20 May, 2021 – Letter to community members from President
Dear Community Member,
We are in the midst of very worrying, unsettling times, as Israel is again being bombarded with rockets, and experiencing civil unrest. This has resulted in an increase in verbal and written attacks on Israel in the media with ramifications on the Jewish Community.
We want to assure the community that the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council (GJRC) has been very active on your behalf and will continue to be so. Here are some of the actions we have taken so far:
Early last Tuesday morning, we were made aware of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s unacceptable, totally unbalanced statement on the situation in Israel and Gaza, in which she laid blame solely on Israel. Aware of the distress and anger this would cause to the community, I called for a joint meeting with the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities to consider sending a letter to the First Minister.
The following day, 12 May, I chaired a joint meeting of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council and SCoJeC with an additional Glasgow communal representative.
It was agreed that a letter would be sent to the First Minister. The next morning I spoke with the Jewish Telegraph and the letter was sent to the First Minister.
On Thursday 14 May I spoke to the President of the Board of Deputies (BOD), and their Public Affairs officer. The BOD President said she would be issuing a statement in response to what the First Minister had said, and that the BOD would send a copy of our letter to their senior contact in the FM’s office.
GJRC is arranging meetings with the Leaders and Provosts of Glasgow District Council and East Renfrewshire Council to discuss the situation and concerns of the community.
We are reaching out to the Muslim Community and we are pressing for meetings soon to try to ensure that the excellent community interfaith relations we are building in Glasgow are not damaged by this crisis in Israel.
I spoke on the phone to the East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald (SNP) to express our concerns, which she said she would see pass on and she was supportive in our wish to ensure that our community is not in any way damaged by the situation in Israel.
I have spoken to Rabbi Rubin and he will contact Muslim and other religious clergy, to have prayers for all people affected in Israel and the Palestinian territories said at all places of worship as soon as possible.
Today we became aware of anti-Israel graffiti and the posting of inappropriate pro-Palestine posters in Mearns Castle High School. I have written today to the Head Teacher, expressing our concern over this and the upsetting effect it is having on Jewish pupils in the school and on the wider community. We have requested a meeting with him next week.
We have been in touch with the police and community buildings including synagogues and Calderwood Lodge School will be getting increased police support.
This is an ongoing situation and we will continue working to keep our Glasgow Jewish Community secure and safe.
If you have concerns or want to ask questions, please phone our office on 0141 577 8200.
With All Best Wishes-Stay Safe,
Monday, 22 April, 2021
Glasgow Jewish Representative Council hosted a Scottish Parliament Hustings meeting last night to give members of the community the chance to hear the views of the candidates of the main political parties for the Eastwood constituency.
There was a large turnout for Jackson Carlaw (Conservative), Tahir Jameel (Liberal Democrat), Colm Merrick (SNP) and Katie Pragnell (Labour), as they answered questions sent in by community members and contextualised. The event was chaired by Glasgow Jewish Representative Council President Paul Edlin.
During the hustings all the candidates stated that they supported the Scottish Jewish Manifesto which had been jointly prepared by the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies and all principally stated that they endorsed the ten commitments which were listed in that manifesto.
Topics covered were:
The handling of the COVID pandemic and how the country can move forward; independence and devolution; NHS recovery and increased funding for mental health support; the recent Hate Crime Bill and how candidates would stand up against antisemitism and other forms of hatred; how candidates would further enhance the relationship between Scotland and Israel; how they would preserve and promote Holocaust remembrance and education in Scotland; how willing they would be to break from party lines if their beliefs were challenged; how their parties are going to fund the commitments they have made.
The vote of thanks was given by Glasgow Jewish Representative Council board member Sharon Schlesinger. Assistance in organising the event was given by Jewish Leadership Council Scottish Regional Manager Danielle Bett.
You can view the whole event here.
Tuesday, 16 April, 2019
Pesach Greeting from Archbishop Mario Conte:
Once again I have the privilege and pleasure of passing on to you the greetings and good wishes of the Catholic Church in Scotland as you celebrate the Festival of Pesach, remembering as you do the saving work of God and God’s desire for the liberation of all people. We Christians feel a special bond with you at this time, rejoicing in our shared heritage and faith in the saving action of God as we journey towards Easter.
As I write our nation is torn apart by discord, political turmoil and the rise of anti-Semitism, islamophobia and racism of all kinds. It has led to fear and insecurity in many of our communities. You know so well from history and experience the terrible consequences of discrimination, hate speech and action. It behoves us all to challenge and stand united against such attitudes, to proclaim a common humanity and a shared sense of citizenship. Here in Scotland the work of interfaith gives us an opportunity to do that. It takes a certain amount of courage to sustain this work, especially if the results are not always obvious but I am constantly reminded of the words of Pope Francis when he reminds us that the very meetings between us are a message in themselves. They are a witness to a relationship based not on suspicion but on mutual respect and acceptance of difference.
