SCoJeC was delighted to announce in March that we have been awarded funding for a two-year project to encourage communal organisations to retain the unexpected benefits of online events once it becomes possible to hold face to face activities again. The project will provide training, equipment, and support to enable a wide range of organisations within the Jewish Community in Scotland to offer hybrid programming, so that people will be able to participate fully in events either in person and online.
We are now pleased to report that we have recruited an extremely well-qualified team to plan and deliver the project and they have already made an excellent start. The team will be led by Mike Beral as Programme Manager, with the assistance of Sami Zerovabeli, and Adam Schwartz covering the west and east of Scotland respectively as Technical Assistants. Fiona Frank, SCoJeC’s former Projects and Outreach manager, has also returned to help set up the project and deliver some training.
Mike Beral has had long experience of working with Jewish communal organisations, including numerous roles at the Liberal Synagogue, Elstree. After a career in IT, he started using the skills of one of his hobbies, videography, for the benefit of a number of charities, and has developed and delivered hybrid events for several communities in London.
Adam Schwartz and Samuel (Sami) Zerovabeli are both recent arrivals in the Scottish Community. Originally from Montreal, Adam recently completed a degree in Animation at the University of Edinburgh College of Art, and Sami has a degree in business studies and has worked with a number of charitable organisations since graduating.
You can meet the team here.
While lockdown has been difficult for everyone, online events have been able to reach some people who are not normally able to participate in live activities because of disability, childcare responsibilities, transport difficulties, or other reasons. Virtual events have also been able to attract participants from remote areas of the country who would otherwise not be able to attend most face-to-face events, and have also raised the profile of the Community by attracting an international audience.
SCoJeC has assembled a wide coalition of communal organisations to participate in this project, including the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, synagogues in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, as well as the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre, and Edinburgh Jewish Literary Society.
As the project gets under way in earnest over the next few weeks, we will be training for members of Scotland's Jewish communal organisations on how to make the best use of video and audio equipment, as well as online communication platforms such as Zoom. We are also buying top of the range equipment that can be used by communal organisations across the whole country, and aiming to share our learning widely. We also plan to produce training videos and manuals which will be freely available, together with regular project news updates.
Mike has written an excellent and comprehensive training plan, involving individual discussions with event organisers, online 'get to know you' sessions with volunteers, in person training, zoom support, and post-training online meetings. The training events will also be recorded to act as a revision guide and resource for others who were not able to attend. The training is planned for the first six months of the project in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, and there will be ad hoc tech consultancy for organisations wanting to discuss their individual requirements.
During the second six months the team plan to provide comprehensive event support, update the training manuals, and deliver another round of volunteer training, with the ultimate aim of providing the Scottish Jewish Community with a really good basis for future community development activity.