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What is the Board of Deputies?

Last updated: 2003-08-23

What is the Board of Deputies?
The Board was founded in 1760 as a joint committee of the Sephardi (Spanish and Portuguese) and Ashkenazi (Central and Eastern European) communities in London. Since then the Board has developed its role as the elected, national representative body of the British Jewish community.

What does the Board actually do?
The Board of Deputies protects, supports and defends the rights and interests and religious rights and customs of Jews and the Jewish Community in the United Kingdom and promotes the development of the British Jewish community.

It has participated in all developments affecting the political and civil rights of British Jewry and often at times of crisis overseas. It conveys the views of the community to Government and other public bodies on policy and legislative matters which affect British Jewry, and provides information about the Jewish community to the non-Jewish world.

The Board examines legislative proposals which may affect Jews, and ensures the political defence of the community. It collects statistical and demographic information and undertakes research on and for the community. It maintains contact with Jewish communities around the world and promotes solidarity with Israel.

How does the Board represent the wider community?
The Board's representation is through Deputies elected by synagogues, synagogal bodies and communal organisations. All properly constituted synagogues in Britain are entitled to representation in addition to communal organisations who are able to democratically elect Deputies.

More and more charities and youth groups are joining the Board, to sit alongside representative councils, women's organisations, synagogal bodies and groups interested in Israel. The Board is the only place where all religious groups sit around a table as equals.

There are currently some 330 Deputies, both women and men, covering all parts of the religious and political spectrum and ranging in age from 18 upwards. All Deputies meet regularly in full plenary session to formulate Board policy and oversee its ongoing work. The Board is a model for other minority communities in this country.

Following a recent review the Board has introduced major changes in its structure and four Divisional Boards take responsibility for implementing different aspects of Board policy. Each Division comprises eight elected Deputies and is chaired by an Honorary Officer. The work of the Board is supported by a small professional staff. A Regional Council provides an additional forum for Deputies from outside London.

There are several ways to contact the Board:

Telephone: 020 7543 5400
Fax: 020 7543 0010

By post to:
The Board of Deputies,
6 Bloomsbury Square,
London, WC1A 2LP