As we celebrate our foundational festivals I pray that we may continue to promote love, unity and friendship between our two faiths and between people of all faiths and none, appreciating in each other the image of God in whose likeness we and they have all be formed.
Once again I assure you of the thoughts and prayers of the Scottish Bishops, our Committee for Inter Religious Dialogue and the whole Catholic community for the whole Jewish community in Scotland this Pesach.
Yours very sincerely,
+Mario Conti, Archbishop Emeritus of Glasgow,
Chair of the Committee for Inter Religious Dialogue.
Friday, 15 March, 2019
There will be a Vigil in Glasgow for the victims of the New Zealand Mosque terror attacks. It is taking place at 5pm by the steps of the Buchanan Galleries.
Police Scotland have sent a message of reassurance to minority communities.
NATIONAL HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY SCOTLAND – 28 January, 2019
This year’s National Holocaust Memorial Day Scotland was hosted jointly by East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire Councils and focused on this year’s HMD theme Torn from Home.
Among those taking part were Martin Stern, who was marched from his school in Amsterdam by Nazis when he was only five, because his father was a German Jew.
The story of Yazidi woman Farida Khalaf, who was taken by ISIS, forced to convert to Islam, raped, beaten and sold to different men, was told and a poignant poem Children of Survivors was recited by sister ten-year-old Lainey and six-year old Carmella Rubayiza to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.
Scotland’s senior Rabbi Moshe Rubin recited Av Harachamim, a prayer introduced after the destruction of communities at the time of the crusades and said on Shabbat in memory of all those killed through anti-Semitism.
The Glasgow Jewish Community was represented by GJRC Co-President Nicola Livingston.
PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE ATTACK – 27 October, 2018
Joint Statement from the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and the Jewish Leadership Council – 29 October, 2018
This weekend, Jewish people from all over Scotland came together in “Scotland’s Jewish Gathering” to celebrate our unity and identity as Scottish Jews. The optimistic, positive mood of this unique Gathering was shattered by the appalling news of the horrific attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, made all the more abhorrent by the hate-filled rhetoric of the killer as he attacked people at prayer.
Participants in the Gathering recited psalms and prayers for the victims, and we were heartened by the messages of solidarity we received from across Scotland. We welcome the reassurance of the police that there is no information suggesting an imminent threat to the Jewish community in Scotland.
Our keynote speaker, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, spoke movingly of solidarity between Muslim, Jewish, and other minority communities and the need to stand together against such hatred, saying “In Scotland we will continue to work together to tackle prejudice and build the society we want to be, where each person, every family, and all communities can flourish.”
We in Scotland stand together with other Jewish people worldwide in sending our thoughts and prayers to those affected by this horrific attack and the terrible loss of life. May the injured be speedily healed, the bereaved be comforted, and memory of those who perished be a blessing.
Message from the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council – 28 October, 2018
As Shabbat in the UK drew to a close today, the horrendous news filtered in of the devastating attack on the congregation during services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh USA.
On behalf of the Jewish community in Glasgow and the West of Scotland our thoughts are with the families of those who were murdered whilst they came together and welcomed a new baby to the community. We send prayers for a speedy recovery to those who are injured, including the police officers who were wounded whilst trying to ensure the safety of others.
A hate crime against any Jewish person is an attack on the Jewish community and is felt around the world. Whilst we hug our loved ones a little tighter tonight, both actually and virtually, let us come together in strength and determination to show the world that hatred can never define who we are or how we live our lives.
FRIDAY, 31 AUGUST, 2018 – NEW YEAR MESSAGES FROM OUR CO-PRESIDENTS
It is very worrying times for Jews in the UK as we approach a new year 5779. We can no longer give Jeremy Corbyn benefit of doubt as it is crystal clear that not only does he have an intense dislike of Israel, he also does not like Jews. When you listen to his speeches throughout the years he never acknowledges the violence Israel faces, I find this very disturbing.
I am very fortunate that I have a father who was a past President of Glasgow Jewish Representative Council and understands fully the enormity of responsibility on one’s shoulders and when I seek his council and advice he always tells me that it was never any different for Jewish people, always anti-Semites out to discredit us with misinformation and lack of information, he reminds me to stay strong and calm, never lose faith and continue to do all in your power to counter the misinformation on Israel and our people that pollutes British Society. His words give me strength and resolve always, words of wisdom from a special brave man, born in 1922 and having seen so much happening to his people, K lal Yisroel.
