Glasgow Shul in the Park minister Rabbi Mendel Jacobs claims to have created the world’s first Jewish tartan.
Having consulted religious leaders and the Scottish Tartans’ Authority, Rabbi Jacobs set out to design a tartan which would reflect Scotland’s Jewish history. “As a Scottish-born rabbi, I felt it important to celebrate the rich tapestry of culture and history we share. Jews have been an integral part of Scottish culture for more than 300 years, with the first Jew recorded in Edinburgh in 1691.”
He added that when “England was burning and exiling its Jews in the Middle Ages, Scotland provided a safe haven from European antisemitism”.
The tartan’s colours, weave and threads were selected for their Jewish relevance. “The blue and white represents the colours of the Israeli and Scottish flag with the central gold line representing the gold from the Biblical Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and the many ceremonial vessels. The silver is from the decorations that adorn the Scroll of Law and the red represents the kiddush wine.”
It has been registered with the tartans’ authority, whose director Brian Wilton pointed out: “Belonging to the Jewish clan is very much like belonging to a tribe.”