13 APRIL, 2021 – JEWISH MANIFESTO FOR SCOTLAND
In advance of the Scottish elections on 6th May 2021, SCoJeC, together with the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and the Jewish Leadership Council, has compiled a Jewish Manifesto for Scotland to inform existing and prospective members of the Scottish Parliament and other public representatives about the interests and concerns of the Jewish community of Scotland.
The Jewish community prides itself on its representative and democratic structures, and the Manifesto has been formulated after consulting widely amongst Jewish people and organisations in Scotland. Although there is no single ‘Jewish view’ on many political issues, there is a great deal of unanimity on issues that directly affect the community, and throughout this document we have sought to represent that consensus.
In particular, it is informed by SCoJeC’s community-wide consultations, which were funded by the Scottish Government. More than 300 people contributed to each of our inquiries, Being Jewish in Scotland in 2012 and What’s Changed about Being Jewish in Scotland in 2015, as well as to two more informal surveys during the Coronavirus pandemic. The findings show that Jewish people in Scotland, including those who are not religiously observant, value and rely on an infrastructure that is culturally sensitive and faith specific, and in which they can feel confident to express their identity in safety, but that their confidence has been badly shaken by recent spikes in antisemitic incidents, especially on social media.
The Jewish community in Scotland is keen to promote Scotland as an attractive place for Jewish people to live, but for this to be successful, Scottish society, and in particular political leaders, must ensure that Scotland continues to be a safe and welcoming place for Jewish people to practice their religion and culture, and, very importantly, that it is seen as such by people elsewhere in the UK and worldwide.
We have therefore identified “Ten Commitments” relating to matters that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Government that we are asking politicians to undertake to support.
The manifesto has been sent to all the political party leaders and to all candidates from the main parties contesting the elections, who will be invited to express their support. The advocacy campaign will be supported by the hashtag #TenCommitments on social media, and there will be hustings events with the main parties’ candidates in Edinburgh and the Eastwood constituency.
The leaders of the four organisations issued the following statement:
21 MARCH, 2021
Pesach Greetings have been sent by the Scottish Catholic community:
Last year our communities celebrated Pesach and Easter in unusual and restricted circumstances. We thought then that it would be a one off event, that this year there would be a return to normal but once again many of us are facing celebrations apart from family and friends.
This has been a difficult year for all of us. Many have lost loved ones without being able to accompany them into death or being able to mourn with family and friends. Many have been pressurised by work and home schooling. Others have experienced loneliness and stress while others have found time to enjoy their homes and explore new interests. We have come to be grateful for the work of nurses and doctors, care workers, essential service providers – all those who keep our communities running smoothly and contribute to its well-being.
Pesach, remembering as it does, the liberation of the People of Israel from the slavery of Egypt reminds us that our hope in liberation and salvation is well founded. It gives us confidence that there is light at the end of this corona tunnel, that there is a brighter future ahead and that we can be restored to health and well -being and enjoyment of friends and family. Hopefully, we will do so having learned the lessons of this time of lockdown. We have seen with our own eyes how interconnected we are as human beings, how we are all affected by viruses that cannot be contained within nations, cultures or religions, how dependent we are on each other and on those who serve the needs of our community. May we emerge from this experience with a renewed sense of human fraternity and a renewed commitment to continue the good relations between our two faiths and the work of interreligious dialogue here in Scotland.
For the moment, however, I am happy to send greetings and good wishes to you and the whole Jewish community as you celebrate Pesach, in my own name, in the name of the Scottish Catholic Bishops and indeed the Scottish Catholic community.
+ Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles
President of the Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious Dialogue