The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council continues to work reaching out to the wider Scottish community and politicians, our work greatly enhanced by Danielle Bett, funded by the Jewish Leadership Council UK but directed here in Scotland jointly by GJRC and SCoJeC, working very closely and in harmony. Our two organisations have joined with Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation to create a Scottish Jewish Gathering Shabbaton weekend, 26th – 28th October in Edinburgh an exciting weekend for all – a national get together for Scottish Jews from all strands for a weekend of social, cultural and educational events, hosted by Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation. There will be a jamming session of Jewish musicians, a guided walk through Edinburgh, panel discussions, fabulous food, workshops and speakers.
Orli Schechter our Operations Director recently left the Council to take up a new challenge and we thank her for her outstanding performance and achievements over the last 4 years. We all wish Orli success in her new position with Giffnock Shul. Our sincere thanks to Board member Michael Clerck who guided us through the recruitment process and to Jewish Community Centre co-ordinator Philip Mendelsohn with Daniel Clapham who have been supporting the Co-presidents as our new Operations Director Lorne Jackson and Administrator Rachel Sinclair take on their new roles and running of the Council. Please contact Lorne or Rachel in the office for more information on the Scottish Jewish Gathering weekend, or if you want any other information, they are extremely helpful and gaining knowledge quickly.
Nicola and I are thrilled that new and younger Board members have taken on Executive positions, Raina Morris as Vice President, Barry Berlow-Jackson as Secretary, and Karen Levy as Treasurer.
We wish our Executive, our Board members and the Community a healthy happy year ahead.
I will stay calm and strong and do everything in my power to stand up for our people, just as my father has always advised me.
It is indeed sad and unsettling that not only has there been a rise in anti-Semitism, especially on social media, but that the issues with the Labour Party have been dominating the News in the last few months. Whilst it has enabled a wider debate to take place, it has also pushed many Jewish people into situations where they have been expected to defend their Jewish identity. Indeed anti-Semitism is a significant issue, but it is not the only issue and we must not let it overshadow the positive aspects of Jewish life and our community’s place in civic society.
We have good friends and close allies amongst public figures such as politicians and faith leaders and also our personal friends and colleagues, I believe we must celebrate and treasure these relationships and take strength from them.
It has, as ever, been a busy year and we have been working on a number of projects that will enhance the lives of the Glasgow community. The new Calderwood Lodge joint campus site is now a year old. The pupils, teachers and families have many positive stories and this innovative setting has attracted attention from around the world. Discussions continue with a number of community organisations about the potential for development of a new shared building or repurposing of existing buildings in order to provide more user friendly facilities that are attractive and are no longer such a drain on communal funds. One of our new Trustees has begun looking at ways to promote the community, and its activities, both in order to encourage local people to become more involved, and also to show people from further afield what a wonderful place this is to live and work.
There are many thoughts about the significance of Rosh Hashanah; it is not just a time to our renew relationship with G-d, or with whatever our Judaism means to us, but importantly also with each other. Community doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but is constructed by relationships and Rosh Hashanah isn’t just about being new, it’s about change and how we move forward in a positive way.
As we dip our challah and apple in honey in the hope of a sweet year, let us find new ways to reach out to those who feel they don’t belong, not just inviting them to join us, but looking at ways we can change to make what we offer more welcoming.
With many thanks to the calm and steady support of my co-president, as well as all our Trustees who work hard make sure that the interests of the community are represented in so many different spheres and who provide the checks and balances that enable us to make decisions and speak with a united voice.
Wishing all the community, friends and family across the globe, L’shanah Tovah, a healthy, happy and peaceful year ahead.
WEDNESDAY, 30 MAY, 2018 – GJRC AGM and AWARDS CEREMONY
Our Annual General Meeting was held in the Jewish Care Scotland Walton Community Care Centre, on Wednesday, 30 May.
The meeting was chaired jointly by Co-Presidents Nicola Livingston and Evy Yedd, whose statement can be found here.
A cheque was presented to Positive Action in Housing.
The theme of the AGM was Interfaith and there was a presentation by Interfaith Glasgow chairman, former GJRC President Philip Mendelsohn, Weekend Club Officer Lynnda Wardle and Club volunteer Maureen McEnroe. Philip Mendelsohn spoke about the three main aspects of Interfaith Glasgow – Friendship, Dialogue and Co-operation. The charity had won third place at the Jordanian King Abdullah II World Interfaith Harmony week for the event “Friendship, Dialogue, Cooperation. Lynnda Wardle described the work of the Weekend Club, which provided a lifeline for refugees and asylum seekers who would otherwise be at a loss at the weekends. The Club provided both fun and a little education and gave newcomers to Glasgow the chance to get to know others and make new friends. Volunteer Maureen McEnroe described working at the Club as a heartwarming experience and how the refugees were fully involved in the planning of activities.
