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Date: 2016
Abstract: The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem is attempting the first-ever demographic and genealogical study of a national Jewry as a whole, from its inception to the present day. This article describes the project, its aims, methodology and preliminary results. We use specially developed data retrieval methods that enable the access of available online sources, and we demonstrate that the extensive datasets we have generated are amenable to multidisciplinary analysis and interpretation. Utilising detailed information from the Scottish Census in 1841 till the 1911 Census (the most recent available under access regulations) and vital records from the middle of the nineteenth century to date, plus newly digitised Scottish newspaper and court records, a new and clearer picture of Scottish Jewry emerges. In presenting demographic and historical results already available from the study, we challenge some conventional perceptions of Scottish Jewry and its evolution.

By way of illustration, the article presents some of the preliminary demographic and historical results of the study, which challenge conventional wisdom. Among other things, the study reveals the migrant and transitory nature of the Jewish population in the nineteenth century and documents its stabilisation and eventual decrease in the twentieth century, on the basis of birth, marriage and death rates; and its dispersal throughout the country, beyond the major concentrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Hopefully, this study will serve as a model for other genealogical research into defined groups, religious or otherwise, at the national level.
Date: 2016
Abstract: Following the unprecedented number of antisemitic incidents in the summer
of 20141, the Scottish Government funded the Scottish Council of Jewish
Communities (SCoJeC) to carry out a small-scale inquiry into ‘What’s changed
about being Jewish in Scotland’ since our 2012 inquiry into the experience of
‘Being Jewish in Scotland’.
Our principal findings were:
- 38 respondents to our survey (32%) explicitly talked about a
heightened level of anxiety, discomfort, or vulnerability, despite not
having been directly asked.
- 20 respondents (17%) – many more than in 2012 – told us that they
now keep their Jewish identity secret.
- As a result there is less opportunity for Jewish people to develop
resilient and supportive networks and communities.
- 76% of respondents said that events in the Middle East have a
significant impact on the way they are treated as Jews in Scotland.
- 80% of respondents said that the events in the Middle East during
summer 2014 had negatively affected their experience of being
Jewish in Scotland.
- 21 respondents (18%) mentioned the raising of Palestinian flags
by some Local Authorities as having contributed to their general
sense of unease.
- 16 respondents (13%) told us that they no longer have confidence in
the impartiality of public authorities, including the police.
- Several respondents said that, for the first time, they were
considering leaving Scotland.
- Antisemitism in social media was a much greater concern than in
our 2012 inquiry.
- 12 respondents (11%) told us they found it difficult to find anything
good to say about being Jewish in Scotland.
Commenting on the preliminary findings of our inquiry into What’s Changed About
Being Jewish in Scotland, Neil Hastie, head of the Scottish Government Community
Safety Unit, said: “The emerging themes from this report are particularly valuable;
as is the data on how the international context can impact very palpably on the
experience of being Jewish in Scotland. There is much in this for us (and Ministers)
to consider.”
We are disturbed by the extent to which this inquiry shows that Jewish people’s
experience in Scotland has deteriorated as a result of the wider community’s
attitudes towards events in the Middle East. But despite the negativity and level
of discomfort expressed by many respondents, and the fact that some are, for
the first time, wondering whether they should leave Scotland, the vast majority of
Scottish Jews are here to stay, and we therefore welcome the Scottish Government’s
willingness to listen to the concerns of Jewish people in Scotland to ensure their
safety and well-being
Author(s): Frank, Fiona
Date: 2012
Abstract: This thesis casts new light on the immigrant experience, focusing on one extended Scottish Jewish family, the descendents of Rabbi Zvi David Hoppenstein and his wife Sophia, who arrived in Scotland in the early 1880s. Going further than other studies by exploring connections and difference through five generations and across five branches of the family, it uses grounded theory and a feminist perspective and draws on secondary sources like census data and contemporary newspaper reports with the early immigrant generations, oral testimony with the third and fourth generations and an innovative use of social networking platforms to engage with the younger generation. It explores Bourdieu’s theories relating to cultural and economic capital and the main themes are examined through the triple lens of generational change, gender and class. The thesis draws out links between food and memory and examines outmarriage and ‘return inmarriage’. It explores the fact that antisemitic and negative reactions from the host community, changing in nature through the generations but always present, have had an effect on people’s sense of their Jewish identity just as much as has the transmission of Jewish identity at home, in the synagogue, in Hebrew classes and in Jewish political, educational, leisure and welfare organisations. It makes an important link between gendered educational opportunities and consequent gendered intergenerational class shift, challenges other studies which view Jewish identity as static and illustrates how the boundary between ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ is blurred: the Hoppenstein family offers us a context where we can see clearly how insider and outsider status can be self-assigned, ascribed by others, or mediated by internal gatekeepers.
Date: 2015
Abstract: This short term study into people’s experiences of being Jewish in Scotland has been
carried out by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) and funded by the
Community Safety Unit of the Scottish Government. The inquiry was a direct response to
the large increase in the number of antisemitic incidents in Scotland in the third quarter of
2014. This increase came as an unwelcome shock, not only to the Jewish Community, but
to civil society at large. The terrorist incidents in Paris and in Copenhagen that deliberately
targeted Jewish people occurred during the course of the inquiry, and these also affected
people’s feelings about being Jewish in Scotland.
This new study has enabled us to go back to many of the people who contributed to our
2012 Being Jewish in Scotland inquiry to ask whether, and if so, how and why, their
experiences and opinions have changed. It has also reached a significant number of
additional participants around Scotland.
We have gathered data through a combination of online and paper surveys, focus groups,
and informal discussions at events in locations throughout Scotland. We know from our
experience of running the initial inquiry, that when we hold events to discuss the
experience of being Jewish, especially outside the larger Jewish communities in the central
belt, these events and activities themselves serve to provide support and reassurance, and
build a sense of community and engagement.
We are currently preparing a detailed report of responses to the inquiry, and a special
edition of our quarterly newsletter Four Corners will be published around the end of April.
The present report outlines the methodology, summarises the main themes that are
emerging, and gives a flavour of the findings of the inquiry.
Date: 2013
Author(s): Borowski, Ephraim
Date: 2010