New Board of Deputies President sets out her ambition to be ‘leader for every part of the community’


Marie van der Zyl has begun her term as President of the Board of Deputies with a series of engagements underlying her commitment to being a leader for the entire community.

Her itinerary includes a trip to Manchester to speak to Greater Manchester Metro-Mayor Andy Burnham and community heads, a meeting of the European Jewish and World Jewish Congress executives in Prague and talks with leaders of the main religious denominations.

Marie spent last weekend in Manchester where she held a meeting with Greater Manchester Metro-Mayor Andy Burnham and thanked him for his leadership against antisemitism in the Labour Party. Manchester has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Association definition of antisemitism and Mr Burnham has written an open letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urging him to tackle the crisis.

Marie met representative council members from Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow on Sunday, to hear their concerns and hopes for the community. She also met leading figures from the community including Mark Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer of Manchester’s Federation of Jewish Services, Nava Kestenbaum, Head of North West Services for Charedi charity Interlink and Joshua Rowe, Chairman of Governors at King David High School. As well as addressing Manchester’s Representative Council on Sunday, Marie spoke to Whitefield Hebrew Congregation on Shabbat.

On Monday, Marie was in Prague to represent the UK Jewish communities at the international umbrella bodies the European Jewish Congress and World Jewish Congress. She left the Czech capital to visit the Terezin Concentration Camp for the unveiling of a monument in memory to those killed there.

This week she will also embark on a series of meeting with main religious leaders Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner,  Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism, Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of Masorti Judaism and Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community.

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: ”Spending my very first days in office in Manchester with representatives of many of our regional communities  and my programme of meetings with representatives of religious denominations from Orthodox to Reform and Liberal to Charedi displays my determination to be a leader for every part of our wonderful UK Jewish community. It was also deeply moving in my first week to attend the unveiling of a new monument at the site of Terezin Concentration Camp and I was honoured to represent the whole UK Jewish community at meetings with international umbrella bodies the World Jewish Congress and the European Jewish Congress. I have started the way I intend to continue.”

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