Giving an update on Arklet Housing, Board member Philip Mendelsohn announced that Arklet was going to go into partnership with the Hanover Housing Association and the move was expected to go through within 12 – 15 months.
The Yoni Jesner Award was presented to Carter Cohen, who is going on a GAP year to Israel with FZY.
The Adele and Edward Woolfson Youth Awards were presented jointly to 5th Giffnock Girl Guiding Leader Morgan Livingstone, of whom Evy Yedd wrote, ‘she is a young woman who will make a difference to our world in a big way’; and JLGB and Maccabi Summer Scheme Leader Nathan Simpson, who has shown a long-lasting dedication to the Glasgow Jewish community, both as a participant and leader.
It was decided to award certificates to fellow Youth Award nominees Srully Rubin, Daniel Cohen and Alex Hyman.
The Philip Jacobson Award for services to the community was presented to joint winners, Freda Kostick and Claire Miller and to Jeff Vulkan and Ralph Gurevitz. Freda and Claire have been Jewish Care Scotland volunteers since 2000. Freda and Claire’s warm, welcoming personalities bring colour to the Aviv Club clients, many of whom live on their own and attend the Club for friendship and support. Jeff and Ralph have run Glasgow CST for many, many years on a voluntary basis. CST’s Northern Regional Director Amanda Bomsztyk said, ‘over the years they have selflessly given hours and hours of their time to protect the community – time they could have spent with their precious family and friends’.
Elected to office: Co-Presidents, Nicola Livingston and Evy Yedd; Treasurer, Howard Singerman; Immediate Past President, Paul Morron; Trustees, Barry Berlow Jackson, Michael Clerck, Ziv Dotan, Paul Edlin, Daniel Frank, Matat Jablon, Miriam Jackson, Raina Morris, Sammy Stein, Richard Townsend, Linda Wolfson and Michelle Wilson. Hon Solicitor, Howard Beach; Independent Examiner, Lewis Osborne.
Refreshments were sponsored by the Leslie and Alma Wolfson Charitable Trust.
WEDNESDAY, 29 MARCH, 2018 – Letter from Eastwood Labour Party
The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council has today received a letter of support and apology from Eastwood Labour Party with regard to issues of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.
We have responded:
“Thank you for your letter regarding current issues that the Labour Party is
facing in relation to anti-Semitism. Your letter is most welcome and your support and desire to take clear action is hugely appreciated.
We are very keen to meet with you to discuss the issues highlighted and the course of action you are looking to proceed with. We would like to include our colleagues from across Scotland, namely the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC).”
We are in the process of arranging a meeting with Eastwood Labour for next month.
WEDNESDAY, 7 MARCH, 2018
GJRC held a Public/Delegate meeting with Lord Advocate
GJRC’s special guest speaker was The Lord Advocate, The Rt Hon James Wolffe QC at the meeting, held in the Jewish Care Scotland Walton Community Care Centre, Giffnock.
Mr Wolffe spoke of his role as head of the system of prosecutions and deaths across Scotland. He commended the values of fair administration of justice and the rule of law – values he was very proud to uphold in a country committed to upholding them.
The Lord Advocate spoke about Hate Crime and how it was treated as an aggravated crime because of the additional impact it had on its victims and the groups they belonged to.
The Presidents’ Statement was delivered by Co-President Evy Yedd and it included an introduction to
the new Jewish Leadership Council Public Affairs Officer Danielle Bett, who took up her role at the end of February.
Fellow Co-President Nicola Livingston spoke about the decision of the Board of Trustees to revisit the Community Futures Report.
WEDNESDAY, 30 MAY, 2018
GJRC AGM and Awards Ceremony – details to be confirmed.
THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER, 2017 – 7pm
Invest in Peace Event
St Cadoc’s Catholic Church, Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue, and Orchard Hill Parish Church invite you to hear the incredible stories of two bereaved parents who promote reconciliation as an alternative to revenge.
In March 2002, Robi Damelin’s son David was shot by a Palestinian sniper, he was 28 years old. In January 2007, Bassam Aramin’s 10-year-old daughter Abir was shot by an Israeli soldier. As a result of their experiences, Robi and Bassam joined The Parents Circle – Families Forum, which is renowned for its work to promote peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
We will also be joined by Jackson Carlaw, MSP for Eastwood and Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
Hear them speak to an interfaith audience in Glasgow Southside. Location will be emailed to registered attendees a few days before the event. Book here: peaceglasgow.eventbrite.co.uk
WEDNESDAY, 11 OCTOBER, 2017
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 protected] 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 spee