SCoJeC was delighted to arrange for the First Minister to visit a synagogue after she mentioned when we met her in June that she had never previously done so.
Her visit was to the historic Garnethill Synagogue, which is often described as the ‘Mother Synagogue of Glasgow'. This opened in 1879, and was the first purpose built synagogue in Scotland. It is now an A-listed building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Appropriately, the building now also houses the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.
Ms Sturgeon was greeted by SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski and Public Affairs Officer Nicola Livingston, and then given a tour of the prayer hall, which Jewish Heritage UK has described as one of the top ten historic synagogues in the UK, by Gerald Levin of the Garnethill Hebrew Congregation, which still worships there, Bernard Goodman of the Garnethill Preservation Trust, which owns and maintains the building itself, and Rabbi Moshe Rubin, the Senior Rabbi in Scotland, who explained the religious function and significance of some of the architectural features and showed her a Torah scroll.
The First Minister‘s party then moved downstairs to the Jewish Archives Centre, where she was given a guided tour by Curator Deborah Haase and Manager Fiona Brodie, and was presented with a copy of the Centre’s most recent publication, Jewish Glasgow, An Illustrated History. Ms Sturgeon expressed particular interest in the history of the Jewish Community in the Gorbals and the south side of Glasgow, since her constituency includes these areas which had been so significant in the history of Glasgow’s Jewish Community for much of the twentieth century.
Commenting on her visit, the First Minister said: