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Board of Deputies Community Briefing 27 February 2020 copy2

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Published by davidlkoten, 2020-02-27 10:09:51

Board of Deputies Community Briefing 27 February 2020 copy2

Board of Deputies Community Briefing 27 February 2020 copy2



Public meeting announced at Parliament to
discuss the threat of the far-right

The Board of Deputies has announced a public Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman,
meeting in Parliament to discuss far-right extremism, who will chair the meeting, said: “There has been a
entitled ‘HATE ON THE MARCH: How should the recent upsurge in far-right terrorism in the UK,
Jewish community respond to the rise of the far Germany, New Zealand, Norway, the USA and
right?’ elsewhere.

On the panel will be: Patrick Hermansson from "We are also seeing the worrying re-emergence of
HOPE not Hate who went deep undercover in the far-right political parties and rhetoric. Past history
heart of the alt-right, infiltrating and exposing has told us that this cannot go unchallenged, and
notorious far-right networks in the US and the UK; combatting this lethal hate is an urgent priority for
David Lammy MP; Political Commentator Ayesha the Jewish community.”
Hazarika; Dr Omar Khan from the Runnymede Trust;
Elliot Cohen from the Community Security Trust; To book, click here.
plus a Conservative politician (to be announced).

Board of Deputies to advise Pearson over re-write of
controversial text book

In November, Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron wrote to Pearson Chief Executive John
Fallon to bring his attention to two GCSE textbooks covering the Middle East which suffered from an
unacceptable slant, amounting to bias, which let down students seeking a serious understanding of an
important and complex subject.
Gillian and the Board of Deputies team have now had meetings with Pearson, following which Gillian said:
“The Board of Deputies of British Jews and others in the community discovered multiple issues of balance
with Pearson’s two GCSE textbooks covering the Middle East. Following constructive conversations, the
Board of Deputies is working with Pearson to advise with its review, edit and re-release of the textbooks in
time for the start of the new academic year in September 2020.”

Sheila Gewolb reacts to reinstatement of Plaid Cymru
activist following antisemitic posts

Board of Deputies Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb, who is also the Deputy for Cardiff United
Synagogue, has reacted to the reinstatement of Plaid Cymru activist Sahar Al-Faifi, who was suspended
from the party following the discovery of antisemitic posts she had shared on social media.
Sheila said: “In November 2019, the Board of Deputies made an extensive statement about Safir Al-Faifi’s
antisemitic posts. You can read it here. We raised concerns about two social media posts that she had
refused to delete, despite 18 months of attempts to persuade her. It appears that she has now finally
relented and deleted them, but Ms Al-Faifi’s reluctance in doing so raises serious questions about her
judgement, and the genuineness of her apology.
"Also problematic for the Jewish community is her position as a regional manager for MEND, a highly
challenging organisation whose activity risks increasing hostility and suspicion between the Jewish and
Muslim communities. MEND’s response to this sorry episode was to critique “the use of the term
[antisemitism] as a political tool for shutting down criticism of the Israeli government” and to “welcome
Sahar al-Faifi’s vindication”. Sahar has shared this response by MEND on her social media.
"Taking all of this into account, we do not feel that Sahar Al-Faifi has learned sufficiently from her
experience or taken the actions that would indicate she is truly sorry. We therefore do not understand why
Plaid Cymru has reinstated her and we would urge them to look into the case again.”

Left to right: Chief Executive Gillian Merron, Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb and International Relations

officer Talia Ingleby at a meeting with Minister of State for the Middle East James Cleverly, MP. Areas of mutual
concern were discussed, including the Government’s work towards peace and security in the Middle East.



Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff participated in the Council of Christians and Jews’
Interfaith Refugee Training Workshop to learn more about what the Jewish community can do to support

Vice-President Edwin Shuker and Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff attended the
British Islam Conference, to hear a broad spectrum of speakers engage with topics from extremism to
interfaith relations.


