GJRC News Archive – including COP26


Sunday, 28 November, 2021

The President, Board Members and Staff wish everyone in the Glasgow Jewish Community a Very Happy Chanukah.


Sunday, 28 November, 2021

Today marks the start of Chanukah – the Jewish Festival of Light.

Over the next eight days, people around the world will be celebrating, by exchanging gifts, sharing food and playing traditional games. And in doing so, you will commemorate an ancient story of resilience, recovery, and light in the darkness. For all of us, these themes perhaps have additional poignancy this year.

Throughout the pandemic, I know that Scotland’s Jewish communities, like other faith communities, have faced particular challenges. And I am so hugely grateful for the sacrifices you have made. Your efforts have been vital, in helping us reach a point of much greater normality where our recovery can begin. And while, of course, there are still restrictions we need to follow, it does seem that, after a period of darkness, we’re now moving further into the light.

So I want to thank Scotland’s Jewish communities for everything you’ve done to help our country through the pandemic.

And as you mark this holy festival, I want to wish you all a very happy and a very peaceful Chanukah.

Chanukah Sameach!


Sunday, 14 November, 2021

Rep Council’s Barry Berlow-Jackson, Paul Edlin, Susan Siegel, Sharon Mail and Evy Yedd

The annual Association of Jewish Servicemen and Women March and Wreath-Laying Ceremony took place in Newton Mearns on Sunday. The AJEX contingent, including members of the 5th Giffnock Guides and Brownies,marched with members of the British Legion and High School pupils. Wreaths were laid by AJEX Brigade Commander Monty Cowen and Rep Council president Paul Edlin.

Afterwards, there was a memorial service in Newton Mearns Synagogue, at which special guests East Renfrewshire Provost Jim Fletcher, Kirsten Oswald MP and Renfrewshire Deputy Lieutenant Alexander Stoddard were present.


Tuesday, 10 November, 2021


Friday, 29 October, 2021


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is COP-26-Leaflet-scan-2-1024x724.jpg

Tuesday, 26 October, 2021

Our COP26 Guide providing Jewish religious and cultural advice for delegates and others visiting Glasgow from around the world for the Conference has been printed and circulated. Welcome to Glasgow!


Sunday 31st October

  • 2:00pm – 3:00pm COP26 Vigil on George Square by Interfaith Glasgow and Interfaith Scotland. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/y383exdy
  • 4:30pm Talanoa event at Garnethill Synagogue
  • 8pm – The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development/London School of Jewish Studies – interfaith webinar. Online.

Monday 1st November

  • 10:00am – Jewish Delegates’ Bagel Brunch: An informal kosher and vegan brunch at Garnethill Synagogue, Glasgow, to bring together Jewish delegates from around the world. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/2yreb7hf
  • 1:30pm – Commonwealth Jewish Council interfaith panel, at Green Zone at COP26 Glasgow. 

Tuesday 2nd November

  • All day – Eco Synagogue and Board of Deputies of British Jews stand C7 at Green Zone at COP26, Glasgow. All are welcome to come and say hello. 

Friday 5th November

  • Eco Shabbat – Activities at synagogues in Glasgow, and throughout the UK. Contact [email protected] for national details, or Susan Siegel for details of synagogues participating in Glasgow

Saturday 6th November

  • Eco Shabbat – Activities at synagogues in Glasgow, and throughout the UK. Contact [email protected] for national details, or Susan Siegel for details of synagogues participating in Glasgow

Sunday 7th November

  • Evening – Interfaith event about education/tolerance – Giffnock Synagogue, Glasgow (Southside). Contact Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, details here.

Monday 8th November

  • 7:00pm – 8:15pm: EcoSynagogue and Board of Deputies of British Jews interfaith webinar. Online, details TBC.



