BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS

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This record is held by London Metropolitan Archives: City of London

Details of BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS
Title: BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS
Reference: ACC/3121
Description:

The archive of the Board of Deputies covers virtually every facet of Jewish life in Britain in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - assimiliation, education, political emancipation, Shechita, anti-Semitism. The archive is particularly interesting on the conditions of Jewry outside the UK - there is a lot of information for example on the rise of fascism in mainland Europe in the 1930s and the Holocaust.

 

The archive has been arranged into the following sub-fonds:

 

ACC/3121/A Board minutes

 

ACC/3121/B Presidents and Secretaries

 

ACC/3121/C Committees

 

ACC/3121/D Congregations

 

ACC/3121/E General Correspondence

 

ACC/3121/F Finance

 

ACC/3121/G Publications

 

A certain amount of weeding of the archives was been done by the staff at the Board and the RCHM in the 1970s. Very little material has been weeded at the LMA and that consists almost entirely of duplicate printed material and very trivial ephemera

 

ABBREVIATIONS AND GLOSSARY

 

ADL Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith

 

Agudas Agudas Israel World Organisation

 

AJA Anglo-Jewish Association

 

AJC American Jewish Congress

 

AJCttee American Jewish Committee

 

AJEX Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women

 

Alliance Alliance Israélite Universelle

 

Allianz Israelitische Allianz zu Wien

 

Ashkenzai A Jew who originates from Central or Eastern Europe

 

Beth Din Jewish ecclesiatical court

 

Beth Hamedrash Centre for religious study and prayer

 

BIPAC Britain/Israel Public Affairs Centre

 

CBF Central British Fund for World Jewish Relief (formerly Central British Fund for Jewish Relief and Rehabilitation)

 

CBJO Coordinating Body of Jewish Organisations

 

CCJ Council of Christians and Jews

 

CDJ Comité des Delegations Juives aupres de la Conferénce de la Paix

 

CFC Conjoint Foreign Committee

 

CJCPE Central Jewish Committee for the Problems of Evacuation

 

CJLC Central Jewish Lecture Committee

 

CJG Committee for Jews in Germany

 

Claims Conference Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany

 

COJO World Conference of Jewish Organisations

 

CPO Comité des Peuples Opprimés

 

CPPM Conference of Private Organisations for the Protection of Migrants

 

CRIF Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France

 

CCS Centre for Contemporary Studies

 

DAIA Delegacion de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas

 

Dayan Judge

 

ECOSOC Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

 

EJA European Jewish Congress

 

Erets Israel Land of Israel

 

FAC Foreign Affairs Committee

 

Federation Federation of Synagogues

 

Get Jewish divorce

 

GJAC German Jewish Aid Committee

 

GRET Group Relations Educational Trust

 

Haham Senior Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation

 

HIAS Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

 

HICEM Hilfskomitee für Jüdische Flüchtlinge

 

HRC Human Rights Commission of the United Nations

 

ICA Jewish Colonisation Association

 

IJA Institute of Jewish Affairs

 

IPU Inter Parliamentary Union

 

IUJF Inter-University Jewish Federation of Great Britain and Ireland

 

JAI Jewish Agency for Israel (since 1948)

 

JAP Jewish Agency for Palestine (before 1948)

 

JBG Jewish Board of Guardians (later Jewish Welfare Board)

 

JCA Jewish Colonisation Association

 

JCIO Jewish Central Information Office

 

JCR Joint Committee on Reparation

 

JCRA Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad

 

JEC Chief Rabbi's Joint Emergency Committee for Jewish Religious Education

 

JFC Joint Foreign Committee

 

JHS Jewish Historical Society of England

 

JIA Joint Israel Appeal

 

JNF Jewish National Fund

 

Joint American Joint Distribution Committee

 

JPA Joint Palestine Appeal

 

JRC Jewish Refugee Committee (previously German Jewish Aid Committee)

 

JRCm Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Commission

 

JRSO Jewish Restitution Successor Organisation

 

JTA Jewish Telegraph Association

 

JTC Jewish Trust Corporation

 

JWA Jewish Womens Aid

 

Ketubah Marriage Contract

 

Kosher Ritually fit

 

L& P Legal and Parliamentary Committee

 

LP& GP Law, Parliamentary and General Purposes Committee

 

LAC London Administrative Committee of the Trades Advisory Council

 

LOC London Organising Council for Jewish Religious Education

 

Mohel Circumciser

 

NAG National Administrative Council of the Trades Advisory Council

 

NCSJ National Council for Soviet Jewry (later National Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union)

 

