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Councillors hear message of zero tolerance to antisemitism at London seminar

Around 200 councillors from around London heard a message of zero tolerance to antisemitism at a seminar this week organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the London Jewish Forum and the Jewish Leadership Council.

Local representatives heard from Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman that ‘ignorance is no excuse’ if politicians signal to their supporters the antisemitic trope that the Jewish community is involved in conspiracies.

Councillors watched a video message from Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick, MP, who thanked the Jewish community for all its efforts in supporting the vulnerable during the pandemic, including reaching out to neighbours and growing Mitzvah Day into Mitzvah month.

Mr Jenrick said: “Our Faith communities together with our partners in local government have been at the forefront of the national response to the pandemic, and I am immensely grateful for your extraordinary efforts.”

Meanwhile, in his video message to the councillors, Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Steve Reed, MP,  said: “The EHRC report showed why the Labour Party has lost so much trust in the Jewish community. Every single one of us has a special responsibility to repair that broken relationship and show beyond doubt that we will no longer tolerate antisemitism in the Labour Party.”

To read the full report, click here. Read the Jewish News story here

Marie van der Zyl named as one of the top 100 people influencing Jewish life around the world
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has been named as one of the Algemeiner Jewish 100 – the top 100 people influencing Jewish life around the world.

The list, compiled by the Algemeiner Jewish weekly newspaper, which is based in New York, contains a wide range of people from a variety of fields, including chess player Garry Kasparov, actors Sacha Baron Cohen and Helen Mirren, US President-elect Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Marie’s citation reads: “London-born Marie van der Zyl is the 48th president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which represents the Jewish community in the United Kingdom. Assuming the role in 2018, Van der Zyl was quickly thrown into the conflict between British Jews and the opposition Labour Party, which had become a vehicle for crude antisemitism and anti-Zionism under its previous leader, Jeremy Corbyn. In 2020, Van der Zyl joined other faith leaders in speaking out forcefully against the genocidal repression of Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese Communist regime, noting the “similarities between what is alleged to be happening in the People’s Republic of China today and what happened in Nazi Germany 75 years ago: People being forcibly loaded on to trains; beards of religious men being trimmed; women being sterilized; and the grim specter of concentration camps.”

Marie said: “It is wonderful to be named among such a stellar list. This is great recognition for the important work the Board of Deputies has been doing over the past year on a variety of issues.”

You can see the complete list here.
Praise for vaccine teams as roll-out begins
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has praised all those who have made the vaccination roll-out possible and called on the Jewish community to support the programme.

On Monday Marie said: “Our thanks and congratulations go to all of the researchers, medical professionals and Government officials who have made today – the first day of the vaccine rollout – possible. There is much work to be done, but the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is brightening. We urge members of our community and beyond to support the vaccine effort and continue to follow Government advice on Covid security in a fastidious and responsible manner.”
This week, Hidden Treasures was delighted to welcome the Hackney Archives to our network. This photo from the Hackney Archives was taken at a Bar Mitzvah in Hackney in 1976 by the studio photographer R.A. Gibson. Ron Gibson was an ‘accidental historian’, whose photographs record the lives of the residents of Hackney – among them the Jewish community - for 30 years from the 1950s. Hackney Archives holds around 150,000 photos in the Gibson Collection

