Stephanie Brickman

Scotland: we must fight hate too

By Stephanie Brickman, December 23, 2010

Ken Macintosh, Labour MSP for Eastwood, a constituency in Glasgow with a sizeable Jewish community, has criticised the Scottish Parliament for taking a passive stance on antisemitism.

In particular, Mr Macintosh said he was concerned that there was no Scottish representation on the cross-government working group on antisemitism.

He said: "I would like to see us represented on the group, or at the very least to comment on its findings. It's a national initiative, so why don't we participate?"

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Shipman bill could lead to burial delays

By Stephanie Brickman, December 21, 2010

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) has asked the Scottish Parliament to make adjustments to a bill that could lead to distressing delays to burials.

The Certification of Death Bill is intended to tighten up existing procedures to ensure that crimes like those of Harold Shipman, the GP who murdered 15 elderly patients, are spotted sooner.

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Coffee keeps up Scottish spirits

By Stephanie Brickman, November 25, 2010

Fifteen young people who cleared litter, cleaned headstones and weeded at Glasgow's Glenduffhill and Sandymount cemeteries were fortified by coffee provided by a local Starbucks, whose staff also helped with the clean-up.

Other young community members collected food from shoppers at Giffnock's two kosher delis for distribution to a project for the homeless and served tea to Scottish Jewish Care clients.

The activities were co-ordinated by UJIA youth worker Jared Ross.

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Guilty plea to racist hate on Scotsman site

By Stephanie Brickman, November 11, 2010

A man has appeared for sentencing at Edinburgh's Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to posting antisemitic comments on the website of the Scotsman newspaper.

Mohammed Sandia, 45, who lives in Wembley, north west London, and draws incapacity benefit, posted comments referring to Jews as a "genetically mutated inbred tribe. Jews are not fit to breathe our air and should be attacked wherever we see them."

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BAE Systems stall row in Edinburgh University

By Stephanie Brickman, October 14, 2010

A group of student demonstrators failed to shut down a careers fair at Edinburgh University last week. The group of 12 assembled in front of a stall run by BAE Systems, a company that develops defence and security systems and employs 100,000 people.

The group, calling themselves Students for Justice in Palestine, yelled slogans including "Israel kills, BAE sells", before pretending to be dead in front of the stall. Police were called and the group was dispersed peacefully.

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Maccabi Scotland celebrates its 40th

By Stephanie Brickman, October 14, 2010

More than 250 people attended a reunion on Saturday night to celebrate Maccabi Scotland's 40th birthday.

The grand reunion attracted visitors from as far afield as Israel and France as well as from throughout the UK. The event was held in Maccabi Scotland's May Terrace premises and there were displays of archive materials. The first performance of the Maccabi School of Rock also took place at the event.

David Shenken, chair of the board, said: "The party was a success with all ages enjoying what we had on offer."

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Scots discuss minority issues

By Stephanie Brickman, October 7, 2010

Representatives of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities have met the Scottish Labour Party leader to brief him on communal issues.

At the meeting with Iain Gray MSP, which was attended by SCoJeC representatives Ephraim Borowski and Leah Granat as well as Ken Macintosh MSP for East Renfrewshire, concerns were expressed about the effect of the trend towards localisation on minority communities in general.

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Coalition cuts won't hit Scottish Holocaust scheme

By Stephanie Brickman, September 29, 2010

The Scottish government has confirmed that funding for sixth-formers to visit Auschwitz under the aegis of the Holocaust Educational Trust will survive any budgetary cutbacks.

MSPs have applauded the guarantee in a motion tabled by West of Scotland Conservative Jackson Carlaw.

"I know having talked to many pupils who have been to Auschwitz that it's a profoundly significant moment," Mr Carlaw said.

"It's having a very beneficial effect of a wider understanding among young people of just what racism can lead to in its worst form."

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Glasgow challenge for 'devoted' rabbi

By Stephanie Brickman, September 21, 2010

Support is gathering for Aharon Soudry, minister of Garnethill Congregation in Glasgow, who is currently serving three months' notice after 20 years in the congregation.

Sylvia Fisher, who has been a member of the Hill Street congregation since childhood, told the JC: "Morale in the congregation is very low, I would say more than 90 per cent of the congregation would like Aharon Soudry to stay. We were not consulted before the decision was taken."

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Glasgow school's flagship IT

By Stephanie Brickman, September 17, 2010

Glasgow's Calderwood Lodge Primary has unveiled an innovative computing project geared to making it a flagship IT school in Scotland.

