Darren Bark ‘on leave’

Former NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO says no job offer made

'I have not been offered the role of CEO, and there is nothing more to be said,' Vic Alhadeff says

From left: David Ossip, Chris Minns, Darren Bark. Photo: Giselle Haber
Darren Bark (right), with JBD president David Ossip and NSW Premier Chris Minns. Photo: Giselle Haber

Former NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) CEO Vic Alhadeff told The AJN on Tuesday he has not been offered his old role, after The Australian reported on Monday night that current CEO Darren Bark “has been put on unexpected leave” and is “very unlikely to be returning”.

The national masthead reported that “major upheaval” was underway at the state roof body and that while “Bark’s employment hasn’t been formally terminated … we hear lawyers are involved and that’s never a great sign”.

The Australian also claimed that Alhadeff, who was CEO of the JBD from 2004 to 2021, had been approached about returning. But Alhadeff told The AJN, “I have not been offered the role of CEO, and there is nothing more to be said.”

The AJN approached the JBD for comment but was told only that Bark is on leave.

Bark commenced in the role in May 2021 after being headhunted for the job. As CEO, he has overseen the the introduction of legislation to ban Nazi symbols in NSW and The AJN understands he has been progressing discussions with the NSW parliament about banning the salute.

Bark played a major role in securing security funding commitments for faith communities from both sides of politics prior to this year’s NSW state election, including $15 million from Labor. Under his leadership, the JBD spearheaded “Town Hall” style forums with both former Premier Dominic Perrottet and his successor Chris Minns ahead of the March poll.

Bark was also involved in securing $5 million in funding for the Sydney Jewish Museum and a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Education and faith communities to increase Holocaust education in schools. He oversaw the launch of the JBD’s online reporting portal for the reporting of antisemitic bullying incidents.

During the 2021 delta lockdown, Bark negotiated for the Jewish community to hear the shofar blown outdoors on Rosh Hashanah and for 15-minute outdoor services to be conducted on Yom Kippur.

He increased cooperation between faith communities in NSW and was instrumental in the formation of the Religious Communities Advisory Council during the term of the Perrottet government, which strengthened ties between faith groups and the state government.

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