The census shows that there are Jewish people living in all 32 Council areas in Scotland, from the Borders to the Shetlands, and from the Hebrides to Fife. Many of those living outwith the formal communities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow participated in SCoJeC's Scottish Government funded Being Jewish in Scotland and What's Changed about Being Jewish in Scotland projects, raising awareness of the particular issues that arise when there are no Jewish facilities on the doorstep: no synagogue or kosher food shop around the corner, no Jewish youth or welfare organisation down the street, no awareness of Jewish needs from public services, and sometimes even misrepresentation and worse in the education system.
The Jewish Network of Argyll and the Highlands (JNAH) was set up to enable people in these more remote areas to be included in 'Jewish Scotland', facilitating contacts and friendships with others in their own area and beyond, including participation in social events that bring Jewish (and 'Jew-ish') people together whether they are religious or secular, or simply have an interest in Judaism and Jewish culture. Recent events have included musical evenings, book-readings with Jewish authors, craft sessions, Chanukah parties, all with a kosher buffet provided, and the sharing of the sometimes harrowing but always inspirational experiences of 'ordinary' Jewish people.
More recently informal Jewish groups have also been established in Inverness and Dumfries, with events including Chanukah parties, Passover sedarim, klezmer events, and speaker meetings.
In addition, the Scottish Israeli Cultural Association (SICA) celebrates the cultural heritage of Israeli people in Scotland, and encourages links between Israeli and Scottish culture through the promotion of cultural events, heritage, workshops, seminars, and conferences.
Events and activities are listed on SCoJeC's What's On page, and reported in Four Corners, which is published quarterly. Forthcoming events include musical evenings, speakers, and after the success of "Scotland's Jewish Gathering", there are plans for a "Limmud" day.
We're always looking for ways to link Jewish people throughout Scotland, countering the isolation that people can sometimes feel when they live a long way from the nearest Jewish community, so if you would like us to run an event in your area, please let us know!
These networks, together with SCoJeC, also provide assistance to contact relevant organisations for people celebrating landmark events such as a wedding, brit milah, and bar and bat mitzvah, as well as those coping with bereavement or other difficulties. The Guide to Jewish Facilities in Scotland lists many useful communal organisations, or contact SCoJeC by phone, e-mail or post.
Linda Martin (Voluntary Ambassador for the Highlands and Islands) email@example.com / 07801 382 584
Fiona Frank (SCoJeC Outreach and Project Worker)
firstname.lastname@example.org / 07779 206 522
Scottish Israeli Cultural Association