Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

Judaism, Morality and the Torah

Posted by Admin on March 24, 2008

Naftali Rothenberg: An Appropriate Jewish Response

naftali_picture.pngThe pain felt by the family and near environment of any murder victim is deep and traumatic. The murder of adolescents in an educational institution is horrifying. But a murder that takes place within the walls of the House of Study, the yeshiva, amplifies and extends the grief and suffering beyond the families that lost their dear ones and beyond the victims’ close surroundings. We immediately associate this slaughter with the picture that has become fixed in our minds, as Jews schooled in millennia of persecution: the bloodthirsty gentiles kill us as we stand in prayer in the synagogue and as we sit learning Gemara in the House of Study. In this old-new picture it is quite clear what symbolizes each side: we are symbolized by prayer and study; they are symbolized by the sword, the gun, and acts of violence. We sit in the tents of Shem and learn Torah, motivated by a moral drive, self-criticism, and a desire to repair the world. They engage in “Esau’s labor”, raining down the blood and fire of destruction on themselves and on us.

But as we delve deeper into our minds to agonize over this painfully sharp image of murder in the house of study, our field of view is blurred by other pictures that interfere with the age-old world order. A gang of Jewish fascists goes on the rampage in the neighborhood of the murderous terrorist; several hours later we are told, in the name of a leader of the Ultraorthodox Torah world, that yeshivot are forbidden to employee Arabs. At first sight these two Jewish reactions are quite unrelated: the band of neo-Kahanists is light-years removed from the Lithuanian world of Torah study; the person who informed the media of Rabbi Kanievsky’s opinion had no inkling that the riot and the ruling would be connected in the press and later in the public mind. The general public—both the sector that condemns these responses and the sector that sympathizes with them—perceives them as “religious Judaism’s reaction to the murder.” How do “religious Jews” react to the murder at the yeshiva? They take the law into their own hands and run amok in the neighborhood where the murder lived or cast collective guilt on all Arabs and call for dismissing them from their jobs and depriving them of their livelihood.

But we could also witness an appropriate Jewish response of another type, which rests on loyalty to the views of the Torah and halakhah, as recorded in the pages of the very books whose pages were perforated by the murderer’s bullets. We might hear that those of us who sit and learn in the House of Study adhere steadfastly to a moral position that begins by isolating violent murderers from all other human beings. We might hear that we clearly distinguish between the absolute majority of the Arab citizens of Israel and the violent murderers among them. As Jews we have a different language, which is not the language of force, a different language that is not based on violence.

Halakhah defines the right of minorities to live among us in peace and security, to determine their place of residence according to their needs and free choice, without posing a security threat to us and without our discriminating against them or harming them by deed or humiliating word. As with the modern return to Zion, it was also clear at the first return from Egypt that the future Jewish kingdom would include a non-Jewish minority. Halakhah states a fundamental principle about the residence of a non-Jew in the Land of Israel: “One does not let him settle on the frontier, or in an unhealthy place, but only in an attractive place, in the middle of the Land of Israel, where his crafts are marketable, as we read, ‘he shall live with you in any place he may choose among the settlements in your midst, wherever he pleases; you must not ill-treat him’ (Deut. 23:17)” (Tractate Gerim 3:4; see also Sifre Tetze). Halakhah established dependence between the right of residence and the right of livelihood and insisted on the right of minorities to move up to a better neighborhood if they wished to do so.

Developing from this statement of principle, the issue of the status of the non-Jewish minority in a Jewish state emerged as a broad and ramified halakhic topic, with implications for security, employment, workers’ rights, residential rights, welfare, commerce, agriculture, and industry, as well as for cultural ties and neighborly relations between Jews and non-Jews. The Torah lays down the precept that we must provide for the basic livelihood and welfare of both Jews and non-Jews who live in the Land of Israel and strenuously insists that we not infringe the status and rights of the minority. All social rights, the laws against fraud and withholding wages, apply to both Jews and non-Jews. Many halakhic texts indicate that the Torah sees itself as the guardian of the minority and is careful to emphasize and define its rights in detail, since, in the absence of a halakhic fence to defend the minority, the majority is apt to discriminate against it. According to the commentators, there are several reasons for this halakhic stance: (1) The acid test for the ethical nature of a Jewish majority society is how it treats minorities; or, in contemporary terms, if we want the State of Israel to be a Jewish nation state we must meticulously respect the status and rights of the non-Jewish minority among us. (2) As Jews we have long experience of life as a minority and must display understanding of the pain of the minority. In the words of Sefer Hahinnukh (By Maimonides’ disciple): “He reminded us that we have already been burned by that great pain, which is suffered by every human being who sees himself in the midst of strangers, … and we remember the great anxiety attached to this.”

The widespread public expectation that “religious” or “Ultraorthodox” Jews will conduct themselves in keeping with Jewish standards, that they will evince loyalty to the moral principles anchored in the precepts of the Torah, is manifested after every act of violence, corruption, or immorality in which “religious” people are involved. By the same token, what the two “Jewish” reactions mentioned above have in common is that they do not see the Torah as the source of obligatory moral behavior, whether toward ourselves or toward others. They do not believe that we have a duty to present a clear alternative to the terrorists and murderers, an obligation to tell them: “You murdered innocent people who were learning Torah; you desecrated a holy place. But you will not deprive us of our values and essence. You may cry ‘death to the Jews’ and go out and murder. We will not respond with ‘death to the Arabs,’ but with ‘he shall live with you’ and with ‘you must not ill-treat him.’ You want to get us to assign collective guilt, to persecute and discriminate against all the Arab citizens on your account. But we, who have been victims of such an indictment, will endeavor, even at the height of the war you are waging against us, to improve the lot of the Arabs who live with and among us in peace.”

Rabbi Professor Naftali Rothenberg is a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Rabbi of Har Adar.

241 Responses to “Judaism, Morality and the Torah”

  1. Community Member said

    If my memory serves me correctly this is the Rabbi that was at best ignored and at worst completely snubbed by the Orthodox Glasgow Jewish Community when he visited our city last spring.
    It occurs to me and I’m sure to many others that the Glasgow Community would have benefited from hearing this guy and our Rabbis in particular may have then been able to articulate a moral humanitarian response consistent with Torah rather than the message that we have been spun .
    Mayble if GJEF were to bring Rabbi rothenberg again the Orthodox Community would try and be there but somehow I doubt it.

  2. Al Chet said

    My informants tell me that the good Rabbi down Giffnock way has been having a pot shot at The Tel Aviv University Committee for using a non kosher caterer at their recent function. Sympathetic as I am to the Rabbi’s viewpoint, he has the wrong organisation in his sights. They are made up of communal lightweights, playing at being pseudo intellectuals once a year. The real villains of the piece are the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council and their groupies who recently hosted the Israeli Ambassador to a non kosher Friday night dinner. Actually, let’s not mess around with euphemisms, the Rep Council stuffed the Ambassador with good old fashioned treife. I am rather bemused as to whether this was done in the presence of the Shabbat candles and which illustrious member benched and thanked the almighty for the treife and cholent… and how many communal dignitaries walked out rather than be associated with such blatant hypocrisy?

  3. Rep Council Delegate said

    I read this blog regularly but don’t post very often.
    The post by Al Chet I hope cannot be correct. I know several members of the Council’s Executive and I cannot believe that they would have organised an event for the Israeli Ambassador and not used the Kosher Caterer. I know you never know what individualdsdo privately but some of these people are well known for their religious associations.
    Can someone please confirm exactly what happened and who was there. I would also like to know who supplied the Friday night dinner.
    If this story is incorrect there are likely to be considerable ramifications against this blog.
    On the other hand if this story is true……………………!

  4. A Beitz said

    Congratulations to Rabbi Rothenberg for reminding us that the religious can provide moral guidance.
    Now on another topic. Did anyone else feel uncomfortable with the article by Michael Gove (Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families) in this week’s JC? The article was entitled “Muslim schools need better controls” It was not even so much the content, which was sycophantic to Jews and critical of Muslims , but the fact that it appeared in a Jewish newspaper.
    Why did this politician consider the JC to be an appropriate forum for his views? One suspects unfortunately it was because he felt that an article knocking Muslims might gain votes from the Jewish community. After all if the topic was of major importance why did he not place it in a mainstream newspaper or even better in a Muslim one?
    It left me with a nasty taste and not one caused by a non kosher Friday night dinner.

  5. Itzhak said

    Surprised that you were surprised Beitzy that such an article appeared in the JC.
    Ask about and you will discover that many in our community hold views which are to be blunt – awful – about Moslems. Rabbi Rothenberg’s contribution is very welcome.
    His words about how Jews should behave should be amplified from every pulpit in our city this weekend and repeated until everyone understands this message loud and clear.
    So come on local Rabbonim, I challenge you – will you do it?
    Will you give some moral direction?

  6. Armchair Analyst said

    It seems to me Itzchak that there are those who have awful views about Muslims in general and those who have awful views about Jews in general. These are the blinkered bigot brigade.

    Jews are under no obligation to behave like frightened rabbits towards any persons out to harm or kill them for being Jewish. Neither are Muslims. But what if there are segments out to harm or kill you for being ‘Zionist’? – or Muslim ‘Anti-Zionist’ for that matter? It gets a little tricky…

  7. Itzhak said

    Armchair Analyst – Did you read Rabbi Rothenberg’s comments or did you just hit the submit button too quickly?

  8. Man in the Know said

    A little birdie has just come and told me that the Rep Council Friday night dinner for the ambassador was hosted at the home of a certain Mr Paul Edlin – remember him everybody. The caterer used was not Doreen Cohen but a Mrs Stern ( non Kosher for those interested) and there were invited guests including the heads of some other communal organisations.

  9. Ever Confused said

    Am I to understand that there was no one with a kosher home, nobody who understood the traditions of Friday willing and able to host the Ambassador. Edlin may not understand the needs of a kosher home, but surely there must be someone on the Rep Council who enjoys a traditional Friday night. Maybe not, maybe its just a front for all of them.
    Surely, someone could have explained to Edlin what was necessary and shown him how simple it was to welcome in the Sabbath in an acceptable manner. There is absolutely no excuse for ignorance nowadays.

  10. Another one in the Know said

    It could be a little unfair to blame it all on one guy – let’s have an explanation from some members of the Rep Council. My informants tell me that the following have an involvement with the Council

    Philip Mendelsohn – President
    Eddie Isaacs – Vice President
    Graham Sneader – Treasurer
    Hon President – Kenneth Collins
    Past President – Stephen Kliner
    Committee Member – Karen Levy

    There may be more.
    Perhaps one of these people will tell us what went on at Chez Edlin the night the ambassador came to town.

  11. shul bulletin reader said

    I know what, why doesn’t that guy Mendelsohn write another of his famous inserts in the shul bulletins this coming Pesach. He can make up for the last one when he made a real clot of himself (I hear you muttering that he already was one) by telling us the truth instead of some fanciful vision he has that is far from reality. Let’s remove all the nonsense he might dream up, all the excuses before he makes another big mistake.
    So Mr President, don’t try “It was a private function, nothing to do with us” because Mr President, it wasn’t a private function and its had everything to do with you”
    And Mr President don’t try “no kosher caterer was availlable” because there was one in Manchester.

    “We couldn’t afford it ” do I hear you wail. Don’t do that Mr President cos you could. Plenty of brown noses out there willing to stump up a few quid to schmooze with RP.

    What I’m saying Mr President, its OK eating a few porkies, but don’t start telling them.

  12. A Beitz said

    I find this whole scenario quite unbelievable. The ambassador of the Jewish State is invited for dinner by the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council. They have it catered. Yet they don’t use a kosher caterer! Did the ambassador know he was having a meal catered by a caterer who is not acceptable to the Orthodox Batei Din? If so is it normal for the ambassador when on official business to eat under the auspices of a caterer who is not acceptable in Orthodox circles? Is this approved of by the Israeli government in general and the religious parties in particular? Is it really acceptable for a body purporting to represent the community, including its religious bodies, to use a non kosher caterer? What do the shuls think? What is the view of the Board of Deputies about its Vice Chairman hosting an event for the Israeli Ambassador with a non kosher caterer?
    Kosher food is still easily available within the Glasgow Jewish Community even if the excellent Doreen Cohen is otherwise engaged. A certain Lubavitch Rabbi would no doubt have gladly opened his restaurant for a distinguished visitor and others.
    Of course it may be that this story is entirely untrue or at least did not involve the Representative Council but merely the Board of Deputies man up north. I think we should be told.

  13. Rep Council Delegate said

    I understand from sources within the Council that the President has spent many hours on the phone today trying to work out his strategy for damage limitation.
    No one so far is prepared to take the rap but I would predict a couple of resignations before the week is out.

  14. emet said

    On one level it is odd-but on another unless the Iraeli was kosher (and many could not care less) then actually there was no compulsion to offer him kosher food-so for me the 64000 shekel question is was he asked if he needed supervised food -was he asked if he didn’t need supervised food if home made kosher was acceptable and what did he say.
    Also if he was lead to believe that Binnie was beth din approved then why was this so and if he knew she wasn’t but was lead to believe she was “kosher ” with a small “k” who mislead him ?
    Binnie is a fine caterer-but supervised she is not although I don’t know if she follows kashrut in any event for her jewish punters-anyone know ?

  15. History Man said


    I don’t think it matters whether the Israeli Ambassador is or isn’t personally kosher, when he’s on official business. And it’s the usual principle for communal functions that no one should be made to feel they can’t take part, food-wise, so it should be the highest common denominator.

    What any of us do at home or outside on a personal basis is not really relevant here.

    Also wonder whether he went to shul on Friday night and walked to Mr Edlin’s?

