Games opening gives visitors a history lesson

By Adam Henderson, July 24, 2014

Glasgow Jewry has shown its hospitality - and history - to visitors to the city for the Commonwealth Games.

Local shuls and families have extended a welcome to Jews in Scotland for the Games. And Garnethill Synagogue was among the participants in Wednesday's open day of historic buildings normally closed to the general public.

Based in the west end of the city, near a number of Games venues, the shul, which dates back to 1879, also incorporates the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.

Close on 200 people visited on Wednesday, many viewing the archive centre's permanent exhibition on Jews in Scotland. A special display celebrates the sporting achievements of Scottish Jews. Marcia Goldman, who helped to create the display, said the exhibit showed "some of the best stories of Scottish Jews in sport but there were so many more. So many members of the Jewish community were involved in football, boxing, chess and golf."

Among the visitors was John Gordon, who travelled to Glasgow from North Lanarkshire. "I've been wanting to visit for years," he said, "and I was very impressed with the architecture; the Ark, the stained-glass, the monuments. I had a look at the archives centre as well and it was fascinating to see the history of Jewish immigration to Scotland."

These kind of events are good for us

The listed Garnethill building was also the venue for Glasgow Freemasons' Commonwealth Games celebration concert on Tuesday night.

Shul board member Gerald Levin said: "These kind of events are good for us. A lot of tourists have come for the open day but we have had a lot of Scottish people as well. Volunteers from the congregation have given tours and answered questions."

Last updated: 1:14pm, July 31 2014