates for the presidency of the Board of Deputies to publish a manifesto ahead of next month’s election to succeed Jonathan Arkush.

    One of the three vice-presidents, who was elected in 2015 and heads the Board’s defence and interfaith relations, she said the community “needs an advocate to stand up for our traditions and to defend our human rights”.

    Vice-president Sheila Gewolb and vice-chairman of the Board’s international division Edwin Shuker have also announced their candidacy.

    Mrs van der Zyl, an employment lawyer originally from Redbridge and a graduate of the Jewish Leadership Council's Gamechangers programme, said she had reached out to “every corner of our community to fight antisemitism, defend Israel and promote interfaith work”.

    British Jewry, she said, stood at “a critical point; antisemitism is on the rise, including shamefully in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.

    “Our fundamental Jewish traditions from milah to shechita, are under an unprecedented attack”.

    If elected, she pledged to create regional advocacy hubs  to support isolated communities, hold an annual plenary session of the Board for youth and increase the executive to include under-represented groups.

    Nominations for the Board posts close on April 26 with the election taking place on May 13.

    Currently candidates with at least one nomination are as follows: for the post of president, Sheila Gewolb, Edwin Shuker and Marie Van der Zyl; for vice-president, Amanda Bowman, Robert Festenstein, Sheila Gewolb, Gary Mond, Tal Ofer and Roslyn Pine; for treasurer, Stuart MacDonald.

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