Wednesday, 20 October, 2021

Chief Rabbi Mirvis

There is excitement in the community with the news that Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is, at his request, to address the Glasgow Jewish Community whilst here for the COP26 Conference. The meeting, which will be one of the first major live events in the community since before the Covid19 outbreak, is being hosted by Giffnock Newton Mearns Hebrew Congregation on Monday, 1 November, in Giffnock Shul.

Those attending are asked to be at the Shul before 8pm for a Ma’ariv service which will be followed by the Chief Rabbi speaking.  There will be the opportunity for questions afterwards. Doors will be open at 7.30pm and close at 8pm and everyone is asked to arrive early to take their seats. The event is free, but pre-booking is required for security reasons. Booking can be made by emailing [email protected] or [email protected] or phoning 0141 577 8250 or 0141 639 4000.

Glasgow Multi-Faith Declaration for Cop26

Monday, 20 September, 2021

Rabbi Moshe Rubin

Many faiths have come together to sign a declaration committing to an obligation to be responsible in caring for the Earth. It comes in advance of the COP26 Conference being held in Glasgow in November.

Among the UK signatories are leaders and representatives of United, Reform, Liberal and Masorti Judaism and the Sephardi Community UK. In Scotland, the Declaration has been signed by Scotland’s Senior Rabbi of Scotland Rabbi Moshe Rubin and Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation Minister Rabbi David Rose.

“Our faith communities are united in caring for human life and the natural world. We share a belief in a hopeful future, as well as an obligation to be responsible in caring for our common home, the Earth.

We recognise the opportunities that COP26 brings in addressing the urgent need for action in limiting the effects of climate change and the critical importance of decisions made in this conference to take forward the agreement made in Paris in 2015.

People have exploited the planet, causing climate change. We recognise that the burden of loss and damage falls most heavily on people living in poverty, especially women and children.

We acknowledge the commitments made through the Lambeth Declaration in 2015. Now, because of the gravity of our situation, the impact of climate change around the world, and the inequality of its effects we seek to strengthen those commitments.

We commit to respond to this challenge by:

  • Reflecting deeply in prayer, meditation and worship to discern how to care for the earth and each other, and to encourage our respective communities to do the same.
  • Making transformational change in our own lives and in the lives of our communities through individual and collective action.
  • Being advocates for justice by calling on governments, businesses and others who exercise power and influence to put into effect the Paris agreement; to make the transition to a just and green economy a priority; and to commit to science-based targets that are aligned with a healthy, resilient, zero-emissions future.

We remind governments of their commitments made in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and of Article 17 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights to protect the environment, the biosphere and biodiversity. We call upon them to take the urgent action needed to avert the loss, damage, and forced migration threatened by climate change.

We look to governments to work together and with others to create a positive vision for 2050 where addressing climate change is not just an opportunity to stop burning fossil fuels, but also: to achieve cleaner air and water; to reduce food wastage; to ensure a just and equitable sharing of the earth’s resources; and to protect the habitats we share with all other life on whose health we also depend.

Across our doctrinal and political differences, we know that we must change our ways to ensure a quality of life which all can share, and we need to provide hope for people of all ages, everywhere, including future generations. To offer hope in the world we need to have confidence that those in power understand the vital role they have to play at the Glasgow COP26.

Our collective energy and prayers will be with those working for a successful outcome.”

Signed by:

