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

 

SCoJeC AGM 2015

 
14 June 2015
SCoJeC AGM 2015

SCoJeC was delighted to be able hold our 2015 AGM in Aberdeen for the first time, almost 70 years to the day since the synagogue was consecrated. We were also pleased that the growing group of Israelis in Scotland had requested affiliation to the Council, and welcomed Itamar Nitzan as their first representative.

After a buffet lunch, and the formal business of approving reports and accounts, and electing office-bearers for the coming session, there was a wide-ranging discussion about the priorities and strategy of the Council. One main theme that emerged was the difficulty of managing workload when so much of SCoJeC’s work is responsive – whether to government consultations, ensuring that a Jewish voice is heard in many different contexts, or responding to security issues. The way such work has grown, and is valued both within and outwith the Community, requires adequate staffing, which requires adequate resource, especially in the face of the uncertainty of public funding. There was unanimous agreement that communal bodies that regard themselves as serving and supporting the entire UK community, such as the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, have an obligation to provide adequate support to enable the Jewish Communities in all the Devolved Administrations to engage with their governments on all those aspects of day-to-day life that are no longer determined by Westminster. To ensure proportionality, the Barnett Formula was suggested as a starting point for negotiations!

SCoJeC AGM 2015

The other main topic of discussion was the effect of events in the Middle East on Jewish people in Scotland and how best to respond. The two issues are related because it was reaction to the war in Gaza that generated – and still generates – most unplanned work for the Council. The unprecedented number of incidents reported in July and August resulted in many contacts with Ministers, officials, and others, to discuss how best to ensure the safety and security of the Community. This led in the Scottish Government agreeing to fund our study of What’s changed about being Jewish in Scotland?, which in turn has now shown the depth of unease within the Community. Concern was expressed at the meeting about political leaders’ apparent unwillingness to seek publicity for their condemnation of antisemitic attacks by contrast with the UK and other governments; about the failure of the Church of Scotland to make amends for their 2013 document on the Inheritance of Abraham?; about the obsession of some members of the Scottish Parliament with condemning Israel when they have nothing to say about Syria or Iran; about the inherently antisemitic nature of support for Hamas and calls to “make Scotland a Zionist-free zone”; and about the detrimental effect of events on campus on an entire generation of students.

SCoJeC AGM 2015

After the formal business of the AGM, Superintendent Ross Aitken, Head of National Safer Communities at Police Scotland, addressed the meeting and answered questions about the security of communal venues and events, the police response to last summer’s incidents, the difficulty of balancing the right to demonstrate with the right of the public to go about their business, and the use of community advisers in assessing whether critical incidents amount of a crime. Later, Debby Taylor from the Aberdeen Community, Fiona Frank, SCoJeC’s Outreach and Projects Manager, and Zoe Jacobs, our new Education and Community Development Officer, led a short discussion about opportunities for volunteering to represent the Jewish community in schools and interfaith activities.

The following were elected to the SCoJeC Executive: 

Chair:

Vice Chair:

Hon Secretary:

Hon Treasurer:

Small Communities:

Hilary Rifkind (Edinburgh)

Micheline Brannan (Edinburgh)

Simon Dover (Glasgow)

Howard Gordon (Glasgow)

Debby Taylor (Aberdeen)

Click here to read the AGM reports and annual accounts.

 

   
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