by Ben Lewis
At Veidah this year we held an election to decide our new “deputy” to be sent to the “Board of Deputies of British Jews”, most commonly known as the Board of Deputies (BoD), for the next three years. This is a position which RSY-Netzer vatikah Rachel Elf had held previously and which I was lucky enough to win this time around. What does any of this actually mean, though? A quick explanation for you all!
The BoD is an organisation which claims to speak on behalf of the entire British Jewish community. It is cross-communal, taking in members from almost every denomination (Haredim are the group most conspicuous by their absence). The members, known as deputies, are elected mostly by synagogues but also by a range of Jewish organisations and charities, including RSY-Netzer. The aim of the board is to protect the interests of the community in wider UK discourse, including high-level contact with the government, on issues such as anti-Semitism, Israel and education, just to name a few.
My first meeting of the new Board happened last weekend and was mostly introductory, but was an interesting experience as a new deputy. Many familiar faces (hello movement Vatik Daniel Grabiner), a number of people who saw my green jumper asking if I knew their children (hello parents of Jake Kalisch, Olivia Ter-Berg and others) and a lot of people from the bredth of the Jewish community, geographically and ideologically.
The only news to report to the movement so far is considering whether to try to be elected to the Community Issues division of the board – a division is a group who look at a specific area of interest for the community and lead the way in setting the agenda and promoting our interests on the matter at hand. Each has 16 members who are elected by all the deputies. Since the priorities of this division include education, interfaith and social action, it seemed like an arena which RSY-Netzer representation would be useful! Other divisions are international (mostly Israel), defence (anti-Semitism) and finance (dollar).
I’m hoping to make a BoD update a semi-regular thing to ensure everyone in the movement can find out what I am doing to represent us at the Board and I hope if anyone has any input at all about what is important to you or what I should be doing to represent you, please feel free to get in touch! You can find me on Facebook or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).