  16. Al Chet said

    I agree. It is completely irrelevant whether the Israeli Ambassador is Kosher, Shomer Shabbat or whatever. We are talking about an official function on behalf of the Community , though whether these particular people were fit for the job is now questionable. The community has been badly let down and the least Mr Mendelson can do is apologise on behalf of his group openly and without reservation. If he cannot do that, if he thinks the actions of his committee were justified then I suggest he considers his position carefully because no amount of damage limitation notices will be a compensation for integrity.

  17. Armchair Analyst said

    Itzchak, I’ll quantify my train of thought by posing a hypothetical question:

    You live in a shtetl, anywhere. A gang of Cossacks or their ilk rides up, looting raping murdering and pillaging. What does Rabbi Rothenberg imply that the Halakhah instructs you should or should not then do in response?

  18. A Beitz said

    Armchair Analyst are you not able to differentiate between self defence, which would not be at odds with Rabbi Rothenberg’s piece, and retaliation aggravated by naked racism?
    Putting it another way some of the Orthodox community were very close to becoming those Cossacks in their response.

  19. Armchair Analyst said

    Beitz, I understand retaliation aggravated by naked racism very clearly, and its similarity to the recent Jerusalem incident.

    But if the ‘Cossacks’ had visited and you were unable to defend yourself, what are you then expected by Halakha to do? Report the incident to the Tsar/government of the day? Turn the other cheek? Tell them you’re better than them? Emigrate?

  20. Rep Council Senior Statesman said

    I don’t like blogs in general and I don’t like this one in particular.
    The constant attacks on the Representative Council are unacceptable.
    But I feel I now have to come on the blog and give my opinion due to the current furore.
    The reputation of the Council has been built up over many years and I have always viewed the office bearers as custodians of the Council’s reputation.
    Unfortunately, this evening with the ambassador has brought the Council into disrepute and as I have explained to other senior colleagues there is little alternative but for the 3 executive officers – Philip Mendelsohn ( President), Edward Issacs ( Vice President) and Graham Sneader ( Treasurer) to resign. They should resign because this has happened under their watch and whether they were for it or against it or ambivalent they must now take the blame and allow the Council to go forward under new leadership.
    I trust that this will now clarify the position of one senior statesman and a few more.
    Thank you.

  21. Phil Space said

    So that’s all right then, senior statesman has spoken. Not much contrition though.

    The Glasgow Jewish Representative Council’s website lists the following council officers:

    President: Philip Mendelsohn
    Hon President: Kenneth E Collins
    Vice President: Edward Isaacs
    Hon Treasurer: Graham M Sneader

    Past Presidents:
    Kenneth Davidson
    J Phillip Jacobson
    Stephen I Kliner
    Arthur Lawson
    Harvey M Livingston
    Jack E Miller
    Walter Sneader
    Henry I Tankel
    Dianna Wolfson

    Management Board:
    Paula Cowan, Paul Edlin, Miriam Jackson, Karen Levy, Sharon Schlesinger,
    Sandra Silverdale and the Hon Officers.

    The real questions are who attended knowing that the catering was treife?
    Who didn’t attend because the catering was treife?
    And who was not aware of the dinner?

    Surely all of those who answer “me” to the first & second question should resign.

    Why should the gang of three carry the can so that “one senior statesman and a few more” can continue in office?

    The community must elect representatives with integrity and derech eretz who are fit to speak on behalf of the Jewish community of Glasgow and West of Scotland.

  22. Eaterouter said

    I don’t understand these people. I couldn’t give a damn for kosher or non kosher or treife. I do care deeply for my friends and I respect their beliefs no matter how quaint, misguided and superstitious they appear to me. One or two of my closest friends are kosher and I would do nothing in my home or anywhere for that matter where I was responsible that would jeopardise our friendship and my regard for them.
    Call me old fashioned for obviously those that purport to lead this Community have no qualms about what they serve at their table and whom they invite to the table whether it be private or public.

  23. Gordon Ramsay said

    What was the menu at Mr Edlin’s Rep Council night out? Does anyone know?

  24. emet said

    Prediction-it won’t make the press-the rep coucil will say nothing-nothing will change-none of them have the balls to come on and put their side of the story.
    Pathetic but it doesn’t really matter because they are of no real consequence anyway.
    Maybe I’ll email the Ambassador and ask him myself-anyone got his details ? I’ll explain to him the controversy and direct him to this blog-I’m sure his pr people would be interested.I’m sure the jew haters who write to the Herald would also love to attack the double standards and use it to attack our colletice integrity when debating Gaza etc.

  25. Rep Council Senior Statesman said

    Oh Emet it has changed already. I and my colleagues are well aware that the current executive have tarnished the reputation of a once esteemed organisation.
    As I said yesterday we expect resignations. And I believe we will get them.
    Please give Mr Mendelsohn, Mr Isaacs, and Mr Sneader the opportunity to do the decent thing before going to the ambassador or the press.
    Surely Kenneth or Dianne – fine people – will have the clout to force the issue.?
    They must be mortified like we are all.

  26. Helpful Harry said

    Israeli Embassy 0207-957-9500
    Ask to be put through to the ambassador Roni Prossor

    Email –

    or press office

    Tell them you are Mr Paul Edlin and you will be put straight through ( Not)

  27. Phil Space said

    Eh, Mr Rep Council Senior Statesman why didn’t Kenneth & Dianna use their clout before the dinner? And please tell us are the Past Presidents who attended the dinner amongst the mortified? And will they also do the right thing and resign? So many questions and as usual no answers.

  28. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,
    As you will have realised I very rarely comment on other postings in the blog. This week I would like to make the exception as I would like to endorse the article written by Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg.
    I applaud the Rabbi for having both the vision and humanity to speak out and let everyone know that there is a humane moral voice to be heard from Orthodox Judaism. This voice as I have discussed is so rarely heard here in the UK and we need it to be, more and more.
    I would deliberately like to keep my comments short this week and instead I ask you all to read Rabbi Rothenberg’s essay and if you have already read it please read it again.
    If you discuss this subject with other members of the community please ask them to read this essay and ask them whether they realised that an Orthodox Rabbi could have written such things.
    Very often I am troubled by what I hear has been said by some Rabbi in the Orthodox camp.
    This week I am proud. And I think that says everything that needs to be said.
    Have a wonderful and peaceful Shabbat

    Shabbat Shalom

  29. Ex delegate said

    I wonder if History Man could let us know if any previous executive officers of the Rep Council have had to resign in disgrace.
    Also, perhaps he could let us know if there have been any instances of members of the Executive resigning due to matters of principle.
    That may help a certain Dr Collins and Mrs Wolfson decide what they should do.

  30. Armchair Analyst said

    This is a tempest in a teapot, and frankly most unedifying. Who cares if some cleric’s nephew inspected the dishes at a private dinner party at Mr. Edlin’s. The only problem would arise if the Ambassador himself or those attendees who are strictly K were actually invited under false pretences, and even then it can be argued that it’s an internal matter. After all the event was not held on behalf of Scottish Friends of Strictly Kosher.

    Do we not have more important matters to engage ourselves in?

  31. Not Another Macher said

    Well it certainly matters if Rep Council funds were used to pay

  32. Armchair Analyst said

    Does it matter NAM, unless Rep. Council funds must be spent only on strictly Kosher food under the written Rep. Council rulebook?

  33. Not Another Macher said


    – it would mean it was under the auspices of the Rep Council and not a private meal
    – those funds are partly made up from the subscriptions of the member organisations, many of whom
    would not agree to their money being spent on non-kosher food.

  34. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Yes Mr Analyst it does matter and it matters very much. You appear to have missed the very point of what is going on. It really has little to do with Kashrut itself or who says what magic spell over the kugle. These supposed leaders set themselves up as the guardians of community values and it is they who set the standards by which they are to be judged.
    I care little whether government ministers are monogamous, bigamous, polygamous lesbian gay or any combination of all. However, when they dabble in such delights and at the same time appear before the nation with straight faces preaching Victorian values then I say “get thee gone”.
    And so it is with Mr Mendelsohn and his committee. It is irrelevant if you or I stand up and rubbish Kashrut. Let Mr Mendelson state categorically that Kashrut is nonsense, let him say that the food provided at the Friday night dinner for the Ambassador in the home of someone who once had (maybe still has) delusions of high communal office is not of community interest. Let him clarify the secular nature of his organisation and justify his failure to be all inclusive.
    Mr Mendelsohn has made it quite clear in the past that he is not answerable to this blog. That may be so but he is answerable to the questions raised on this blog and they have to be addressed. They will not go away and delay will only compound the problem.
    If he does address the issue then he might just begin show to some signs of leadership. Failing that he will be another living proof of “Nachman’s Law” and I say to him “Lech Lecho”

  35. Armchair Analyst said

    OK NAM and Nachman, you filled me in, and now I understand better the links involved here. So for me it’s now it’s now down to, did Mr. Bumble use Rep. Council funds to pay for this dinner, or did he plunk it out of his own pocket?

  36. Ex Delegate said

    Quite simply if Dianne Wolfson and Kenneth Collins do not speak out and if there are no resignations from the Council then we can only assume that they condone this behaviour.
    Perhaps Henry Tankel might also want to give his opinion. Never shy of telling this community what he thinks is right or wrong, it is about time that he spoke up now. I might have thought that Walter Sneader might have something to say as well but perhaps he is waiting for his son to speak up first.
    I’m thinking of calling the Embassy as well. I want to know if the ambassador knows what is going on and if he would like to comment.
    This is an issue about judgement and if no one within the Council can see that then the entire organisation’s credibility is completely shot.

  37. A Beitz said

    Seems to me the situation is quite simple. If Ron Prosor is a personal friend of Paul Edlin’s inviting him to his house and asking some friends for a non kosher meal is in order. If on the other hand Mr Prosor would not have been a guest were he not the Israeli Ambassador then the invitation was to the ambassador in the envoy’s official capacity and it is quite unacceptable to provide non kosher food. That applies even if Mr Prosor does not care about kashrut.
    Equally if those attending were all people who might normally be invited to Dr Edlin’s house socially I would accept that points more towards a private function. However how many of the those who went were people who had previously had Dr Edlin as a guest or been to his house?

  38. Phil Space said

    Interesting post Mr Beitz, but who is going to answer your question.

    You appear to have an analytical mind so perhaps you might have a view on this set of circumstances.
    A high profile Israel fund raising charity will be holding a golf tournament in a couple of month’s time. The tournament will be held at a local golf club – not Jewish in the sense that Maccabi is a Jewish club – but interestingly enough the actual course is owned by a trust on behalf of Jewish golfers resident in or within 100 miles of the City of Glasgow and which trust is included as a community organisation in the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council’s Year book.
    Anyway as you would expect the golfers will get hungry and as you would also expect from an Israel fund raising charity known for organising lavish dinners there will be food & snacks provided on course during play and then there will be a dinner in the clubhouse at the end of the day’s play.
    An insider has told me that the catering will not be kosher because most of the players will not be Jewish.

  39. Give Us A Clue said

    Point of info Mr Space, but the catering at the club in question has not been Kosher for a good number of years. However, I don’t think the compettion is being run under or by the Rep Council which is the official(?) Jewish representative organisation in Glasgow and they should be leading from the front don’t you think?

  40. Liberal Larry said

    What private clubs like Bonnyton do is their business. No one elses. Full stop.
    What the Rep Council do is the community’s business.
    Next the Rabbis will want to inspect our food receipts to check what we eat.
    And then they will ask that our women wear veils.
    And don’t scoff – letters go home at Calderwood telling parents to dress their children modestly.
    Five year olds no less!

  41. A Beitz said

    Whilst I would agree that what private clubs do is their business (as I understand it Bonnyton is a club at which Jews and others play rather than a Jewish golf club)if JNF/KKL/The Peoples Front For Judea/The Judean Peoples Front are having a function which is partly or mainly aimed at the Jewish community then there should be kosher catering. It is slightly strange for there to be criticism of an organisation for having a race day at which kosher food will be available by special request yet to say it is ok for another one to have a completely non kosher event at Bonnyton. In both cases some of those attending will be Jewish and the organisations are part of the Glasgow Jewish community. Personally I would find it perfectly acceptable if a Jewish organisation is holding an event aimed both at Jews and non Jews if it offers alternatives including vegetarian, kosher and hallal. That way no one is prevented from attending which after all is what it should be.
    Going back to the Friday night dinner that was solely for Jews and was at least quasi official and presumably meant either the invite list was limited, some of those going didn’t know what they were getting or some people couldn’t attend.

  42. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    To put it bluntly, Beitzie, there were those present on the Friday night in question who were there only because of their communal position. Furthermore, they were well aware of the status of their invitation so lets not beat about the bush. They are all in it together. All we want is to know that out there, there exists just one so called leader, just one with the integrity to put his/her hands up and say to this community, “Sorry, got it wrong.”

  43. Phil Space said

    Mr Beitz, although I’m not that way inclined myself I don’t have a problem with there being a vegetarian option. Don’t agree with your idea about offering a hallal option though since our Muslim friends are able eat kosher without compromising their religious dietary rules. By the way which organisation is having the race day?
    Posts 39 & 40 appear to have missed my point. Bonnyton is the venue in the same way that the Hilton Hotel has been a venue.
    If a Jewish organisation is holding a function whether aimed exclusively for, partly for or even not at all for Jews the catering must be kosher.

  44. A Beitz said

    Don’t disagree with you Nachman.
    Mr Space you are generally correct although not always on the point of kosher being acceptable for halal. If there is alcohol, of even a miniscule amount, it will not be acceptable. So chicken in a wine sauce is out as would anything in which there is a (kosher) wine vinegar.

