This is an extremely challenging time for the UK Jewish community. The Labour Party is in denial about anti-Semitism in its midst, there are challenges to shechitah and brit milah, Jewish university students are abused for supporting Israel, and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is becoming increasingly assertive.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews is the democratically elected representative body of the Jewish community. It has the responsibility to advocate on behalf of all sections of the community to the government, civil service and other bodies. It is vital its team is capable of representing the community as effectively as possible.
For six years, I represented the community as president of the United Synagogue and president of the Chief Rabbinate Trust. In those roles, I became familiar with the challenges of dealing with government departments, politicians and civil servants.
I have played major division and senior roles at the Board and, as co-chair of Milah UK, have made the complex case for brit milah in the media.
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My business career has been spent in the technology sector. As founder of HomeChoice TV, the world’s first broadband streaming video on demand service, I dealt constantly with politicians, civil servants and regulators. I negotiated complex contracts with senior executives of telecommunications, media and technology corporations. These experiences have prepared me for the role of Board president, which comes with the vital responsibility of representing the UK Jewish community’s views.
The Board’s stature within and beyond the community is considerable. But there are areas that are ripe for enhancement, and it is on these areas I would focus. If I am elected:
• We will put in place processes to help Deputies and the Board better reflect the views of their constituents.
• We will ensure we have the digital expertise and resources to put across the message of the achievements and concerns of our community.
• We will work with Deputies to ensure the vital work of the Board is understood across the community.
• We will set a programme and clear targets for further contributors and donors to increase the Board’s financial resources.
• We will expand Board representation to a wider group of people who aren’t members of groups currently affiliated to it.
• We will further assist and encourage women to join and participate in our work.
• We will involve more young people in our deliberations and active work. We’ll expand our base of younger Deputies, give leadership training and encourage our future leaders to join and participate at all levels.
• We will further develop our work with communities outside London.
• We will build on the recent excellent bond built up between the Board and the Jewish Leadership Council at both lay leader and staff levels.
I have the skills, motivation, vision and programme to lead our community. If elected, I’ll dedicate myself fully to that over the next three years.