For the JC Oct 1 2021
The British Association of Social Workers, the main representative body of the profession, has apologised to the Chief Rabbi and the Jewish community for holding its annual general meeting on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Gerry Nosowska, the BASW chair, told the JC that the largely online meeting — only the honorary officers met in person — had taken place on the eve of what is generally regarded as the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, despite being alerted by a member of the association on August 27.
She said that on 1 September, aware of the clash of dates, the BASW had posted an apology to its members but advised that the date could not be changed at that stage.
The letter to the Chief Rabbi says the association is “deeply sorry” for “the hurt caused to Jewish members and social workers” by holding its AGM on the eve of Yom Kippur. “We particularly acknowledge the impact of our action at a time when Jewish people in this country are experiencing significant discrimination, and where their needs are often ignored”.
Asking for advice in the future from the Office of the Chief Rabbi, the BASW says the clash happened for two reasons: “we did not check” — and, more importantly, “the need for greater diversity in our leadership, executive and membership”.
The mistake, the letter added, had “rightly” led to a questioning of the BASW commitment to “inclusion and anti-discrimination”.