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Board of Deputies welcomes decision to allow places of worship to reopen after the lockdown

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has reacted to the Government’s decision to allow places of worship to reopen after the current lockdown period ends on 2 December.

Marie said: “We welcome the decision to allow places of worship to reopen following the current lockdown period. Since the announcement of this lockdown in England, we have been in dialogue with the Government and Public Health England about the data around places of worship, as our understanding is that where faith premises

have made sure to meticulously observe social distancing regulations, there have been a minimal number of outbreaks associated with communal worship. Last week, we organised meetings for all the Jewish religious authorities with Public Health England and were in dialogue at the highest levels of Government on the issue. While this is positive news, we continue to remind people to take great care in observing health guidelines, so we can all play our part to stop the spread and save lives.”

Read the Jewish News report here.
Welcome for new organisations as Harif and jLiving are voted onto Board of Deputies
Deputies at Sunday's Board of Deputies meeting voted to accept two new organisations as members.
Harif, the UK association representing Jews from North Africa and the Middle East, and jLiving, which is the largest provider of sheltered housing in the UK working primarily within the Jewish community, were both admitted as members of the organisation with an overwhelming majority of votes. This brings the total of synagogues and organisations represented by the Board of Deputies to 184.
jLiving Chief Executive Jane Goodman said: "On behalf of jLiving members, staff and tenants, I am delighted that we have been elected to join such an important and key organisation within the community. Access to quality housing for the community has never been more important than it is now in light of the challenges of the past few months. We welcome and embrace the opportunity to raise the profile of our sector within the wider community and look forward to working with the Board in the coming years."
Harif President Lyn Julius said: "We at Harif are delighted to have joined the Board of Deputies. We look forward to working together with the Board and its constituent organisations to raise awareness of the history and culture of Sephardim/ Mizrahim, in line with the Board's policy of diversity and inclusivity. "
On behalf of the Board of Deputies, President Marie van der Zyl said: “I would like to extend the warmest of welcomes to JLiving and to Harif – the newest members of our expanding and diverse collection of community organisations which come together to represent all facets of the UK Jewish community. I am sure in their different ways they will both contribute to the Board of Deputies and our organisation will be enhanced by their presence.”
The meeting also featured a talk by historian Dr Daniel Tilles on the work done by the Board of Deputies in the 1930s to combat Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists by infiltrating the movement.

Read the Jewish News report here. You can see the full meeting here.
Congratulations for Buckinghamshire New University on adoption of antisemitism definition
Vice President Amanda Bowman has reacted to the decision of Buckinghamshire New University to adopt the international definition of antisemitism.

Amanda said: “We congratulate Buckinghamshire New University on adopting the full IHRA definition of antisemitism and taking an important step towards protecting Jewish academics and students. They will rightly feel that this is the correct thing to do and that it shows how the university will take a strong stand against discrimination.”
This week, Archives and Heritage Manager Dawn Waterman took part in Manchester Limmud and shared treasures from archives in the north, including this painting of Abigail Behrens - pioneer of women's education and one of the founders of Manchester High School for Girl which was established in 1874 - from the archive of the school. The Board's Hidden Treasures celebrates archives in Britain whose treasures tell the story of Jews in this country. 
President Marie van der Zyl, Chief Executive Gillian Merron, Operations Director Judy Silkoff and Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg met the senior leadership of the Federation of Synagogues, Av Beis Din Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman, Chair Andrew Cohen and Chief Executive Rabbi Avi Lazarus, to discuss common priorities, particularly in terms of Covid restrictions, Bris Milah and coronial services.

Chief Executive Gillian Merron filmed this video in support of the Jewish Women's Aid Shabbat and to endorse their important campaign, A Mask Won't Protect Her.

As the Board of Deputies celebrates its 260th anniversary this month, Chief Executive Gillian Merron narrates this short film about our history and work with the help of Board of Deputies presidents past and present.

Operations Director Judy Silkoff organised a training workshop for Deputies and representatives of regional Jewish rep councils on the subject of ‘An Introduction to Grant-writing’. The workshop, which was attended by some 30 people, was presented by Aviva Landau, who offers consultancy to charities looking to grow as well as being the co-founder and director of grassroots charity Mother to Mother.
Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles met David Landau, the Chair of Edgware United Suynaogue to discuss future work.
Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb attended ‘Visas for Life’: The Story of Sugihara Chiune, to mark the 80th anniversary of the humanitarian actions of Japanese diplomat Sugihara Chiune. While working at the Japanese Consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania during World War II, he helped thousands of Jewish refugees to flee Europe by issuing transit visas that would allow them to pass through Japan and seek refuge in a third country. The event was held in collaboration with the embassies of Japan and Lithuania in the UK. 
Vice President Edwin Shuker reacted to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee report into the Windrush scandal. He said: “We commend the EHRC’s important report into the Windrush scandal and the hostile environment policies. As the Jewish Council for Racial Equality says, the appalling treatment of Windrush citizens has had a devastating impact on many Black Britons, and the compensation scheme must now be reviewed without further delay.”

Chief Executive Gillian Merron represented the Board of Deputies at a roundtable discussion with Jewish communal leaders held by Liberal Democrat candidate for the Mayor of London, Luisa Porritt. The event was organised by Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel.
Chief Executive Gillian Merron represented the UK Jewish community and spoke at a meeting with senior Vatican officials, including Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews. The event was organised by the World Jewish Congress.
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