NEC National Executive Committee of the Trades Advisory Council

 

NGO Non-Governmental Organisations having consultative status at the United Nations

 

NIC Non-Jewish Co-operation

 

NUJR National Union for Jewish Rights

 

Numerus Clausus Quota system, used extensively in Central and Eastern Europe in the first half of the twentieth century to limit the number of Jews generally in institutions for higher education

 

ORT Organisation for Rehabilitation and Training

 

OSE Organisatio Sanitaria Ebraica

 

Pesach Passover

 

PLC Provincial Liaison Committee of the Defence Committee

 

PLO Palestine Liberation Organisation

 

Poale Zion Labour Zionist Movement

 

RSGB Reform Synagogues of Great Britain

 

SABoD South African Jewish Board of Deputies

 

SCESWUN Standing Conference on the Economic and Social Work of the United Nations

 

Sephardi A Jew who originates from Spain or Portugal

 

Shochet Slaughterer of animals for food according to the Jewish law

 

SCJY Standing Conference of Jewish Youth

 

Shechita Jewish method of slaughtering animals for food

 

TAC Trades Advisory Council

 

Torah The Five Books of Moses

 

UAPJ United Appeal for Polish Jews

 

UIA Union of International Associations

 

UER Unimea Evreilor Romani (Rumanian communal body)

 

UJS Union of Jewish Students

 

ULPS Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues

 

UNRRA United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

 

URJA Union of Rumanian Jews in America

 

US United Synagogue

 

WIZO Women's International Zionist Organisation

 

WJC World Jewish Congress

 

WOJAC World Organisation of Jews from Arab Countries

 

WUPJ World Union for Progressive Judaism

 

WZO World Zionist Organisation

 

Yad Vashem Lasting Memorial

 

Yeshiva Talmudical College

 

Yivo Yivo Institute for Jewish Research

 

Yom Kippur Day of Atonement

 

ZF Zionist Federation

Date: 1830-2001
Held by: London Metropolitan Archives: City of London, not available at The National Archives
Arrangement:

Board Minutes

 

ACC/3121/A Minute Books 1830 - 1982

 

Presidents and Secretaries

 

ACC/3121/B/01 Moses Montefiore and Sampson Samuel 1844 - 1860

 

ACC/3121/B/02 Charles Emanuel 1836 - 1976

 

ACC/3121/B/03 Letterbooks 1890 - 1927

 

ACC/3121/B/04 Correspondence 1900 - 1944

 

ACC/3121/B/05 Neville Laski, Adolph Brotman and Selig Brodetsky 1911 - 1957

 

ACC/3121/B/06 Barnett Janner 1947 - 1963

 

ACC/3121/B/07 Lionel Kopelowitz 1989 - 1991

 

Committees and Departments

 

ACC/3121/C/01 Ad-hoc and Sub-Committees 1844 - 1976

 

ACC/3121/C/02 Aliens Committee 1900 - 1982

 

ACC/3121/C/03 Charities Registration Committee 1929 - 1975

 

ACC/3121/C/04 Community Libel Standing Committee 1939 - 1964

 

ACC/3121/C/05 Constitution and Bye-laws Revision Committees 1904 - 1919

 

ACC/3121/C/06 Defence Committee 1965 - 1972

 

ACC/3121/C/07 Disused Cemeteries Committee 1806 - 1998

 

ACC/3121/C/08 Education and Youth Committee 1906 - 1995

 

ACC/3121/C/09 Evacuation and related Committees 1932 - 1945

 

ACC/3121/C/10 Executive Committee 1939 - 1986

 

ACC/3121/C/11A Foreign Affairs Committee: minutes 1878 - 1976

 

ACC/3121/C/11 Foreign Affairs Committee: files 1867 - 2000

 

ACC/3121/C/12 Foreign Appeals Committee 1926 - 1942

 

ACC/3121/C/13 Law, Parliamentary and General Purposes Committee 1859 - 1993 with the Trades Advisory Council

 

ACC/3121/C/14A Erets Israel Committee: Minutes 1929 - 1992

 

ACC/3121/C/14 Erets Israel Committee: Papers 1915 - 1963

 

ACC/3121/C/15 Public Relations Committee 1918 - 1996

 

ACC/3121/C/16 Shechita Committee 1889 - 1997

 

ACC/3121/C/17 Central Jewish Lecture Committee 1959 - 1994

 

ACC/3121/C/18 Community Research Unit 1921 - 1994

 

ACC/3121/C/19 Jewish Youth Organisations Secretaries Committee 1956 - 1970

 

