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


AGM 2022:
Another successful year for SCoJeC

26 June 2022

Since this has been a year of hybrid activities of all kinds, it was appropriate that the SCoJeC AGM at the end of June was also a hybrid event, with some of the office-bearers in the room in the Giffnock JCC, and about twenty others participating remotely.

Another hybrid and successful year for SCoJeC

Much of the discussion was still dominated by the effects of the Covid pandemic – on the one side, we were not able to hold live events in venues around Scotland as we did until two years ago, but on the other hand, we were able to share virtual and hybrid events with a more dispersed audience, and indeed one suggestion at was that we should regard hybrid events as a shop window to advertise the Scottish Community for an international audience. During the year we have also been building on that success thanks to a large grant to provide training, support, and equipment not only for ourselves, but to enable organisations throughout the Community to exploit the potential of hybrid events. However, as the meeting heard from Community Development Manager Kirsty Robson and Jewish Scotland Connected Project Manager Mike Beral, hybrid events presuppose a live event, and one of the lessons we have learned from this project is that the unpredictability of Covid precautions and people’s understandable reluctance to gather in public venues has made it very difficult to plan. In addition, almost all of the events we have supported have taken place in Glasgow or Edinburgh with a remote virtual audience, so in the spirit of SCoJeC’s objective of connecting Jewish people throughout Scotland, the meeting agreed that one of our priorities for the coming year should be to explore “reverse geography” – holding the live event in remote locations with live audiences able to participate from a central venue.

Another hybrid and successful year for SCoJeC

The AGM also heard how the move into the virtual and hybrid world has affected other aspects of SCoJeC’s work. Director Ephraim Borowski said that, if anything, there has even more interaction than previously with the Scottish Government during the pandemic, with a weekly virtual meeting to discuss the impact of legislation and regulations on faith communities. More recently this has developed into a regular monthly round table to discuss policy matters of all kinds affecting faith communities, and there are also separate groups discussing vaccination policy and health outcomes. Meanwhile there has been no let-up in other matters that we need to engage with affecting communal life from cradle to grave, including marriage and divorce, a national care service, assisted suicide, death registration, post mortems, and even funerals. Ephraim said we could congratulate ourselves that we had succeeded In persuading NRS and the Scottish Government to include “Jewish” as an ethnicity as well as a religion in the recent census, but the data will require careful analysis when eventually published.

Our most significant interaction with government was also our most hybrid – the public meeting with the First Minister with a live audience in the hall with her in Glasgow, a satellite audience participating live in Edinburgh, and another 120 participants joining in from home. This was an excellent opportunity for Jewish people around Scotland to ask the First Minister directly about their concerns, and her answers covered a wide range of subjects, including antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, the Middle East and her recent meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister when she had reiterated her support for a two-state solution, Ukraine, Iran, Scottish nationalism, and Holocaust Education. She also referred to meetings that SCoJeC had organised for her earlier in the year to hear from Jewish students about their experiences on campus.

Treasurer Philip Mendelsohn presented our formal Annual Report and Accounts, which again show us breaking even, albeit with fewer activities because of the pandemic. He recalled the uncertainty about changes to Scottish Government equality funds that he had reported last year, and said this had taken time and effort to resolve, but the outcome gives us more flexibility although the funding remains at the same level as before. He also expressed the hope that the work we have done on our budget will also help us progress negotiations with the Board of Deputies and the JLC. Chair Nicola Livingston also updated the meeting on progress and thanked Paul Spicker for his careful analysis of the tasks we require. She concluded by thanking members of Executive and Council, and all SCoJeC staff for their work and support throughout the year.

The following were then elected:


Vice Chair:

Hon Treasurer:

Hon Secretary:

Nicola Livingston

Gillian Raab

Philip Mendelsohn

Fiona Brodie

The new President of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council Timothy Lovat, EHC Chair Hilary Rifkind, and Small Communities rep Paul Spicker complete the Executive.

After the meeting Nicola commented:

"The past year has again been overshadowed by the Covid pandemic, which has taken its toll on individuals and communities everywhere.  It has also changed the way that charitable organisations like ours have had to operate - we have had to refine and develop our activities and ways of working responsively, and innovative ideas have emerged out of necessity, but there now seems to be an appetite for taking the very best of what we have learnt and moving forward. Change doesn't seem quite so scary as we've seen people reassess their work-life balance and think more actively about what makes a community and how we can support one another through difficult times. We are looking to harness this and plan for the future, improving the ways we go about our core business of Representing, Connecting, and Supporting Jewish people in Scotland. "

Click here to read the AGM reports and annual accounts.


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Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. SC029438