In direct response to the unprecedented surge of antisemitic incidents during the summer of 2014, which came as an unwelcome shock, not only to the Jewish Community, but to civil society at large, the Scottish Government Community Safety Unit agreed to fund a short-term study of how this has affected the Community.
The original Being Jewish in Scotland inquiry in 2012-13 was a small-scale study carried out by SCoJeC, with funding from the Scottish Government, to find out more about the variety of experience of Jewish people in Scotland, and encourage them to identify the issues that are important to them. It helped us to build a better understanding of what affected the sense of security of Jewish individuals and communities, and thereby to establish what matters to the community, and so improve our support for Jewish people in Scotland.
The current study, What's Changed about Being Jewish in Scotland? has provided an opportunity for a substantial number of Jewish people from throughout Scotland to tell us whether their experiences have changed during the last couple of years, and to address some very real concerns about security and about their relationships with the wider community.
We have gathered data through a combination of online and paper surveys, focus groups,
and informal discussions at events in locations throughout Scotland. We know from our experience of running the initial inquiry, that when we hold events to discuss the experience of being Jewish, especially outside the larger Jewish communities in the central belt, these events and activities themselves serve to provide support and reassurance, and build a sense of community and engagement. Both inquiries have, therefore, helped us to strengthen networks and social capital in the Jewish community and provide support to Jewish people, as well as assisting statutory and voluntary organisations and agencies such as the Scottish Government, Local Councils, NHS, and the police, to support and respond more effectively to the needs and concerns of the community.