WEDNESDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2017
URGENT APPEAL FROM THE ABERDEEN JEWISH COMMUNITY
The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council would be grateful if members of our community could help the Aberdeen Jewish Community at this time of crisis:
SAVE ABERDEEN SYNAGOGUE AND COMMUNITY CENTRE
The UK’s most northerly synagogue is without a home for the festivals following serious flooding. Aberdeen’s community of barely two dozen members had overseen a major upgrade of the four-floor building over the past two years, which along with concerted efforts to run both religious and social activities, had refreshed and revitalized the community.
However, the building is no longer fit for purpose and extensive repair work now requires to be done, because, as the community’s Debby Taylor says, “Everything is wet, damp and smelly”.
The community faces a choice – close its doors, or face the estimated £30,000 cost of drying out and refurbishment, of which only two thirds will be met by insurance. Without the shul building, which also includes a communal hall, this tiny community is unlikely to survive.
© Jennie Workman Milne
The Aberdeen community is extraordinarily vulnerable, as some of its members have been subjected to regular antisemitic harassment that has now reached the courts. The shul building provides a safe space for the members and also a welcoming environment for Aberdeen’s thriving Jewish Students’ Society and the many Jewish and Israeli visitors to the city.
YOU CAN HELP NOW TO SAVE ABERDEEN SYNAGOGUE – THE TARGET IS £10,000. Please give generously. Details are on the Aberdeen Synagogue and Jewish Community Centre home page:
THURSDAY, 25 AUGUST 2017
MEETING WITH WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL LEADER
From left, Immediate Past President Paul Morron, WDC Leader Councillor Jonathan McColl, co-president Nicola Livingston and WDC Councillor Ian Dickson
GJRC Co-President Nicola Livingston and Immediate Past President Paul Morron had a highly constructive meeting with the new Leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, Councillor Jonathan McColl and fellow Councillor Ian Dickson in Clydebank Town Hall on Thursday, 25 August.
Nicola Livingston reported:
“We discussed the various issues we need to speak to local authorities about, including welfare and education. We passed on our thanks to WDC for their novel idea in lighting up the Clydebank Titan Crane purple and white to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
“We had an excellent meeting. Councillor McColl was very interested in what we had to say about the effects of anti-Semitism on the community. We agreed to keep the communications, already established with the previous administration, open and provide any information or assistance when requested.”
WEDNESDAY, 16 AUGUST 2017
NEW CALDERWOOD LODGE PRIMARY SHARED FAITH CAMPUS SCHOOL OPENS
Photo – Mark F Gibson ©Gibson Digital
The new joint faith Jewish and Catholic primary schools in Newton Mearns, Calderwood Lodge and St Clare’s, opened their doors to pupils at the start of the new session on Wednesday morning.
GJRC co-president Nicola Livingston said: ““We are delighted to see the plans for the new Calderwood Lodge and St Clare’s joint campus come to fruition. The school is at the very heart of the Jewish community and we were pleased to have been heavily involved in this exciting project.
“We would like to thank East Renfrewshire Council for their innovative approach and vision in recognising the importance of Scotland’s only Jewish school and investing in the lives of our children.
“We wish Calderwood and St Clare’s all the very best and look forward to having many occasions to visit the school and participate in activities.”
Fellow co-president Evy Yedd said: “Today was a very special day not only for the pupils and parents but also for Scottish Jewish people, as Calderwood Lodge is the Jewel in the Crown of our community. I have been involved as a parent and a member of staff since 1979 and know that the school will continue to provide the best secular and Jewish curriculum within a happy, caring and loving environment underpinned by Jewish values.
“I am proud to be associated with Calderwood where every child from many backgrounds is nurtured so that they will achieve their full potential. Mazel Tov to Mrs Carlton, Mr Robson and all the staff and pupils. GJRC will continue to give its support to the school.”
THURSDAY, 27 JULY, 2017
INTERFAITH MEETING WITH HOME SECRETARY AMBER RUDD
The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, represented by co-presidents Evy Yedd and Nicola Livingston, hosted a meeting between the Home Secretary Amber Rudd and local interfaith leaders this morning. The meeting, which was held at the Jewish Community Centre, was organised by East Renfrewshire MP Paul Masterton.