"There's technology that allows you to have a shared classroom experience," explained parent council chair Tony Tankel. "If there is a superb Jewish history teacher somewhere in the world, he could teach children at Calderwood. This could be done using Skype or some more advanced technology.

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Outspoken minister ousted

By Stephanie Brickman, September 3, 2010

Glasgow's historic Garnethill Synagogue is dispensing with the services of its long-time minister because of his "unacceptable behaviour".

Aharon Soudry has worked for Garnethill on a freelance basis for 20 years and shul chairman Gerald Levin claimed there had been many instances where his behaviour had fallen short of the standards expected of a spiritual leader.

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Appealing Scots seek £70k for welfare

By Stephanie Brickman, September 3, 2010

Jewish Care Scotland hopes to raise £70,000 from its annual appeal to enable it "to continue to provide the services that the community wants and needs". Thousands of leaflets are being mailed to supporters and board members will make personal appeals in Glasgow shuls over the festival period.

A charity representative said: "This year is going to be particularly tough with the economic climate, a growing ageing population and a shrinking community. However last year's targets were held and services maintained."

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Frank poetry prize awarded

By Stephanie Brickman, August 26, 2010

The inaugural poetry prize in memory of Glasgow Jewish artist and sculptor Hannah Frank has been won by a Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue member.

Freelance writer Vanessa Austin Locke received her prize in the adult category at a ceremony at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on Monday. It would have been the 102nd birthday of the artist, who died, aged 100, in 2008. The competition, also reflecting Hannah Frank's interest in poetry, required entries inspired by one of her black-and-white drawings.

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Festival stars' shul show

By Stephanie Brickman, August 26, 2010

Singer songwriter Dean Friedman and award winning actor Jack Klaff were among the star attractions as Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation threw open its doors to Fringe Festival performers and visitors on Sunday.

Klaff performed a scene from his hit show Jack the Knife. Friedman played three numbers, including his worldwide smash Lydia and the lesser known A Million Matzah Balls. It had been "a pleasure to play for an audience that felt instantly familiar", he said.

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Glasgow fears over Israel vote

By Stephanie Brickman, August 20, 2010

Glasgow Jewry representatives used talks with city council leaders to voice disquiet about a motion passed by the council condemning the Israeli action against the flotilla to Gaza, in which nine Turkish activists died.

The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council president, Edward Isaacs, led a four person delegation at a meeting with city council leader Gordon Matheson and Bailie Liz Cameron, executive member for development.

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'Glee' chazan to launch new Glasgow service

By Stephanie Brickman, August 13, 2010

Masorti Scotland is transferring its operations from the historic Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow's West End to a scout hut in Newton Mearns.

But Masorti Scotland chair Warren Bader insists the move has nothing to do with initial difficulties at Garnethill, when some community members voiced concern that a Masorti presence might give the impression that Garnethill was no longer Orthodox.

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Shul agrees fast Yom Kippur finish

By Stephanie Brickman, August 13, 2010

Yom Kippur services will be the swansong for Glasgow's Netherlee, Clarkston and Queens Park Congregation, which is closing after 70 years.

Around 150 members at an EGM also discussed plans to sell the building, but this will not be formally approved until more details are known.

Assets such as stained glass windows and scrolls will be found new homes.

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Middle East peace talks come to Scotland

By Stephanie Brickman, July 22, 2010

Edinburgh has been hosting a summer school promoting dialogue and understanding between young Jews and Arabs in Israel and beyond.

The Windows for Peace project began as a magazine featuring letters young people wrote to one another and articles about their situations.This has now extended to two weeks of intensive workshops in a neutral country.

It is the second summer school to be held in Edinburgh and a prime mover has been Judy Sischy, director of the Scottish Council for Independent Schools and an Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation member.

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Glasgow shul closing after rabbi quits

By Stephanie Brickman, July 15, 2010

Netherlee, Clarkston and Queens Park Synagogue in Glasgow is to close after 70 years.

The move, expected for some time, is being finalised following the resignation of Rabbi Raphael Bokow after six years with the 250-member congregation. An EGM next month will determine both the closure date and the future of the synagogue building.

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Glasgow Jewish leaders' space for discussion

By Stephanie Brickman, July 8, 2010

In Glasgow it's just known as "The Blog" and is the scourge of the Jewish establishment because of anonymous contributors' frank and sometimes sarcastic criticism of community leaders.

But now the blog's hosts, the Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum, have extended an olive branch to representative council president Eddie Isaacs - an offer of 500 unedited words and a discussion space on the council's Community Futures project.

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