The Board of Deputies’ Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community, chaired by New Statesman Political Editor Stephen Bush, is today launching its call for written evidence.
As well as oral evidence meetings for Black Jews, non-Black Jews of Colour and Mizrachi Jews which have already begun, the Commission will now invite written evidence from British Jews with Black spouses or partners, non-Jewish Black people who work or volunteer in Jewish communal spaces, and Black Jews and non-Black Jewish of Colour resident in other countries. The option of written evidence will also be open to those who do not wish to give oral testimony. The Commission is also actively encouraging testimony from children, and has developed a safeguarding protocol to support them in doing so.
The Board of Deputies will now be contacting schools, youth movements, synagogues and other communal organisations to share this online survey with their members.
Once the evidence has been collected, the Commission will approach Jewish denominations, schools and other key institutions to discuss the findings and come up with ways to make the Jewish community an unequivocally anti-racist environment that is fully welcoming and inclusive. After around six months, the Commission will then report on its findings with a series of recommendations, including setting out a suitable period for implementation after which to review progress.
Commenting on the work ahead, Stephen Bush, Chair of the Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community, said:
“I want to thank all of the Black Jews, non-Black Jews of Colour and Mizrachi Jews who have already come forward to give oral evidence to the Commission. We hope that by launching our survey for written evidence, this will even further expand the pool of witnesses, to help me and the Board of Deputies reach our goal making the Jewish community an unequivocally anti-racist environment, that is more welcoming and inclusive to Black Jews, non-Black Jews of Colour and Mizrachi Jews.”
Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said:
“We commend Stephen Bush and the Commission on its progress so far. Since we started the Commission, we are already seeing some positive changes, including synagogue movements like the United Synagogue and Liberal Judaism proactively running surveys of their own members on racial inclusivity. At the Board of Deputies, we ran unconscious bias training for Deputies and staff. We know that we still have a long way to go and we hope that people will respond to today’s call for written evidence to help power this journey to a more welcoming and inclusive Jewish community.”
The online survey can be accessed here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BoDCommission
You can read the timeline and terms of reference of the commission here: https://www.bod.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Final-Terms-of-Reference-for-Commission-on-Racial-Inclusivity-Board-of-Deputies-of-British-Jews.pdf