Yom HaShoah UK invites the entire community to stand together and join us for the UK National
Commemoration Event, 'Remember Together - We Are One' taking place on Monday 20 April, 7:15pm at
Barnet Copthall Stadium. Tickets are free and must be booked in advance. Doors will open from 6pm.
There will a marketplace and exhibitions commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the
camps. Our aim is bring together the largest gathering of the Jewish community to remember together the
loss of six million and to pay tribute to survivors and refugees for the remarkable contributions they have
made to the Jewish community and wider UK society. Bookings and further details here.


A Jewish Living Tour took place on Monday for Year 11 students from Beaconsfield High School. The group
visited Finchley United Synagogue (Kinloss Gardens), where they were given an explanation of the shul and
Jewish practices, and heard a spellbinding talk from Holocaust Survivor Eve Kugler. After a kosher fish and
chip lunch at White Fish Restaurant, the students visited Jewish shops in Golders Green, buying sweets
and Purim hats at Kosher Kingdom and challot from Grodzinski. At Sofer Stam, they had the opportunity to
see a Sefer Torah being written, and hear a shofar blown. Thanks to our volunteer guides: Leonard Silver,
Syd Braham, Nina Leigh, Naomi Franks, Flora Frank and Sandra Rose. Beaconsfield High School teacher
Caroline Morrison said: “The students found the experience to be so enriching in terms of their knowledge
and understanding of the faith. Please extend our thanks to your wonderful volunteers - they enhanced the
day for all of us.”

Education Development Manager Sara Perlmutter joined the education team of The House of Life
Willesden Cemetery project for induction training. Sara spoke about the history of the Jewish community
and its make-up and useful terminology and content for Judaism GCSE. She also explained Jewish
community denominations and practice, particularly in relation to life cycle events.

Education Development Manager Sara Perlmutter engaged with JLGB volunteer fairs at several Jewish
schools to meet and recruit young ambassadors to assist at Jewish Living Experience exhibitions and
Jewish Living Tours, as part of the Evolve programme.

Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger caught up with colleagues from the
Catholic Education Service.

Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger attended a meeting at the Department for
Education about guidance on safeguarding in out-of-school settings.


Together with the London Jewish Forum and the Jewish Leadership Council, we have created a series of
events with the candidates for London Mayor. Please find information on each of the events below. All are

welcome to attend.
4th March: Mayoral Breakfast Briefing: Shaun Bailey, Conservative candidate
11th March: Mayoral Breakfast Briefing: Siân Berry, Green Party candidate
12th March: Mayoral Breakfast Briefing: Rory Stewart, Independent candidate
17th March: Mayoral Breakfast Briefing: Siobhan Benita, Lib Dem candidate
24th March: Mayoral Breakfast Briefing: Sadiq Khan, Labour Party candidate


Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff joined the Pontignano 2020 Cycle Event, hosted by
Lord David Willetts and Lord Zac Goldsmith at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to discuss how Italy
and the UK can work together for a successful COP26. Anthony joined other participants from civil society,
business, activism and academia, to discuss how faith communities can help bring about change in global
environmental policy.


Archives and Heritage Manager Dawn Waterman met historian Helen Fry, Israeli academic Professor
David Newman and Karen Brosh of the LSJS to discuss their participation in Hidden Treasures: Celebrating
Jewish Archives in Britain, which will be launched in the summer.


Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger attended the Reshet Annual Conference
2020. Reshet is the network for Jewish youth provision.


Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg gave a talk at Cockfosters and North Southgate United
Synagogue’s Cockfosters Learning Centre about “Hot Topics in Jewish Politics”.

Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg spoke to the United Synagogue’s Chief Programmes Officer David
Collins about common challenges facing the community.

Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles met Deputy Bruce Koster and Synagogue Co-Chair
Jeremy Bard to discuss the ongoing relationship between the Board of Deputies and Kol Chai Synagogue.

Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles met Deputy Ruth Hart from Bournemouth Reform
Synagogue to discuss future engagements with the Bournemouth Jewish community.

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