  45. Miriam said

    For goodness sake Beitz, get a life. You seem fixated with either Lubavitch or Kosher Food.
    With all the problems in the world surely we should move on.
    Perhaps you and Nachman and Phil Space could form a nerds society to discuss Kosher minutiae.

  46. Helpful Harry said

    Given the 3 characters’ interest in Kosher Food, Miriam, they may wish to be tutored in this art by a certain Lubavitch Rabbi in the city, known as Rabbi Chaim, Gordon, Ramsey Jacobs?

  47. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Miriam, I made it quite clear that I considered Kashrut not to be the real problem, only the symptom. It was integrity and transparency, a dearth of which in this community is a signal to anyone with talent and vision to look elsewhere. Thus we are left with the second raters and brown noses who are absent when speakers of interest and intelligence come to the community, but will sell their souls for a mess of treife at the feet of the ambassador.

    Of course there are greater threats and problems in the world, but if we cannot solve this one, what chance the others?

  48. Macher Watcher said

    Don’t waste your time, Phil. It is one of the care organisations. Their answer will be, “many of our clients aren’t Jewish. We’re appealing to non Jews for support. They don’t understand Kosher. ” This is of course rationalization by possible sleeze merchants who strut the Jewish stage wearing their Jewish Care credentials on their sleeve when it suits them. They change hats at ease and assume the role of community guardians with just as much ease. However, scratch off the veneer of civilisation which in their case is oh so thin, and you find ……I dread to think any further.

  49. A Beitz said

    A bit harsh, Macher Watcher. Many of those volunteeering for and working for the care organisations are unsung individuals who do great work for the community. If this community had no representative council and no SCOJEC it would make little difference to virtually no one except those involved in these organisations. If it had no Jewish Care, Cosgrove, Westacres, Burnfield, Walton Ct, Barrlands etc it would be devastating for literally thousands in the community who benefit directly or indirectly.
    The fact that there may be the odd error made or someone you don’t like in the welfare organisations is not a justification for serious criticism. If, as I suspect, you’re referring to Richard Desmond his involvement is not with any of the Glasgow organisations or indeed any linked body.

  50. Mr Accurate said

    Macher watcher does not even realise that Jewish Care is not the same as Cosgrove Care.
    I’m not that bothered but in the interests of fairness and accuracy it should be noted that Jewish Care have ensured for many years that the food supplied to their customers is 100% Kosher. They even subsidised a Kosher restaurant in the city for years.
    So let’s not generalise please. If you are upset with Cosgrove, call them Cosgrove, but keep organisations who play by the rules, out of it.
    Maybe we should move on now. Alastair Falk is coming to Glasgow this week and I understand from an e-mail sent to me by GJEF and UJIA that he is one of the foremost if not the experts in Jewish education and Jewish schools in the UK today. Im sure every Rabbi in the city will be present – every Cheder teacher, Chaim and Mrs Jacobs, Rabbi Bamberger and of course all Calderwood Jewish Education committee members and several members of staff from Calderwood Lodge.
    I’m sure also that many Jewish youth workers will be there, and representatives from Maccabi and JLGB who of course say they are interested in Jewish education.
    I would also expect that the student chaplain will turn up to hear an expert in Jewish education because he must be interested in this.
    And I’m sure the aforementionned Mr Mendelsohn and his pals on the Rep Council will be there because as leaders of the Council they will I’m sure be interested in Jewish education, won’t they?
    And no doubt the members of Shul committees throughout the community must have an interest in this subject, given that Jewish education is what we hear them talking about so often.
    And those that tell everyone how they run children services will I’m sure turn up as well because Jewish education is what this is about as well, isn’t it?
    This meeting will attract all of these people I’m sure.
    I hope so bececause if they are not there in numbers then questions will be asked.
    Now Nachman, Beitzy , Phil Space, Macher Watcher etc, I will hope you will ” out ” the guilty parties if necessary after this meeting.

  51. Curious said

    Can someone please confirm who is organising this meeting on Jewish education. I’m still trying to work out how GJEF seem to be bringing a UJIA employee to Glasgow, to talk about Jewish schools and Jewish education in Calderwood Lodge School Hall.

  52. F R Brent said

    Has anyone heard the rumour about the new group, being started up by someone who has been involved in the community, to forward plan for the future? I believe it’s going to be known as Secure Our Destiny – Our Future Forum.
    Apparently the initial meeting is being held this Sunday and will have glatt kosher catering.

  53. emet said

    “sod off-” april fool !
    Nice one F R BRENT.

  54. Veteran Giffnock Dweller said

    I can assure you (although I fully expect to be flamed for even asking to be trusted) that most of the Rep Cooncil’s Management Committee/Board/exec team are livid about what has happened and they have fully expressed their views. It is, however, an internal matter at this stage I suppose and I too am not confident of it ever becoming public – not that I really care or that it matters.

    I’m not associated with the Rep Council and not really a fan, however I sense yet another attempted witch hunt from the 5 or so people here who are apparently incensed at what happened and have had their sense of Jewish morality outraged. I suspect many of these self same people are neither remotely kashrut observant nor regular shul goers. If the event was private then what food was served is none of our business, however if funded by, or officially sanctioned by, the ‘Community’ then it should have been kosher catered.

    If the Rep Council thought it was OK to pay for a non hechshered meal for an Israeli diplomat then they need to taken to task over it at a Rep Council meeting NOT BY HAVING A WITCH HUNT AGAINST INDIVIDUALS HERE.

  55. Innocent Bystander said

    When exactly is the next Rep Council Meeting or indeed when was the last one. Since the new committee formed at the last AGM I dont recall there being a delegate meeting – but maybe you could tell me otherwise. If it’s soon then we can all go and ask Mr M what happened at his dinner.

    Oh and a wee birdie told me that quite a lot of the current incumbents were seen going onto a meeting last night in Giffmock, so maybe kosher catering was on the agenda!

  56. Innocent Bystander said

    “his dinner” should read “the dinner” in para 1 – sorry typo error

  57. Veteran Giffnock Dweller said

    I am led to believe that last night’s meeting might have passed muster as a GJEF blog! Some very unhappy campers and rightly so. What you can be sure of, however, is that none of the combatants will post here but I have my sources!

    Some of the people recently singled out for attack here on this ‘ere blog are saying the very same as we’re all saying. If it’s a ‘Community’ dinner, even for invited ‘machors’ then it should be kosher, end of story. If it was private then it’s none of our business. I might try to find out which it was, what might my chances be?

  58. History Man said

    Been following all this Ambassador story for a while. Shame he couldn’t have eaten by L’Chaim’s. However… doesn’t anyone know ANYONE who was actually AT the famous meal, and could assess the nature of the guest list?

  59. Ex Delegate said

    Well it would appear that ” Veteran Giffnock Dweller ” is claiming to be the person who knows what is going on within the Rep Council and who was at Chez Edlin.
    Claims that this is a “witchhunt” are quite bizarre. Maybe Giffnock Dweller has something to hide. Perhaps he was important enough to have been invited to dinner with the ambassador?
    Most of the guest list are in a bit of a quandry right now. Do they admit to being invited in an official capacity or is it worse to admit to being a bosom buddy of the host?

  60. Veteran Giffnock Dweller said

    I don’t know how anyone could get the impression that I was at any dinners (except those cooked by Mrs VGD or my mother), perhaps Ex Delegate is reading a different blog?

    For the record, I am not a delegate, a diner or a machor. As for having something to hide, don’t we all, darling?

  61. Veteran Giffnock Dweller said

    For History Man’s piece of mind I can also state for the record that I have not eaten at L’Chaim’s.

  62. Give Us A Clue said

    What have you got against L’Chaims VGD?

  63. Veteran Giffnock Dweller said

    Nothing. I’ve just not eaten there!

    Perhaps a Blog outing is in order?

  64. Rep Council Senior Statesman said

    I would ask you Giffnock Dweller to leave important statements on what is going on in Rep Council affairs to experienced persons like myself.
    Those that really do know what is going on do not need people like you pretending that you do when you don’t.

  65. History Man said

    And we don’t need people pretending they have eaten at L’Chaim’s or Chez Edlin when they haven’t.

    [Comment edited by Admin]

  66. Armchair Analyst said

    Interesting second exchange of letters between two women, one each from Sderot and Gaza, on BBC ‘Have Your Say’:

  67. Mr Accurate said

    Perhaps those that turn up in Synagogues on a Saturday morning will have a word with their Rabbonim and suggest that they mention in their sermons that an important meeting is taking place – Alastair Falk – On Sunday 6th April – at 8pm – at Calderwood Lodge.
    I am aware that posters have been put up in the Synagogues but I’m sure that the Rabbonim will be more than happy to say that they are going to try and be there and that their congregations should try and turn up as well.
    The Rabbonim will be more than happy to do this I’m sure. Won’t they?

  68. Not Another Macher said

    Had a wee look at the letters on the BBC site – not sure how convinced I am by them. They seem a bit contrived, and left me wondering if they were genuine

  69. Mr Accurate said

    Another group that I’m sure will want to be seen at the Alastair Falk meeting on Jewish education will I’m sure be the Executive Officers of the Representative Council.
    They will of course wish to reacquaint themselves with Jewish values given their current communal predicaments. I’m sure if they ask GJEF, they will be kept front row seats because they will want to be seen by everyone to be interested and part of the communal discussion on Jewish education.
    Won’t they?

  70. History Man said

    Let’s not get carried away with how things seem out there in the community.

    I reckon the vast majority of the community are apathetic and are happy for other people to do things, while they get on with their lives. Most of the community don’t relate to the issues debated on this blog. Whether they should is a different issue.

    Whether we like it or not, most of the community will not be shocked by some of the things mentioned on this blog.

    Most people give no thought to the Rep Council, and will use the ‘other’caterer as and when it suits them. Even some of the bloggers pick and choose eg those who claim no interest in kashrut, but then want everyone to subscribe to their particular important set of Jewish values.

    It’s great to want more debate, higher standards, better education in the community. But let’s not kid ourselves about how many people are worried about such things.

  71. Al Chet said

    You just don’t seem to get it, History Man. This has never been about Kashrut. It is about integrity and honesty. Let the pathetic little Rep council use the caterer they like, that is up to them so long as they make their position clear. This nonsense about private Friday night soirées for the ambassador is just that, retrospective nonsense by a bunch of cowards who got rumbled. They know it, you know it and everyone out there knows it. They got it completely wrong and there is not one among them with the guts to stand up and say so. There is not one who was present from other organisations able to do the same. They are a shameful lot, even those who kept away. I think it was some Giffnockian who pointed out that they have done the only thing they are good at. They have wrung their hands in private. Once again they have ensured that the community they claim to represent has to look elsewhere for guidance.
    Unlike others, I don’t think they should resign. They deserve each other. May the almighty grant them a lifetime of moralising to each other, may they have each other’s company for eternity, but save the rest of this once vibrant community, it deserves better.

  72. Armchair Analyst said

    Well NAM, they were accompanied by presumably actual photographs of the two purported women residents. The content could have been edited by third parties or the BBC itself.

    However, I don’t think they were contrived, although it’s possible that they may not be representative of majority viewpoints in Sderot and Gaza. But for me, there was the ring of relative truth to them.

  73. A Beitz said

    IMO the Rep Council could come out of this quite well if they would show some leadership. They should apologise to the community for the fact they have failed to observe the religious standards expected of them as a Jewish organisation (which has a number of religious organisations affiliated to it), state that this was a gross error of judgment and one which will not be repeated and apologise for the actual distress and embarassment they have caused some members of the community, I believe one rabbi was nearly in tears about this, and we could all move on.
    That would be leadership in admitting when you get things wrong. Will we see it?

  74. Oy A Broch said

    I want to live in your world Mr Beitz.

  75. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I am often asked by my congregants what are the most important laws they have to follow to be good Jews.
    And my answer often surprises them.

    Of course as an Orthodox Rabbi, I believe that there are laws in our religion that it is the obligation of Orthodox Jews to accept and to endeavour to keep as much as one possibly can.

    I have often discussed Shabbat with you and you will I hope have realised that I believe that the lighting of Friday night candles and the family marking Friday night as a special night in the week is very important.

    Of course, I believe that it is important that we observe Kashrut and as a Rabbi I believe that everyone should do as much as they can. I am realistic enough to know that our entire community, perhaps even most of our community, do not think this is so important – and I accept that we all have different standards.

    My congregants know that I am liberal on some issues but there are others which I am known to be hardline about. For instance, as an Orthodox Rabbi, I will not attend a Bar Mitzvah or wedding simcha, if it is not catered by a Kosher caterer. I have been asked why.

    I know of several instances in recent months in different communities where official functions – simchot and charity events – have not been Kosher. And I don’t believe it is acceptable. I know that not everyone attending requires or desires Kosher food, but some do, and why as a community should those that do want it – be excluded.

    But there are some issues which to me are even more important. I believe we have a duty to behave properly in our day to day lives. We are Jewish, whether we are Orthodox or Reform or Liberal or secular and we are judged by others as Jews.

    So in business or professional life, we have to behave with good morals and principles. I don’t like People who cheat and behave badly and I don’t respect Jews that think it is acceptable to do this either. I want my community to respect other religions. I want my people to respect and appreciate those who are not as fortunate as us – and I want us to behave with dignity at all times.

    And, I believe that whoever in our community takes on public leadership, additional responsibilities fall on their shoulders. Those people who represent us both within and without our community should remember that as our representatives they need to be,and be seen to be, aware of their obligations.

    I have always believed that in life one needs to earn respect of others. Those who demand it because of their position very rarely really merit it. Respect comes with wisdom and by example. In public life today, it is sad that politicians very rarely resign when they have behaved improperly or have made bad decisions. If our leadership falls short what kind of example does it send to the younger generations when no one takes responsibility for getting things wrong. Too often mistakes are perpetuated because the same people keep making them and new fresh approaches are never given a proper chance to flourish.

