Stephanie Brickman

New head for Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

By Stephanie Brickman, July 1, 2010

Dundee academic Paul Spicker is the new head of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities.

The professor of public policy at Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University says that as a former Dundee Hebrew Congregation chair, he brings to the role the experience of dealing with the problems of a small community. "SCoJeC has been a wonderful support to Dundee and I hope we'll be able to reach out more to people across Scotland."

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Glasgow planning for Jewish future

By Stephanie Brickman, July 1, 2010

A community planning expert has addressed a Glasgow meeting on the way forward for local Jewry.

Jerusalem-based Simon Caplan produced a 1995 report on the community's future and was also behind major Jewish planning initiatives in Herts, Brighton and Liverpool.

At Monday's Community Futures meeting, organised by Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, he stressed the importance of using modern communication methods to create a supportive structure.

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Scotland's only Jewish school

By Stephanie Brickman, June 17, 2010

In close on 50 years, Scotland's sole Jewish primary school, Calderwood Lodge, has been at heart of Glasgow Jewry, educating most of its children.

Now, with new head Vanessa Thomson at the helm, the state-aided school is searching for fresh ways of promoting itself to both Jewish and non-Jewish parents. And like Jewish schools in other declining communities, it faces the dilemma of how best to preserve a Jewish ethos when numbers fall.

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UK's oldest Jewish man, 106, dies

By Stephanie Brickman, June 17, 2010

The man thought to be the UK's oldest Jew and the oldest man in Scotland died this week, aged 106.

Glasgow-born Samuel Latter passed away in Strachan House in Edinburgh, the residential home where he had lived for 10 years.

He was buried at Piershill cemetery on Tuesday next to his wife Flora.

Mr Latter was a member of Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation for 79 years.

His nephew Edward Green recalled him as "a bright and lively person. He will be remembered for his great sense of humour and his interest in all around him."

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Lawyer makes his case for Glasgow Jewish leadership

By Stephanie Brickman, June 17, 2010

Lawyer Eddie Isaacs is making a strong case for the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council under his presidency. "Without meaning to sound arrogant, I've got a lot to bring to the table."

Mr Isaacs, who took charge this week, is Glasgow born and bred. He has filled a variety of communal roles, which he says has prepared him for the challenges ahead, the biggest being the rep council's Community Futures Project.

This got off to a rocky start in January with a row over invitations to the preliminary meeting, an unwelcome distraction Mr Isaacs shrugs off as a misunderstanding.

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Keeping the faith in Dundee's Jewish community

By Stephanie Brickman, June 3, 2010

The patchy paintwork on the façade of the Dundee Synagogue building bears testimony to the clean-up operations after antisemitic daubings during the 1980s.

That was a tense time for the small Jewish community with Dundee twinned with Nablus and the PLO flag flying over the City Chambers. Local neo-Nazi factions took the link-up as a green light to target the synagogue and the community almost halved in 1984-85.

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Funding climbs for twinning

By Stephanie Brickman, June 3, 2010

Thirty UJIA supporters went on a climbing expedition in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday in support of a bar- and barmitzvah twinning project with Ethiopian Jews.

They scaled The Cobbler, otherwise known as Ben Arthur, which affords some spectacular views. Led by Steven Banks and Mark Tenby, the group completed the 884-metre hill climb in five hours.

Six Scottish families are among 21 from the UK participating in this year's twinning scheme, which pairs bar/batmitzvah celebrants with Ethiopian counterparts in Israeli absorption centres.

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Scottish Jewish groups row over racism

By Stephanie Brickman, June 3, 2010

A row is raging between two key communal organisations over the level of antisemitism in Scotland.

In a letter to the JC, Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum's Michael Samuel, Jeremy Stein and Tony Tankel expressed concern "at the repeated attempts of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities to exaggerate the threat of antisemitism, which will only cause harm to the interests of Jews living in Scotland".

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Scots seeking influential youngsters

By Stephanie Brickman, May 27, 2010

A Scottish government initiative to give young people the opportunity to influence decision makers is to include Jews for the first time.

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Glasgow synagogue concern over Masorti

By Stephanie Brickman, May 13, 2010

Concerns over the leasing of a room to Masorti Scotland at Garnethill's iconic Glasgow synagogue were voiced at an emergency meeting of the Garnethill congregation on Sunday.

The meeting - primarily to discuss the future of the struggling community - attracted half the 120 members, a turnout which delighted co-chair Gerald Lavin.

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Tory candidate attacked over Jewish school claim

By Stephanie Brickman, April 29, 2010

The Tory Parliamentary candidate for East Renfrewshire has been criticised for accusing the local Labour-led council of a "poverty of ambition" for Scotland's sole Jewish school.

