About SCoJeC
 New on Site
 What's On
 Four Corners
 Daily Digest
 Points of View
 Report an Incident
 Members only
 Support SCoJeC
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)
Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)


SNP Leadership Meeting with SCoJeC

2 February 2023

SNP Leadership Meeting with SCoJeC

SCoJeC was delighted to welcome the new SNP Westminster Leader Stephen Flynn (MP for Aberdeen South) and Deputy Leader Mhairi Black (MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South) for a wide-ranging discussion issues of importance to the Jewish community in Scotland in our office in the Giffnock Jewish Community Centre. The politicians met with representatives of the Jewish Community, including Rabbi Moshe Rubin of Giffnock Newton Mearns Synagogue, SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski, Treasurer Philip Mendelsohn, and External Engagement Manager Kirsty Robson. Kirsten Oswald, the local MP for East Renfrewshire also attended the meeting. Kirsten served as Deputy Leader until the beginning of December 2022, and still has the front bench Equalities portfolio.

SNP Leadership Meeting with SCoJeC

The morning began with a roundtable discussion between the MPs and SCoJeC. SCoJeC Director Ephraim Borowski discussed the demographic and geographic make-up of the Jewish Community. He also spoke about the work SCoJeC did to persuade National Records of Scotland to include “Jewish” in the Ethnicity question as well as the Religion question in the recent  Scottish census in the hope that this will result in a more reliable estimate of the number of people who identify as Jewish in Scotland. Mhairi commented that finding out that some members of the community fear to identify publicly as Jewish had made a strong impression on her when SCoJeC briefed the SNP group in Westminster.

SNP Leadership Meeting with SCoJeC

Kirsty highlighted ongoing work to tackle antisemitism in Scottish universities, including new plans to help support academics and teachers in tackling classroom prejudice, while Philip stressed ongoing concerns around antisemitism, and touched on the importance of Israel to many in the Scottish Jewish community.

The group then met Rabbi Rubin, who gave them a short tour of the synagogue and talked about the recent merger of Giffnock and Newton Mearns Synagogues. He also talked about the importance to the community of Calderwood Lodge Jewish Primary School in East Renfrewshire, and the excellent relations it has with St Clare's Roman Catholic Primary School  as part of a unique joint-faith campus.

SNP Leadership Meeting with SCoJeC

Kirsten Oswald took the opportunity to present Rabbi Rubin with a recent copy of Hansard in which he was mentioned in the House of Commons Holocaust Memorial Day Debate and a copy of the Early Day Motion that highlighted Newton Mearns Synagogue's farewell service.

Kirsten commented: “I am delighted that Stephen and Mhairi joined me for this meeting and visit to Giffnock and Newton Mearns Synagogue. It was a positive and helpful opportunity to discuss excellent work being done locally including at the Calderwood Lodge and St Clare’s primary joint campus. East Renfrewshire is a special place with a diverse and vibrant community. We are all the better for that diversity.

Stephen added: “This was an excellent visit to the Giffnock and Newton Mearns Synagogue and I’m very grateful to SCoJeC and Rabbi Rubin for their time. I was glad to hear about community priorities as well as discuss the value of interfaith dialogue, and always standing against antisemitism.

Kirsty said: “We were pleased to welcome the SNP Leadership to the synagogue, and welcome their interest in learning more about the Jewish Community in Scotland. We look forward to developing this relationship further.”


We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
To find out more about cookies and how to manage them through your browser settings see our Cookie Policy.

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. SC029438