Jewish leader barred after 'swearing' at woman

Robert Mendick
Sunday 06 August 2000 00:00
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One of the most senior figures in British Jewry - the vice president of the Board of Deputies - has been barred from its offices for allegedly using obscene language against a female member of staff at a dinner in honour of Nelson Mandela.

One of the most senior figures in British Jewry - the vice president of the Board of Deputies - has been barred from its offices for allegedly using obscene language against a female member of staff at a dinner in honour of Nelson Mandela.

Jerry Lewis, who was elected to his post only three weeks ago, must now get permission before visiting the board's headquarters in London, even though he heads up the community issues division.

Mr Lewis is alleged to have launched a highly offensive verbal attack on two female members of staff at a dinner in honour of Mr Mandela hosted by the board in April. It is claimed Mr Lewis, a journalist, lost his cool when he was excluded from the main dining hall and ordered to sit with other journalists in a balcony.

A spokesman for the Board of Deputies told the Independent on Sundaythat the move was "consistent with the Board's duty to provide its staff with a safe and secure environment free from harassment". Mr Lewis's outburst was kept quiet from board members prior to the election but appeared in the Jewish Chronicle last week.

Mr Lewis, 51, said in a statement: "The officers of the Board of Deputies have published a partial and partisan account of an incident which arose as a result of a misunderstanding and lack of communication. At no time have I been asked for my version of events and at no time have I harassed the staff."

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