8 APRIL, 2018 – MESSAGE SENT TO COMMUNITY BY FORMER SCOTTISH LABOUR LEADER
The following was sent by Kezia Dugdale to the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities for sharing with the Jewish community. A meeting has been arranged:
“Over recent weeks the issue of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party has featured heavily in the news.
The revelations of anti-Semitism from what appears to be a small minority of Labour Party members is not in my experience reflective of the wider movement. That said, I wanted to express my own sincere and deep disappointment at the reality that these abhorrent views continue to exist in society and in my party – a party whose primary mission has always been to promote equality, tolerance, respect. A party that believes diversity is a strength and something to be celebrated. So I’m saddened to see these views held and articulated by members of the Labour Party and further dismayed by the failures of the party’s leadership to condemn them forcefully enough publicly and root out those who hold those views from our movement.
Let me be clear, anti-Semitism has no place in our party or society, and it must be stamped out, wherever it arises. As such the vast majority of Labour Party members are struggling with the hurt, and shame, of the stain of anti-Semitism from this minority and it remains quite clear to me that the Labour Party has much more to do to tackle anti-Semitism within the party and then a duty to turn and take it on, in the name of its founding values, in wider society.
During my time as the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party I valued our relationship and gained a greater knowledge and understanding of the issues facing Scotland’s proud Jewish community. You were disappointed at my party’s standing then, I can’t imagine how you feel now.
I’m acutely aware that the Labour Party have a huge task ahead of us to make amends and repair the damage with the Jewish community.
I am pleased that some Scottish Labour party branches have invited the Jewish Labour Movement to deliver training on anti-Semitism for local members and believe this should be replicated across the country.
It is our responsibility to deal with the issues in our party here and now and I join with those who are determined not to shirk that responsibility.
I would welcome any advice you might be able to provide on this matter, and particularly, if there are any Edinburgh based contacts that I should seek to meet and talk with over the coming weeks.
Please let me also express, in the simplest terms, the sincerest of apologies on behalf of the Labour Party to the extent that I can.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
22 JANUARY, 2017 – FIRST MINISTER AT GIFFNOCK SYNAGOGUE BURNS SUPPER
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell were the guests of honour at this year’s Giffnock Synagogue Burns Supper. The First Minister received a great reception from the audience after delivering the Toast to the Immortal Memory.
13 NOVEMBER, 2016 – ARMISTICE SUNDAY
The Annual AJEX Armistice Day March, Parade and Service took place in Newton Mearns.
Jewish ex-Servicemen and Women, members of the 5th Giffnock Guides and the JLGB, Kirsten Oswald MP and community members, led by AJEX Brigade Commander Monty Cowen, marched with members of the British Legion from Fairweather Hall to the War Memorial on Ayr Road. Wreaths were laid by Monty Cowen and GJRC Co-President Nicola Livingston and wooden Magen Davids by members of the 5th Giffnock Guides.
Afterwards, there was a memorial service in Newton Mearns Synagogue, Larchfield Avenue, with the address given by Rabbi Eli Wolfson. Refreshments, sponsored by the Queen’s Park Charitable Trust and prepared by Irene Yona, were served after the service.
11 – 12 NOVEMBER, 2016 – SHABBAT UK
Following on from the highly successful Challah Bake, a number of activities took place in Glasgow for Shabbat UK. Newton Mearns Synagogue held a Friday night dinner at which the guest speaker was Rabbi Natan Gamedze. Rabbi Gamedze began his life as a Prince of Swaziland, graduated from Oxford University and is fluent in 14 languages. He converted to Judaism, and became ordained as a Rabbi. Giffnock Synagogue was enlivened by the presence of the Travelling Chassidim over Shabbat. The visiting Chassidim led a memorable Havdalah event at Giffnock.
Garnethill Synagogue held a special Shabbat UK kiddush, sponsored by Marian Camrass. Lubavitch Scotland held a Friday Night Dinner and a Melava Malka Dinner and Concert.
10 NOVEMBER 2016 – GLASGOW CHALLAH BAKE
Around 150 people from the community came along for the Community Challah Bake, as part of ShabbatUK. The event was a joint one between Giffnock Synagogue and Newton Mearns Synagogue, and this year was held at Giffnock. Highlights of the event included guest speaker Rebbetzen Gila Hackenbroch, a wonderful challah shaping demonstration by Rebbetzen Rubin and a prize of a book about Challah for the best challah making, which went to the teachers from Calderwood Lodge Jewish Primary School and will now be proudly shared in the school’s library.
SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER, 2016
There will be a FREE Community Screening Session for 9 genetics disorders including Tay Sachs. Members of the community, particularly of child-bearing age are urged to take advantage of this session in the fight to eradicate severe genetic disorders common to Ashkenazi Jews.
This first screening session in Glasgow, run by Jnetics, is dedicated to the memory of Mrs Vivian Strang.
It has been made free thanks to the generosity of the Esterton Trust, the Netherlee and Clarkston Charitable Trust, the Jewish Blind Society (Scotland) and an anonymous.
All that is required is a saliva test.
The session takes place between 4.30pm and 7pm in Giffnock Synagogue.