Before the meeting, Evy Yedd gave the Home Secretary a tour of Giffnock Synagogue.
THURSDAY, 20 JULY, 2017 – Security update
As members of the Community may be aware, there have been reports in the media of a supposed list of “target sites” in the UK , including three in Scotland, posted on an ISIS-related social media site.
Glasgow Jewish Representative Council and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities have taken advice from both Police Scotland and the Community Security Trust (CST), and both reassure us that there is no specific intelligence to suggest that any form of attack is likely to take place either in Scotland or in the UK in general.
The aim of terrorist groups is to cause disruption to the life of the community by creating a climate of fear. Police Scotland have confirmed that the information contained in this post is significantly out of date, which further suggests that the intention is to generate fear rather than a specific threat. We therefore urge members of the Community and others not to circulate further speculation about this matter, as that only serves to increase the anxiety of others.
Police Scotland have told us that they are working with all communal sites to enhance their security, and to provide reassurance, and the CST have confirmed that they are in close contact with the police.
In an emergency, always dial 999, but if you anyone has information or concerns that are not urgent, they should contact their local police station by ringing 101.
It would be appreciated if you would also contact email@example.com or 0141-638 6411, so the situation can be monitored.
SUNDAY, 23 APRIL, 2017
Yom Hashoah Event, held in the Giffnock Synagogue Hall
Yom Hashoah, which focused on the stories of Holocaust survivors living in Scotland, was attended by a huge crowd this year.
In her message, co-president Evy Yedd said: “There will always be a small number of people who will make a comment that the Jews should stop talking about the Holocaust. There are very valid reasons that this should never be the case. Firstly, we shall never forget those precious and beautiful souls who were murdered just because they were Jewish, Roma, Sinti, disabled or gay. Secondly, as long as there is still prejudice in our world, speaking about the Holocaust should in some small way help fight the negative attitudes that still prevail withing some people.
“Scottish schools are doing a grand job and making a real difference educating our young people to respect and cherish those who are not from a similar background to their own family, but there is still much to be done. I will never forget a wonderful young primary school pupil who told me one day that Hitler would have killed him twice – ‘once for being a Jew and once for being disabled’.”
In her message, co-president Nicola Livingston said: “Yom Hashoah is the day when the Jewish community stops (quite literally if you are in Israel) and remembers. We remember the dire consequences of what happened when an evil ideology spread darkness across the world, fostering hate and turning people against one another. We remember the stories of death and devastation and also of courage and hope. We give names to the numbers, both those branded on the arms of people who were herded like cattle to be slaughtered and the unimaginable figure of the six million who were murdered.
“We do this not to wallow in self-pity for what might have been, but to understand how these events shaped modern history and the world we live in today. Whilst Yom Hashoah is a day of introspection, when we draw together as a community to mourn and remember, it is also an opportunity for us to gain deeper understanding and to gather the strength to go back out into the world and speak up against those who are ignorant or who deliberately, through lies and misinterpretation, attempt to deny the Holocaust.”
Yom Hashoah was organised by the GJRC Yom Hashoah Committee, chaired by Agnes Isaacs, and supported by UJIA, East Renfrewshire Council, the Jewish Youth Fund and the Netherlee & Clarkston and Queen’s Park Charitable Trusts.
20 APRIL, 2017
Response to Church of Scotland Embracing Peace and Working for Justice Report
SCoJeC has issued a statement, supported by the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, in response to the publication of Embracing Peace and Working For Justice, a joint report by the World Mission Council and the Church and Society Council to the forthcoming Church of Scotland General Assembly to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.
“We have previously welcomed the Church’s overtures to the Jewish Community for a new focused dialogue “striving for a deeper understanding and greater mutual respect for one another”, and their acknowledgement of “the damaged relationships arising out of the Church’s involvement in the Balfour Project conference in 2012 and the publication of the Inheritance of Abraham? in 2013”. We appreciate the efforts of those involved in preparing the report to consult the Jewish Community in Scotland, and amongst expatriate Scots in Israel, and to take account of their views.