    Let me give you an example. Today in public life more and more of the big hitters are from a new generation. In our Jewish community by and large the same people have been there for years.

    Those who sit at the top table, but have no vision and have no ideas, are not only preventing progress but are actually causing harm. Anyone in our community who is involved in public life, and sit on whichever committee or hold whatever position, should be aware of this. And as my legal friends tell me – ignorance is no excuse.

    Shabbat Shalom

  76. Ex Delegate said

    It would seem that Rabbi L has again put into a wider context what many in this community must surely be feeling.

    In the interests of our community, and for several reasons, not least that this has become an issue of judgement it is time for Mr Mendelsohn, Mr Isaacs and Mr Sneader to either sack those responsible or to resign themselves.
    Not one person within the Council sees the need to apologise for errors made – so all have become culpable.

  77. Jack the Lad said

    The “Rep Council” do not represent me, I am honest, behave with integrity, am trustworthy, have foresight and vision and can admit when I have made a mistake!

  78. Lisa said

    I picked up the JT 20 minutes ago and noticed this blog being advertised on the back page.
    So I thought I would get something off my chest. I received a letter from UJIA telling me about the rebranding of ” Women in the Community ” as something now called ” Young Women “.
    Wonder who thinks this up. At a stroke UJIA have now excluded those members of our community ( who don’t fall into the young category ) who used to like to come to these events because someone has decided it is a bit more ” sexy ” to describe the group in this way.
    They people behind this daft idea would almost certainly not like the term “sexy”.
    Because everything UJIA seem to do in terms of public events now seems to have a religious connotation. The event being advertised about motherhood I would guess is on similar lines.
    I would like UJIA to get real. Most of my peer group are not interested in getting this religious ethos time and time again. All it does is turn people off. So many events with this theme is having a really negative effect.
    The secular majority will just lose intersest.
    So many things are happening in this community from a religious perspective that I am fed up with it. What is it that religious people seem so insecure in our communal life that they try to force everything on the rest of us. They should do what they want to – good luck to them if they believe it – but leave the rest of us out of it.
    By the way I like this blog – I’ll be back.

  79. History Man said

    Needs to be a balance of events in the community, admittedly not all religious. But to be fair, I suppose ‘they’ don’t see it as ‘forcing’ religion on ‘us’, but that they are trying to raise the religious education and observance in the community. Otherwise, there might not be a community for very long.

  80. Lisa said

    I have always recognised that I get easily addicted!
    And this blog is going to get me addicted fast.
    Codswollop History Man. Why does everyone excuse the religious for forcing their way of life on the rest of us ?
    It isn’t right and it backfires. And what’s more if we are depending on the religious to preserve our community life, we’ve had it. How many turn up in Shul on a Saturday. Most of us are not interested and rather than admit they are a tiny little club the religious try and find other ways to control us.
    Now that I’ve vented that one maybe someone who thinks UJIA should stop promoting only religious events that exclude older women will come on to defend this absurdity.
    I’m enjoying this. Bring them on – History Man you’re far too easy!

  81. Jack the Lad said

    May I clarify UJIA did not come up with the name. I believe Soro Cohen is at the helm and UJIA are merely providing support with publicity as they would any other worthwhile event. So Lisa get your facts right!!

    UJIA are involved with and support many events throughout the community some religeous, some not. Events have to have a reason to bring us together and if that is not that we are Jewish then I am not sure why. If we were to use your argument why should we have Jewish Youth Groups?

    If anything it is you who is insecure that you feel the need to attack those who are trying to maintain some Jewish ethos. I have never been forced by anyone from within this community, religeous or secular to do anything.

  82. Jack the Lad said

    Lisa I can’t take you seriously, you are having a laugh aren’t you? Did you go the Showbiz to Shabbos event in Newton Mearns Shul. It was wall to wall “older women”.

  83. Lisa said

    What a cop out Jack! Tell me an event that UJIA have put on in recent months for Jewish women that has not had a religious orientation?
    You obviously have some involvement with UJIA?
    Could you please explain what you mean by your statement – ” Events have to have a reason to bring us together ”
    I think that is a bit obvious don’t you? Maybe if UJIA are providing the funding for Soro Cohen you could suggest to Soro Cohen that the exclusion of older women is not on.
    Do you not also sponsor a lecture series by another Rabbi’s wife – Hackenbroch?
    Your UJIA, Jack, seem to run a lot of events run by Rabbi’s wifes. Can I ask you to broaden your programme a little and then maybe it won’t be so dominated by a religious perspective?
    And perhaps you yourself Jack would benefit from a lecture that explained to you that Jewish ethos means a good deal more than just a religious interpretation. It can mean so many different things to different people – cultural, historical, Zionism, you name it.
    The Orthodox believe that Jewish ethos is their territory exclusively.
    It certainly isn’t.

  84. NLL said

    I’m also rather uncomfortable about the re-branding of Women in the Community. Who decides who is a young woman and who isn’t? One of the great things about the original Women in the Community was that it brought together women of all ages and experiences and crossed many shades of observance.

    But let’s not forget it was a United Synagogue initiative and therefore always had a religious basis. My understanding was that it started with the aim of giving women within the US structure a voice by raising and looking for solutions to issues facing them in that setting. It grew, particularly in Glasgow, to encompass a much wider range of issues faced by Jewish women in everyday life – but it was always about being Jewish.

    I attended a number of events and really enjoyed the input of some of the older participants who felt able to share their wisdom & experience on some very sensitive topics in the protected setting of a women only event.

  85. Jack the Lad said

    Lisa I am perfectly well aware of what Jewish ethos means. UJIA are involved in a wide variety of events providing support directly and indirectly. It runs the Etheopian Bar/Batmitzvah Club, it is involved in Yom Hatzmut Celebrations, it ran the Chanuka event in the refornm shul for 3-5 year olds and yes it runs the lecture series by Mrs Hackenbroch.

    I really don’t understand your point – yes an error of judgement has been made in the re-branding but you seem to ignore the other work done by UJIA which encompasses secular, historical, Zionist, cultural. The orthodox don’t believe Jewish ethos is there territority exclusively, they believe it is all our’s. Again get your facts right!

    At least UJIA serve Kosher food at their events!!!!

  86. Ex Delegate said

    Ah Jack, but as you have raised Kosher Food and try and claim some moral highground for UJIA, could you please tell us what UJIA chair, Adam Berkley feels in retrospect about attanding the dinner for the ambassador. Because he was invited there as head of UJIA, was he not?

  87. Leoni said

    My friend Lisa came round for tea this afternoon and told me that she had been on the blog.
    So I’ve decided to come on and support her.
    From what I’ve heard and now read this blog discusses communal issues.
    Well like NLL I also feel that the rebranding of Women in the Community is an error and I think for UJIA to try and pretend that it is not their decision when people are getting upset is hypocrisy.
    UJIA always tell us what they back and support when events go well. A bit of controversy or criticism and we only hear – ” nothing to do with us guv ”
    Jack the Lad should think about the Jewish concept of helping others with modesty. All we have heard for years in this community is what UJIA do and who UJIA help. Plenty of others support different groups but they don’t have to shout about it from the rooftops.
    Maybe, I could expand on Lisa’s question and ask someone from UJIA to tell us what meetings they have organised recently about Israel that have not had an Orthodox or religious slant, pushing a narrow viewpoint.
    I am going out this evening and I’m going to ask my friends to come on hear as well. It’s time we got our point across.
    By the way I have no problem with religious events from time to time, What I don’t like is the narrow interpretation of our religion that comes across from those that are trying to push their way of life.

  88. A Beitz said

    Straight off I can recall an Israeli wine tasting, a Jewish Princess cooking and some guy called Black, I think, on positive thinking. UJIA however do not want to take things over. What they want is to facilitate them. So they help with Limmud and other communal events through sponsorship and personnel. UJIA help where someone comes and says they are looking for assistance. I rather suspect that if GJEF went to UJIA for help they could get it. UJIA will also be providing a major input for Israel’s sixtieth celebrations. I am not posting this on behalf of UJIA but simply trying to clarify things for you.
    In this community I suspect anyone under seventy will fall into the definition of “young”.

  89. Lisa said

    What is it about UJIA that whenever anyone offers constructive criticism the automated response follows – ” look how wonderful we are”
    But your not that wonderful A Beitz. And as my friend Leoni said, what is it about you people that you cannot help out where needed but do it quietly.
    Your statement that – ” anyone under 70 is young ” as a lame attempt to diffuse criticism, rather than holding your hands up and saying it is a mistake and we will rectify it, is very arrogant.
    It also may be a surprise to you that not all organisations in this city either want or need UJIA money. I don’t know about GJEF but perhaps they are independently funded and don’t require a stamp on their material saying ” sponsored by UJIA “

  90. Not Leoni or Lisa said

    I hear on the grapevine that a certain golf club are holding their medal competition on the 1st day of Pesach.

    Is that any better than a certain dinner party serving non Kosher food to the Israeli Ambassador amongst others?

    Whilst I appreciate that not all the members of said golf club are Jewish, it is owned (I believe)by a communal Jewish Trust and has a Jewish Captain and Chairman.

    Now I am not a particularly relgious person but I do believe we should be catering (no pun intended) for all and it seems to be that our so called “leaders” are going down a slippery slidy path and maybe that’s why so many groups are starting up for women or otherwise that have a religous slant.

    By the way Lisa & Leoni – who I suspect are 1 and the same – nobody is telling you that you have to go these events only that they are on should you wish to choose them.

    Clearly, if you want something different you only have to ask UJIA and I am sure they would be delighted to facilitate you.

  91. A Beitz said

    So Lisa, what’s your point? Not every organisation needs or wants UJIA money. That’s just as well. The point is it is available and that it is cross communal. I don’t see why UJIA shouldn’t tell people what it does particularly to try overcome the perception that a donation to UJIA is simply a donation to Israel. The things that are wrong in this community deserve to be criticised but that doen’t mean every post should be criticism. UJIA have helped meet the unmet need in this community.
    Going back to your original gripe it relates to an age profile for Women In The Community. I tend to think that is an error but again it is not UJIA who have set it up but who are advancing money to assist. Or would you rather that UJIA told groups who came for money that money would only be advanced if they did things under UJIA control? That would be a far more valid criticism imo.
    I also understand why the attempt has been made to have an age profile. In this community there are many people between about 20 and 45 who take no part in anything. Whether wrongheaded or not this is a serious attempt to get these people to participate.
    Now what are your ideas Lisa to improve the community? Or are you going to become Leoni again?

  92. Helpful Harry said

    Bonnyton is not a Jewish Golf Club – It is a golf club wthat happens to be the place where many Jewish people play golf.
    Can I suggest no 90 that you don’t play on Pessach if you don’t want to – but if others do want to play – let them get on with it.
    I would like to be helpful and suggest that you could live in Israel. But the beaches there are very busy on Yom Kippur. So I’m struggling to advise you where to go.
    Maybe you should accept that people should have free will and not be forced to live under religious jurisdiction.
    But as I have pointed out before, the Rep Council scandal is a different matter. Maybe you could tell us last post why a certain Mr P Mendelsohn – Rep Council President is a member of the UJIA committee when his organisation brought shame to the community. One day he is engaging non Kosher caterers to feed the community and the next he is handing out our community cash to Rabbis’ wifes to make us all more religious. He seems so confused. What a wally.
    Perhaps you will also confirm – as you know so much about UJIA – what UJIA chairman – MR Adam Berkley had for his supper when he went to the dinner with the ambassador.

  93. Jack the Lad said

    HH nobody is handing out money to “make us all more religious”. Why don’t we disband all the organisations which support any educational activities, that would be FZY, JLGB, Habonim, Reform Shul, NM Shul, Giffnock Shul, Queen’s Park and Clarkston Shul, UJIA, Young Women in the Community, Calderwood Lodge to name a few.

    I don’t know who was at the dinner and wither those who were knew they were being served non kosher food. Perhaps the question is why hasn’t this been made public knowledge in order for those responsible to at explain themselves?

  94. Lisa said

    I’m not Leoni and she’s not me, even though our friends say we are like sisters. A Beitz you are obviously a member of UJIA. Why do you defend everything you do as well intentioned and attack everything else as misguided?
    Take some criticism on the chin and do something about it – that’s my advice to you.

  95. Not Helpful Harry said

    HH, Bonnyton may not be a “Jewish” golf club but the land is owned by a Jewish trust. It has a high proportion of Jewish members, has a Jewish captain, Jewish Chairman & Jewish Vice Presidents.

    IMO it should not be encouraging its Jewish members to play on 1st day Pesach just like the Rep Council should not be encouraging its members to eat non kosher.

    Let me point out I am neither religious nor a member of UJIA.

    I suspect you might be confused about your sexuality because you sound a lot like Lisa & Leoni and now you are Harry!

  96. Confused said

    No 95 – I’m sorry but I don’t get your point.
    You are suggesting that a Jewish trust should ensure that land it has given to a golf club should have restrictions to prevent members playing on Jewish holidays.
    As others have said before me – you do what you want – you believe what you want – but don’t think you have the right to tell others what to do as well.
    Why don’t you go and live in a theocracy?

  97. Not Confused said

    Confused, you seem to have problems reading – maybe that’s why you are Confused or Lisa or Leoni or Helpful Harry.

    “Not HH” said that the club should “not encourage” play on Jewish holidays so that would mean holding the medal comp on a different day and thereby not discriminating against its many Jewish members who wont play on Yomtov.

    So nobody is telling anybody what to do or not to do just making suggestions.

    Why don’t you go live in a plutocracy?

