Want to be Board President? Wait until you’re 61

26 Mar

New research reveals age of Board of Deputies leaders Research released this week shows the average age of Board of Deputies Presidents since 1979 is 61.

This is in contrast to the UK’s Prime Ministers since Margaret Thatcher first came to power – Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron – who have a relatively sprightly average age of less than 53.

The data was released by Changing the Board, a pressure group of current Deputies aiming to reform the Board of Deputies.

Whilst UK Prime Ministers have generally held office in their 40s and 50s, Board of Deputies Presidents were exclusively in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

The research also examined Board of Deputies vice presidents, ahead of what is expected to be a widely-contested election this May. They, too, had an average age of 61.

This 61 contrasts with recent JPR data showing that the average age of a British Jew is 41.

No President has held office below the age of 50 and only once vice-president was elected before their 50th birthday. Three have been in their 70s.

Reacting to the findings, Changing the Board’s Richard Verber said: “There are five honorary officer positions at the Board. Do we really think our community wouldn’t benefit from having one or two talented people in their 20s, 30s or 40s? It’s time for change. The Board of Deputies is the Jewish community’s representative body. But these figures show how far from representative the senior leadership is. The Board needs the best people to lead it, regardless of age. But by alienating younger people, the Board is missing out on half the community’s talent.”

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Ella Rose, UJS President said: “The Board of Deputies’ unique selling point is as a representative body. I am very worried that this research calls that claim into question. Excluding young people damages our community. I have the pleasure of working with passionate Jewish students every single day, running J-Socs, defending Israel and combating antisemitism. The Board of Deputies needs leadership from the whole community.”
Elliot Jebreel, Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue deputy, said: “This is a demographic timebomb. The average age of a British Jew is 41. For the Board’s average to be twenty years older than that shows how out of touch it is. If the Jewish community continues to disenfranchise young people there will be nobody left to volunteer. Young people don’t see a glass ceiling in their jobs so why is it only in the Jewish community they’re discriminated against? It’s time the Board of Deputies welcomed younger leaders who bring different experiences and perspectives.”

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet us @changetheboard

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