Richard Cook claimed the council was sacking a child development officer at the Calderwood Lodge Primary's nursery.

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Rabbi Mark Solomon is new minister in Edinburgh

By Stephanie Brickman, April 29, 2010

Edinburgh's Liberal congregation, Sukkat Shalom, formally welcomed Rabbi Mark Solomon as minister at an induction ceremony on Sunday attended by 100 people.

The induction was performed by Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich and in his remarks, Rabbi Solomon stressed his pride at leading a congregation which involved itself in the wider community.

Representatives of other faiths and Labour politician Gavin Strang were among the guests.

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Minister denounces Masorti presence

By Stephanie Brickman, April 29, 2010

Another row is flaring over the establishment of a Masorti community in Glasgow with Garnethill minister Aharon Soudry criticising his synagogue council's decision to let out a room to Masorti Scotland.

Denouncing the move, Mr Soudry has urged Garnethill members to have nothing to do with the Masorti congregation. Masorti held its first Shabbat services at Garnethill at the weekend, followed by a joint kiddush between the two congregations, another move Mr Soudry opposes.

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East Renfrewshire: Election 2010

By Stephanie Brickman, April 22, 2010

The BNP's Gary Raikes has pulled out of the running for Renfrewshire East. According to a BNP spokesperson they have decided instead to concentrate on several seats in Aberdeenshire, Raikes's home turf.

The news was welcomed by community leaders such as Glasgow Jewish Representative Council President Philip Mendelsohn, who said: "I'm glad to hear that the BNP have withdrawn their candidate from the seat as it was clearly targeted at a constituency which has both a high Jewish and Muslim component. It was designed to be divisive in what is a very cohesive community."


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Glasgow rabbi steps up to perform at Independence Day

By Stephanie Brickman, April 22, 2010

Glasgow's very own guitar man stepped into the breach on Independence Day when the scheduled Israeli entertainers were stranded by the flight chaos.

Newton Mearns minister Rabbi Danny Bergson entertained the 300 guests at a party in Giffnock, with the musical assistance of Josh Cowan.

Face painting and cupcake decoration were among a variety of activities for children and families.

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Sheriff throws out concert protest case

By Stephanie Brickman, April 15, 2010

A Scottish sheriff has thrown out a case against five Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign protesters who disrupted a concert by an Israeli classical ensemble.

Five people, Michael (Mick) Napier, Neil Forbes, Sophia McLeod, Kevin Conner and Vanessa Fuertes, were arrested after disrupting a performance by the Jerusalem Quartet at the Edinburgh Festival in August, 2008. They shouted: "These are Israeli army musicians. Genocide in Gaza. End the siege of Gaza."

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Chai launches in Glasgow

By Stephanie Brickman, April 15, 2010

The support services of Chai Cancer Care are being extended through a partnership with Jewish Care Scotland.

A breast cancer awareness event in Glasgow addressed by emeritus professor of surgery Michael Baum will formally launch the collaboration next month. However, significant demand for the advice, counselling and therapies offered by Chai for patients and their families has already been identified north of the border.

It will work from the purpose-built Giffnock complex of Jewish Care Scotland, which currently supports a number of cancer sufferers.

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Protesters acquitted of Jerusalem Quartet 'abuse'

By Stephanie Brickman, April 12, 2010

A Scottish sheriff has thrown out a case against five Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign protesters who disrupted a concert by an Israeli classical ensemble.

Five people, Michael Napier, Neil Forbes, Sophia McLeod, Kevin Conner and Vanessa Fuertes, had been arrested after disrupting a performance by the Jerusalem Quartet during the Edinburgh Festival in August, 2008.

They shouted: “These are Israeli army musicians. Genocide in Gaza. End the siege of Gaza. End genocide in Gaza.”

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Masorti finds friend in Glasgow

By Stephanie Brickman, April 8, 2010

The launch of Masorti Scotland has infuriated some Glasgow Orthodox synagogue leaders, but the Garnethill congregation is adopting a welcoming approach. Not only has Garnethill agreed to let out a room to the new group - it is also giving Masorti use of its Torah scrolls.

Masorti will hold its first service in the Esterton room on April 24, after which Masorti supporters will join Garnethill congregants for a kiddush. Masorti's plan is to hold fortnightly services until June and then go weekly.

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New CEO for Jewish Care Scotland

By Stephanie Brickman, April 1, 2010

The new CEO of Jewish Care Scotland can vouch for the work of the charity, the largest communal organisation north of the border.

Suzanne Neville says that "in my family, I've had personal experience of the extent to which Jewish Care is a lifeline, when my late mother was ill. I feel I can contribute something to Jewish Care to help the team make a difference in people's lives."

The Glaswegian, who succeeds Ethne Woldman this month, is currently a director of People Matters, a development and communications company.

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