The Board of Deputies Community Briefing brings you the latest news from the Board and the Jewish World.
Wednesday 26 February 2014/ 26 Adar I 5774

Board conference about UK Jewry's future features leading academics and communal leaders 

The leadership of our community is a pressing topic. The conference, Vision 2020, Leading British Jewry into the Future, held by the Board of Deputies in conjunction with the Institute of Jewish Studies at University College London, will be an opportunity to hear leading experts from the UK and overseas, all of whom have made significant contributions within their communities, speaking on how to inspire cohesive growth and vitality within British Jewry as a whole. We will also be inviting the audience to have their say in panel discussions. This will be the first all day Board Conference for several years and should be a memorable and worthwhile event. The conference is taking place on SUNDAY MARCH 9.

Speakers include: Professor David Cesarani, OBE (Royal Holloway College); Dr Jonathan Boyd (JPR), Ms Nicky Goldman (Director, LEAD);  Professor Margaret Harris Senior Research Advisor, Institute for Voluntary Action Research;  Mr Simon Morris(CEO, Jewish Care); M. Richard Prasquier (Hon Chairman, CRIF France); Mr Raymond Simonson (Chief Executive, JW3);  Mr Joe Tarsh (President, Union of Jewish Students).

The conference will take place at the Gustav Tuck lecture Theatre, UCL, Gower Street, WC1.  Online booking through Eventbrite has opened. To access the booking form please click here . The Conference is being very generously sponsored by the Mishcon family and this has enabled us to offer places at just £15.00 per head which will include a kosher lunch with wine as well as tea and coffee throughout the day. 

Battling the Apartheid Smear

The battle facing communal advocacy groups against the nefarious parallel between the State of Israel and Apartheid South Africa continues - and the community continues to work tirelessly to both fight the smear of the apartheid label and to passionately advocate for a more constructive dialogue on Israel and the Middle East. The Board of Deputies campaigns for peace, security, prosperity and equality for Israelis, Palestinians and the wider Middle East. Campaigns that call for boycotts of “Israel Apartheid” are absolutely wrong, and stifle the opportunity for positive discussions among groups in the UK. There is nothing more divisive than the 10th annual Israel Apartheid Week which is being marked this and next week in 87 cities around the world, with Britain having the largest number of them.

The initiative is part of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement’s campaign against Israel. Most of the related events take place on university campuses and are organised by Palestinian student groups or their allies. In England, events are taking place at Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics and other prestigious institutions.

At the same time, there will be several counter-initiatives by pro-Israeli student groups. For example, a Facebook page and Twitter account entitled Rethink2014 were set up that post pictures of students holding a sign reading “I oppose Israel Apartheid Week because…” with their personal reasons for doing so. We absolutely support this initiative and hope that, in time, the student dialogue around Israel can take a more constructive tone. To take part in Rethink2014 please click here.
We also endorse the comprehensive pamphlet produced by BICOM entitled countering ‘The Apartheid Smear’. This document addresses in detail a number of allegations and myths about Israel’s democratic nature and the status of its minorities and is an excellent resource for those working to combat delegitimisation. BICOM intends for this pamphlet to become a vital tool as communities across the world continue to campaign against the BDS movement. In order for it to be effective is needs your support. Read the  pamphlet here.

Singing from The Valleys

The Board’s Senior Vice President and Chair of the Community Issues Division, Laura Marks, this week took part in the opening of an exhibition about Welsh Jewry, entitled “Hineni, Life Portraits of a Welsh Jewish Community” at the London Jewish Cultural Centre.
An insight into the life and stories of a Jewish community in all its diversity, it features over 50 life stories and photographic portraits from the Cardiff Reform Jewish community. It tells their stories, including aspects of work, family and leisure and explores their relationships with Wales, with the UK and with Judaism. From refugees and Holocaust survivors to those who grew up in Wales and the UK, from Welsh speakers to business people to political activists, the exhibition gives a picture of how these people have lived their lives and formed their identity.
Louise Jacobs, CEO London Jewish Cultural Centre, Colin Heyman, Project Manager, Laura Marks, and Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to the Reform Movement, spoke at this week’s opening, which was attended by over 70 people.

“Welsh Jewry has had a long standing presence in cities, towns and villages across the beautiful Principality of Wales. The Welsh Jewish community is both historical and current, and this exhibition is a fascinating lens in which to view this incredible journey from The Valleys to Llanelli to Cardiff; encompassing the eminent Abse brothers and Michael Howard, through all the community members who have acted as adhesives, many of whom contributed to the Life Portraits exhibition at LJCC,” said Laura Marks
“The exhibition shows us that the journey is far from over and gives us insights into the bright modern current world of Welsh Judaism.  It's our job at the Board, through our new project, Jewish Connection,  to help celebrate the diversity of Jewish life especially in our smaller communities, and to do what we can to support, to learn from and to build bridges with them. This exhibition is a lesson for us all.”  For exhibition opening times visit

Blog of the Week

In this week's blog Public Affairs International Officer Joseph Moses writes about the UK Jewish Community’s Manifesto, produced by the Board, for the upcoming European Parliament Elections. He explains how policy makers and European and World umbrella Jewish organisations have responded so positively to it and how the document has a series of key asks that we encourage our community members to take to their candidates.  To read the blog please click here.

BoD in the News

As the organisation representing the Jewish community to the media, the Board is often asked for its views across a wide range of topical issues, and the last couple of weeks have been no exception, with the Board's work and reactions being reported across the Press. Read more about BoD in the News here.
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