A few days after Yom HaAztma’ut, SCoJeC hosted a Scotland-wide event for Israelis living in Scotland, when more than 40 people, including children and partners, came together to celebrate their culture and mark Israel’s 65th Independence Day. In an echo of the Being Jewish in Scotland project, during which many people told us they had thought they were the only Jewish person within 50 miles, many had thought they already knew all the other Israelis living in their area, and were surprised and delighted to meet ‘new’ people. “I never knew there were so many Israelis living in Scotland,” said one participant. “Where was I all these years?!”
There were a few minor hitches, such as a locked kitchen door, but one participant saved the day by climbing through the service hatch to reach to pass out the mountains of traditional Israeli food, such as falafel, hummus, tahini, burekas, and salad, that had been prepared.
A variety of activities were on offer from rikudei-am (Israeli folk-dancing) to the ‘Great Israeli Trivia Quiz’, and showing of the film Mivtza Savta, as well as a special children’s programme so that parents could relax and enjoy the event, while their children painted and made masks.
SCoJeC intern Shani Zour led a discussion about SCoJeC’s new project, working with Israelis living in Scotland. Participants were particularly keen to know how many Israelis are in Scotland and in their local community, and there was widespread support for reducing isolation by providing opportunities for Israelis from throughout Scotland to meet at Hebrew-language events, and for mutual support.