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BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS ADVOCACY FOR THE COMMUNITY  
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COMMUNITY BRIEFING
 
 
 
Board of Deputies President welcomes Keir Starmer’s decision to withhold whip from Jeremy Corbyn
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has reacted to Labour Leader Keir Starmer’s decision this week to withhold the Labour whip from Jeremy Corbyn following his reinstatement to the Party.

Marie said: “We welcome Keir Starmer’s decision to withhold the whip from Jeremy Corbyn. Despite the EHRC’s finding that the Party had acted unlawfully under Mr Corbyn’s watch, Jeremy Corbyn’s initial reaction to the report was dismissive and he has been shameless and remorseless for what he has put the Jewish community through. Meanwhile, Labour’s disciplinary process is clearly still not fit for purpose. Keir Starmer has now taken the appropriate leadership decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. We continue to say that ‘zero tolerance’ must mean precisely that, whether for antisemites or their apologists.”

Previously, Jewish community leaders had condemned the decision to  re-admit Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour Party.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl, Jewish Leadership Chair Jonathan Goldstein and Community Security Trust Chief Executive Mark Gardner said on Tuesday: “Today’s decision is a retrograde step for the Party in its relations with the Jewish community. Jeremy Corbyn’s dismissive approach to the damning EHRC’s findings rightly saw him suspended. For Jeremy Corbyn’s allies on the NEC to expedite his case whilst hundreds of other cases languished under his tenure, and his confected non-apology earlier today adds insult to injury. This politicisation of the process goes against what the EHRC recommended just last month. Labour’s mountain to climb to win back the trust of our community just got higher.”

You can watch Marie van der Zyl's appearance on BBC Newsnight here and listen to her on the Radio 4 Today Programme here (go to 1 hour 35 minutes).
 
Reform to reduce coroner delays closer after Jewish community meeting with Nadine Dorries
A reform that could lead to significant reduction in coroner delays is one step closer after the Board of Deputies met with Nadine Dorries MP, the Minister for Patient Safety.

Ms Dorries is overseeing the introduction of medical examiners, now based in NHS trusts, and aiming to scrutinise all deaths, improve death certification, and reduce unnecessary referrals to coroners.

The Minister requested that the Board of Deputies engage with civil servants to ensure that medical examiners are effective. Board of Deputies proposals include that: on referral to the coroner, the medical examiner should advise whether the body needs to be retained further; medical examiners should be able to organise non-invasive autopsies; medical examiners should have duty of care obligations to the deceased and to the bereaved family.

Also attending the meeting was Professor David Katz, medical adviser to the Board, Sidney Sinitsky of the Adas Yisroel Burial Society and Rabbi Stanley Coten who represents Jewish hospital chaplains in NHS structures.

Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman said: “The Jewish community has positive relations with the vast majority of coroners and we appreciate all their hard work on behalf of the community. We told the Minister that we have already established a very good relationship with Chief Medical Examiner, Dr Alan Fletcher, and with Lead London Medical Examiner Dr Mette Rodgers, pending passage of legislation that the Minister hopes will be introduced soon.”

“There is no doubt that in recent years increased coroner referral and decreased hospital autopsies has led in some cases to difficulties for our community. We appreciate Ms Dorries’ support, and we hope that her proposal that working with civil servants on the medical examiner reform will bring real benefits”.
 
This week, the Board’s Hidden Treasures; celebrating Jewish archives in Britain, featured this treasure from 1762. It is the front cover of the earliest pinkus (or ledger with the records of a community) of the Jewish community of Plymouth. It’s from the collection of The Box at Plymouth City Council. Plymouth synagogue is the oldest Ashkenazi Synagogue in the English-speaking world.
 
 
 
 
ACTIVITY REPORT
 
 
COMMUNITY
The Board of Deputies hosted a webinar in association with the Charity Commission on the subject of Safeguarding in Synagogues. The webinar was attended by over 90 professionals and lay leaders from synagogues and synagogal bodies across the spectrum of the Jewish community. It was introduced by President Marie van der Zyl and chaired by Chief Executive Gillian Merron. The Charity Commission’s Head of Faith Charities Engagement, Nick Donaldson, and Technical Advisor and its Senior Safeguarding Lead, Catherine Edginton, delivered the presentation.

President Marie van der Zyl and Vice President Amanda Bowman attended a Muswell Hill Synagogue Civic Event. The keynote speaker was the Chair of the Board of Deputies' Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community, Stephen Bush.

Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg met Alan Kay, Chair of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, to talk about joint work and common challenges.
 
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg attended a Trustees’ Meeting of the London Jewish Forum to discuss the organisation’s current and future projects. 

Director of Operations Judy Silkoff convened a meeting of the Board of Deputies Operations Forum, attended by Operations professionals from a range of communal organisations.

Regional Coronavirus Advice-Capacity-Help Manager Sara Radivan met Gay Jewell and Jeremy Jacobson, Deputy and Chair of Kehillat Kernow Congregation, Cornwall to discuss further Deputy engagement and future work together. 
 
Regional Coronavirus Advice-Capacity-Help Manager Sara Radivan met David Fox, Ian Smiler and Katie Blythe, Deputy, Chairman and Treasurer and Synagogue Council Member of Thanet and District Reform Synagogue to discuss further Deputy engagement and future work together.
EDUCATION
Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb attended the EGM of NASACRE (National Association of Standing Advisory councils for RE).  

Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger and Education Consultant Sandra Teacher met the Catholic Education Service’s RE adviser Phillip Robinson to discuss developments in the subject area.

Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger and Education Consultant Sandra Teacher represented the Board of Deputies at the Second Regular General Meeting of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales.
INTERNATIONAL
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg gave an interview to Argentina’s Radio Jai (in Spanish) about assimilation, antisemitism and Covid. You can listen here
POLITICAL
Vice President Amanda Bowman, Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman and Regional Coronavirus Advice-Capacity-Help Manager Sara Radivan, along with Luton United Synagogue Deputy Sid Rutstein and  other communal representatives, met Luton MPs Rachel Hopkins and Sarah Owen, to discuss subjects including antisemitism in the Labour Party, strong communal opposition to the BDS movement and the importance of proper safeguards to counter rising online antisemitism.
 
Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman, alongside London Jewish Forum Director Daniel Kosky and Antisemitism Policy Trust Director Danny Stone, met Elliot Colburn MP to discuss political antisemitism and online harms legislation.
SOCIAL ACTION
The Board of Deputies hosted an event chaired by Chief Executive Gillian Merron entitled "Learning Disabilities and the Jewish Community – How can we be more accessible?" The panel featured Dr Beverly Jacobson the Chief Executive of Norwood, Rabbi Miriam Berger from Finchley Reform Synagogue, Mickey Dekel a volunteer for Kisharon and Hannah Mendel a member of the Friendship Circle. You can watch a recording here.
ONLINE HATE
Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman took part in the new Online Hate Working Group formed by the World Jewish Congress, bringing together representatives of Jewish communities around the world to discuss the ways they are combating online antisemitism.
INTERFAITH
Vice President Amanda Bowman attended an online City of London event to celebrate Diwali featuring the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
MITZVAH DAY
The Board of Deputies team participated in Mitzvah Day in lots of ways in our local areas, including making pop-up cards for a care home, food bank donations, and litter picking. 
 
 
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