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Dominic Raab meets Jewish community leaders to discuss Uyghurs, human rights and Middle East
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this week met representatives from the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council to discuss subjects including the Uyghur crisis in China, the upcoming Human Rights Council and Government support for an international fund for Middle East peace.

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl and Jewish Leadership Council Chair Jonathan Goldstein said: “We would like to thank the Foreign Secretary for meeting with us and discussing these important matters for our community.”

Attending the meeting were Marie van der Zyl, Jewish Leadership Council Chair Jonathan Goldstein, Jewish Leadership Council Co-Chief Executive Claudia Mendoza and Board of Deputies Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg.

You can read the JC coverage of the meeting here and the Jewish News report here
Census 2021 – Jewish leaders urge community to ‘Count Us In’!

With less than one week to go until the 2021 Census this coming Sunday, the Board of Deputies dedicated the latest in its popular BoDCast series to the national population count.

The panel, comprising the Office of National Statistics’ Peter Benton, the Institute of Jewish Policy Research’s Dr Jon Boyd and prominent Charedi educator and blogger Eli Spitzer, all spoke about the need to tick the ‘Jewish’ box under the religion question.

Kicking off the event, Board of Deputies’ President Marie van der Zyl said: “We have a clear message for everyone: Be counted!”

She reminded viewers that it is a “legal requirement to complete the census”, adding, “It is a communal obligation to tick the ‘Jewish’ box, in order for local authorities and charities to understand the services which we all need”.

Census Day is 21 March in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the Census has been delayed until 20 March 2022.

You can read a full report here. To watch the event, click here. For more information and to complete the census, visit


Margaret Black is a member of the small Belfast Jewish community. She is married to Michael who is the Chair and has two children and four grandchildren who all live locally. Margaret is involved in several communal organisations. She has been a member of Belfast WIZO for 43 years and Chair for over 20 years, a member of the Chevra Kadisha and the Chevra Bikur Cholim and runs the kiddush rota. Margaret is also on the editorial board of the Belfast Jewish Record, the community magazine. She doesn’t look on her work as volunteering but more as just being part of the community.
Our theme this week is ‘voices’ from the archives. Hidden Treasures shared this magnificent photograph, copyright of the Scottish Jewish Archive Centre, showing Harry Secombe with the Glasgow Jewish Choral Society and Cantor Ernest Levy in 1983. The Choral Society appeared on Harry Secombe’s BBC television programme Songs of Praise. You can see more from the archives here
President Marie van der Zyl introduced, and Chief Executive Gillian Merron hosted, a Hidden Treasures event on Voices from the Archives. Dr Vivi Lachs talked about, and sang, a Yiddish song about immigrants to London, a recording of which had been sent to Hidden Treasures. Dr Danielle Padley talked about Anglo-Jewish music in Victorian times and focused on two singers who were members of the D’Oyly Carte company and had been members of the choir at the West London Synagogue. Dr Angela Shapiro talked about the oral history project Gathering the Voices of Holocaust survivors and refugees who made their homes in Scotland. Finally, Daisy Abboudi talked about the Sephardi Voices UK project which captures the stories of Jews in Britain who came from Arabic-speaking countries. You can watch the event here. Find out more about the archives, on the Hidden Treasures website here.

Archives and Heritage Manager Dawn Waterman met Shaan Knan of Liberal Judaism’s Lily’s Legacy project to discuss the project and Hidden Treasures.
Archives and Heritage Manager Dawn Waterman and’s Miriam Grabiner spoke to a group from Mill Hill Synagogue including President Marie van der Zyl.
Chief Executive Gillian Merron convened and chaired what was her last meeting of the Board of Deputies CEO Forum. Interim Chief Executive Michael Wegier and Director of Operations Judy Silkoff were also in attendance. Some 50 CEOs from Jewish communal organisations also attended. The main part of the meeting was an ‘in conversation with’ between Georgina Bye, Chief Executive of Mitzvah Day, and Gillian Merron, looking back at her seven years at the Board of Deputies. This part of the meeting was chaired by Nicky Goldman, Chief Executive of the JVN. The Best Practice Focus slot looked at Jewish Care’s response to the pandemic and was presented by Jewish Care’s Chief Executive, Daniel Carmel-Brown.

Director of Operations Judy Silkoff chaired the March meeting of the community’s HR Forum.

Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles held a meeting with Dovi David, the new Deputy for Tiferet Eyal to discuss future engagement with the community.

Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan met Motti Bamberger of Hatzolah Manchester to discuss future work together and Deputy representation.

Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan met Howard Saffer and Penny Kay of Sheffield and District Jewish Reform Congregation to discuss future work together and Deputy representation. 
International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby, along with partners from the World Jewish Restitution Organisation, Evan Hochberg and Samantha Wynne met officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, including the Baltic States desk officer and staff based in the British Embassy in Latvia, to discuss issues of Holocaust Restitution in Latvia. 
International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby spoke with Andrew Srulevitch, Director European Affairs and Assistant Director, International Affairs, for the Anti-Defamation League about areas of mutual interest, such as the promotion of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, the Iran Nuclear Deal and racial inclusivity. 
International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby and Education and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger spoke with Noam Gilboord from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York about the promotion of the IHRA definition of antisemitism on UK and US university campuses. 
Public Affairs Director Philip Rosenberg and International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby met Dor Bershadsky, Chief Executive of UK-Israel Business to discuss the growing areas of UK-Israel Trade and collaborative opportunities. 
EcoSynagogue Project Manager Andrea Passe met John Buckley, Managing Director; Jenny Webb, Consultant; Simon Walton, Operations Director, Industrial Dwellings Society, and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Co-Founder and Chair of EcoSynagogue. The meeting was to discuss carbon offsetting through tree planting cooperation for JTree (a project of EcoSynagogue) and specifically resources and signposting in support of the Carbon Offset questions on the Environmental Audit for our synagogues to use and benefit from.

An overview of EcoSynagogue’s Environmental Audit was presented to Deputies by EcoSynagogue Project Manager Andrea Passe, supported by Natalie Shaw and chaired by Vice President Edwin Shuker.
Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger caught up with Raisel Freedman from the Partnership for Jewish Schools.
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