SCoJeC outreach worker Fiona Frank has been in Shetland to accompany photographer Judah Passow on his Creative Scotland funded project to make a photographic record of Jewish life in Scotland.
We had previously been in touch with Roy Greenwald, the last surviving member of Shetland’s oldest Jewish family. Roy, a tour guide, took our group around Lerwick and then on an excursion around Shetland mainland, showing us the wild coastline and talking to us about little-known aspects of his island’s history. An accordionist and keen dancer, he also invited us to some music and dance events during the week.
Holocaust Memorial Day, during our visit, was marked by a poignant ceremony outside Lerwick Town Hall, organised by Shetland Interfaith Association. Children from Bell’s Brae Primary School gave a presentation about the Holocaust and why it must never be allowed happen again.
We also visited Hilary Franklin, who lives with her son Daniel on the island of Yell, north of Shetland mainland, making them (we think) Britain’s most northerly Jewish family. We're grateful to her for the beautiful challot that she baked for our Friday night dinner in Lerwick, where Roy was able to use the Shabbat candlesticks his mother had brought from Glasgow many years ago.
The final day of our trip was the opening of an exhibition of the art of Glasgow Jewish artist Hannah Frank with a film about the artist made by Sarah Thomas, who also attended, and a kosher buffet sponsored by SCoJeC. We had expected to meet one more Jewish Shetlander at the event, but were delighted when two other islanders came over to tell us about their Jewish heritage.
We’re certainly proving that the census is right – that there are Jewish people in every part of Scotland!