Laura Janner Klausner – Senior rabbi to Reform Judaism was the guest speaker. Her theme was ‘Derech Eretz’ – the way of the world. She advocated tackling anti-semitism by speaking with those who oppose us and rejecting ‘Fortress Judaism’.
Laura supports new forms of sex education, especially around LGBGT issues. She asserted that now is time to have difficult but constructive conversations.
Laura’s view was that forced conversion of Jews to Christianity is not anti-semitism, but anti- Judaism, which she also deplores.
The next item was an appreciation and a standing ovation for Louise Ellman who stepped down from Westminster, having been forced out of the Labour Party after being a member for 55 years.
15 hustings for the general election have been arranged in coordination with the BoD at different synagogues around the country. There was a proposal that all hustings should be open to all local people, not only to the local Jewish Community. This was agreed by Marie.
Marie described the ‘Jewish Manifesto’ and discussed means of putting across details to prospective election candidates. She emphasised the Board’s role in combating anti- semitism within the Labour Party. In line with the requirements of the charity commission, the Board cannot advise the Jewish community how it should vote.
To promote the ‘Jewish Manifesto’, a photograph was taken of all delegates holding the document. This was first time, since the ‘Je Suis Juif’ photograph taken after the killings in Paris, that we had done something like this.
BoD vice-president Edwin Shuker explained that on 30th November there is to be a commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the displacement of Jews from all Arab Lands.
It was noted with some disquiet that Bristol University has not adopted the IHRC definition of anti semitism.
Louise Ellman made clear that all incidents of anti semitism have to be called out and identified and never swept under the carpet.
We all then saw the film produced for the Annual Dinner which emphasised the need to fight anti semitism. The major speakers In the film were Tracey-Ann Oberman, Rachel Riley, and Louise Ellman. An excellent film that clearly puts the message out.