Community

There have been Jews in Scotland since at least the 17th century, coming initially in ones and twos to study at Scotland's famed universities and then in increasing numbers through the 19th and into the 20th centuries as persecution in Eastern Europe made Jewish life increasingly precarious.

While maintaining its particular traditions, the Jewish community prided itself in the way it quickly became immersed in Scottish society. The religious, educational and welfare institutions established were expressions of communal confidence - and confidence in Scotland. Jews had arrived in a land that uniquely for Europe had no history of state-sanctioned antisemitism.

Jews soon became the largest non-Christian minority, a clan of the Mosaic persuasion added to the mosaic of Scotland.

The sons and daughters of the Scottish Jewish community have gone on to make significant contributions in their fields, producing scientists and doctors, judges and MPs, artists and writers - and farmers and foresters, and kilt makers and whisky distillers!

It remains a small community, at its height never more than 16,000, yet big in spirit, with a breadth of activity that makes it seem many times larger.

Jews came to Scotland seeking refuge - and found a home.


Michael Mail

Rabbi about to say the Kiddush at a Bat Mitzvah - a photograph which forms part of Judah Passow's Scots Jews touring exhibition.