Why I support Changing the Board

21 Mar

This is a guest post by Stephen Hoffman, Campaigns Officer at the Zionist Federation. He writes here in a personal capacity. Follow him on Twitter @thehoff102

Whilst the Board of Deputies (BOD) does some fantastic work, it is not reaching its full potential. One of the main reasons for this is that the BOD does not give enough voice to young Jews from across the UK. Indeed at time it appears like a closed shop to young Jewish and politically active people, like myself.

It is crucial for this to change and I believe thanks to the work of Changing the Board, which is seeking to give young people a voice in the BOD there have been significant improvements, though there is a still a long way to go. The work of Changing the Board must continue and as someone who wants to stop young Jews feeling disenfranchised in the UK, I am proud to support it.

If we do not get young people involved in the BOD, there is the danger of it being seen and acting as an old boys’ club, who in its actions, statements and research ignore the voices of many Jews. As an organisation that seeks to be the official representative of UK Jewry, that’s unacceptable.

Thankfully, already through Changing the Board encouraging more people to become Deputies, we have seen some overdue changes. For instance, to make the Board more accountable to UK Jews they purport to serve, live-streaming of Deputies meetings has been introduced. Through this a much larger audience can see what takes place at Board meetings. It has also led to a rise in the BOD’s social media profile.

This helps lift the veil of secrecy from the Board of Deputies, making it much more transparent. Consequently, more young Jewish people will hear and see about the BOD and from this it will become more representative of young Jewish adults. This will hopefully have the knock-on effect of more young Deputies and young adults in senior positions in the BOD.

Even here there is room for improvement. Currently, some Deputies have refused to have their faces shown in live-streaming. This needs to change for live-streaming to realise its full potential and for the BOD to be more accountable.

I know in the near future Changing the Board has more plans to play a major role in radically reforming the BOD, so it can represent all its members regardless of age, gender or levels of religious observance. If it succeeds, we will have an organisation that truly represents UK Jewry. Surely that is something we can all support; I certainly do.

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Please click here to see our note to editors.
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3 Responses to “Why I support Changing the Board”

  1. Andrew Gilbert March 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    next the ZF?

  2. Joe Millis May 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    One of the good things about changing the board is that it will focus on vital domestic issues – such as welfare, education, the elderly and less fortunate, and disaffected youth – rather than the old hackneyed and hysterical debates on Israel.

    • Stephen Hoffman May 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      I think it is important to cover all issue- but agree that a greater focus on domestic issues would be beneficial.

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