  98. Lisa said

    What is going on here? I don’t know anyone called Helpful Harry and I am certainly not confused.
    Is there a taboo around that says ” thou shalt not criticise UJIA?”
    Well in my opinion – this is just silly.
    UJIA have encouraged the setting up in our committee of not just one, but now two different groups run by Rabbis’ wifes. And I don’t like this emphasis.
    And I don’t like it that this new group is for younger women only. And I don’t believe UJIA money is being well spent if too much emphasis is going in this direction.
    And if UJIA don’t want to hear it and their committee members get their knickers in a twist about some justifiable comment and think that they should only be showered with thanks and praise, then that’s tough.
    Because I’m going to say what needs to be said.!

  99. Not Lisa said

    Well you have said it more than once so congratulations.

  100. Jack the Lad said

    I believe UJIA are keen to have new members on their committee so why don’t you come along and advise UJIA how their money could be better spent. Or are you like many others before you full of hot air but little action?

  101. History Man said

    Lisa, you can’t blame UJIA for ‘encouraging’ the setting up of groups run by rabbi’s wives! The Community Trust and other trusts support a large number of activities and groups in the community, but equally cannot be said to be ‘encouraging’ their setting up. All these groups are set up, THEN apply for financial support from UJIA or the trusts.

    Regardless of what you think of a particular organisation’s policies, it’s not for UJIA or anyone else to demand that rabbi’s wives are not allowed to lead these groups, but rather for their members.

    Like a lot of criticisms on this blog, the answer has to be: get involved in that organisation and influence matters that way.

    Keep things in proportion. There are a large number and wide range of organisations in the community – some religious, some not. You are free to join any you wish (unless your an old lady). We can’t have some sort of quota as to how many religious groups there are. People vote with their feet.

    Remember, WE are the illogical ones, taking bits and pieces from our religion. ‘THEY’ see themselves as looking to preserve the religious identity of the community.

    I agree with you about the ‘young’ emphasis in WIC. But why not call their bluff and arrange for you and your friends’ grandmas (and their friends) to attend the next meeting of YWIC, tip off the press, and see how the YWIC react, and whether the senior ladies are barred from the meeting.

    Or why not set up your own organisation called Older Women in the Community, and gove YWIC a run for its money?

  102. Johnny C said

    History Man, while I agree with much of your postings, your assertion that ‘WE are the illogical ones’ and ‘THEY see themselves as looking to preserve the religious identity of the community’ is about as illogical a statement as this blog has seen.
    Tell us about the logic of their position. I would suggest that for the most part ‘They’ have hi-jacked a traditional and comfortable way of life. ‘THEY’ have competed with each other to be more extreme and illogical. ‘THEY’ have turned our religion into something gross and unpalatable.
    In fact, ‘THEY’ have invented a new religion and stolen the name of our one.

  103. History Man said


    Whether or not you accept all or any rules of Judaism, there has to be consensus on what the official lines are. eg you may not be shabbat observant, but you surely have to recognise that there is a generally accepted set of rules for all this. Not being observant yourself doesn’t actually stop you being a Jew (as this comes from birth or conversion), but you can’t have your cake and eat it.

    No one can force you into doing anything, but those who choose to live an Orthodox lifestyle are much more confident about this lifestyle, as they are accepting the full package.

    Obviously there are different groups within Orthodoxy, but they all agree on certain basic rules (if differing on the interpretation sometimes).

    Im not sure what you mean by ‘a traditional and comfortable way of life’. If you mean Jewish culture, food, folklore, customs,language. They are all well and good, and personally are what do it for me, but the fully Orthodox will argue that you can’t ensure Jewish continuity on this alone. They would insist on the full Jewish lifestyle.

    It doesn’t all have to be black hats either. Go to Manchester, London or Israel and you will see lots of ‘modern Orthodox’ families keeping up a perfectly authentic Jewish lifestyle.

  104. Lisa said

    I’m with Johnny C – and before some smart arse claims I must be him, I’m not.
    Wow look at what I’ve started. I give my opinion that UJIA are promoting too many religious groups within the city and now we are in the midst of an ideological discussion about which Judaism more reflects our lifestyle.
    The Community needs to take a closer look at what’s going on. Unfortunately far too many communal committees have promoted people well beyond their ability. The result has been poor decisions and a lack of judgement. Because someone is keen to get involved should mean they are encouraged to help in a way that will keep them involved but it doesn’t entitle them to a say in how we run our lives.
    Maybe this has happened in Glasgow because a lot of talented people moved on but we still have lots of ability here so we should stop and think before people are given communal responsibility that their ability does not merit.
    The other thing which is very obvious and from my original posting UJIA are a good example. Every communal organisation should accept constructive criticism Because I or someone else comments that something is wrong does not mean we need a defensive retaliation that lauds every action ever undertaken by the organisation.
    Let me put it another way. If those running communal bodies or chairing them, cannot take criticism they would be better off out of the way because they are preventing progress.
    Now don’t ask if I’m Leoni, Helpful Harry or Chaim Jacobs or Moshe Rubin, because I’m not. I’m just Lisa and I’m proud of being me.

  105. History Man said

    The best way to change how organisations are run is to join their committees, along with people who think like you, and create change from within. Most committees are crying out for new blood.

    Too many people criticise from the sidelines, but don’t want to take on the burden and time commitment themselves.

  106. Mr Accurate said

    No it isn’t History Man. If GJEF had taken your advice they would never have started and 11 public meetings since last January would not have happened.
    Sometimes a complete reappraisal of communal priorities, principles etc is required – and sometimes that does necessitate a change of personnel.
    Lisa, are you referring to any organisations in particular? We all know the Rep Council is now on its way out. The most amazing fact of communal life in this city is how the same people keep reappearing running different communal organisations or groups – when the report card on their previous communal activity, allegedly, would not exactly be glowing.
    One example would be a certain Mr Stephen Kliner. Since leaving the Rep Council Presidency he has turned up at Cosgrove, still has the controlling influence in Habonim and I hear is the next chairman of Cosgrove Care. And I believe he is also in charge of Israeli 60th Birthday Celebrations. And he is on the Community Trust. Now that’s what we know about.
    Now, I will leave others to comment on his suitability for each of these roles , but my point is , that here is a guy , who is wearing far too many communal hats, and has influence over far too many organisations and decisions. And he’s not the only one.
    How does it happen?

  107. History Man said

    It happens because not enough people volunteer to run all the various organisations in the community. That is why the same people appear in so many committees. Regardless of what you think of their policies, there are only a limited number of people in the community willing to give up their time to run the organisations.

    Of course there is a place for people to discuss communal issues like GJEF. But it will only achieve a certain amount in practical terms.

    If you don’t like the idea of Stephen Kliner running for office, go and get involved in that organisation and argue from within.

  108. Not Another Macher said

    It happens because

    a) new people rarely come forward and people who care about their organisations hang on long past their sell by date, rather than see them go under

    b)some people get a buzz out being in the lime light and are too precious to let go when new people with new ideas do occasionally step forward

  109. F R Brent said

    I think that’s one of the main problems in this community – the lack of people willing to get involved in the different organisations (or new ones).
    Instead of knocking the ones who are heavily involved (in most cases because they care and are committed to the community), roll up your sleeves and offer your services to at least one of the variety of groups on the go and maybe the people who are being criticised will have more time to focus on less tasks.

  110. Oy A Broch said

    So Lisa & Johnny C, where were all the people when GJEF brought Alastair Falk to talk to the community on Sun night about Jewish Education. Were you there?

    I think History Man has a point – like most Communities and most Committees there are a few people who give of their time – who may or may not get it right or wrong some or all of the time, but at least they turn up and try – and loads more who lambast from the rear but don’t give of any of their time. Which category do you fall into?

  111. Mr Accurate said

    I’m not as daft as you Oy A Broch. If I tell you if I was at your meeting you might deduce who I am. Why don’t we just say that I’m the guy with the black beard!
    As to the substance of your post I think that this community deserves better than its future being decided by ” those that turn up and try “.
    I want this future to be determined by those that know what they are doing – those that have a vision and those that have the ability to drive it forward.
    And don’t worry that I don’t give of my time. I do. And plenty of it. But unlike others I don’t use that as an excuse.

    If people are approached correctly there are plenty of individuals around who will give of their time to various organisations. Many are discouraged because there seems to be a theme in our community that you need to serve for years before you are given any authority to do anything. Experience of mucking things up for years counts for far more. And that is why younger people are put off. It is the best excuse in the world, for those that want to hang on to their jobs and power base, to claim that no one wants to come forward and help.
    Also, perhaps History Man should not be trapped by what has gone on in the past. It is a new exciting world out there. And new ways of working happen everywhere else. Not everyone has time to turn up at committee meetings 3 times a week. But give them a job to do and they’ll do it.
    So let’s not pretend that there is no alternative to what is happening in our community. There is.
    And now maybe someone will tell me why Stephen Kliner has half a dozen positions of influence within our community? And perhaps someone may tell me if they think this is acceptable?
    I for one don’t! Too many important communal decisionsare made by the same people. And their record doesn’t justify such power or influence.

  112. Perfect Pete said

    Where are these people Mr Accurate?

    Who are they?

    If you know them why not ask them yourself becaue you and I both know that you can only change the way an organisation operates by being on the organistion in the first place.

    Most people are apthetic when it comes to committees and helping shape voluntary organisations otherwise we would not be in the postion you seem to think we are in.

    Picking on any one individual as you appear to be doing does not seem a constructive way to engender debate. What do you want to achieve by it? Are you trying to oust people who are on committees and if so who is going to take up the mantle?

    As you (and I) hide behind the anonymity of blogging we can hardly start running all these organisations from this blog site can we?

  113. Johnny C said

    History Man, not only do you not understand the present, history is certainly not your forte. You say “they all agree on certain basic rules (if differing on the interpretation sometimes).” It is this very difference in interpretation that defines the strands of Judaism, not agreement on basic rules. There are three important rules in Judaism – Interpretation, Interpretation, Interpretation. Those you seem to recognise as the saviors of traditional Judaism may well becoming the strongest force in modern orthodox Judaism due to a post war breeding policy par excellence but historically they were very much peripheral to mainstream thought. Their leaders fight out a power game between them for souls and cash. What they are saving is their interpretation, their rules, which are an ugly exaggeration of what was traditional.
    As for being at the meeting, of course I was there. I was the one with the man with the long black beard.

  114. Calderwood Parent said

    Perfect Pete – when nominations were required for Calderwood Lodge Parent Council a few months ago the response was brilliant.
    So people will get involved if they think it is worth doing so. The reality is that people only get involved when they believe they can make a difference.

  115. Jack the Lad said

    No they get involved because they are interested in the organisation or its aims and most parennts care about their children’s education.

  116. History Man said

    Sorry, don’t agree! Obviously we can all point to religious people who bring the whole thing into disrepute. But there are lots of religious people out there who do good work quietly. And obviously there is interpretation within Judaism, as it is not monlithic. However, there are shared basic concepts and values. Historically, in der heim, most Jews subscribed to this shared set of Jewish values.

    I reckon the Chief Rabbi was saying much the same thing in last week’s Jewish Chronicle, when he said that ‘Jewish identity is not mere ethnicity, habit or nostalgia…these things do not last…’

  117. History Man said

    PS my last remarks were aimed at Johnny C

  118. Johnny C said

    You don’t have to apologise for disagreeing, History Man, that is your fundamental right. Despite that you are wrong. We are comparing a life that for centuries was sustainable and adaptable to change with one that is most surely unsustainable. It is only time before it breaks down. What is important is not that THEY flourish to preserve our religious identity, but that WE the pragmatic ones survive to provide a home when their world collapses.
    In Der Heim most Jews did not subscribe to a shared set of values. Those that arrived here may have had much in common because, for the most part, they came from similar backgrounds if not families. Therefore, on the surface your hypothesis seems credible but deeper analysis would show that values varied from community to community, from country to country and from continent to continent. More often than not it reflected outside forces and influences which were variable.
    You need not apologise for being wrong, leave that to the Chief Rabbi. He keeps getting it wrong and republishing the truth according to Sachs Mark 2.

  119. History Man said

    For centuries Jews in Europe lived in small communities, where they shared in communal life, centred around synagogues, institutions of learning, kashrut and shabbat observance. It was only in more recent times that things changed on a large scale.

    But my point is this. On what do you base Jewish life across the generations if you take away the religious infrastructure? How do you stop outmarriage in this way? We see that in this country, where most communities outside of London and Manchester (and Gateshead) are in decline, except amongst the charedim.

  120. Mr Accurate said

    Jack the Lad you are disagreeing obviously for the fun of debate – you must have more powers of reasoning than this.
    If Calderwood parents get involved because they are interested then others will be motivated to get involved in other organisations if they are interested in that area. Previously others have argued that no one wants to get involved – well they obviously do – they are just choosy, and that is their right.
    And Perfect Pete – you must have the same logic as those that jump in with a pavlovian defence of UJIA when a criticism is voiced about one area of their activities. Because I point out that Stephen Kliner holds numerous positions of influence in this community then somehow this is “a personal attack on this one individual”
    It is much more serious than that. It is an attack on a corrupt system where people end up in positions of influence regardless of their ability and record. I can’t think of another area of life where one individual can be on countless organisations and appear to control so much influence. I don’t know their motivation – why would anyone want to be in so many positions? The wider Jewish community should be aware what is going on and they will realise that this kind of hoarding of communal spheres of influence is not in our best interests. And Mr Kliner is not the only one – think of others who hold multiple appointments and then claim to be objective when looking at the community’s best interests. It’s just that Mr Kliner seems to be the one who has the most ” medals”

  121. History Man said

    Mr Accurate? Not very, when you say:’I can’t think of another area of life where one individual can be on countless organisations and appear to control so much influence.’ Look at public life in Britain, where some people sit on a number of company and charity boards.

