PRESIDENT'S ROSH HASHANAH MESSAGE 5765
It gives me very great pleasure to send you a Rosh Hashanah
greeting in this, my first full year as President of the
Board of Deputies. Over the past year I have been extremely
proud to be President of an organization which has worked
tirelessly to protect and defend the interests and concerns
of the British Jewish community. Our steadfast determination
to ensure that issues such as shechita and antisemitism
are properly addressed by the Government enables our community
to continue freely to praise our religion, as is our right.
Thankfully, the number of terrorist attacks in Israel
has reduced over the past year as a result of successful
counter-measures taken by the Israeli Government. However,
without a partner for peace and an active peace process,
Israel will not be able to live in the peace and security
it longs for. The Board invests considerable resources
to counter the anti-Israel propaganda and the constant
stream of misinformation that is prevalent in the British
media. Unfortunately, attacks on the community at home
have risen substantially. The recent attacks on South
Tottenham Synagogue and Aish Ha'torah remind us to remain
vigilant at all times. I would never have imagined that,
in Britain in 2004, I would see the destruction of our
religious buildings and the desecration of sacred books.
However, these attacks only serve to create a greater
sense of unity and purpose within our community, and this
past year has shown a greater willingness on the part
of communal organizations to work together. The Board
plays an Integral part in this.
The threat to shechita has not disappeared, and the Board,
through Shechita UK, will continue to lead the community's
fight to remove the unwarranted slur that shechita causes
very significant pain and suffering to animals. Shechita
is a humane method of slaughter. It should be accepted
We remain indebted to the CST, who protect the safety
of our members on a daily basis and who work with the
Board to ensure that the authorities take our concerns
seriously. Recently, the Board was attacked for condemning
the visit of a Muslim cleric whose views include killing
Jews, executing homosexuals and beating women. I repeat
that people whose visits are inflammatory and likely to
incite racial hatred have no place in the UK. The Board
plays a vital role in interfaith work and such visits
do not help community relations. We have also witnessed
the BNP increase its vote in recent elections. This neo-Nazi
party has never changed its spots: it remains antiseptic
and deeply racist. Britain prides itself on its multiculturalism,
and the BNP and other extremist groups of both the left
and the right must be exposed as the frauds they are.
We continue to bring these issues to the attention of
Government, the police and the media.
I pray that this New Year will bring fresh hope and peace
for the people of Israel, as well as a sense of security
to Jewish communities worldwide. An attack on any Jewish
person or Jewish site is an attack on every single one
of us, wherever it might occur. The Board will do everything
it can to provide for the interests and safety of all
those it represents.
On behalf of my fellow Honorary Officers and the staff
of the Board, may I take this opportunity to wish you
all a very happy and healthy new year.
L'shanah tova tikatevu.
Henry Grunwald QC