Community News

13 APRIL, 2021JEWISH 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:

“The last year has been incredibly hard for everyone. As Scotland recovers and rebuilds from the pandemic, this Jewish Manifesto for Scotland provides future MSPs with a guide to how to support the Scottish Jewish community.

We look forward to engaging and working with the new Scottish Parliament and Government on implementing our manifesto proposals, and we urge all candidates and elected representatives to endorse the principles summarised in the #TenCommitments to help ensure that Scotland continues to be a great place to be Jewish.”

Alan Kay, Chair, Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)

Paul Edlin, President, Glasgow Jewish Representative Council

Marie van der Zyl, President, Board of Deputies of British Jews

Jonathan Goldstein, Chair, Jewish Leadership Council

 
THE 10 COMMITMENTS
 
We ask policy makers to:
 
  1. Promote and enhance community safety, by working closely with minority communities to oppose all forms of prejudice, hatred and discrimination; supporting initiatives that foster resilience; and funding appropriate security measures.

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  2. Combat antisemitism in all its forms, wherever it appears. Adopt, promote and implement the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.

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  3. Promote good relations, understanding and cooperation between all of Scotland’s communities, and support interfaith and inter-communal activities and initiatives that promote working together to achieve community cohesion.

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  4. Support efforts to remember, educate on, and understand the Holocaust, to confront those who seek to deny or downplay it, and to strive to prevent any further genocide.

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  5. Promote initiatives that unite communities; act responsibly when making statements about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; oppose boycotts and support a two-state solution that affirms Israel’s right to peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state.

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  6. Promote respect for religious observance, including Kosher and Halal meat, religious clothing, circumcision, and flexible working to accommodate Shabbat and holy day observance.

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  7. Ensure that all public services are fully equipped to provide appropriate support for people of different backgrounds, including the provision of religiously and culturally specific services, protect schools of religious character or ethos, and support heritage and cultural institutions.

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  8. Recognise that not all communities equate to geographical neighbourhoods, and that localism can therefore discriminate against minority communities; and promote measures that foster support for communities through a combination of national and local networks and initiatives.

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  9. Assist young people to appreciate the diversity of Scottish society through accurate, accessible, and age-appropriate materials about diverse faiths and cultures and to enable them to express their identity in their own terms and to understand and report discrimination.

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  10. Support and include faith communities in relation to welcoming refugees, addressing poverty and other social ills, tackling climate change and ensuring a strong legacy following the Glasgow-hosted COP26.

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21 MARCH, 2021

Pesach Greetings have been sent by the Scottish Catholic community:

Dear Friends                                                                                                     

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.

Yours sincerely

+ Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles

President of the Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious Dialogue

SCOTLAND’S JEWISH GATHERING – OCTOBER 26 – 28

Edinburgh Synagogue, 4a Salisbury Road, Edinburgh EH10 – 5AB

A chance for Jews from across Scotland to come together, fress, socialise, learn, make music and have fun.

For the first time, all Jewish Communities and individuals from around Scotland, from Arran to Edinburgh, from Glasgow to Inverness, are invited to share their experiences and challenges during this exciting and fun weekend
 in late October. There will be lots music and singing, and opportunities to connect. There will be distinguished speakers, workshops and fantastic food.

Presenters include Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, Board of Deputies Vice President Edwin Shuker, Marion Carlton of Calderwood Lodge Jewish Primary, and Jewish Educator Lindsay Simmonds. 
Pianist Phil Alexander of Moshe's Bagel and Salsa Celtica, will be organising a jam session for all those from throughout Scotland who enjoy making music.

Workshops will include Social Action, Woman's Aid, and Mental Health themes, how do we make shul services more interesting, and how do communal leaders see the future.
 here will be a Q&A session with a panel of diverse community chairs and lots more.

Booking Information:

Advance booking required - book on EventBrite at www.tinyurl.com/gatheringsj

Full Programme at:   tinyurl.com/sjgonlineprogramme

Students and under 17s: FREE;
Standard: £50

 

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.

Kind regards,

Kezia

22 JANUARY, 2017 – FIRST MINISTER AT GIFFNOCK SYNAGOGUE BURNS SUPPER

GJRC Co-President Nicola Livingston with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

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

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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.

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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.

travelling-chassidim

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.

challah-bake-demo

SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER, 2016

Glasgow screening flyer

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.

Contact: www.jnetics.org

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.

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