    But I don’t see the problem. If you don’t like what happens in an organisation, and you are a member or a donor, then get involved and try to change from within.

    As has already been said, there are a number of organisations in the community where the same people are in charge for years because no one comes forward to take over.

  122. A curate said

    Not true, History man. I know more than one organisation where the incumbents do absolutely nothing but still refuse to step aside for willing replacements. In some cases the hats are worn because the bodies below are on ego trips needing a boost to their lack of self esteem.

  123. History Man said

    If a Jewish organisation is a charity, it will sooner or later have to prove itself to the Office Of the Scottish Charities Register. This involves such things as having good governance, eg a constitution, annual general meetings, open elections etc.

    If you are a member of an organisation, you can press for such a set up. (If you are not a member, is it your business?)

  124. A curate said

    To your last question “is it your business?”. Yes, it certainly is. It is my business, your business and the business of every citizen that pays extra tax or receives less benefits so that charities maintain their privileged financial status. It is my business by law and by natural right. To suggest otherwise is a gross misunderstanding of trust law.

  125. History Man said

    Not sure how we went from Steven Kliner to trust law? All I’m saying is that if you’re that bothered, join the organisation that’s bothering you and ask for changes. The organisation is either acting legally, in which case why should they listen to non-members, or illegally, in which case you would be doing them a favour in pointing this out.

  126. Terrific Tom said

    Well well Mr Accurate and your pal A Curate you still haven’t provided any names of the multitude of people willing to help but you seem very keen to discredit one individual just because…………he is an easy target or is there some other reason? Do you seriously believe that your writings will be taken seriously by him or anybody with influence? What are you really trying to achieve?

    I mean if a certain non kosher catered meal which seems to be the talk of the community but hasn’t made news in any local paper and hasn’t resulted in any changes or resignations in that organisation and has had lots of column inches here hasn’t achieved anything then what hope is there in your strategy?

  127. Lisa said

    Add another two titles to Mr Kliner’s CV
    1. Honorary Vice President Representative Council.
    2 Current member of Rep Council Executive Management Committee

    This guy’s on more committees than I’ve had hot dinners!

  128. History Man said

    So how would you propose rationing the number of committees someone is on? Should it be a maximum of 3 or 5 or what? Who should make this decision? Surely it’s for the members of each organisation to decide? You make it sound as if people are forcing themselves on their organisations. How many organisations could prevent a situation where candidates stood for office and left it to the members to decide? The problem is that very few people take part in these elections, so that the same people are left in charge. Again, if you don’t like it, do something to change it.

  129. Terrific Tom said

    Lisa you seem to know an awful lot about Mr K.

    Is there something you want to tell us before we read about in a Sunday newspaper or are you just Mrs Accurate?

  130. Mr Accurate said

    The very fact that discussion of these issues is now available through this blog is a benefit to the community.
    And yes what’s written here is taken seriously. And we know they read it.
    And Mr Kliner will be reading this soon and so he should.
    What I’m trying to achieve is for issues that I believe are important in this community to come out into the open.
    When that happens there is no going back. Because some of the people that currently run many of our communal bodies have presided over a period of decline and some of that decline was avoidable.
    The fact that the so called ” local Jewish newspaper ” can’t find the energy to tell people what’s going on is not my problem.
    Before this blog existed there was no medium to discuss anything in this community.
    A delegate meeting of the Rep Council every 3 months when debate was closed down if they didn’t want to discuss something was part of the problem.
    Isn’t it amazing how so many of the self appointed communal leaders will tell people that they never read the blog – but they all know what’s on it – almost every word that’s written about them!

  131. History Man said

    Well I’m old enough to remember when the medium to discuss communal issues was the letter page of the Jewish Echo. Do you think the Telegraph would refuse to publish letters about local issues? That would certainly reach a much larger audience than this blog.

  132. The Beano said

    The local paper is a comic. No one reads the letter page expecting to see local letters. You are living in the past History Man.
    If an item is not on the back or front page of the paper no one will see it.

  133. History Man said

    Nonsense. If anyone bothered to write serious letters into the local Telegraph, we’d see them in a box on page 2, or something like that. It’s a cop out to say no one will see them. First you have to write them. whatever you think of the standard of the Telegraph, it’s all we’re likely to have, and we need to make the most of it. Anyone know how many Telegraphs are sold in Glasgow? Anyone know how many people read or post on this blog? I reckon that many of the bloggers are the same person, and that there are no large numbers of people taking part in these discussions. A good debate in the local Jewish press would reach a much wider audience. Try it.

  134. Jeffrey said

    You are such an amazing source of knowledge History Man that your talents are wasted. Religion – you’re our man – Lubavitch – you’re the expert – and now the power of the press – what a bright guy you are. How many people come on this blog – you’re the guy to tell us.
    You are trapped in the past and you are the most aptly named blogger here.

  135. Delightful Dan said

    Eh Jeffrey why so aggressive to History Man?

    What have you got to lose by writing to the local press?

    Might it be your anonymity or your multiple personalities?

    After all you can still post here to.

    How do YOU know you want reach a larger audience by writing to the press – unless you are the GJEF admin man you wont know how many “different” people are posting or reading.

  136. Armchair Analyst said

    Writing to the press means playing the press game. You write a letter, maybe days later they publish. A week later, maybe they publish a response to yours. You try reponding to that one only to discover that the press has moved on anyway.

    This blog provides instant gratification and an ongoing democratic forum. It also removes the editor of the JT, Herald and any other media from their manipulation of the subject matter.

  137. History Man said

    No reason not to have discussions on this blog AND in the local Jewish press.

    Jeffrey – my point is that ‘democratic’ discussion should involve a larger number of people. How could I possibly know how many people read this blog? That’s why I asked. I suspect that there are only a dozen or so regular bloggers, and even then some of them may be the same person.I’ve also no idea how many people follow the blog without posting. Don’t be so sure that this blog is the magic formula for the community’s future (rather than just an element in future planning). Why is this forum so superior, then?

    And please don’t patronise me. Don’t you reckon that most bloggers on this forum come across as confident in their views, and as ‘experts’?

    I don’t ‘live in the past’, but I think that the experience of the past helps us make informed choices for the present and future.

    And we’ve often seen in history how people come along with radical new ideas and sweep away all past efforts and structures as redundant, instead of grafting new ideas onto the best of the old ways.

  138. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Just back from down South and you all seem to have been quite vocal in my absence. Will catch up soon but just a note to History Man. I also remember the days of the Jewish Echo and was a regular contributor to their letter page. Despite some political differences with the editor my contributions were treated with nothing but respect. At no time were they cut or edited in any way whatsoever. On the occasions that the editor took issue with my arguments, he would phone me first to warn me of the response I could expect from the editorial. More importantly, he understood the issues and the community.

    After the demise of the Echo and the arrival of the Jewish Telegraph I submitted a carefully constructed letter for publication. What appeared in the paper was a distorted, truncated precis of the original which actually made no sense whatsoever. Whoever edited that letter had no grasp of English, did not understand the issues raised, and was unfamiliar with our Community. I have never nor will ever be tempted to submit anything to that unfortunate paper.

  139. History Man said

    And yet, Nachman, in Sharon Mail we have had the most community-aware reporter since the late Albert & Eva Benjamin. If letters don’t work, get the local reporter to do a little feature on an issue. Still would get to a wider communal readership than this blog.

  140. Mr Accurate said

    Now that nobody is in agreement about the press can we get back to discussing Mr Kliner’s suitability to be on 8 committees ( and that’s only at the last count) and whether this is good for our community?
    I won’t sit on the fence like History Man and others – I will say it loud and clear – it is detrimental to our community to have one person pulling so many strings and given his communal record it is incredible that this has happened.
    He must have talents unknown, to pull this off. And although many have told me that it is highly inappropriate, public discussion has beemn muted until now.
    How on earth did Mr Borowski get an MBE before someone apparently so important as Mr Kliner?
    Maybe Alex Salmond will have the answer when he addresses the community next week?

  141. History Man said

    So what do you suggest ‘we’ do about Mr Kliner? Do we try to persuade members of 8 committees or organisations to sack Mr K? Do we leave him with any, or is he so bad that he’s not allowed even one? And which one?

    Is it like ‘Big Brother’? ‘Who goes, YOU choose.’

  142. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I quite agree, History Man, that Sharon has been an excellent community journalist and reporter. However,she will tell you herself that Manchester makes all the editorial decision. I would say that she is too good for the paper and I understAND THAT SHE IS MOVING ON TO FRESH PASTURES.

  143. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Sorry about #142

    I quite agree, History Man, that Sharon has been an excellent community journalist and reporter. However,she will tell you herself that Manchester makes all the editorial decisions over which she has absolutely no control. I would say that she is too good for the paper and I understand she is moving on to fresh pastures.
    I have also been involved with others in a feature for the paper and I can assure you that I would never consider that avenue again.
    Your best chance of support from that paper may be as some far right wing Mancunian religious maniac who makes the likes of Ghengis Khan and Attilla the Hun look like pinko trendy lefties.
    Good luck to you if you see any future there.

  144. Mr Accurate said

    Okay History Man, you first. Listed below are Mr Kliner’s current communal committees – in no particular order.
    1. Next chair of Cosgrove Care
    2. Controlling influence Friends of
    3. Hon Vice President Rep Council
    4. In charge of Israel 60
    5. Community Trust Member
    6. Current member of Rep Council
    Executive Management Committee
    7. Chair of National Friends of
    8. Trustee of Habonim

    And probably more that we have still to find out about.
    Now History Man, lets play according to your rules. Which do you think he is qualified for?

  145. Terrific Tom said

    No 9 only

  146. History Man said

    I have no particular brief for Mr K, but:
    3. Hon Vice President Rep Council

    He is that by virtue of being a past president. Go change their constitution. It’s meant to be a non-voting role, keeping access to past experience.

    5. Community Trust Member

    Go tell the Community Trust, a private trust, who their members should be.

    7. Chair of National Friends of

    Absolutely no idea who chooses this one. No a member of Habonim, so don’t care.

    2. Controlling influence Friends of


    8. Trustee of Habonim

    ditto, assuming he’s not pockling the funds

    1. Next chair of Cosgrove Care

    So go to an AGM of Cosgrove Care, if you are a subscriber, and stand against him.

    6. Current member of Rep Council
    Executive Management Committee

    YOU would say that’s irrelevant

    4. In charge of Israel 60

    Don’t know who chooses this one.

    So it really doesn’t bother me that much. Do you have 8 people in mind to replace him, or is he doing such a terrible job that it’s better to have no one in these positions?

  147. Bob said

    Answer to your question History Man is obvious – Better to have no one than Mr K.

  148. Mr Accurate said

    I never asked you History Man to tell us how he was elected. I asked you whether he is suitable in your opinion for the positions that he holds.
    Given your knowledge of communal history and your expertise, do you believe that the community benefits from such influence and responsibility being held by Mr K?
    If you agree that it is not good news then we can debate what we should do about it. If you think it is okay then I would be very pleased to know what good it does the community.
    Not too difficult is it?

  149. History Man said

    I have no detailed knowledge of Mr K’s work at Habonim, and have never been a member, so how would I know if he’s worse for Habonim than anyone else? He’s certainly got years of experience on that one. Again, unless he’s doing anything illegal, it’s up to the membership.

    I don’t find this discussion leads us anywhere. Unless something can be done, what’s the point of all this focussing on one individual?

  150. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    History Man, I suggest your information on the Community Trust being a private trust is incorrect. There is registered with OSCR , a Trust(SC013684)known as ‘Glasgow Jewish Community Trust’ this puts it very much in the public domain and open to scrutiny by the general public.

  151. History Man said

    Re the Community Trust – of course, yes. But OSCR aren’t going to disqualify someone from being a trustee because a few bloggers think he’s got too much influence or is mediocre.

  152. A Beitz said

    The point about the number of positions Mr Kliner holds should not be seen as a personal criticism. It should apply to anyone in the community hold this number of positions and the way the community is, as perhaps to some extent it always has been, a self perpetuating oligarchy.
    Dealing with the positions:
    1 Fine if that’s what Cosgrove subscribers want. If you’re a subscriber and don’t want it come along to the AGM. If you’re not a subscriber then become one. It’s a very worthwhile organisation.
    2 At first I thought how many parents will work for Habonim? Having said that a little birdie told me of an attempt by someone to become involved which was blanked. Does that organisation have an AGM? If so when is it?
    3 As HM says that’s due to being a past president. However it needs changed. The Rep Council should not be top heavy with former presidents. By all means be ex officio for 3 years after concluding the job but if you want to stay involved after that stand for election.
    4 Comes about from his other positions. See what I mean?
    5 Comes about from his former position in the Rep Council. Makes sure grants aren’t given to groups who may not toe the party line.
    6 Presume he was elected and fair enough. He meets my comment at 3 and shows why the position is unecessary.
    7 No idea where this comes from.
    8 Seems to involve a bit much power as well as a possible conflict of interest taking into account his other positions with Habonim eg if Habonim Bayit is sold do the proceeds go to Glasgow for possible Habo or non Habo youth activities or back to London.
    Essentially however people have to come forward. It is not healthy time wise or in other ways for one person to be on so much. I appreciate however there is not always a huge amount of encouragement to do so with the feeling that there is something of a closed shop for most committees restricted to the current personnel or those regarded by the serving incumbents as “one of us”.
    There are also many who do brilliant work who go nowhere near a committee. Think of the volunteers at Cosgrove, at Jewsh Care and at Newark Lodge. Think of those who run JLGB or the Brownies or Guides. For many they get on with it rather becoming embroiled in lengthy meetings.
    Imo the answer has to be firstly that committees have to be limited in the number of meetings and their length. With email much can be discussed without a meeting. Secondly people in the community should, however talented they may be or in demand, refuse to serve on say more than 3 organisations. Thirdly once a term of office is concluded there should be little in the way of honorary places. Fourthly people have to put themselves forward rather than moan.

