More than fifty people from all backgrounds took part in SCoJeC’s latest opportunity to create and learn, at St Ninian’s in Stirling. Thanks to our collaboration with the Central Scotland Regional Equality Council, the participants included the Provost of Stirling, several city councillors, and a former MSP, as well as a group of ladies who had seen the publicity for the event in the local paper and decided that it looked like fun!
As the participants arrived, they were able to inspect the display of Jewish artefacts, the variety of coloured materials ready to be made into bows and arrows, and the Equality Council’s information table, as well as mixing with and getting to know one another over SCoJeC’s now traditional buffet supper. They were particularly intrigued by the craft ideas, and many people went to explore the natural materials the artists had put out to use.
We then divided the participants into two groups. “Team Create” worked with the Glasgow-based Israeli artists, Tom and Roi, in making bows and arrows, while “Team Learn” participated in an interactive session with SCoJeC’s Education and Community Development Worker, Zoe Jacobs, about the JOES Boxes project that SCoJeC is currently running. After half an hour, the groups swapped, so that everyone got to participate in both activities.
Hearing about Jewish life through different artefacts offered people the chance to compare these observances and rituals to those in their own life; often realising they are usually analogous. One participant commented that the activities brought the artefacts to life, moving them from inanimate objects to religious artefacts with meaning and religious life behind each one. The objective of these events is that participants enjoy the experience, the company, and the fun, while also having learnt a lot, perhaps having questioned their knowledge, assumptions, or expectations, and gone away with plenty to think about – as one participant superbly summed it up, “It was brilliant fun – and I learn so much!”
In Team Create’s artistic corner, the younger participants in particular were enthusiastic in competing to see how far they could make their arrows go. It was lovely to see people young and old enjoying the creative process, and relaxing into comfortable conversation with those they may well otherwise never stop and chat to. Younger participants headed home clutching their new homemade treasures, reminders of what they’ve learnt and whom they’ve met.
As another participant commented, “The whole event was a really good idea, as so much prejudice is borne out of ignorance and all efforts to educate must be worthwhile, especially for the children, the next generation. The fact that so many people came is testament to the benefits of such education.”
The evening was entirely representative of Lag B’Omer: colourful, joyous, and diverse!