UK Senior Faith Leaders   Archbishop Angaelos, Archbishop of London, The Coptic Orthodox Church   The Rt Revd John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, and lead Bishop for the Environment, Catholic Church in England and Wales   Imam Qari Muhammad Asim, Chair, Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board   Malcolm M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (Inc)   Revd Clare Downing and Mr Peter Pay, Moderators of General Assembly, United Reformed Church   Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi, S&P Sephardi Community, UK   Revd. Lynn Green, General Secretary, The Baptist Union of Great Britain   Rev Sonia Hicks, President of the Methodist Church and Barbara Easton, Vice-President of the Methodist Church   Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Former Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism   Rt Rev Andy John, Bishop of Bangor and Senior Bishop in the Church in Wales   Rabbi David Mason, representing Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis   Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra (Imam), Christian – Muslim ForumScottish Religious Leaders & Representatives   The Rt Hon Lord Jim Wallace of Tankerness, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland   Elizabeth Allen, Clerk, General Meeting for Scotland, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)   Imam Sohail Ashfaque, Blackhall Mosque   Lt-Col Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army   Revd David Coleman, Minister of the United Reformed Church and Chaplain to Eco- Congregation Scotland   Allan Forsyth and Isadora Quay, on behalf of the Baha’i Community of Scotland   Rev Bonnie Evans Hills, convener Scottish Episcopal Church Interfaith Relations Committee   Madhu Jain, Hindu Mandir Scotland   Revd Dr Martin Johnstone, Glasgow Churches Together COP26 Ambassador   Ani Lhamo, Kagyu Samye Ling Buddhist Centre   Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious dialogue   Rev Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland   Acharya Ji Mishra, Priest of Hindu Mandir Scotland   Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, Advisor Sikhs in Scotland
Mr. Patrick O’Mara, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United Kingdom   Mrs Trupti Patel, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain   Juliet Prager, Deputy Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain   Imam Sayed Razawi, Chief Imam, Director General of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society   Rabbi Danny Rich, former Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism in the United Kingdom   The Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Head Priest of the London Buddhist Vihara   Dr Natubhai Shah, Senior leader, Jain Community UK   The Rt. Hon Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon, Director Network of Sikh Organisations (UK)   Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of City Sikhs   Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia OBE KSG, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha   Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich and lead Bishop on the Environment, Church of England   Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism UKImam Hassan Rabbani, Imam of Zia-Ul-Quran Mosque, Chair of Scottish Muslim Forum   Lama Yeshe Choje Losal Rinpoche Abbot of Kagyu Samye Ling Buddhist Centre   Rabbi David Rose Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation   Rabbi Moshe Rubin, Giffnock and Newlands Hebrew Congregation, Senior Rabbi of Scotland Shaykh Sohaib Saeed, Al-Furqan Mosque The Revd Mark Slaney Chair Methodist Church Scotland   Sr. Isabel Smyth Sisters of Notre Dame & Secretary to the Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Inter-religious Dialogue   Most Rev Mark Strange Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church   Linsay Taylor, Muslim Council of Scotland and Chair of Interfaith Scotland   Dr Srihari Vallabhajousula, Honorary Priest, Hindu Temple of Scotland, Rutherglen, Glasgow   Ameed Versace, Climate Officer, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society   Revd Paul Whittle, Moderator of The United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland   Rev. George Whyte, Principal Clerk to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland


Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Vicci and Sammy Stein

The Glasgow Jewish community’s amazing efforts to help Afghan refugees have been praised in the Scottish Parliament.

Jewish couple Vicci and Sammy Stein have been singled out for their fantastic leadership of the campaign, headed by Rep Council, while the generosity of Calderwood Lodge pupils and parents has also been recognized.

Eastwood Conservative MSP, Jackson Carlaw, has secured support from the SNP and the Scottish Green Party for a Holyrood Motion he tabled to salute the “Incredible Interfaith Community Efforts to Support Afghan Refugees Arriving in Scotland.”

Jackson Carlaw MSP

 The Motion continues: “That the Parliament commends the fantastic interfaith efforts in the Greater Glasgow area for securing thousands of donations to support the men, women and children who are arriving in Scotland from Afghanistan;

“Notes that the initiative, led by Sammy and Vicci Stein, has resulted in huge amounts of items such as baby products, toys, clothes and household goods being donated;

“Welcomes that the appeal from the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council developed into an interfaith campaign, with members of the Muslim community playing a pivotal role in securing additional facilities to help store the large amounts of items that have been donated; 

“Understands that within just a number of days, almost every available storage space at the Maccabi Centre, Jewish Care Scotland and Cosgrove Care buildings, at May Terrace, in Giffnock, were filled with donations;

“Acknowledges that the two schools belonging to the world’s first Jewish-Catholic joint campus of Calderwood Lodge and St Clare’s primaries, in Newton Mearns, made a vital contribution to the appeal through the provision of toiletries and women’s sanitary products.”

See full motion and signatories here.

The signatories recognise “the opportunities that COP26 brings in addressing the urgent need for action in limiting the effects of climate change and the critical importance of decisions made in this conference to take forward the agreement made in Paris in 2015.”

View full Declaration and signatories here.


Friday, 10 September, 2021


Thursday, 9 September, 2021https:www.jewishglasgow.org/cop26/#glasgowmultiVideo Player00:0000:45



Friday, 3 September, 2021

Kirsten Oswald , Rabbi Aharon Lemberger and Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader in the House of Commons, and local MP Kirsten Oswald visited Giffnock Shul this week and met with Paul Edlin and Ephraim Borowski.

They discussed the situation in the Middle East and the rise of antisemitism in Scotland.

Rep Council President Paul Edlin also stated that he hopes to forge a stronger relationship between the Glasgow Jewish community and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski told the politicians the rise of antisemitism is a major concern for Jewish people throughout the country.

Mr Blackford confirmed that the SNP is committed to helping find a sustainable peace in the Middle East on the basis of a two-state solution.

Kirsten Oswald said she believes progress is being made with regards to the graffiti incident in a local school and pledged to help improve dialogue in the community.

Earlier Rabbi Lemberger gave the visitors a guided tour of the shul and Philip Mendelsohn, SCoJeC’s Honorary Treasurer provided a fascinating insight into the Queen’s Park Windows.

Both Ian Blackford and Kirsten Oswald said they were pleased to be invited and thought the discussions were constructive and wide-ranging.

Full story here.


Thursday, 2 September, 2021



Wednesday, 1 September, 2021

GJRC President Paul Edlin

As Rosh Hashanah and the High Holy days approach the Rep Council are busy working for the Glasgow Jewish Community.

In November the COP26 environment conference will be held in Glasgow and we have planned various events for the community during this international event.

Covid 19 has presented unprecedented challenges and bereavements in the past year but these have brought the community together as never before.

Harmonious community relationships with other faith groups are most important and we continue to work on these following antisemitic incidents at a few schools in June.

In addition, we have held Zoom discussions with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Tory Leader Douglas Ross recently and just last week we welcomed the SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, to Giffnock Shul, along with local MP, Kirsten Oswald.

Let’s hope the year ahead will be easier for Glasgow’s Jewish Community and we wish you and your families a happy and healthy new year. Shana Tovah.


Monday, 23 August, 2021

Jewish Care Scotland wants everyone to have the chance to observe important times in the Jewish Year. That’s why they are pleased to be able to offer Rosh Hashanah grants for anyone struggling to meet additional costs associated with this time.

This is a one-off grant of £40 for individuals or £60 for households with limited income, designed to help anyone struggling with the cost of food or other activities associated with Rosh Hashanah.

If you would like more information or are interested in applying for a Rosh Hashanah grant, contact JCS on 0141 620 1800 or email [email protected], and ask for the Community and Wellbeing Team. Any support offered will be dependent on individual circumstances and applicants may be asked to provide supporting documentation.


Friday, 20 August, 2021

Douglas Ross MSP

Rep Council President Paul Edlin met with Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross and Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw CBE last week.

The Zoom event was also attended by Rep Council Vice-President Howard Singerman, Secretary Micheline Brannan and Colin Grant, the Rep Council’s Public Affairs Consultant.

Much of the discussions centred on the recent rise of antisemitism in Scotland and incidents at two secondary schools, sparked off by the war between Israel and Gaza.

Paul Edlin asked the MSPs to help in encouraging Muslims leaders to engage with the Jewish community and stressed that Scottish Jews have nothing but goodwill and the desire to live and work together as good neighbours and fellow citizens with their Muslim counterparts.

