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Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)


“Brilliant, informative and highly professional!”

6 February 2015
SCoJeC Volunteer Training Session

The Jewish Volunteer Training Sessions, run by the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council in partnership with SCoJeC, and funded by the Voluntary Action Fund, have attracted volunteers from throughout Scotland. 

The sessions were attended by people of all ages from students to the newly-retired, who came from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and St Andrews – and one participant, who lives near Aberdeen, joined us by video link! Everyone was there to improve their skills in representing the community, whether that was by participating in interfaith dialogue, giving talks to schools and other groups, or acting as a guide to show groups around synagogues.

SCoJeC Volunteer Training Session

We were delighted to welcome Helen Wynd, a teacher at Dunblane Primary School, as facilitator for the first session. She explained the requirements of the Curriculum for Excellence, and described what schools are looking for in ‘faith volunteers’. “I teach religious and moral guidance," she said, "and am passionate about this. It is really important to get volunteers out to schools to help develop real understanding. Ignorance is very dangerous, but children can be taught from a young age to be respectful. The most important thing for them to know is what is happening on a daily basis in a Jewish life.

SCoJeC Volunteer Training Session

“Around 20 years ago, when I was headteacher of a school in Oban, I felt I needed a better understanding of Judaism in order to be able to teach it. I took a school bus party down to Glasgow to visit Giffnock Synagogue, and was given the tour by Dianna Wolfson.” Dianna, a former headteacher of Calderwood Lodge Jewish Primary School, was present at the training session, and remembered the occasion well.

SCoJeC Volunteer Training Session

Zoe Jacobs (right), who is working as an intern for our "Expanding Jewish Volunteering in Scotland" project, said: “The course is about increasing knowledge and confidence in conveying Jewish information to a non-Jewish audience. In the first week we were looking at the Curriculum for Excellence as a means of understanding where schools are coming from, and what they want. This was followed by a practical activity, in which the volunteers were asked to decide which information about each of six Jewish festivals they thought appropriate for a particular age group, and then to create an interactive activity that was both fun and informative. I was impressed by people's knowledge, enthusiasm, and creative ideas for expressing Jewish culture and history. I thought the event was a fantastic start to what I hope is a real volunteering community.”

The second training session, in Glasgow's beautiful Garnethill Synagogue, included information about leading synagogue tours. This was followed by a tour of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, which also provided participants with information about the history of the Scottish Jewish community. 


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Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. SC029438