Jim Murphy, Secretary of State for Scotland, met the leaders of communal organisations today at Garnethill Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in Scotland. The meeting was arranged by SCoJeC, and the participants included representatives of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee synagogues, welfare and educational organisations, Jewish students and chaplaincy.
The synagogue, in the West End of Glasgow, was fully restored with Lottery funding in time for its 125th anniversary in 2004, and now also houses the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.
Mr Murphy was welcomed to the building by Gerald Levin, Chair of the synagogue, and was then given a tour of the major new Lottery-funded exhibition "A New Life in Scotland" by the Centre's Director, Harvey Kaplan.
Unsurprisingly, many of the questions to the Secretary of State were concerned with the unprecedented level of antisemitic activity during the Israeli action in Gaza. Mr Murphy reassured the meeting of his long-standing support for the community, and undertook to raise with UK Ministers what help they might be able to provide. He also spoke of initiatives he has undertaken to promote good community relations and oppose extremism.
Other matters raised included Charity funding and regulation, funding for educational projects to break down barriers and increase understanding, and the effects of the recession on Scotland.
Click here to read the Jewish Telegraph report of the meeting