The Board of Deputies hosted the Prime Minister during Conservative Party Conference, when he visited the Board’s sukkah on conference grounds.
The Prime Minister came to the sukkah on Tuesday morning, just outside the conference hall, where he was met by Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies, and David Mendoza-Wolfson, Senior Vice President of the Board. Despite some inclement weather, the Prime Minister heard a brief description of the Jewish holiday and had the opportunity to shake the Four Species, a key element of the festival. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Ameet Jogia, one of his political advisers, who also serves as Senior Community Adviser on Race and Faith at Conservative Campaign Headquarters. Mr Jogia was recently selected as the Conservative general election candidate for Hendon.
Given that the festival of Sukkot coincided with Conservative Party Conference, the Party agreed to the Board of Deputies building a sukkah within the conference zone itself, to the immediate right of the entrance to Manchester’s Central Convention Complex. On the Monday and Tuesday of the Conference, the Board of Deputies was able to invite more than 30 MPs to visit the sukkah, shake the Four Species, and find out more about the festival itself. These MPs included Alex Chalk MP, Secretary of State for Justice, Tom Tugendhat MP, Minister of State for Security, Alicia Kearns MP (Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee) and Sir Graham Brady MP, Chairman of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee.
Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies, said: “It was an honour to be able to welcome the Prime Minister to the Board of Deputies’ sukkah and to discuss the nature of the festival with him.
“I want to thank the Conservative Party for agreeing to have our sukkah on the conference grounds; we were able not only to host Jewish attendees celebrating Sukkot, but also to welcome dozens of Parliamentarians who were interested in finding out more about one of the key Jewish holidays.”
David Mendoza-Wolfson, Senior Vice President, said: “The ability of the key Jewish representative organisation in the UK to host a sukkah at Conservative Party conference, and for the Prime Minister to visit, speaks volumes about this country’s welcoming attitude to our community and our faith. We were delighted to be able to inform so many people about Sukkot and its key aspects.”
The Board of Deputies also hosted a panel at the Conservative Party Conference, which took the form of a discussion about the worrying nature of the sales of Nazi memorabilia in the UK and what might be good ways to regulate such sales. The panel, which was chaired by Marie van der Zyl, was formed of Lord Finkelstein, Theresa Villiers MP, Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, and Arthur Thomas, Head of Public Affairs at the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Image credit: 10 Downing Street
Is your synagogue or organisation thinking of joining the Board of Deputies?
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about what is involved, the election timetable and procedures.