“However, we have considerable reservations about the published report, and in particular the proposed Deliverance (resolution) which condemns Israeli settlements, but not Palestinian terrorism or Hamas’s institutionalised antisemitism, and asserts “that Christian theology should not be used to justify or perpetuate a situation of injustice”, while making no mention of the supersessionist theology which shamed the Church in 2012 and 2013 and which is implicit in its commendation of the Kairos Palestine document. We are also puzzled and concerned that the report explicitly casts doubt on the two-state solution and the Church of Scotland’s support for a two-state solution, despite this remaining the agreed policy of the international community, and without any suggestion of what might be a just and viable alternative.
“Nonetheless, we welcome the acknowledgement in the report itself of the significance of Israel to Jews in Scotland, the vast majority of whom see Israel as forming part of their identity as Jews; and its recognition that Scottish responses to events in the Middle East frequently result in a rise in antisemitism in Scotland, and that the Church has an obligation to counter that antisemitism, and engage in dialogue. The revised report also explicitly notes that there was a Jewish presence continuously in the Holy Land since Biblical times, that the resettlement of the Land and friction between Jews and Arabs long predated the Balfour Declaration, and that more than half of Israel’s citizens are descendants of refugees who were expelled from Arab countries following the creation of the state of Israel, and it criticises calls by Hamas for “the obliteration of Israel”.
“As the representative body of a community that almost universally has close ties – religious, emotional, or personal – with Israel, we regret the report’s reliance on selective voices and vignettes that obscure the reality of life in Israel: for example, it fails to mention that Palestinians constitute around 20% of Israeli citizens who have full democratic and civil rights in stark contrast to the position of both Palestinians and Christians in most other countries in the Middle East; and there is no sense of holding the Palestinian leadership to account, or indeed of treating Palestinians in general as moral agents rather than helpless victims.
“Nevertheless, we welcome the Church of Scotland’s retreat from much of the offensive theology of its previous reports, and believe that only through increasing dialogue and deepening insight can we come to a better understanding of one another’s concerns. Not least amongst these matters for the Jewish Community in Scotland is the relevance to the Church of the worsening experience of Being Jewish in Scotland, as well as concerns on both our parts about the land that is holy for us both.
24 March, 2017
GJRC statement on terror attack
The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council has issued this statement following the terrorist attack in central London this week:
The civilised world has been deeply shocked by the terrible events that occurred in London this week. The attack on our democracy and our way of life in the UK was cowardly and sickening and cannot be justified in any way. At times like these, we are reminded of the underpinning values of our free, inclusive and democratic societies, and such acts of terror, designed to set us against one another, must only serve to bring us yet closer together.
We wish to express our feelings of solidarity and togetherness with the people of London and all those affected by the incident this week.
Whilst Police Scotland advise that “there is no specific intelligence to suggest such an incident will occur in Scotland, the UK threat level remains at Severe, therefore we must remain alert but not alarmed.” The Jewish Communities of Glasgow and the West of Scotland are reminded to remain vigilant. We urge other minority faith communities in the area to do the same and show that we are strong when we stand together.
1 FEBRUARY, 2017
Meeting with leader of the SNP on Glasgow City Council
GJRC Co-President Nicola Livingston, Vice-President Isaac Ansell Forsyth and Immediate Past President Paul Morron met with the Glasgow City Council SNP leader Councillor Susan Aitken at the City Chambers on Wednesday, 1 February.
The meeting was one of an ongoing programme of meetings between GJRC and leaders of the different parties at various local councils.
Nicola Livingston said: “It was a very cordial and productive meeting. We raised various issues of concern to the community with Councillor Aitken, including anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment.
“It was important that we established a relationship not at a time of crisis. We have agreed to meet on a regular basis, whatever the outcome of the May Council elections.”
21 JANUARY, 2017
Tragic deaths of Mohammad and Talat Aslam
Many people will have seen the terrible news about a minibus, en route to a religious pilgrimage which crashed in Saudi Arabia, killing six passengers. This was a group of extended family and some will have noticed that two of them, Mohammad and Talat Aslam were from Newlands in Glasgow. The family are well known to many members of the Jewish community, some through business and others because their five children attended Calderwood Lodge Jewish Primary School.