  153. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    History Man, the fact that you yourself, obviously a very involved and knowledgeable member of this community thought that the Glasgow Jewish Community Trust was a private and untouchable Trust is disturbing. It is when attitudes such as that are allowed to flourish that good governance and the other necessary attributes of Trustees may fail due to complacency.

  154. Elchanan said

    Mr Accurate, I don’t understand why you keep going on about one specific member of the community, while hiding behind the anonymity of this blog, and somehow claim that it’s not “a personal attack on this one individual”. It quite clearly is a personal attack on someone that you either dislike or feel envious of.

    Since when is it a bad thing to be heavily involved with the community? Mr Kliner should be applauded for giving so much time and effort to both the Glasgow community and the wider Jewish community. Furthermore, you keep on asking about these supposed 8 organisations, but 6 of them are with 2 organisations (3 with Habonim [a relatively small organisation in Glasgow these days, especially the parents’ committee] and 3 with the Rep. Council)! You are trying to create a controversy out of little.

    In short, stop trying to play the man instead of the ball. Stop attacking a man who works tirelessly for this community. Criticise specific policies, decisions and strategies if you want, but leave your petty jealousy out of it.

  155. History Man said

    Nachman – the bit about the Community Trust was only a slip up on my part. Don’t make too much out of it. But I stand by my question of whether OSCR will bar someone from being a trustee because some people on a blog think they are ineffective or on too many committees. As has been pointed out, it only amounts to 3-4 organisations really.

  156. Mr Accurate said

    This is not a personal attack on anyone – it is an attempt to have a discussion about the amount of influence held by certain individuals in this community. And as I have said previously Mr Kliner seems to have accumulated in my opinion far too much influence for the communal good.
    It is ” Elchanan ” of course a good thing to be involved with the community. But more importantly is what good, if any, comes with this involvement.
    And when there are clearly conflicts of interest that arise by holding too many positions, alarm bells are then sounded. I also think it is legitimate to discuss the communal record of a public office bearer if that person continually holds on to positions of influence and appointments are made to further his communal career. As Mr Beitz posted if one obtains current positions merely because of holding previous titles we have a problem. And that is what has happened it would appear with Mr Kliner.
    I have no personal dislike of the man – I hardly know him – and I can assure you I am certainly not envious. As far as I can see, looking at this guy’s communal report there isn’t too much to be envious about.

  157. Curious said

    Does anyone out there know what are the obligations of a trustee? Mr Kliner according to the note of his communal positions is certainly on two trusts. Perhaps even more.

  158. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,
    I apologise that this week’s contribution will be rather short but I have had so much going on that I am a little unprepared.
    I was originally going to discuss the statement by Government Minister Ed Balls, Secretary of State for children, after his department’s inquiry into violations of the school’s admissions code.
    Some of the issues raised showed that most of the offenders were faith schools. Those of you who send your children to state run Jewish schools will be aware of the pressure for ” voluntary contributions ” that fund Jewish education. Some of our schools claim that this contribution is for security costs in order to protect our children but I think most of us know that this is only a small percentage of the money taken from parents.
    The Guardian correspondent, Jonathan Freedland discussed this in his column in the Guardian yesterday. The scary thing for those of us who believe in faith schools is how accurate some of the concerns raised by the government really are. We know the problems of funding Jewish education but we have to be careful not to put so much pressure on people to pay because as Freedland commented – the constant demands have been described as ” harassment “.
    Perhaps we need to look at different methods of raising funds to pay for Jewish education in State schools.
    The other headline which grabbed my attention was about Zimbabwe. I shuddered when I read the Guardian front page article entitled –
    ” Vote Mugabe or you die – Inside Zimbabwe, the backlash begins.”
    They were of course referring to the election debacle and the fact that now Mugabe’s followers have launched a campaign of violence and intimidation against the supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change.
    I hope that all decent people are horrified about what is happening in Zimbabwe. Why are the protests of our Government and our leaders not much louder?
    It will not be unexpected if thousands lose their lives in this part of Africa in the coming weeks. And we in the west seem to be unable to stop it. Is it so surprising that people become more and more cynical about the political process? We raise money for Africa, and applaud our leaders when they highlight the famine and poverty that exists in this part of the world, but when shocking violence appears more and more likely we seem to have little influence to do something about it.
    I could of course also talk this week about human rights and China which has been in the news with the carrying of the Olympic torch.
    What I will say is that we, the Jewish people, have a moral obligation, to speak out against cruelty and denial of human rights wherever it happens. Our voice needs to be heard and as a Rabbi, I am very aware of this. Jewish people cannot be indifferent to troubles elsewhere, even if we are not directly involved.
    I hope and pray that we will all have a peaceful Shabbat. Hopefully you will want to come to synagogue but if not I ask that when you light the Shabbat candles you will all do whatever you can to make the world a better, more pleasant place to live.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  159. Shalom said

    All this talk about Mr. Kliner is disappointing. Should our attention not be directed more to the organisations who allow him to join so many committees? Is this because the critics are unwilling to give up their time to assist the Community by seeking membership of these organisations. There’s little point in criticising unless you are prepared to be involved. That having been said ,I have in the past been on such Committees. Never again ! I found them to consist of people with little ability,loud voices, pathetic ideas, self interest, and ideas above their station in life.I am sure that Mr.Kliner this week, Mr. Edlin last and Mr. Borowski, earlier, and probably Dr. Collins all the time do not fall into such a category?

  160. ChangeThe Subject Im Bored said

    Interesting e mail just sent to me that you might want to view – takes about 7 mins to watch through.

  161. Whistle blower said

    You may be bored but I believe that Mr Kliner has made a serious error of judgement. I have just picked up the Jewish Telegraph and on the back page is an advert for Yom Ha’atzmaut.
    As I understand it Mr Kliner is chair of this group – although no one seems to know who appointed him.
    The following sentence appears in the advert –
    ” Children and families will be transported from ” Gloomy Glasgow” to ” Idyllic Israel “. Wander through the sunny streets and visit the amazing Shuk.”
    Now I am delighted that there is a communal event to celebrate Israel’s 60th birthday but whoever thought the words up for this advert should be embarassed at their stupidity. Can we not celebrate and identify with Israel without being negative about the city where we live.? This will look really good in newsagents and elsewhere if non Jewish people see the Jewish Community slagging off the town that they live in.
    And what’s more Mr Kliner, I visit Israel regularly, have many friends and family who live there, and not one of them would say the country is ” Idyllic”.
    It isn’t. It may be the Jewish people’s homeland and it may have much going for it but let’s not kid our children and youth that it is perfect.
    Our kids should enjoy where they live and appreciate what they have got here, and enjoy identifying with Israel.
    But not in this way. Certainly not.

  162. Derek Errets said

    I clicked on the website, Change the Subject, and up came the eminently objective and unblinkered commentator David Horowitz.

    I couldn’t find any pictures of Lebanese kids that had their limbs blown off by cluster bombs sown indiscriminately by the IAF. Hezbollah need whacked of course, but deliberate killing and maiming of Lebanese civilians does seem to be a subject that documentarian David has paid slightly too little attention to, again.

  163. Not Another Macher said

    Just had a look at the link to the Terrorsim Awareness Video. Whilst some – even most – of the historical stuff may well be true, we really need to stop getting hung up on this. It is, of course, useful/essesntial to understand the context to how we arrived at the current situation but we cannot keep going back to what might have been.

    In order to move forward we have to take as the base point the situation as it is now and just deal with it – otherwise wil continue to go round in circles of ‘ifs’ ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’

  164. Change the subject I'm bored said

    Can we please get back to discussing Mr Kliner. Not much we can do about Israel but hopefully lots we can do about our own community.

  165. Not impressed said

    Whoever stuck this video on the blog is obviously too daft to realise that this sort of crude propoganda is not believed anymore by anyone other than the remnants of Scottish Friends Of Israel.
    Introduced to communal life by the previously mentionned Stephen Kliner, organisations like this peddle this nonsense in an attempt to persuade others of Israel’s cause.
    Friends such as these Israel can do without.
    If you want to view such nonsense in your own home, I pity you, and for having contacts that obviously presumed you would be impressed.
    But please leave everyone else out of it.

  166. ChangeThe Subject Im Bored said

    Not to be confused with the blogger at #164, the link from family in Israel who wanted me to share it with you. I leave it to you to make up your own mind about its content. I am neither supporting it nor decrying it just letting you view what is out there rather than discuss Mr K all the time.

  167. Not impressed said

    Don’t you have a mind of your own?
    no 166 – You can’t desseminate this kind of material and then claim you have no opinion about the content. Are you Stephen Kliner in disguise?

  168. Not Not Inpressed said


  169. Oh no said

    As you drive around Eastwood Toll who can miss the Lubavitch banner about Pessach.
    How ridiculous!. How East Ren Council have been persuaded to put this up is something that I may take up with them. Instead of a message that explains the meaning of Pessach – freedom – what do Chaim and Mendel tell the world – the finite details about the time the festival begins.
    It is just ridiculous that this movement is representing our community to East Renfewshire.
    Do you think Stephen Kliner is a supporter of Lubavitch? Maybe that’s how East Ren were convinced to put this daft banner up?

  170. History Man said

    Lubavitch banner? I’m frightened to say anything in case I get told the man has to make a living like anyone else!

  171. A Beitz said

    Or alternatively that I’m obsessed with Lubavitch and should go and open my own …. restaurant.
    I don’t think SK can be blamed for anything Lubavitch does. The Glasgow branch of that organisation does what it pleases.

  172. Not a fan of pesach said

    Who can I blame for Kosher l’pesach mini babybel six pack costing 5.75 times more than the self same item (minus the KLP sticker)in Asda?

    Talk about immoral profiteering!

  173. Oh no said

    The world is going mad. JUst driven home and at Giffnock traffic lights, another silly Lubavitch banner about Pessach.
    Anyone in East Ren looking for my vote in future will have to promise to do all they can to stop this nonsense.
    My point Mr Beitz about Stephen Kliner and Lubavitch should have been put more clearly.
    If Mr Kliner was half as important as he thinks he is, then he would undoubtedly have told East Ren that the Jewish Community are not represented by Chaim Jacobs and Lubavitch!

  174. A Beitz said

    I think you can take it, Oh No, that efforts have been made previously to persuade politicians that things should only go through the Rep Council or SCOJEC. I also surmise these were unsuccessful which is why The First Minister is speaking through the auspices of GJEF.
    One criticsm of your previous post. I have no idea whether Mr Kliner is modest or vain. However whilst I have no difficulty with criticising the structures that lead to one person being on so many committees I see no reason to accuse that person of self importance. Imo personal attacks demean the argument.

  175. Oh no said

    I’m very sorry Mr Beitz! You are absolutely right. My only defence is that anyone who is on as many different committees as Mr Kliner must think they are very important or they wouldn’t do it, would they? Or are you suggesting that he is on all these committees for our benefit?

  176. History Man said

    Whatever you think of people being on too many committees or wielding too much influence in the community, how on earth can you be certain that the man in question is not motivated by a desire to work for the benefit of the community? You might not agree with his policies or his views, but give him the benefit of the doubt – he might actually get something out of working for the community.

  177. A Beitz said

    History Man is absolutely correct. There are a number of people in the community who hold many positions. For reasons previously expressed I don’t think that’s a good thing and I also believe quite a bit of it is self perpetuating. However I would not label them as self important and indeed in many cases I believe their desire is to assist the community. Some of the structures in this community are an anachronism. That doesn’t mean that those who serve on those structures are neccessarily worthy of personal criticism.

  178. Mr Accurate said

    Mr Beitz, history man is not ” absolutely correct ” – he is wrong.
    And you need to be reminded of what you wrote last week – post 152 9.4.08.

    ” Having said that, a little birdie told me of an attempt by someone to become involved which was blanked”

    ” makes sure grants are not given to groups who may not toe the party line”

    These were two specific, separate points which you raised, which I presume you believe to be true. Both of them are sufficient in their own right to enable others to come to a judgement that if they are correct then Mr Kliner is not necessarily “motivated by a desire to work for the benefit of the community”.
    Now I’m sure Mr Beitz and History Man that you do not need to be told that to prevent other people from joining committees that are short in numbers as it is , is strange, to say the least and if one is a trustee of a charitable trust then there are also specific rules which govern this as well.
    I do not believe that your motivation could have been anything other than to suggest that this kind of conduct is not impressive, when you posted
    So, I don’t believe you should now try and jump around and obfuscate the issue with statements like – ” those who serve on such structures are necessarily worthy of personal criticism”
    I’m sure you will now agree that in some cases they might be.

  179. A Beitz said

    You answer your own question, Mr Accurate by you quoting me in your penultimate sentence albeit missing out the important words “doesn’t mean” and then in your final sentence. Or putting at its simplest serving on a large number of committees does not “necessarily” mean you are worthy of personal criticism. It could however mean you “might”. One word is absolute whilst the other simply leaves open the possibility.

    You can be useless, or conceited or whatever. Serving on numerous committees does not mean you are however. It is your actions that will make you that.

    Is that clear now?

  180. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,
    I was going to post a Pessach message but I’m afraid I have run out of time. I am shortly boarding a plane to Israel to spend Pessach with family.
    I wish you all a wonderful Pessach – Chag sameach
    Rabbi L

  181. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Came across this quote from Shimon Peres in recent Ha’aretz article, “You cannot be an Israeli without being Jewish.”