ACC/3121/C/20 Provincial Liaison Committee 1974 - 1991

 

ACC/3121/C/21 Radio and Television Committee 1965 - 1979

 

ACC/3121/C/22 United Nations Association Jewish Affiliates Co-ordinating Committee 1975 - 1983

 

ACC/3121/C/23 Yad Vashem Committee 1977 - 1994

 

Congregations

 

ACC/3121/D/01 London Congregations 1905 - 1966

 

ACC/3121/D/02 Provincial Congregations 1844 - 1966

 

ACC/3121/D/03 Overseas Congregations 1931 - 1963

 

General Correspondence

 

ACC/3121/E/01 Correspondence 1905 - 1966

 

ACC/3121/E/02 Clerk/Administrative Secretary 1923 - 1966

 

ACC/3121/E/03 Correspondence 1870 - 1965

 

ACC/3121/E/04 Correspondence 1922 - 1991

 

ACC/3121/E/05 Correspondence 1949 - 1993

 

ACC/3121/E/06 Central Council for Jewish Social Service 1986 - 1994

 

Finance

 

ACC/3121/F Finance Committee and papers 1892 - 1992

 

Publications

 

ACC/3121/G/01 Annual Reports and general 1876 - 2001

 

ACC/3121/G/02 Joint Foreign Committee 1893 - 1933

 

ACC/3121/G/03 Shechita 1904 - 1967

 

ACC/3121/G/04 Trade Advisory Council 1940 - 1990

 

ACC/3121/G/05 Central Jewish Lecture Committee 1949 - 1954

 

ACC/3121/G/06 Miscellaneous 1895 - 1998

 

ACC/3121/G/07 Community Research Unit 1967 - 1998

Language: English
Extent: 325 linear feet
Custodial history:

The archives of the Board of Deputies were first sorted and catalogued by a professional archivist in the 1970s under the auspices of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. A catalogue was produced in 1976 which included the records up to 1966. The records were retained in the custody of the Board at Woburn House until 1992 when they were transferred to the Greater London Record Office (now London Metropolitan Archives).

 

Further deposits of archives were made over following years to the GLRO. This catalogue is a complete list of all these deposits. The order and classification of the 1976 RCHM list has been retained with later deposits of archives integrated into its structure. A note has been made of the previous reference to each item in the catalogue in square brackets at the end of the description. A copy of the RCHM list which includes a very detailed historical introduction, is available as ACC/3121/EO5/32. This catalogue also includes records from the Trades Advisory Council which were not included in the 1976 RCHM catalogue as they had already been deposited in the Public Record Office. They were transferred from there to the Greater London Record Office at the wish of the Board of Deputies in 1995.

 

A certain amount of weeding of the archives was been done by the staff at the Board and the RCHM in the 1970s. Very little material has been weeded at the LMA and that consists almost entirely of duplicate printed material and very trivial ephemera.

 

Some selected records containing very personal information have been closed for periods of thirty, fifty or one hundred years in consultation with the staff at the Board. This is a final list.

Administrative History:

The London Committee of Deputies of British Jews, which is now known as the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was established in 1760 when seven Deputies were appointed by the elders of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation to form a standing committee to pay homage to George III on his accession to the throne. Deputies had been appointed before this date, for example in 1738 when the question of admitting Jews to the freedom of the City of London was under consideration. 1760 however is generally accepted as the date of the Board's foundation. Minute Books date from then and it was also the date the Ashkenazi Community appointed their own "Secret Committee for Public Affairs". It was agreed at the end of 1760 that the two committees should continue to hold joint meetings from time to time. The small Anglo-Jewish community resided largely in London at this date.

 

The Secret Committee of the Ashkenazim and the 'Deputados' met intermittently until well into the 1800s. From 1817 the two appear to have achieved greater unity and met thereafter as one body.

 

In the 1830s the role and reputation of the Board began to blossom with the election of Moses Montefiore as President of the Board in 1835 and with official recognition from Parliament. Parliament had no sitting Jewish members until the second half of the century, but the Marriage Act 1866 named the President of the Board of Deputies as the authority for certifying the Marriage Secretaries of Synagogues. In 1836 Montefiore was instrumental in drawing up the first constitution and establishing the name Deputies of British Jews. The Constitution has never been a static declaration, it has been changed to meet the needs of the Community. The 1836 preamble stated that it was of essential advantage to the Jews of Britain that in all matters attaching to their political welfare, they should be represented by one body.

