The former president of the United Synagogue, Simon Hochhauser, has acknowledged that he is a last-minute candidate to become president of the Board of Deputies, and moves are taking place now to secure him the requisite 20 nominations by close of play on Thursday, April 26.
He originally ruled himself out of running to succeed Board president Jonathan Arkush, who surprised deputies in February by announcing that he would not stand for election for a further three year period in May.
At the time Hochhauser, a deputy for South Hampstead Synagogue who is also co-chairman of the circumcision charity, Milah UK, said he had too many commitments to agree to run for president. There are three current candidates: vice-presidents Marie van der Zyl and Sheila Gewolb, and the leading Sephardi activist Edwin Shuker.
But Hochhauser said that in the last week a number of deputies had tried to persuade him to put his name forward. He said that “it would be useful” if there were a longer handover period than the current two weeks stipulated by the Board’s constitution. “This is an abnormal period for the Board and we are at the height of talks with Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, and Jonathan Arkush is so involved with this issue. It would be helpful to have a longer handover period to whoever is the winning candidate, as they would be facing a considerable challenge”.
Hochhauser said that if he received the 20 nominations necessary to put his name forward for president of the Board, he would endeavour to re-juggle his commitments. “If I can do it, I would