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


Chanukah Candles and Dancing in Dumfries

12 December 2017
Lighting the Chanukiah at SCoJeC's Chanukah party in Dumfries

Once again, Rugman's Hall in Whitesands, Dumfries was the venue for SCoJeC's first Chanukah event this year, and once again, thanks to Father Andrew's enthusiasm in getting people together to enjoy an evening of learning and entertainment, over fifty people turned up on a freezing cold wet winter's night. The weather did nothing to dampen the festive atmosphere as the Samba Sisters drumming ensemble started off the evening outdoors, encouraging everyone to venture out to witness the lighting of the outdoor chanukiah on the balcony of the very elegant double stairway of the 17th Century building housing the hall.

Singing "Maoz Tzur" at SCoJeC's Chanukah party in Dumfries

Despite driving wind and rain, Andrew and one of the youngest of the assembled crowd succeeded in lighting the chanukiah, after which everyone dashed back indoors to the welcome warmth of the wood-burning stove and the lighting of a very beautiful chanukiah by an American visitor, accompanied by the appropriate blessings and a rendition of the first verse of Maoz Tzur, of which Andrew had thoughtfully prepared a transliteration so that everyone could join in.

Paper-cutting at SCoJeC's Chanukah party in Dumfries

Visitors from near and far heard about the Chanukah story, traditions and customs from Margalit Borowski, who had brought a carful of kosher goodies from Glasgow. After supper, including baigels, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and of course freshly made latkes and doughnuts (healthy salad vegetables and fruit were also on the menu!), there was a choice of activities: papercutting artwork with Abi Pirani who recently led a wonderful interfaith arts event in Falkirk, or a very lively Scottish country dancing session. After such a feast, the number of people participating in the Gay Gordons, Strip the Willow, and Dashing White Sergeant was impressive!

SCoJeC Chanukah party in Dumfries

The "only outdoor lighting in the South of Scotland" was even televised, and highlights of the highly enjoyable event were broadcast later in the local Borders area.

One participant later said, "Listening to you connects me to my heritage and the stories my grandmother told", while others said, "This is my first Jewish celebration. I was very impressed", and "I've learned so much this evening". Several people told us "Tonight was just superb!" – and indeed, it was!

We acknowledge the generous support of BEMIS Scotland via Scotland's Winter Festivals – a partnership between BEMIS Scotland and the Scottish Government to facilitate diverse multicultural celebrations, thank the Netherlee and Clarkston Charitable Trust for their ongoing support of our work, and thank St Bride's Church (Ltd) for providing the venue.


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Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. SC029438