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Board of Deputies President ‘distraught’ at news of death of Rabbi Lord Sacks

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl reacted last weekend to the sad news of the death of Rabbi Lord Sacks.

Marie said: “We are distraught at the news of the passing of Rabbi Lord Sacks zt”l. Rabbi Sacks was a giant of both the Jewish community and wider society. His astounding intellect and courageous moral voice were a blessing to all who encountered him in person, in writing or in broadcast. His outstanding tenure as Chief Rabbi led to a revolution in Jewish life and learning which has ensured his legacy will pass not just through his own beloved family, but through generations of our community’s young people too. Our hearts go out to his wife Elaine, his children Joshua, Dina and Gila, his brothers and the whole family.

"He will be much missed by us all.”

Listen to Marie van der Zyl pay tribute to Lord Sacks on Radio 4's Sunday programme here at 32 minutes

Congratulations for Joe Biden on his election victory

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has reacted to the victory of Joe Biden in the US Presidential Election.

Marie said: "I would like to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory. After a divisive and tumultuous few years in American and global politics, we hope that he will lead global efforts to tackle Coronavirus, strengthen ties with allies like the UK and heal the wounds between different groups in American society. We also hope that he will continue in the strong tradition of bipartisan support for the world’s only Jewish state, the State of Israel, and reverse the rise of antisemitism and racism in America and beyond."

Read the Jewish News report here and the JC report here.

Threat to circumcision in Finland averted following talks
A threat to ban circumcision in Finland has been averted for now following intervention from Milah UK, the Board of Deputies and the Finnish Jewish community.

The Finnish Jewish community were concerned when a proposal was tabled in a key parliamentary committee which could have led to brit milah being criminalised.

The community approached Milah UK – the UK Jewish community’s organisation for advocating for the legal retention of Milah –  for support. Milah UK and the Board of Deputies arranged talks at the highest levels of government in Finland through the Finnish Ambassador in London, Marku Keinanan.

Following this intervention the parliamentary committee jettisoned the proposal. Talks will now take place between the community and government in Finland aimed at recognising the status of Milah.

Jonathan Arkush, Co-chair of Milah UK , said: “Larger Jewish communities have a responsibility to smaller ones to help them in a time of need. But more than that, we know that if a self-described liberal democracy like Finland bans Milah, the threat to us here in the UK becomes greater. We want to thank the Finnish Jewish community, his excellency the ambassador, and all those who worked to ensure a common sense way forward on this core religious freedom.”

Yaron Nadbornik, President of the Central Council of Finnish Jewish Communities, said: “We thank Milah UK and the Board of Deputies for their support during this anxious episode for the Finnish Jewish community. The support of international partners has helped ensure a way forward for us to work towards securing our religious freedom for now.”

There continues to be a small campaign in Finland to ban Milah and Milah UK and the Board of Deputies will be in contact with the Finnish Jewish community to ensure all appropriate support is available.

Read the report in Hamodia here and in the Algemeiner here.
Next week, on 19 November we commemorate 260 years since the first meeting of the organisation which would become the Board of Deputies Above is a page from our first minute book, It was specially retrieved from the LMA’s strong-room where it is kept safe. The Minute Book covers Board of Deputies meetings from November 1760 to April 1828 and is written in Portuguese. Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl this week wrote an article about the foundation and history of the Board of Deputies in the JC. You can read it here
Join the Board of Deputies tonight at 6pm for an Interfaith Week discussion on how people of faith can navigate questions of race and identity in Britain in 2020. Watch LIVE on our website or on our Facebook and YouTube pages, no need to register. Post your questions for the panel in comments. With: Rev Celia Apeagyei-Collins - Christian Pastor and Founder of Rehoboth Foundation; Cllr Awale Olad - Camden Councillor and Somali Muslim; Jodeci Joseph - Black-Jewish Motivational Speaker. Chaired by Stephen Bush - Chair of the Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community and Political Editor of the New Statesman

Chief Executive Gillian Merron hosted the first of two Board of Deputies events for Interfaith Week, entitled “Realising Religious Freedom around the Globe”, which discussed the persecution faced by Bahá'ís, Christians, Jews and Muslims globally. The panellists were: Kiri Kankhwende - Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Padideh Sabeti - Office of Public Affairs of the UK Bahá'í Community, Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker, Nury Turkel - U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Watch it again on YouTube or Facebook.

Vice President Edwin Shuker presented at an Interfaith Week learning seminar with Barnardo’s, entitled ‘Faith in a Pandemic’.
International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby, Government, Regional and Religious Affairs Officer Daniel Elton and Co-Chairs of Milah UK, Jonathan Arkush and Professor David Katz spoke online with Markku Keinänen, the Ambassador of Finland, to make an urgent appeal on behalf of the Finnish Jewish community to stop brit milah being criminalised. See article above.

International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby and Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles held an online meeting with President Michael Blake and Mariano Schlimovich from the European Council of Jewish Communities to discuss future collaborative work and their upcoming online conferences. 
Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb and Vice President Amanda Bowman met Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts, along with Chair of the South Wales Jewish Representative Council Laurence Kahn, Government, Regional and Religious Affairs Officer Daniel Elton and Interfaith and Social Action Manager Anthony Silkoff to discuss the party’s upcoming Antisemitism Review. You can read a report of the meeting here.

Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman, along with London Jewish Forum Director Daniel Kosky, met Stephen Hammond MP to discuss topics of interest to the Jewish community.
Vice President Amanda Bowman met Minister for Patient Safety Nadine Dorries MP, along with Medical Adviser to the Board of Deputies Professor David Katz; Hospital Chaplain Rabbi Stanley Coten; Sidney Sinitsky of the Adath Yisroel Burial Society; and Government, Regional and Religious Affairs Officer Daniel Elton, to discuss medical examiners and hospital chaplaincy.
Stephen Bush, Chair of the Board of Deputies’ Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community, hosted a roundtable discussion with headteachers and other educational leaders, in partnership with PaJeS. The meeting was part of the Commission’s series of stakeholder engagement meetings, and the discussion centred around proposals for making Jewish schools more inclusive for all.
Chief Executive Gillian Merron met Jewish Leadership Joint Interim Chief Executives Claudia Mendoza and Michelle Janes to discuss matter of interest to the two organisations.
Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman met representatives of Facebook’s Public Policy Team to discuss further work going forward in the wake of the social media company’s decision to ban Holocaust denial.
Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman met a representative of TikTok’s Public Policy team to discuss recent changes to the platform’s policies on antisemitism and further ways to potentially improve the platform’s safety for Jewish users.
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