Commission launched to take evidence of racism experienced by black British Jews

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Commission launched to take evidence of racism experienced by black British Jews

Board of Deputies creates initiative as wave of protests against racism sweep the globe following the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

A Board of Deputies plenary, with President Marie van der Zyl (second left)
A Board of Deputies plenary, with President Marie van der Zyl (second left)

Black British Jews are being invited to give evidence about their experiences of racism in the Jewish community as part of a new Commission on Racial Inclusivity.

The Board of Deputies made the announcement this week as anti-racism protests sweep across the globe, following of the killing unarmed black man, George Floyd, by a white Minneapolis police officer.

After hearing evidence, the Commission will reach out to synagogues, schools and other communal institutions to discuss necessary changes to improve the experience for black British Jewish, followed by a review of measures.

The Board said, “over the last week, we have heard from a range of Black British Jews that our own communal spaces are not always welcoming. We have heard complaints about being stared at in synagogues, being asked probing questions, being given a hard time by security at communal buildings, facing racism in Jewish schools, a lack of racial diversity in Jewish leadership positions and even heart-breaking prejudice in the context of seeking another Jewish partner.”

Its President, Marie van der Zyl, said: “While we as a community must show solidarity and seek to change our whole society, there are things we still need to fix in our own community.”

She said the Commission “will seek to listen to Black British Jews to understand the prejudice and barriers that exist in our own community and work with all our partner institutions to make sure that there is zero tolerance in our community for racism of any kind.”

Chair of the Commission, Stephen Bush, is political editor of the New Statesman. He said: “I am honoured to have been invited to chair this important and timely initiative for the Jewish community, with the support of the Board of Deputies.”

Together with Black British Jews from across the community, we will be able to explore the issues at the heart of the Black-Jewish experience. I invite Black British Jews to come forward with their points of view so we can get this process started.”

  • The Board of Deputies invites Black British Jews, Jews of Colour and others who are interested in participating in this project to get in touch with Anthony Silkoff, on
Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: