Mar 25, 2013
Find out what's going on around Scotland by reading SCoJeC's latest news update!
- Leon A Smith
Mar 22, 2013
This week saw the news of an 83-year old gentleman who still has mental capacity, taking a decision to go to Switzerland for an assisted suicide. This gentleman presumably felt that he could not face the future that lay in store for him having been diagnosed with dementia. He was also unprepared to allow his family to suffer the rigours and distress of supporting him in his last years. This news raises a number of complex issues. Firstly, dementia in itself is rarely the primary cause of death.
Dementia is a function of the brain which, in turn, can and does have implications for a number of other organs. Whilst I am not a medical physician, I am confident in saying that the terms “dementia” and/or indeed “old age” cannot in themselves be considered to be direct causes of death. The issue of this gentleman also raises other issues – of a religious, ethical and legal nature. And indeed there are profound implications to his decision. Having seen various types of dementia and what it can do to individuals and their families at very close quarters, I have enormous sympathy for this person. Yet the step which he is taking is not a choice that I would make.
Having seen the “ugly” side of dementia, diagnosis does not necessarily mean to me that life is over. Many of the residents that are being cared for by our Charity, Nightingale Hammerson, are living with varying degrees and different types of dementia. Yet a number of them are able to enjoy an acceptable and tolerable quality of life. This is brought about through quality interactions with family members and carers, as well as exposure to a pleasing environment and a variety of stimulating activities including music in various forms. Dementia is an illness that we hear more and more about as the years go by. The obvious reason for this is that the number of people who now have dementia, and have it diagnosed, is increasing all the time. Certain medications are available to inhibit the onset of the symptoms and it is possible to live with a moderate level of dementia and lead a reasonably normal life for quite some time. However, this progressive disease can ultimately become debilitating.
Mar 22, 2013
MEMO 345 A weekly overview of information of interest to minority ethnic communities in Scotland, including parliamentary activity at Holyrood and Westminster, new publications, consultations, forthcoming conferences and news reports.
Mar 21, 2013
Come and join SCoJeC for a klezmer concert and dance, and a discussion of the findings of our "Being Jewish in Scotland" project!
7 April: Dunoon
8 April: Inverness
9 April: Findhorn
10 April: Glasgow
11 April: Maybole
14 April: Dundee
For full details see http://www.scojec.org/noticeboard/noticeboard.html
Mar 19, 2013
SCoJeC has submitted a response to the Scottish Government consultation on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.
- Rabbi Aaron Gol...
Mar 18, 2013
This past Shabbat saw the graduation of our year 10's who celebrated their Kabbalat Torah (accepting Torah) with a creative service written by the group and then leading the Shabbat Morning service. I was so proud of Max Seymour who produced this marvellous D'var Torah.
The Ten Commandments are contained in two of the Books of the Torah: in Exodus and Deuteronomy. Though similar - they provide the same fundamental laws; they differ in certain important aspects, especially relating to the commandment to rest on Shabbat. In Exodus, this commandments is strict and simple. It comes straight from God as an order. No mortal justification or explanation is given, rather, God rested on the seventh day after creating the world; therefore we should do likewise. It leaves no room for question, just ‘Remember!’ It is absolute.
In contrast, the Deuteronomy commandment for Shabbat provides a human rationale. It explains that we were once slaves in the land of Egypt and that the Eternal One freed us. It is because of this we must actively ‘observe’ rather than passively ‘remember’ the Sabbath day.
Mar 18, 2013
MEMO 344 A weekly overview of information of interest to minority ethnic communities in Scotland, including parliamentary activity at Holyrood and Westminster, new publications, consultations, forthcoming conferences and news reports.
- Jonathan Hoffman
Mar 17, 2013
Beloved friends, I’m actually only here to give you a change of accents; I just hope you don’t need simultaneous translation. (Laughter.) But I’m here as part of an English delegation to give you the view from Europe. And the view from Europe is that AIPAC is something out of this world. It is just amazing.
Friends, it reminds me, if I can just you this story, lovely story about Yossi, an Israeli, who opened a falafel bar in Golders Green. Golders Green is the English Brooklyn. And Yossi’s falafel bar was one day visited by the tax inspector who was reading through his books and he was saying, Mr. Yossi, this falafel of yours, this is a kind of Jewish takeaway; am I right?
Mar 15, 2013
The meeting was arranged primarily to discuss concerns about the atmosphere of intimidation at Edinburgh University that had led to Jewish students terminating their studies early or not taking up offered places, and the inadequacy and insensitivity of the university’s response.
- Leon A Smith
Mar 15, 2013
Since the Queen’s recent imposition due to illness, the subject of gastroenteritis has obviously been in the forefront of the minds of us all. After a brief recovery, there would appear to have been some kind of relapse and there is now speculation as to whether the Queen will be able to continue at her significant age to perform her public duties on a full time basis. There is now talk of there possibly being the establishment of a Regent to take on the day to day public responsibilities with the Monarch herself remaining as the figurehead.
As always , there is scope here for a football analogy – Sir Alex Ferguson on retirement presumably will be elevated to a Directorship and will continue to be very much the face of Manchester United whilst the younger Mourinho becomes the day to day manager (the odds are currently 3/1!).
Elevating seniors in this way is perhaps a dignified way of dealing with the reality which is that human beings cannot carry on forever working at the same pace or in the same way. This subject then opens the wider thought process about whether the abolition of the mandatory retirement age was a good or a bad thing. Clearly it is important to recognise that many older people continue to have enormous value to employers and to society generally after they reach some artificial age. Yet by the same token youth unemployment is at an all time high – and it goes without saying that jobs are being hung onto at the top of the age range. This limits the scope of younger people to come in at the bottom. This is of course a very simplistic way of looking at workforce planning.