The morning after the night before: reaction to the Hustings event

18 May

Update, Friday 3pm: We’ve just heard confirmation that the Board are going to be live streaming the elections on Sunday. You can watch online from 2pm by clicking here. We created change people. We did this!

Well, that was an interesting evening.

A packed room from across the political and age spectrum had the opportunity to listen to and grill the President and Vice-President candidates of the Board of Deputies.

The audience was joined by more than 50 people watching the live stream online who had the opportunity to ask questions too via Twitter. A Twitter wall kept the audience and candidates entertained alike.

The evening was expertly chaired by Ilana Fenster who had the unenviable task of ensuring all of the candidates behaved themselves and kept to time.

Candidates were challenged on a whole range of topics, including electoral reform, constitutional and structural reform, the lack of women and young people, accountability, the relationship with the Jewish Leadership Council, the use of internet technology at meetings and for voting, and the plenary meetings’ obsession with antisemitism, fear and procedure.

If you want to see what the candidates said and what the questions were, we’ve got the whole event covered via our live-tweeting. Catch up by clicking here. Good luck to all the candidates on Sunday and thank you to the nimble fingers of Robin Moss for keeping us up-to-date. Thank you, too, to UJIA for your support with the venue.

The Changing the Board group is now firmly on the map. We have forced the Board to think about technology, reform and improving representation. We have already heard that they plan to live stream Sunday’s election, probably via our ustream channel which you can access here. More details when we know.

But although we have scored some big wins already, this is just the beginning. The Board needs more than just a few more young people sitting in on its Sunday meetings. No more same old, same old. Wholesale structural reforms are necessary to make the Board fit for the twenty-first century. A re-evaluation of what it means to ‘belong’ to the ‘Jewish community’ is urgently needed as is how young people choose to engage (or not).

‘Plenary meetings’, ‘divisions’, ‘honorary officers’, ‘deputies’ – even the jargon needs to be changed and opened up. Perhaps even the name of the Board itself. No more secret decisions hidden behind thick walls taken by the privileged few. No more opaque procedural nonsense. Let’s create a Board that’s fit-for-purpose, which works for all Jews and whose work is understood by all.

Bring it on.

We would very much welcome guest posts giving their reaction to last night. Whether you were following online, via twitter or in person, if you’d like to write a short piece, please send us an email to

Update: click here for a guest post from Dan Mackenzie.

Update: click here for a guest post from Emma Rickman.


4 Responses to “The morning after the night before: reaction to the Hustings event”

  1. Adam May 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Congratulations to everyone involved in this – the twitterfeed provided interesting reading. I am 100% in agreement with the need to change the board, as long as it is not change for change sake. For instance, the board certainly needs to be dragged into the 21st century (there’s this new fangled thing called the internet that might just hang around).

    A more representative demographic on the board will be better equipped to advocate on behalf of the whole community. My only concern is that the change the board movement could be seen as ageist which could result in a loss of credibility.

    My opinion is that the entire way that ‘deputies’ are elected precludes a large number of people from standing. Granted there are some organisations that are also represented, but otherwise, if you are not a regular shul-goer it’s always going to be exceptionally difficult to get involved.

  2. Noga May 21, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Adam, I completely agree. This should not be about age, but about making the BoD truly representative of the whole community.


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