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Marie van der Zyl: ‘Government measures are severe but meet urgent need to get virus under control’
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl this week reacted to the decision of the Government to impose a third national lockdown in England.

Marie said: “The measures announced by the Prime Minister are severe but they meet the urgent need to get the virus back under control. We are grateful to the Government for allowing communal worship and key life-cycle ceremonies to continue but urge people to be meticulous in following the guidelines over numbers and social distancing. As schools have been forced to close once again with summer exams cancelled, we ask that arrangements be urgently put in place to ensure fairness in the education system and around results. We call for vaccines for teachers and other school workers to be expedited. Just as in wider society, Covid-related deaths in our community have risen sharply over recent weeks. Nobody
can afford to be complacent.”.

On vaccines for teachers, Vice President Edwin Shuker said: "With many schools already told to close at the start of term, and with many more likely to follow, the challenges facing those in education are substantial. In order to safeguard those who have worked tirelessly since the start of the pandemic to keep the education sector working, it is clear that school staff, including teachers and other workers, should be prioritised in relation to vaccinations. In time, this will ensure that the opening of schools can be made as swift as possible as well as making the working environment for school staff significantly safer.”

Read the Jewish News report here and the JC story here.
Scenes in Washington ‘deeply distressing for all who love America and love democracy’

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has commented on the awful scenes witnessed last night on Capitol Hill.

She said: “The scenes last night in Washington DC were deeply distressing for all who love America and who love democracy. Through his irresponsible rhetoric, President Trump bears a huge measure of responsibility for inciting this mayhem. We are pleased that despite the threats, Congress fulfilled the will of the American people and certified Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President. It is time for a peaceful transfer of power.”

Board of Deputies hold Limmud sessions on subjects ranging from racial inequality to religious freedom in Europe
The Board of Deputies sessions at Limmud this year attracted more than 1,800 people from sessions on a wide range of issues.

Stephen Bush, the Chair of the Board of Deputies’ Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community, spoke to hundreds of participants at a packed session about the groundbreaking work he is leading to investigate discrimination against Black Jews, Jews of Colour and Mizrachi, Sephardi and Yemenite Jews. You can read a full report here.

Dame Margaret Hodge and Dame Louise Ellman spoke on Antisemitism, Labour and Israel with President Marie van Der Zyl in the chair, while Chief Executive Gillian Merron hosted a discussion with Conservative MP Christian Wakeford.

Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb took part in a session at entitled “Do Smaller Jewish Communities Have a Future?”.  The panel included Marion Kinshuck, Shannon Kirshner, Sarita Robinson and was chaired by the JC's Simon Rocker.

Vice President Amanda Bowman, Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb and past President Jonathan Arkush joined Rabbi Jair Melchior and  Aron Verstandig for a discussion on the threat to Jewish religious freedom in Europe. Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg spoke about key community public policy issues affecting the community in "Antisemitism, Brexit and Coronavirus; An ABC of Jewish Public Policy."

Dawn Waterman from the Board of Deputies Hidden Treasures project – which celebrates Jewish archives in Britain –  shared some of the treasures from archives that tell the stories of Jewish women in Britain. 

There was also a welcome opportunity for everyone to come together virtually at the Deputies Limmud Social.
Board of Deputies urges Corporation of London to consider effect of tower next to historic Bevis Marks Synagogue
Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker has urged the Corporation of London to consider carefully the effect of a new multi-storey block next door to Bevis Marks, one of the world’s oldest and most historic synagogues.

He said: “It is vital that the whole Jewish community support Bevis Marks at this time. As the community’s mother synagogue, it is not just a critical part of UK Jewish heritage, but for all those who value a tolerant multicultural society in London and the whole country. We urge the Corporation of London to consider these important factors when evaluating any proposal.”

If you wish to object to the planning application, you can do so here.
Over the past few weeks, the team at the Board’s Hidden Treasures has been gathering Jewish ‘heirlooms’ from the public for a live-streamed Jewish Heirlooms Roadshow on Sunday 10 January at 6pm here. Broadcaster Nick Ross will bring treasures from his father’s wartime internment in Australia, Joel Salmon will bring his grandfather’s memorabilia from the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s and Deputy Andrew Leigh will be bringing his ancestor’s nineteenth century mohel book from Edinburgh. Experts Dr Rachel Pistol, Martin Sugarman and David Jacobs will examine them. This greetings card was made by internees in Hay Camp 7 (copyright Estate of W.Tichauer, courtesy of Jewish Museum of Australia),
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and Interfaith and Social Action Manager Anthony Silkoff had an online meeting with the Revd Dr Richard Sudworth, Secretary for Inter-Religious Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Siriol Davies, Presence and Engagement National Coordinator, to discuss Anglican-Jewish relations at this time of global crisis.
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and Interfaith and Social Action Manager Anthony Silkoff had an online meeting with Revd Peter Colwell, Deputy General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, to discuss how Christian and Jewish communities in Britain can work together on shared priorities.
Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles and Interfaith and Social Action Manager Anthony Silkoff met representatives of Langdon, a Jewish charity that enables adults and young people with learning disabilities and autism to live independent lives.

Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan met Peter Prinsley and Barry Leveton, Deputy and President of Norwich Hebrew Congregation, to discuss further Deputy engagement and future work together. 
Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan met Michael Samson and Richard Resnick, Deputy and President of Nottingham Hebrew Congregation, to discuss further Deputy engagement and future work together. 
President Marie van der Zyl, Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg, Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman, Chair of SCoJeC Alan Kay and President of the Glasgow Representative Council Paul Edlin met Ian Blackford MP, leader of the Scottish National Party at Westminster, to discuss issues including the Scottish Government’s relationship to Israel and the need to combat online hate. See a photo here.
President Marie van der Zyl held a meeting with Irit Barash, the new Executive Director of the Jewish Agency for Israel in the UK and Western Europe. 
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg chaired a meeting of the Camden Faith Leaders’ Forum on the local response to the pandemic.
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