Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre opens in Glasgow

The £500,000 project will showcase 200 years of Jewish life


The Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre has opened today in Glasgow’s Garnethill Synagogue, enabling visitors to learn about the Category A-listed building and the 200-year history and culture of Scottish Jewry.

The £530,000 project is a partnership between the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, Garnethill Synagogue Preservation Trust and the shul itself.

Features include new interpretative displays, a study room housing a specialist reference library, digital research resources and a school visit facility.

Major restoration and renovation work in the lower level of the synagogue has improved access to underused spaces.

New displays explore the period from 1933 to the 1950s when Scotland responded to events in Nazi Germany and took in a number of refugees.

School visitors will use interactive learning kits, based on Holocaust-era refugee collections. These follow the experiences of refugees Dorrith Sim (née Oppenheim), Ernst Marchand and Hilda Goldwag who fled Nazi Germany and occupied Europe, finding a safe haven in Scotland. Through their stories, students will be able to reflect on issues of citizenship, democracy, persecution and belonging.

All access is under Covid safe protocols.

Today also sees the launch of the Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre website ( which includes booking information.

Key to the development has been SJHC manager Kerry Patterson, who took up the post in April, and the recruitment and training of new volunteers.

“It’s been a long journey,” said delivery phase project director Deborah Haase.We started planning in 2014 and had some hold ups on the way when we had to find additional funds as repair works were more extensive than anticipated - then the Covid-19 lockdown.

“But all the capital funders and partners have been patient and so supportive. We now look forward to showing the contribution of the Jewish community to life in Scotland. There is something of interest to everyone here.”

To give the centre the best possible start, a small group led by delivery phase working group member Harvey Livingston and Scottish Jewish Archives Centre volunteer Jack Silverstone set themselves the challenge of raising £300,000 to fund the salary of the heritage centre manager and marketing and running costs for the first five years of operation after the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant expires. To date, pledges exceeding £280,000 have been secured.







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