SCoJeC's latest “Highland Gathering” in Inverness was the occasion for the launch of the first phase of the SCoJeC CoNNeCT project, the new online Discussion Forum that will bring together Jewish people and those with an interest in Jewish issues throughout Scotland.
The forum was launched by Linda Martin, SCoJeC’s Online Outreach Worker, who is also Volunteer Ambassador for the Highlands and Islands, to a circle of Jewish people who all live in places far distant from mainstream Jewish communities, many of whom had travelled for several hours to reach the event and to celebrate Purim together.
SCoJeC’s research during its Scottish Government funded Being Jewish in Scotland inquiry highlighted the sense of isolation felt by many Jewish people, whether living outside the major cities in areas where Jewish cultural and religious activities were non-existent, or even in the centre of large conurbations. In response to those findings, SCoJeC has been expanding its outreach work, and this new forum where all can enjoy more social interchange, and access information about events and services, is a continuation of that programme, which was made possible thanks to funding from the Big Lottery. Additional funding from the Voluntary Action Fund, will enable us to provide training for volunteer moderators and facilitators to assist in the continuance of the project.
The CoNNeCT forum is now open; applications for membership will be checked before being approved, to ensure the authenticity of potential members, and discussions will range over many subjects including the Arts, Health, Cookery, Judaism, and Israel. There will also be a Hebrew language section for the many Israelis now living in, or with a connection to, Scotland, and an area of the forum has been reserved for communal organisations to hold private discussions.
In the future, members will be able to chat by posting their messages online, and also participate in webinars on various topics that will provide the opportunity of face-to-face discussions, further enhancing the sense of community.
Phase 2 of the CoNNeCT project, being developed in partnership with the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, will be launched later this year, and will include a comprehensive Scotland-wide events calendar, as well as a directory of communal organisations, and listings of communal volunteer and employment opportunities.