UK board of deputies.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Celebrating 250 years since it was founded, the Board of Deputies of British
Jews is set to officially kick off its year-long anniversary celebratory program
in the UK’s oldest synagogue on Sunday.
The representative organization
of Anglo-Jewry will convene 400 former and current deputies, presidents and
honorary officers, together with the leaders of all of the UK synagogue bodies
in London on Sunday to celebrate the milestone – 250 years of representing,
promoting and protecting the religious and civil liberties of Jewish people in
The special ceremony will take place at the Bevis Marks
Synagogue, which is affiliated to the Spanish and Portuguese community and was
built in 1679 in the city of London at the time the Board of Deputies was
formed. In 1760, seven deputies were appointed by the elders of the Spanish and
Portuguese congregations to form a standing committee to pay homage to George
III on his accession to the throne; this was the genesis of the representative
Today, the Board is comprised of deputies elected by all
synagogues and communal organizations.
Each synagogue or institution
elects one or more deputies, depending on its size, and elections take place
every three years.
The deputies transact the business of the Board
through divisions and work in conjunction with the honorary officers (president,
vice-presidents and treasurer) and professional staff.
In what is slated
to be a historic event on Sunday, representatives from every Jewish community
around the country will salute the Board’s achievements and the contribution of
the wider community to modern-day British society.
historian Raphael Langham has written a book titled 250 Years of Convention and
Contention: A History of the Board of Deputies of British Jews 1760-2010 to
commemorate the anniversary, and he will read excerpts from the book, which is
scheduled to be formally launched at the House of Lords next month.
is a momentous occasion on which we begin both a year of reflection and
celebration, offering us opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to
promote Jewish life in all its aspects, religious, cultural, welfare,
educational and social, retaining our values of freedom and tolerance,”
Board president Vivian Wineman.
Other highlights of the Board’s 250th
program include a conference of international scholars which will
history and contribution of British Jewry and the role of the Board has
a gala dinner, a nationwide Board Shabbaton; a 12- grade high school
competition, and various other crosscommunal and interfaith
Concurrently, a photographic exhibition focusing on the Board’s
distinct cross-communal reach will make its way around the UK. The
will also hope to highlight the fusion and diversity amongst British
show how the Board’s work continues to underpin the fabric of British
life in 2010.