Board of Deputies presents packed programme for Limmud 2021

The Board of Deputies was out in force at Limmud Festival in December with nine events ranging from hypocrisy and bias at the UN to the future of the planet.

Israel’s Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Nachman Shai, was ‘in conversation’ with Chief Executive Michael Wegier. The session explored the opportunities and challenges for Israel-Diaspora relations, and the connection between the UK Jewish Community and Israel.

Vice President David Mendoza-Wolfson chaired a Limmud panel with our American partner organisation, the American Jewish Committee, which brought together experts in antisemitism for a comparative discussion of the trends of antisemitism in the UK and USA, from the left-wing to right-wing to religious circles. The panel included, Dave Rich, Head of Policy, Security Community Trust, Jemma Levene, Deputy Director of Hope Not Hate and Rabbi Andrew Baker, Director of International Jewish Affairs, American Jewish Committee.

Vice President David Mendoza-Wolfson held an ‘In Conversation’ with Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch focusing on hypocrisy and bias at the UN. Hillel gave a brief presentation on the history of bias at the United Nations (focusing largely on Israel), followed by a Q&A with the audience, chaired by David, which reflected on recent issues at the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. 

Director of Education and Community Engagement Dawn Waterman welcomed Jill Hyams of the Surrey History Centre and Carol Cambers of the Jewish Gilroes cemetery project in Leicester – both areas where the Jewish story is less well-known – to present stories from their archives at a Hidden Treasures session at this year’s Limmud. Over 60 archives are now members of the Hidden Treasures network which celebrates Jewish archives in Britain. Jill told marvellous tales about Leopold Salamons who bought Box Hill and gave it to the Nation and the Stoatley Ruffians (the German Jewish children who attended Stoatley Rough School in Haslemere in the 1930s and 40s) while Carol talked about Millie Dove, the matron of the first Jewish convalescent home in Britain and Adolph Zalkin Germains, the inventor and adventurer with two graves, only one of them in Leicester.

EcoSynagogue presented a discussion entitled Faith, Spirituality and the Future of the Planet, featuring Co-Founder and Chair Jonathan Wittenberg and Karenna Gore, facilitated by Krish Raval.

President Marie van der Zyl, Nina Freeman and Edward Isaacs participated in a discussion about recent events at Bristol University entitled “The Jewish Students Who Said Enough to David Miller”.

Vice President Amanda Bowman and Chief Executive Michael Wegier presented “The Official Briefing – Jewish Public Policy Issues That Stood Out in 2021”. These included the effects of the Northern Ireland Protocol on Jewish life there, the internet as the new frontline in the fight against antisemitism and the new Government proscription of Hamas.

The Chair of the Commission for Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community, Stephen Bush, took part in an update of the work of the commission alongside panellists Rabbi Natasha, Rosy Akalawu-Ellman, Richard Verber, Rabbi Mark Goldsmith and Tania Townsend.

Senior Vice President Gary Mond, Michael Black, Sheila Gewolb, Claudia Edelman, Esty Bruck and Regional Manager Sara Radivan took part in a discussion entitled: “Beyond the M25: Challenges for Jewish Life in 2021.

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