As you can imagine all the family are distraught. The three sons have flown out to identify their parents bodies and those of their other relatives. We have been in ongoing contact with colleagues at Glasgow Central Mosque to offer our condolences and are being kept updated.
A number of members of the community have approached us looking for contact details so that they can send messages, but the feeling is that this will be too overwhelming at the moment. Therefore, we would like to suggest that anybody who wishes to send a message, should send it to the Rep Council office and we will collate and pass them on, when and to whom, we are advised is most appropriate. .
THURSDAY, 12 JANUARY, 2017
Glasgow Jewish Representative Council hosts a Meeting on the progress of the new Calderwood Lodge Jewish Primary School as well as its Delegate Meeting
Come along to the Jewish Care Scotland Walton Community Care Centre, May Terrace, Giffnock at 7.30 pm to hear an update on the progress of the building of the new, Calderwood Lodge/ St Clare’s RC Primary School shared campus in Newton Mearns.
There will be information on the process and schedule for parental placement requests for the new Calderwood, too.
At the same time, you will be able to find out what has been happening in the community and what your Representative Council has been doing on your behalves.
Light refreshments will be served.
28 SEPTEMBER 2016 – SHIMON PERES SADLY PASSES AWAY, AGED 93
- President Rivlin’s Statement on the Passing of Israel’s Ninth President Shimon Peres (Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rilvin expressed his deep sadness on the passing of Israel’s former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday, 28 September). The President’s Office confirmed that the President – who was currently on a state visit to Ukraine – would be returning early from the visit, and would arrive back in Israel during the course of the day.
President Rivlin said, “A short distance from where I am visiting in Ukraine, in the city of Vishnyeva, Belarus, was born Szymon Perski, who grew to be a young man with great dreams. From here, from Eastern Europe, he immigrated to the land of Israel, and ever since never ceased to work for the sake of the Zionist movement, for the sake of the State of Israel, and the people of Israel.
“There is not a chapter in the history of the State of Israel in which Shimon did not write or play a part. As one man he carried a whole nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision. A man who was a symbol for the great spirit of this people. Shimon made us look far into the future, and we loved him. We loved him because he made us dare to imagine not what was once here, nor what is now, but what could be.
“This is a sad day for the Israeli people, and the State of Israel. We all bow our heads at hearing of his passing. I will carry his memory with me, his handshake, his sensible advice which he always gave lovingly, and in particular his spirit of hope which he breathed into this people. The spirit of hope and peace which was his path and desire.”
2. PM Netanyahu Statement on the Passing of Shimon Peres (Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Wednesday, 28 September), released the following statement on the passing of former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres:
“We grieve today for the passing of our dear and beloved Shimon Peres.
Shimon devoted his life to our nation and to the pursuit of peace.
He set his gaze on the future.
He did so much to protect our people.
He worked to his last days for peace and a better future for all.
As Israel’s President, Shimon did so much to unite the nation.
And the nation loved him for it.
Few people contributed as much to our people and to our state.
I first met Shimon 40 years ago at the graveside of my brother Yoni, who fell leading his men to rescue our hostages in Entebbe in Uganda.
I will never forget the warmth Shimon showed me, my brother and my parents in our great moment of grief.
Just a few days ago at the UN, I wished Shimon a speedy recovery from the hearts of all Israelis and so many around the world.
We all prayed that Shimon, with his unique strength, his unique vigor would somehow come out of this, would somehow come back to us.
To my deep sorrow, this prayer was not answered.
Now Shimon Peres has departed from us.
But he will never depart from our hearts and from our memories.
His name will be forever engraved in the story of the rebirth of the Jewish people, as one of our great leaders, as one of the founding fathers of the State of Israel.”
The statement can be viewed on YouTube at:
- A very short and moving video which focuses on Peres’s work at the international arena. This can be shared on social media.
- Some selected quotes by Mr Peres:
- For me, dreaming is simply being pragmatic.
