SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski and Rabbi Moshe Rubin, the senior Rabbi in Scotland, were amongst faith leaders and community representatives invited to lunch in St Mungo's Museum by the Secretary of State for Scotland, Jim Murphy MP. Others present included Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop Mario Conti, and the Moderators of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church.
Mr Murphy asked for views on how members of faith communities are affected by the recession, and how communities can assist in meeting their needs. Rabbi Rubin spoke about recent initiatives such as Mitzvah Day, when groups of Jewish students, teenagers, and others undertook a number of projects such as collecting food for the homeless and helping clear litter from cemeteries, and the assistance given by synagogue members in a Salvation Army centre for the homeless on Christmas Day.
Other topics discussed included the public perception of religion in general, and how data on religion will be collected in the forthcoming census. In that regard, Ephraim pointed out that there are a number of reasons why the question in the Scottish census tended to depress the numbers of those identifying with a faith community, and therefore underestimated the numbers likely to make calls on communal facilities.