The Board of Deputies - an introduction

Next time you hear or see anything relating to the wider Jewish World whether it is to do with politics, media, education, community matters or international matters of Jewish interest, you can be sure that the Board of Deputies of British Jews is there.  It lobbies, organises, defends, promotes, campaigns, represents and has opinions, all of which influences Jewish life here and attitudes towards us Jews in this country.  In addition the Board provides active support for Israel and other Jewish communities across Europe and around the world.  It encourages inter-faith contacts and initiatives and supports events like Mitzvah Day. 

In 2010 the Board of Deputies of British Jews celebrated its 250th Anniversary.  
Go to the link ‘MAIN WEB SITE’ provided on this page to see the latest activities of the Board.  
Go to the link ‘COMMUNITY BRIEFINGS’ to read the weekly newsletter and some back numbers.

It is truly a cross communal body and is non political in all its deliberations. As your Deputies we attend monthly plenary meetings, which include open debates by Deputies from across the broad spectrum of British Jewish communities and organisations. The exception is the ultra-orthodox who do not openly support the Board following the admission many years ago of the progressive movements including our own. The Board however includes their interests in representations. 


You can see our reports on each meeting on the link ‘MEETING REPORTS’ next to this introduction.  

The progressive communities appear to punch well above their weight in leadership and in the many initiatives and activities. When you consider that the non orthodox representation form about a third of the total Jewish population and are in a numerical minority at the Board, our interests are well represented.  

We appreciate and respect the calibre of the leadership.  The President and the officers really go out of their way to be seen as truly inclusive and an earlier reflection of a lack of women in leading positions has now been improved.  The four working committees or Divisions have representatives from all areas of Jewish life and have expert and knowledgeable professional participants. Young people are now encouraged to participate and they provide a valuable input, widening the sources of experience.  

This active and hard working cross communal body accepts differences in Halachic approach, with no religious one-upmanship, respecting each other’s practices, working together and sharing experiences with no obvious rancour.  Why can’t all Jewish religious authorities do the same?  In practise all parties at the Board work together with respect and individuals are friendly, courteous and open. It is shaming that some Jewish religious bodies and leaders feel unable to do exactly the same openly.

Roger and Vivian Woolf

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