 

Moses Montefiore was to have profound influence over the development of the Board as he was to have over Jewry throughout the world. Under his Presidency the Board came to be recognised as the representative body of British Jewry and its name became known overseas - this interest is in fact laid down in the original constitution. In 1840 Montefiore went to plead for persecuted Jews in Damascus; the Board has been actively concerned with the interests and rights of co-religionists abroad ever since. Montefiore was President from 1835 until 1874 with intermittent breaks usually when he was overseas. He was an active international figure; he visited the Holy Land several times (part of Jerusalem is named after him) and interceded many times on behalf of Jews with foreign leaders. He received co-operation from the Foreign Office and the personal approbation of Queen Victoria who knighted him.

 

By the end of the century, when the Anglo-Jewish community had achieved emancipation on the level of fellow non-Jewish citizens, thousands of Jews from Eastern Europe came to the country to escape Tsarist oppression. The Aliens Committee was formed in 1905 (the year the first Aliens Restrictions Act was passed) to ensure that these immigrants, or Aliens, received considerate treatment and to provide help with naturalisation problems. Britain remained a place of refuge well into the twentieth century, particularly with the growth of fascism in Europe in the 1930s and the accompanying rise of anti-Semitism. The years 1933-1945 threatened the very survival of Anglo-Jewry. In 1936 the Jewish Defence Committee was created and launched an Outdoor Campaign to challenge the open air meetings conducted by the British Union of Fascists. Anti-Fascist leaflets and literature were circulated and protest meetings supported by Christian Churches and other non-Jews were organised. The Committee also set about projecting a more positive image of Jewry. Co-operation with other faiths continues, most significantly perhaps in the close liaison with the Council for Christians and Jews.

 

Following the discovery of the Nazi genocide of six million European Jews at the end of the Second World War the Board of Deputies set about the work of reconstruction in Britain and throughout the world. In 1950 it convened the first Conference of Jewish Communities in the British Commonwealth when representatives from communities in the Commonwealth met to discuss matters of mutual interest. At the first meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco the Board was represented. Dr. D. Mowshowitch prepared surveys of the conditions of European Jewry as the Board helped these communities to rebuild and the Foreign Affairs Committee had an active role in the negotiations for Jewish reparations. The Board is a member of the Co-ordinating Board of Jewish Organisations and the World Jewish Congress. It has helped in the rehabilitation of Holocaust survivors and works to secure compensation and restitution for them. In 1983 a Holocaust Memorial was set up in Hyde Park in London at the instigation of the Board of Deputies

 

Education is a keen interest of the Board. In 1853 grants were made to Jewish Day Schools after the Board had negotiated the matter with the government. Public examinations set for Jewish Sabbaths and High Holy Days presented Jewish candidates with severe problems. The Education Committee of the Board worked hard to have all examinations set at more convenient times or to have alternative examination dates arranged for Jewish candidates. The Board of Deputies works with local and private education authorities to combat racism, anti-Zionism and religious discrimination in schools and colleges. Before the migrations of North African Jews in 1948 the Board had a very active part in the administration of schools in the region.

 

The Board of Deputies has always fought anti-Semitism in whatever guise and degree it manifests itself. Much of this work is very routine and it can be on a communal or individual level. The Board is proud to describe itself as "...the focus and muscle of its [the Jewish Community's] defence...". Agitation against Shechita (the Jewish ritual method of slaughtering animals for food) continues to be fought. Educating and informing non-Jews about Judaism, Israel and the Anglo-Jewish community continues to the present day and is an important aspect of the work of the Board.

 

Anti-Semitism in the former Soviet Union, was attacked during the Cold War period. The plight of Soviet Jews, the refusal of the Soviet authorities to allow freedom of worship and the right to emigrate to Israel, was drawn to public attention by vociferous campaigning. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Board worked to present a co-ordinated response to the situation and established the National Council for Soviet Jewry (later the Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union) to administer the campaign in 1975. The archives of the National Campaign for Soviet Jewry are catalogued at the London Metropolitan Archives as ACC/3087.

 

The creation of the State of Israel in 1948 provided the Board with a new focus. Palestine and the proposed establishment of a Jewish homeland had long been a preoccupation with Anglo-Jewry; the Balfour Declaration of 1917 had been addressed to the Vice-President of the Board, Lord Rothschild. A Palestine Committee of the Board of Deputies existed from 1923 until 1948 when it became the Erets Israel Committee. The Committee now acts as a bridge between the Anglo-Jewish community and Israel and seeks to promote a sense of identity with Israel among the Anglo-Jewish. Anti-Zionism in Britain is monitored and countered at all levels. The Board also has close links with the Israeli Embassy.

