This will be my final update for the JLC, as I am off to pastures new. As such, I would like to update you on my two key work streams. Firstly, on political outreach I have continued to build and deepen relationships between the community and political figures. I recently attended a meeting with the Home Secretary, the MP for East Renfrewshire Paul Masterton, and a group of religious leaders from across the West of Scotland. In my time at the JLC I have met with and built connections with dozens of politicians and civic figures from all levels of government. The relationships that I have initiated will be sustained and built upon by the community in the future. An example of the usefulness of such relationships between the community and political figures is the Shalom Festival. The organisers and I lobbied a variety of senior politicians to ensure their support for the Shalom Festival, an event that was a huge success and attracted national and international media attention. This support is invaluable to giving credibility to the event, which I know will go from strength to strength.
Secondly, we are continuing to advance in community co-ordination. There has been tremendous progress on events to mark the Balfour Declaration in Scotland. In my capacity as chair of the Balfour Sub-Committee I, along with others, have been able to advance to late stages the commemoration plans. The Cross-Party Group on Building Bridges with Israel will host a marquee meeting, and the live-stream of Simon Schama’s London lecture on Balfour has been planned. I am now working to secure broad and senior political support and endorsements for the Scottish events.
The fortnightly Community Co-Ordination Conference Call with community leaders and Israel advocates from across Scotland which I initiated and chair continues to provide a much-needed rhythm of communication between those who work on the community’s key issues across Scotland and a forum for the sharing of key information between these groups. I recently represented the community at a stakeholder consultation event for the Scottish Government’s upcoming hate crime awareness campaign, and will represent the community at the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Race Equality.
On another note, the recent flooding at the Aberdeen Synagogue remains a matter of great concern for the community. The number of Jews in Aberdeen is modest, and the amount that they must raise in order to continue to have a place of worship is large. This community has had a very difficult time in recent years, being as they have subject to a great deal of hostile and antisemitic conduct. Any support that individuals or organisations could provide would be warmly appreciated by both the Aberdeen and broader Scottish Jewish community.
In all my work it has been a pleasure to work closely with the Scottish Council on Jewish Communities and the Glasgow Representative Council on a wide range of day-to-day issues. The work that they do is invaluable to the community, and, as is often behind the scenes, they do not always get the credit they deserve for their hard work. Similarly, the commitment of my JLC colleagues to advancing the interests of the community is unparalleled.
I have enjoyed my time working with at the JLC and will always hope to call myself a friend of the community.