Scottish Council of Jewish Communites
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities
 
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

Purim with SCoJeC around Scotland

 
15 March 2017
SCoJeC Purim party in Ayr

SCoJeC brought Purim parties to venues from the north to the south of Scotland where the festival may never have been publicly celebrated before – and thereby fulfilled the description in the Book of Esther: “the scattered Jews, who live in remote towns, observe the 14th day of Adar as a day for happiness and partying”!

SCoJeC Purim party in Dundee

The first party was in the Maclaurin Gallery in Roselle Park, Ayr – less than half a mile from the birthplace of Robert Burns, and appropriately surrounded by Alexander Gaudie’s series of large canvasses illustrating Burns’s bacchanalian tale of Tam o’ Shanter. The audience, from as near as Prestwick and as far as Israel, listened as the Megillah was read by SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski, interwoven with an illustrated talk by Margalit Borowski. Then after a traditional buffet of bagels and hamantaschen, our Israeli community artists Tom and Roi led a mask-making workshop for all the participants from age 7 to 87.

SCoJeC Purim party in Inverness

The following day, SCoJeC Voluntary Ambassador Linda Martin gave an illustrated talk about the story of Esther to an Inverness senior citizens group, the “Glints of Gold”. Half of those present said they had never had any previous contact with Jewish people, but they were all interested to know more, and asked a wide range of questions about topics from theology to festival observance. After tea and hamantaschen, the ladies who were quickest to answer a quiz about the Torah won packets of hamentaschen to take home.

SCoJeC Purim party in Dundee

Then on Purim Sunday there was another party at the SHIMCA Multicultural Centre in Inverness. Some of the participants came in fancy dress, some wore masks – and one wore an elaborate lampshade made of willow and tissue on her head! Kathryn Kusa, dressed in crown and robes, brought along a beautifully illustrated Book of Esther to share with the children, and there was a demonstration of how to shape traditional hamantaschen, followed by a buffet lunch and an opportunity to meet old friends and new.

SCoJeC Purim party in Ayr

SCoJeC also supported a Purim party in Rugmans Hall, Dumfries, where there was a dramatised version of the story of Esther narrated by Andrew Crosbie to the great amusement of the assembly. Everyone joined in heartily, booing Haman and cheering Esther. A festive sing-a-long was accompanied by Lee McQueen on his accordion, and the group made a video of themselves singing I Belong to Glasgow to send to a local who now lives in Netanya, before enjoying a kosher buffet.

SCoJeC Purim party in Dundee
SCoJeC Purim party in Dundee

But SCoJeC's main event was a full afternoon of activities in Dundee synagogue, beginning with our quarterly Council meeting, which also heard from Peter Nurick of the new V&A Design Museum in Dundee about the museum and its plans for community engagement. The party then began with Ephraim and Margalit reading and illustrating the Megillah, and Tom and Roi led a mask-making session. One participant commented, “It was great fun – well organised, good fun, great atmosphere, food delish, Megillah explained to our non-Jewish guests. Well done everyone. All was excellent. Many thanks indeed. I really had fun. A big success."

With thanks to the Netherlee and Clarkston Charitable Trust for supporting these activities.

 

   
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