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The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom








A question that is often asked is "what does the Board of Deputies actually do?"  Here are a few of its main achievements this year. Some of which you will be aware of and others you may not.


Last year was dominated by the General Election. The Board of Deputies published its Jewish Manifesto, which was distributed to all prospective parliamentary candidates and asked for 10 commitments on those matters that, through exhaustive consultations, you have told us are important to you. Separate manifestos were produced for the assembly elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and hustings were held enabling those in Jewish communities to put their points to politicians.

The Board of Deputies was heavily involved in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The centrepiece was a Parliamentary Reception at which Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was photographed with Chief Executive Gillian Merron holding a facsimile of the declaration. He spoke about "the magic, the genius and miracle of Israel".


In the past year the Board of Deputies has persuaded public bodies and political parties to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. Councils and organisations up and down the country have accepted its arguments for this crucial document whose aim is to protect Jews from hatred.


The Board of Deputies has lobbied tirelessly for Jewish faith schools, its Pikuach education service (the Jewish Ofsted) has rigorously inspected religious education programmes throughout our schools and The Jewish Living Experience exhibition gave schoolchildren across the country a flavour of what it is like to live as a Jew. Meanwhile, a programme was launched last year to train outreach ambassadors to go into schools and other institutions to educate non-Jews about Judaism.


In 2017 the Board of Deputies launched its Invest in Peace programme, an initiative which invites communities to support Israeli-Palestinian Peace-building through a series of events held in London, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow in partnership with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.


The Board's interfaith team has travelled the length and breadth of the country speaking to Muslim communities in London Bradford Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. This is not a case of pleasantries over tea and biscuits, but difficult conversations on the toughest topics including the Middle East, hate crime, violent extremism and religious values.

In the autumn, the Board of Deputies launched an updated booklet entitled Family Life and Customs: A Practical Guide. The guide is intended for lawyers and judges who are working with Jewish clients who need a trusted resource that provides baseline understanding of Jewish practices. It was launched at the Supreme Court by its President, Lady Hale.


The Board of Deputies continued its work in documenting the community in partnership with JPR. The latest publication was a comprehensive report on synagogue membership in the UK.


In addition, it brought together diplomats from 30 countries at a diplomatic forum in London, its successful annual dinner featured an interview between Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson and the BBC's Head of News James Harding. There were meetings with Cabinet Ministers and party leader including Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.


The Board of Deputies work is vital in so many different areas and it can only continue to represent us and work on our behalf if we continue to provide it with support.




All contributions are accepted on the understanding that the authors are responsible for the opinions expressed which do not necessarily reflect the views of Ne've Shalom, the Hull Reform Synagogue.






Ne've Shalom
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