Attorney-General's Jewish connections

Baroness Scotland: Shabbes goy

Baroness Scotland: Shabbes goy

Baroness Scotland, the Attorney-General, revealed some unexpected Jewish connections last week.

Born in Dominica as the 10th of 12 siblings, she grew up in Walthamstow in north-east London — next door to Waltham Forest Hebrew Congregation or, in her words, “Boundary Rd shul”.

“You see before you the Shabbes goy,” she told guests at the British Friends of the Hebrew University’s annual legal dinner at the Middle Temple.

To cheers and laughter, she added: “I bet I went to synagogue more than most of you.”

Her friend, Cheryl, had a “delightful grandmother called Sadie”. Because her own grandparents were in the Caribbean, Lady Scotland explained: “Sadie thought it only right and proper that her granddaughter’s best friend had a grandma, too. So I had a very Orthodox Jewish grandmother. Many people came to see her, and there was a lovely photograph of me and Cheryl on her mantelpiece.”

When visitors noticed the photographer, she said, they would ask: “‘Sadie, what’s this?’

“And she said: ‘It’s my granddaughter.’ ‘Gerald, does he know? How did it come about?’ “Sadie said, ‘Don’t ask...’”

Baroness Scotland, who became attorney-general in 2007, said she looked forward “with joy” to going to Jerusalem in January to give the Friends’ Annual Lionel Cohen Lecture at the Hebrew University.

“To be able to go to such a wonderful place at a time when we need comity and joint spirit is a very special thing indeed,” she said.

    Last updated: 4:42pm, November 26 2009