Douglas Ross promised he and his colleagues will do all they can to ensure that the Scottish Government acts whenever similar incidents arise in the future.

Jackson Carlaw MSP

Jackson Carlaw confirmed he would be seeking to continue to convene the Cross-Party Group on Building Bridges with Israel at Holyrood, which he founded in the last parliament, and expected representation from both the SNP and Scottish Labour.

The Cross-Party Group’s first meeting of the current Session will take place in September and it is hoped that the new Deputy Ambassador for Israel will attend by Zoom.

Full story here


Thursday, 12 August, 2021

Paul Edlin, President of the Rep Council, met with Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, last week. He was accompanied by Nicola Livingston and Ephraim Borowski, Chair and Director respectively of SCoJeC, and the Rep Council’s public affairs consultant, Colin Grant.

The discussions covered a wide range of issues of importance to the Jewish community in Glasgow and throughout Scotland. High on the agenda was a proposed meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Israel’s new ambassador.

Other topics included a possible public meeting with members of the Jewish community in Glasgow later this year; concerns about the SNP Government’s potential coalition with the Green Party; the recent spike in antisemitic attacks, including those on Jewish students and anti-Israel graffiti at a secondary school.

The First Minister said: “I would like to reassure our Jewish communities that antisemitism will not be tolerated in Scotland and we remain committed to tackling it. It unequivocally remains the case that matters abroad do not, and cannot, justify antisemitism or expressions of racial or religious hatred of any form.”

Full report here.



Monday, 9 August, 2021

GJRC COP26 project coordinator Susan Siegel gave an extensive report on community plans for the international summit.

Dr Susan Siegel

The meeting was attended by Board members, Scotland’s senior rabbi Rabbi Moshe Rubin, UJIA Scotland Educator Sydney Switzer and Jewish Student Chaplain Scotland Rabbi Aharon Lemberger.

Among events planned are an Eco Shabbat on 5&6 November; a major Interfaith Dialogue event run by GJRC on Tuesday 2 November; youth Eco events; a plan, with Interfaith Scotland to provide refreshments and facilities for police officers on duty from throughout the UK for COP26.

A leaflet detailing synagogues, kosher facilities and other information is being prepared for out of town Jewish delegates to the conference.

The President, Paul Edlin expressed his thanks to Susan Siegel and everyone involved in all the hard work taking place in planning the various activities.


Thursday, 5 August, 2021

From left, Philip Braat, Timothy Lovat and Paul Edlin

Paul Edlin, the GJRC President, along with senior member Timothy Lovat, met with Philip Braat, the Lord Provost of Glasgow, last week.

The friendly discussions included the Jewish community’s support for the COP26 summit in Glasgow later this year and the community’s attempts to find ways of improving the environment.

They also looked at ways of developing interfaith relationships between all faith groups and a pledge from Paul Edlin to put the Jewish community at the forefront of these efforts.

Provost Braat praised the longstanding contributions made to the city by its Jewish population and offered his support for the Representative Council’s interfaith endeavours.


Tuesday, 3 August, 2021

Public Affairs Consultant Colin Grant

At our latest Monthly Board Meeting, the President Paul Edlin welcomed new Public Affairs Consultant Colin Grant to the meeting.

A report was given by Susan Siegel on a series of exciting COP26 initiatives being planned.

Linda Wolfson reported on the draft plan for consulting widely with Jews throughout the West of Scotland.

The consultation will be on how to ensure that diversity and inclusion across the Jewish community are reflected in the organisation, composition and activities of GJRC; and the Representative Council’s role within the future West of Scotland Jewish Community and associated communal infrastructure.


23 May, 2021

Full report here.


Thursday, 22 April, 2021

The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council held a Hustings Meeting  last night for the forthcoming election for the Scottish Parliament. Full report here.

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