New research has revealed that the average age of leaders of the Board of Deputies over the past 35 years is 61, two decades older than the average age of members of the Jewish community.
The average age of both presidents and vice-presidents is 61, according to pressure group Changing the Board which is seeking reform of the representative body.
It said three of the Board’s seven presidents since 1979 have come into office between the age of 50-59 and a further three between 60-69. Only once has a vice-president been elected before their 50th birthday.
Richard Verber, founder of Changing the Board, said: “It’s time for change. The Board of Deputies is the Jewish community’s representative body. But these figures show how far from representative the senior leadership is. The Board needs the best people to lead it, regardless of age. But by alienating people in their twenties, thirties and forties, the Board is missing out on half the community’s talent.”
Verber – who is also tipped by some for a run for one of three vice-presidential spots – added that there was a need to “find ways to better use Deputies’ skills and engage them other than at monthly meetings”.
Elliot Jebreel, Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue deputy, said: “This is a demographic timebomb. The average age of a British Jew is 41. For the Board’s average to be twenty years older than that shows how out of touch it is. If the Jewish community continues to disenfranchise young people there will be nobody left to volunteer. Young people don’t see a glass ceiling in their jobs so why is it only in the Jewish community they’re discriminated against?”
Changing the Board said the average age of British prime ministers since Margaret Thatcher is 53.