Simone is Chair of Governors at King David School in Birmingham, She has recently completed a solo Virtual London Marathon to raise funds for her chosen Charity – The Lullaby Trust, which provides a vital lifeline to support parents who have tragically lost a child or baby, referred to as Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood (SUDC) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Every year, around a third of the charity's income is raised by supporters taking part in challenge events or holding their own fundraising events. As most of the fundraising events have been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, there has been a significant negative impact on its income and the ability to deliver for bereaved parents.  
Following the tragic death of the child of her friend, Simone chose to run a marathon and raised £1,000 which, given the absence of fundraising opportunities over the last six months, will make a big impact on a small charity.  
Simone said: "With almost no one around, the atmosphere and absence of cheering and throngs of supporters made it eerily lonely at times, though I made do with just the sight of a single heron and a few squawking geese to distract my mind from the relentless, seemingly unending steps ahead." 
When she completed 26.2 miles, she was despondent to find the London Marathon app telling her she still had 2 miles to run. She continued running and according to her Garmin, she ran a mega 28-mile marathon.  
Simone wants to thank all of the corporate donors and individuals who have kindly supported and encouraged her, especially to her two boys and husband, Mum, Dad, Uncle Henry and running partners Elizabeth, Gee, Jason, Yi, Caroline, Rob - to name but a few. 
President Marie van der Zyl, International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby and Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles attended the Joint Meeting of the World Jewish Congress' Governing Board and the Executive Committee. 

International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby attended a BICOM webinar: Behind the scenes of the Abraham Accords with Dr Tal Becker. 
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby held a virtual meeting with Claudia Mendoza and Russell Langer from the Jewish Leadership Council to discuss priorities of Israel advocacy. 
A regional Jewish Representative Council Chairs/President meeting was held, convened by the Board of Deputies. The Chairs and Presidents of the JRCs received an update from International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby who informed them about the Board of Deputies’ area of international engagement.  Government, Regional and Religious Affairs Officer Daniel Elton delivered a Coronavirus update. Guest speaker Georgina Bye, Chief Executive of Mitzvah Day, delivered a presentation on Mitzvah Day, especially in relation to the regional communities. The meeting was chaired by President Marie van der Zyl. Also in attendance was Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb, Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan, Director of Operations Judy Silkoff and Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles.

Government, Regional and Religious Affairs Officer Daniel Elton
spoke to Birmingham Central Synagogue on navigating the organ donation system. Daniel is available to speak to other communities on the issue.

Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan met Stanley Soffa and Eddie Cawston, Deputy and Chair of Cardiff Reform Synagogue, to discuss further Deputy engagement and future work together.   

Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles attended the South London Jewish Forum, convened by Stephen Ison to discuss community coordination and support during this time.

Board of Deputies staff formed at a team at the Maccabi GB inter-charity quiz of the year alongside more than 20 other communal charities.
Forty archivists, from archives throughout the country that hold material relating to the Jewish community, attended a meeting organised by the Board of Deputies’ Hidden Treasures; celebrating Jewish archives in Britain. This was the first meeting of a new network to encourage collaboration and skills development. Participants include national and local government archives, synagogue projects, specialist archives, university special collections, art, photographs and oral history archives. The network was chaired by Archives and Heritage Manager Dawn Waterman. Director of Operations Judy Silkoff also attended.
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg, Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman and representatives of the World Jewish Congress met representatives of Amazon UK to discuss the website’s policies regarding Holocaust denial and to initiate the removal of multiple works of Holocaust denial available for sale on the site.
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman took part in a webinar organised by TikTok to help community partners familiarise themselves with the platform and its reporting capabilities.
Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger and Pikuach Director Jeffrey Leader discussed a return to school inspections with officials from the Department for Education.

Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb attended an executive meeting of the National Association of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (NASACRE), the national body for all local authority SACRES in England and Wales. The focus of the meeting was the development of more effective ways to support teachers of RE which includes a new website and enhanced methods of collating annual reports which are a statutory requirement.
Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles and Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger met Joe Parks, Youth Leader for Bromley Reform Synagogue, to discuss youth engagement and the work of the Board of Deputies.
The Board of Deputies and Jewish News will be hosting a historic landmark celebration of Chanukah featuring the ambassadors of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. The event, entitled "Chanukah in a New Light", takes place on December 15 and will feature UAE Ambassador Mansoor Abulhoul, Bahraini Ambassador Sheikh Fawaz Al-Khalifa and Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely. Also taking part in this celebration will be Chazan Jonny Turgel and the Sacks Morasha school choir. It will stream live on the Board of Deputies and Jewish News Facebook pages on 15 December at 7pm.

The Board of Deputies wishes everyone celebrating a very happy Chanukah.
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