Community News


21 January, 2022

Places of worship should be places of peace and sanctuary. The Scottish Government stands in solidarity with all those affected by the distressing events at the synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, and faith and belief communities everywhere.

This abhorrent terrorist incident must not be allowed to divide communities, or affect the positive inter faith relationships which contribute to the great strength Scotland derives from its diversity.

 Shona Robison

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government

Following the events at a synagogue in Texas, last Saturday and the arrests in England, I want to reassure Scottish communities that at this time there is no known threat in Scotland or any link between Scotland and this incident.

 Police Scotland is committed to keeping people safe, and whilst we understand that people may feel vulnerable as a result of this incident, I would urge everyone to continue to work together and ensure no person or group in Scotland feels marginalised or isolated.

 I would encourage you to inform Police Scotland of any increased tensions or other community concerns you become aware of. Please contact the Police either by calling 101, or dial 999 for emergencies, or by contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 You can also report hate crime using our online hate crime reporting form on the Police Scotland website or via one of our Third Party Reporting Centres.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie Police Scotland

The hostage incident by a British terrorist at Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, is a stark reminder as to why CST does its job. We work to ensure that the people inside every Jewish school, shul and other Jewish communal buildings are properly protected. We fund security equipment; we arrange guarding and we ensure that security procedures are in place and up-to-date, taking learning points from every incident globally. We work closely across government and police to ensure that our community’s needs are met.

It is also a reminder that such attacks can occur anywhere in our diverse communities. So, please take note of this attack and continue your support, co-operate with our people when they are performing their duties, implement security procedures, and do not hesitate to contact us if you are aware of any suspicious incidents.  

Mark Gardner Chief Executive Community Security Trust


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

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

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