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


SCoJeC AGM: Sunny with some clouds!

5 June 2016

Once again the main theme of SCoJeC’s AGM was very upbeat – the amazing amount we have achieved in all the four strands of our work:

Representing the Community to the Scottish Government, politicians, the public and voluntary sector, and other communities.

Advancing Public Understanding by responding to general enquiries, providing formal and informal education; and maintaining our much commended website as a key source of information.

Community Development – providing a support network for the smaller Jewish communities and potentially vulnerable Jewish people; publishing Four Corners; arranging events; working with Jewish Student Chaplaincy; and helping people to report antisemitic hate crime.

Community Empowerment – keeping ethnic minority communities informed by publishing MEMO, a weekly digest of current information; alerting national and local communal organisations; and assisting Scottish communal organisations to comply with Child Protection and Immigration regulations.

SCoJeC's new team

However, as Director Ephraim Borowski reported, “all these bricks are made with very little straw”. Our main source of income is a grant from the Scottish Government, which, although generously increased last year, is unpredictable, which makes planning difficult – even at the beginning of June we do not yet know what we will receive in July. Although a number of Scottish communal organisations, notably the Glasgow Jewish Community and Netherlee and Clarkston Trusts have been very generous, they do not make up for the fact that the Board of Deputies has not contributed to SCoJeC for nearly two years, and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) is about to discontinue its support for our monitoring service. Much discussion therefore focussed on how to plug these gaps with appeals to the community, and by offering the monitoring on a commercial basis to other national organisations.

Naturally, this uncertainty about funding impacts on staffing. The meeting expressed its unanimous thanks to Zoe Jacobs, whose contract ends this month, for her exceptional and imaginative input into our education and community development work, to Fiona Frank for managing those activities and producing our report on What’s Changed about Being Jewish in Scotland, and former Public Affairs Officer Nicola Livingston for her contribution. But we don’t know how – or even whether – we can replace them, or achieve the priority, which the meeting endorsed, of appointing a full-time, adequately resources, Chief Executive.

The meeting expressed its great debt to Hilary Rifkind, who has served more than a full term as Chair, and elected Micheline Brannan to succeed her. Also elected were Fiona Brodie as Vice-Chair and Simon Dover as Hon Secretary.

Ephraim Borowski and Peter Spiers

The meeting welcomed the appointment of Peter Speirs to the post of Scotland Director of the JLC. Peter has previously worked for a number of front-bench politicians at both Holyrood and Westminster, and says he has been passionate about the community for as long as he's been involved in politics. His remit will be to support the advocacy work done by SCoJeC and the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, and we have been involved at every stage of his appointment, which was the unanimous choice of the three organisations.

SCoJeC’s new Chair, Micheline Brannan, said: "It is a great honour to have been elected as Chair of SCoJeC. After 7 years on the Council I am still learning the full extent of SCoJeC's reach and impact on Scottish public affairs and within the Jewish community, thanks to the tireless work of our Director, Ephraim Borowski, and his team, and I am delighted that the Jewish Leadership Council has appointed Peter Speirs as Scotland Director to strengthen the capacity of SCoJeC and the Glasgow Rep Council to respond to the challenges ahead. For my part I will do all I can to build on the example set by my predecessor Hilary Rifkind in taking SCoJeC forward."

Click here to read the AGM reports and annual accounts.




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Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. SC029438