- Optimists and pessimists die the exact same death, but they live very different lives
- -You are as young as your dreams, not as old as your calendar
- People that have no fantasies, don’t do fantastic things
- I’m made from the future
- I will do everything for peace
- Love people, you are surrounded by people all day long. Don’t hate people, even those who you don’t really like
- We have existed for 4,000 years – 2,000 years in diaspora, in exile. Nobody in the Middle East speaks their original language but Israel. When we started 64 years ago, we were 650,000 people. So, you know, we are maybe swimming a little bit against the stream, but we continue to swim.
- We should use our imagination more than our memory
- In Israel, a land lacking in natural resources, we learned to appreciate our greatest national advantage: our minds. Through creativity and innovation, we transformed barren deserts into flourishing fields and pioneered new frontiers in science and technology.
- CONDOLENCE NOTICES FROM WORLD LEADERS – twitter.com/israelmfa
- Pictures, statements and a video – facebook.com/israelmfa
- GPO Collection of Photographs and Video Clips on the Late Shimon Peres
The Government Press Office accompanied the ninth President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, throughout his public life and mourns his passing.
70 years of stills photos and the resume of Shimon Peres:
Selected videos of Peres milestones:
PRESS RELEASE – 3rd August 2016
The Jewish Community in Scotland and the Church of Scotland have agreed to establish a concentrated dialogue between members of the two communities.
The topics to be discussed in these dialogues include possible areas for collaboration such as education, shared social action, theological similarities and differences, geopolitical matters that affect Jewish-Christian relations such as Israel and Palestine, and antisemitism and joint action to respond to it. It is envisaged that the result of this dialogue might be a joint resource with agreed theological terms and references, including an exploration and examination of differences and diversity in belief and scriptural interpretation, a glossary of theological terms that are widely misunderstood, a protocol for alerting one another of issues that might damage the positive relationship between our communities, and a list of areas of future collaboration.
The group will have around 10 members representing a wide range of views within each community. Among other things the group will seek to address issues arising out of the publication of the Inheritance of Abraham Report and the Church of Scotland’s involvement in the Balfour Project that led to a strain in the relationship. It will meet regularly from autumn of 2016 with a view to producing a report by the autumn of 2017, and a steering group of three members from each community has been established to take the proposal forward.
Commenting on the initiative, Rev Richard Frazer, of the Church of Scotland said, “Alongside others from within the Church of Scotland, I am looking forward to embarking on this important piece of work together with our colleagues from within the Jewish community. We hold a great deal in common as people whose shared faith is rooted in the story of Abraham. That faith inspires us to work together for a better world as well as striving for a deeper understanding and greater mutual respect for one another.”
Ephraim Borowski, Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, added, “We very much welcome this initiative to re-establish the close relationship between the Church of Scotland and the Jewish Community and repair the damage caused in recent years. We look forward to constructive and productive discussions that will have the lasting legacy of resources that will continue to support better understanding for generations to come.”
Kirk and Jewish leaders move to ‘repair damage’ after anti-semitism scandal
COUNCILLOR GORDON MATHESON’S ADDRESS TO THE GLASGOW & WEST OF SCOTLAND BRANCH OF THE COUNCIL OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS
Tuesday 2nd February 2016
LETTERS FOLLOWING PARIS TERROR ATTACK
MONDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2015
Following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, 13 November, the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council president Paul Morron has sent the following letters on behalf of the Jewish Community.
LETTER TO SANDRA WHITE MSP AND RESPONSE FOLLOWING RETWEETING OF ANTI-SEMITIC CARTOON
FRIDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2015
SPEECH TO COMMUNITY BY COUNCILLOR GORDON MATHESON
MONDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 2015
Our Delegate and Public Meeting on 7th September 2015 was well attended.
Our guest speaker was Councillor Gordon Matheson (then Leader, Glasgow City Council). Councillor Jim Fletcher (Leader, East Renfrewshire Council) also addressed the Jewish Community, and Jim Murphy was presented with a gift to mark 18 years service to the Jewish Community.
Gordon Matheson’s speech can be found here: Councillor Gordon Matheson speech