Web­site call for to­tal over­haul of Deputies

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MON ROCKER

NEARLY TWO thirds of the mem­bers of the Board of Deputies are over the age of 60, and more than a quar­ter over 70, ac­cord­ing to a new on­line cam­paign for change within Bri­tish Jewry’s main rep­re­sen­ta­tive body.

The group of “young pro­fes­sion­als, older pro­fes­sion­als, vol­un­teers, char­ity work­ers, youth move­ment work­ers and stu­dents” be­hind the Chang­ing the Board web­site say that the Board “can­not re­main a Sun­day morn­ing club for the se­lect few”.

They ob­serve t hat nearly half of deputies are serv­ing their third or more three-year term, while more than 10 per cent have been on it for 20 or more years.

A l t h o u g h there are more women than men i n t he Bri­tish Jewish com­mu­nity, barely one in three deputies is a woman —64 out of 260.

Ver­ber: change

Call­ing for “rev­o­lu­tion, but with­out the blood”, the group say they want to work within the ex­ist­ing frame­work to pro­duce a more rep­re­sen­ta­tive body.

“It is not about smash­ing the au­thor­i­ties or call­ing for the Board to be dis­man­tled,” said one of the group, Richard Ver­ber, him­self a deputy and the lead­er­ship train­ing di­rec­tor of the Union of Jewish Stu­dents. “Part of the goal is to en­cour­age many more younger deputies to join. It’s not about say­ing good­bye to older peo­ple but we need to com­ple­ment some of the wis­dom with new ideas.

“You have been get­ting peo­ple who have been on it for 20, 30, 40 years and that can’t be healthy.” He said the aim was not only to bring new faces to the Board but also to move a wa y f r o m t h e “mind-numb­ing” d e b a t e s t h a t frus­trate many at monthly Sun­day meet­ings.

“We want the Board to b e s e e n a s a d y n a mi c place putting for­ward poli­cies that can af­fect change in the com­mu­nity,” he said.

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