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Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron to be made a life peer
Downing Street has announced that Gillian Merron, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Member of Parliament for Lincoln from 1997-2010, is to become a life peer.

She was nominated by Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer and will join the House of Lords in the New Year.

Reacting to the news, Gillian said: “I am deeply honoured to have been appointed. I have made it my life’s work to serve the country in whatever ways I can, whether in the trade unions, as MP for Lincoln, as a Government Minister and now alongside the outstanding lay and professional team at the Board of Deputies. I am very much looking forward to taking my place in the House of Lords.”

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “At the Board of Deputies, we are all absolutely delighted at the announcement that our Chief Executive Gillian Merron is to be made a peer.

"After decades of public service, in the trade union movement, as MP for Lincoln, as a Government Minister, and most recently as our much loved and highly respected chief executive, I can think of nobody more deserving of such an accolade. This is a great appointment which will be of great service to the whole country and we could not be prouder. Mazal Tov Gillian!”

You can view the announcement here.

Board of Deputies @ Limmud Festival 2020

Limmud Festival 2020 is just around the corner – and the Board of Deputies will be out in force.

With sessions on everything from religious freedoms in Europe and stories about Jewish women from Britain’s archives, to a panel with key Labour ‘women of valour’ Dame Margaret Hodge and Dame Louise Ellman, as well as a discussion with Conservative MP Christian Wakeford, the Board of Deputies programme is sure to have you covered.

View our full programme at Limmud this year, plus information on how to register for the event, on our website.

Marie van der Zyl: 'We will continue to stress to the government and to Ofcom, the vital importance of ensuring the Online Harms Bill cracks down on online hate'

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has written in the Jewish News, reacting to the government's response to the Online Harms White Paper published last week.

Marie said: "Throughout the centuries, antisemites have always seized on the key communication mediums of the day and warped these to their hideous purpose.

"The online space is no different. Antisemites have taken a key advantage of the online era – being able to meet people around the world – and used it to identify like-minded Jew-haters and recruit new members to their cause.

"In the UK, there is now a way to fight back. The websites and social media companies that have, through inaction, allowed their networks to be used to spread hate are being targeted by a new law that could drastically reduce the spread of antisemitism online – if focused effectively. Last week, the government published its response to the Online Harms White Paper, providing further information on its intentions for the forthcoming Online Harms Bill."

Read Marie's full piece here.

This year has faced us all with new and unprecedented challenges. As we look forward to a brighter 2021, we wanted to take stock of our achievements over the past year, advocating proudly on behalf of the community. You can view our video review here, or by clicking on the image above.
This week, Hidden Treasures; celebrating Jewish archives in Britain featured this drawing  of decorative vessels by Lazar Berson from 1915 from the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum - a member of our Hidden Treasures network. Berson was the founder of the Ben Uri.
Deputies took part in a Chanukah Get Together with Deputy Ilana Davis delivering a brief presentation about what Chanukah means to her and her role as a Deputy. Deputy Louis Trup lit the Chanukah candles. 
Vice President Amanda Bowman attended a London Jewish Forum briefing for the Jewish Community by the Joint Chief Nurse for London.

Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and Government, Regional and Religious Affairs Officer Daniel Elton met SCoJeC Chair Alan Kay and Director Ephraim Borowski; Glasgow Jewish Representative Council President Paul Edlin and JLC Scotland Regional External Affairs Manager Danielle Bett to discuss how to promote Jewish communal interests in the context of the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections.
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg, Government, Regional and Religious Affairs Officer Daniel Elton; and Regional Co-ACH Manager Sara Radivan met Michael Black, Chair of the Belfast Jewish Community, to discuss the political situation in Northern Ireland.

The Board of Deputies Community Engagement Team hosted a Deputies Coffee Break, with 30 Deputies attending from all over the country. 
Government, Regional and Religious Affairs Officer Daniel Elton, together with Joel Friedman of Interlink met with Neil Townsend, Head of Census Partnerships at the Office for National Statistics, to discuss census rollout in the Jewish community.
The Board of Deputies submitted a paper to the Law Commission’s Weddings Consultation.
The Board of Deputies sends best wishes to all our Christian friends who are celebrating Christmas, however you are able to celebrate this year. View our tweet here.
Archives and Heritage Manager Dawn Waterman met Ruth Gruber of Jewish Heritage Europe, an expanding web portal to news, information and resources concerning Jewish monuments and heritage sites, to discuss issues of mutual interest.
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