 

In 1940 the Trades Advisory Council was established to combat anti-Semitism in trade (one of its more persistent manifestations); to encourage good relations between Jewish and non-Jewish traders; to licence Jewish shop-keepers to work on Sundays and to give advice during a period of food rationing and close government observation. The Council was able to issue certificates to Jewish traders who wished to work on Sundays (before restrictions on Sunday trading were eased in the 1990s) and give support to Jewish employees asked to work on Jewish High Holy Days and Sabbaths. It is able to arbitrate in business disputes. Like the Board of Deputies the Council keeps a watch on overseas matters; in the 1970s it drew attention to the Arab Trade Boycott. The Trades Advisory Council began life as a sub-committee of the Defence Committee but is now a practically independent body affiliated to the Board.

 

The Board of Deputies has been served throughout its history by individuals not only active in community affairs but in other spheres of public life. Moses Montefiore stands as the single most prominent figure, but other notables include Sir Philip Magnus, Judge Neville Laski, Professor Selig Brodetsky, Lucien Wolf, Lord Janner and more recently Michael Fidler, Lord Fisher and Greville Janner. Jo Wagerman was elected as first female President of the Board in 2001. Officers of the Board have always represented Jewish interests at the highest level.

 

The history of the Board of Deputies has not always been a peaceful one either in its relations with the world at large or within the Anglo-Jewish community. There have been controversies about its structures and procedures; over representation from the Orthodox and Liberal sides of the community. The ongoing problems Israel has with her Arab neighbours have presented difficulties for a loyal Jewish Diaspora. There have been clashes with other communal groups over policy and of course full and frank dialogue with non-Jewish individuals and organisations. Lively debate on virtually every subject has been a constant feature.

 

What began as a small body focused on the capital is now an institution of international standing. At its core remain the founding principals; the Board of Deputies retains the privilege of personal approach to the Sovereign on state occasions; it continues an active interest in the lives of fellow Jews abroad; it seeks to protect, to promote and to represent Anglo-Jewry.

 

PRESIDENTS OF THE BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS

 

1760 Benjamin Mendes Da Costa

 

1766 Joseph Salvador

 

1778 Joseph Salvador

 

1789 Moses Isaac Levy

 

1801 Naphtaly Bazevy

 

1802-1812 No record

 

1812 Raphael Brandon

 

1817-1829 Moses Lindo

 

1829-1835 Moses Mocatta

 

1835-1838 Moses Montefiore

 

1838 (Oct. - Nov.) David Salmons

 

1838-1840 I.Q. Henriques

 

1840 (May -Jul.) Moses Montefiore

 

1840-1841 Hananel De Castro

 

1841-1846 Moses Montefiore

 

1846 (Mar - Aug.) David Salomons

 

1846-1855 Moses Montefiore

 

1855 (Apr. - Dec.) Isaac Foligno

 

1855-1857 Moses Montefiore

 

1855 (Feb. - Sep) Isaac Foligno

 

1857-1862 Moses Montefiore

 

1862-1868 Joseph Meyer Montefiore

 

1868 (Jun. - Nov.) Moses Montefiore

 

1868-1871 Joseph Meyer Montefiore

 

1871-1874 Moses Montefiore

 

1874-1880 Joseph Meyer Montefiore

 

1880-1895 Arthur Cohen

 

1895-1903 Joseph Sebag Montefiore

 

1903-1917 David Lindo Alexander

 

1917-1922 Stuart Samuel

 

1922-1925 Henry Henriques

 

1925-1926 Lord Rothschild

 

1926-1933 Osmond d'Avigdor-Goldsmid

 

1933-1939 Neville Laski

 

1940-1949 Selig Brodetsky

 

1949-1955 A. Cohen

 

1955-1964 Barnett Janner

 

1964-1967 Soloman Teff

 

1967-1973 Michael Fidler

 

1973-1979 Lord Fisher

 

1979-1985 Greville Janner

 

1985-1991 Lionel Kopelowitz

 

1991-1994 Israel Finestein

 

1994- 2000 Eldred Tabachnik

 

2000 Jo Wagerman

Subjects:
  • Judaism
  • Jews
Creator Names:
  • London Committee of Deputies of British Jews, 1760-
  • Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1760-
Conditions of access:

ACCESS BY WRITTEN PERMISSION ONLY

Related Material:
  • The Board of Deputies is the legal place of deposit for duplicate Marriage Registers from synagogues. These records are retained by the Board and have not been deposited in the London Metropolitan Archives. For further information please consult ACC/3121/E/05/32 (the RCHM list which has a list of these)

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