    What do others think?

  182. History Man said

    Not a good thing to say, but wonder whether he was quoted out of context?

  183. Mr Accurate said

    Could you tell us Nachman where you read this because if your source is reliable this is a shocking statement for the Israeli President to make.

  184. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Comments such as these are unfortunate when attributed to people of little consequence. However, when they emanate from the President of Israel they cannot be blithely brushed aside but must be given due consideration. My source was

  185. A Beitz said

    Thanks for the link, Nachman. I can just about see how Peres got to the point where he said what he said but there is no justification for it. It is fair enough to say,as he did, that there can be Israel without Judaism. However he then seems to have mixed his concepts, sets and subsets up. The former then jumps to the latter which is legally and morally wrong. Israeli natiuonality is no way akin to shul membership ie only open to those who come within a definition of Judaism.
    Peres should retract what he said and do so clearly apologising and explaining how he got it so wrong or resign. He is the President of Israel and NOT simply the President of Jewish Israelis.

  186. A Beitz said

    Sorry but error in 185 and no edit facility. Third sentence should have the word “no” between “be” and “Israel”.

  187. Mr Accurate said

    Maybe the problem runs a little deeper than we thought.
    We have seen an Israeli minister a few weeks ago talking of Holocausts on Palestinians and now we have an Israeli President that has forgotten that he is President of all Israelis – Jews and non-Jews.
    There seems to be a real problem in Israeli society that is getting worse not better.
    Maybe, we in Glasgow, should be sending a message loud and clear to the Israeli Government that we deplore such sentiments and we expect much better.
    Maybe, when the Israeli ambassador next turns up here – he will listen to not just our self appointed out of touch representatives – but will consult more widely to find out what other people think about what is going on.
    As the UN is about to suspend help to civilians in Gaza because of Israeli blockades preventing basic supplies getting through – will anyone here say anything when the community celebrates Israel’s 60th anniversary.
    Given that Mr Kliner and Mr Mendelsohn will be fronting what will be happening here, we can hardly expect anything other than the usual inappropriate response. We know that they wouldn’t dare criticise anything. Hopefully, someone will do it – because Mr Kliner and Mr Mendelsohn, not forgetting Mr Isaacs and Mr Sneader need a lesson so that they might just grasp what real leadership entails. Because currently they have no idea whatsoever.
    I don’t know where the Peace Now group has gone to recently but perhaps they should be speaking out now and reminding this community that it is possible to support a kind of Zionism which still has decent morality and behaves properly to all Israelis regardless of religious belief. Maybe they could remind our community what kind of behaviour towards Palestinians is acceptable and what kind of behaviour is unacceptable.
    There are still voices in Israel who need support in their brave attempts to speak out and create a better, more moral and ultimately more secure Israel.
    But we in Glasgow have to come to our own conclusions about what kind of Israel we want and we should say it loudly and very clearly.

  188. Oh No. said

    Sometimes I wonder if Rep Council President Philip Mendelsohn deliberately tries to be a clot – because it would appear that the amount of times this guy’s judgement is so far removed from reality – that he must have some strange motives for posing as the Mr Bean of communal affairs.

    Mr Mendelsohn believes that the Scottish Islamic Foundation is ” deliberately antagonising the Jewish Community ” according to the Front Page article in this week’s Jewish Telegraph.
    ” The venue and the date have undoubtedly been chosen to directly challenge the Jewish community’s Yom Ha’atazmaut celebrations.”

    Whilst I have no sympathies towards the Scottish Islamic Foundation, I cannot see why it should trouble poor Philip that they choose to hire a East Renfrewshire public hall the night before the Jewish community have hired the same building for their celebration.
    As East Ren commented – ” it is not inflammatory to hire the hall”

    So what is poor Philip’s problem then? Is he troubled by the fact that not everyone wishes to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel and is he surprised that Palestinian support groups may wish to mark this anniversary with an event that does not celebrate Israel’s achievements?

    Why does the date that they have chosen cause him concern? What date would he like them to choose to mark an event that they don’t agree with?

    And as for Leah Granet’s comments – it makes you want to weep that these people represent our community to anyone!
    It would appear that Mrs Granet believes that the Jewish Community should have territorial rights over local authority buildings in East Renfrewshire.
    Mrs Granet and poor Mr Mendelsohn should keep their silly thoughts top themselves. They are an embarassment to our community.
    I wonder when President Philip will do the decent thing and resign?

  189. Derek Errets said

    Shome mishtake shurely #188.

    Can someone elaborate on just what Phil and Leah are allegedly waffling on about regarding both bookings and territorial control of East Renfrewshire public buildings before my jaw drops further?

  190. A Beitz said

    I too was amazed at this. However tell us,PM. Did you actually say what the JT claims? The quote from you does not actually say what the story says. So is the story wrong or not?
    You apparently said at Limmud that you would not respond to A Beitz. Forget that. On this forum you can say what you want to say without editing or spin. So, did you really suggest that the Scottish Islamic Foundation is ” deliberately antagonising the Jewish Community ” or did you restrict your comments to the fact it was a challenge to the Community’s YH celebrations? If it was the former then you should go since you have no right to impute motives of this type however misguided any of us consider the SIF (what does that remind me of?) may be and by doing so you may well be ruining efforts at good interfaith dialogue over the years.

  191. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    It is not the Scottish Islamic Foundation that frightens me, it is Jewish Public Enemy No 1, Phillip Mendelsohn that fills me with fear and foreboding. He forgets, or more likely, it never struck him, that we are about to celebrate an historical event regarded by Palestinians as a monumental disaster. They could object on the grounds that we are celebrating their misfortune. PM has managed to take an innocuous dinner and make it front page on the JT. If they were deliberately attempting to annoy us, he has handed them a cheap victory. I consider the Council’s reaction to be a diplomatic way of telling PM to “piss off”. Mr Mendelsohn is ensuring that goodwill built up over many years is being quickly dissipated. The day may come when we need friends but after PM nobody will want to know us.

    He has to go. The Representative Council in its present form has to go. The real problem is that there is no one of stature prepared to do the deed. His predecessors are for the most part little better and probably don’t recognise how bad he is. The few with the power to neutralise him, over the years, have become so embroiled with the RC that anathema wins the day – and the community is the loser.

  192. Barry said

    Of course Mr Mendelsohn has to go. He has been over promoted and is well out of his depth.

    But the people who are really culpable are the people who fund this organisation – the Community Trust.

    It is this trust that keeps the Rep Council going by donating public money to allow Mr Mendelsohn, Mr Isaacs and Mr Sneader to keep getting it wrong.

    And of course the Trust is full of Ex Rep Council Presidents like Stephen Kliner who keep the whole nonsense going.

    So I appeal to Malcolm Livingstone and
    Adam Berkley – co chairs of the Trust – if you really believe in acting in the Community’s best interests – you will know that The Rep Council is no longer worth saving – so stop their funding.
    Please act now.

  193. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I hope that you had an enjoyable Pessach.
    I have just returned from Israel and as usual I was uplifted by my visit. Spending precious time with family and friends in Jerusalem during the Chag was exactly what I needed and I returned to the UK both physically and mentally recharged.

    This week I would like to talk to you about football. What, I hear you ask, can a Rabbi know about football? Apart from an appreciation of most sports, I enjoy watching football whenever I have the time to do so.

    But I’m not going to actually discuss the game with you, but rather two instances in the past few days that happened at football matches.

    Firstly, I would like to share with you my feelings when the Israeli manager of Chelsea football club fell to his knees at the end of the game against Liverpool and told reporters afterwards that Wednesday was Yom Hashoah and that he had prayed at the end of the match in remembrance of his grandfather who had died in the Holocaust.

    Now Avram Grant had received much criticism from being involved in a sporting occasion on Yom Hashoah. Israeli football teams involved in European matches have asked for and received permission not to play on this date.

    Avram Grant decided to be at this match. And in terms of reminding the outside world about the Holocaust and what happened to the Jews he has possibly done more for Holocaust education in the UK than anyone else for years. Today he went to Auschwitz and UK newspapers are telling their readers why.

    I think he should be applauded.

    Unlike another football personality – Celtic’s Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
    Being a Scottish blog most of you will I am sure know that Mr Boruc is Celtic’s goalkeeper and after a game against Rangers last weekend he removed his top – and celebrated with his teammates by revealing a T-shirt with the words ” God bless the Pope “.

    First of all, I have to say that this action would certainly not have helped foster harmony in Glasgow and in the context of the atmosphere which surrounds Celtic and Rangers matches this action was totally irresponsible.

    Sportsmen who want to display religious affiliation in such a way trouble me. If Artur Boruc wishes to ask God to bless the Pope – incidentally the picture of the Pope on his T-Shirt was the previous Polish incumbent who has passed away a while ago – then this should be a private matter. The sincerity of asking for blessings for a dead Pope in such a public manner is certainly doubtful.

    Whilst I can almost excuse the player for his error of judgement – I found the reaction by his manager ” at least it wasn’t Myra Hyndley ” to be quite disturbing. And if the manager is unaware that such comments can cause offence then what about his employers?
    As I understand it there has been no public criticism by Celtic Football Club.

    Religion has its place – but not as happened at Celtic park last Sunday.

    Shabbat Shalom

    Rabbi L

  194. A Beitz said

    As Rabbi L will be aware I am one of his biggest supporters but I think this week he has clearly been suffering from jetlag.
    Instead of criticising Artur Boruc, who may have been irresponsible, the major criticism that should be made is of a culture, if one can call it that, where anti papal statements and chants are acceptable and the act of wearing a garment which lauds a major religious leader can be regarded as inflammatory. Mr Boruc is from Poland. Did it not just occur to Rabbi L that is why he wore a t shirt with that particular pope’s image on it? Boruc also has a large wall covering of the same late pontiff. Pope JP II was and is a Polish icon. Unfortunately in certain parts of the UK anything to do with Roman Catholicism still seems to be regarded as an incitement. It is these attitudes the rabbi should be criticising.
    Intolerance whether by Israelis to Palestinians or by Protestants to Catholics should be condemned rather than blaming those who are proud of their religion and display that pride as engaging in incitement.

  195. Community Member said

    Beitzy, if you are seriously suggesting that Boruc wore a T-shirt with a picture of the Pope out of religious devotion you must be suffering from more than jetlag.
    His actions have nothing whatsoever to do with anti-catholic chants – which are just as ridiculous in this day and age.
    But I wonder if he has worn the same T-shirt against other teams than Rangers. I would suspect the answer would be no and that tells us everything. The club should condemn his actions.
    Rabbi L is right!
    By the way are you suggesting that there is some sort of symmetry between Protestants and Rangers and Catholics and Celtic?

  196. A Beitz said

    Sorry but where did I say did I say it was an act of religious devotion? However you Cm appear to equate wearing a tshirt with a picture of an icon on it with anti Catholic chants regarding one as being as bad as the other. What Boruc did was a misjudgement. It is only a problem however because of anti Catholic bigotry which Rabbi L has failed to condemn.
    Boruc’s actions and the suggestion that he is the mainly culpable one have odour of the suggestion that merely because a woman wears a short skirt and some misogynist goes for her that she’s to blame.

  197. Professor Fanny Abramovich said

    I was the one who discovered the link between masturbation and being really interested in what some overpaid, oversexed or religiously obsessed footballers are doing.

  198. Oh no said

    Did anyone notice that there was no retraction in this week’s JT about last week’s story that told us about Philip Mendelsohn’s objection to the Islamic Foundation holding a dinner a day before the Jewish community’s Yom Haaatzmaut celebrations.

    Given that there has been no retraction, apology etc then it would appear that Mr Mendelsohn is not unhappy with this story.

    That is reaaly, really scary. Perhaps people could post their ideas on how we get this guy to resign for the benefit of our community.

    I was going to suggest that he could get promotion to the Board of Deputies. And then I thought of Paul Edlin and one could not consider involvement with him as a promotion. And then I thought that he could decide to let other senior colleagues in the Rep Council get a reward for years of long service and he could step aside.
    And then I had a vision of President Eddie Isaacs and I thought Oh No!

    So what can we do ?

  199. A Beitz said

    Over the past years I have viewed the Representative Council as a harmless but increasingly irrelevant organisation in which various people enjoy praising each other. Their meetings were tedious with long winded praise for colleagues and if anyone tried to interrupt the cosy consensus whether that was Peace Now, Students or Scottish Friends of Israel discussion was curtailed immediately. They did and do some good work but in many ways failed to deal with long term communal issues such as the proliferation of shuls and buildings, the exodus from the community etc. They were to be honest a bit of a joke with their pomposity including the chain of office etc. Most of those involved were well meaning although not everyone.

    My views on that have however changed. In my view their recent behaviour has made them positively dangerous. Internally entertaining themselves and the Israeli Ambassador to a non kosher Friday night dinner was a disgrace. It doesn’t matter what level of kashrut the participants observed. This was an official visit to one of the (still) larger UK communities. Yet such was the respect that a council bearing to represent a number of orthodox organisations have for kashrut and Jewish observance the ambassor was given a non kosher meal and incidentally in the process presumably various people were implicitly excluded. What we each do privately is for ourselves. If however we are doing anything which may be seen to represent the community standards have to be maintained and with food whatever our individual beliefs we need to do things so that no one is excluded on the basis of religious belief.

    No apology was forthcoming for this appalling misjudgement but instead we now have the Council criticising an Islamic organisation on the alleged basis of deliberately trying to antagonise the Jewish community. What right did PM have to make this comment? How does that view represent a community which has all strands of opinion about Israel? What was the factual basis for him reaching such a conclusion? I had hoped that it was the JT which had put a spin on what he had to say but the lack of a letter or retraction this week would suggest otherwise. The Rep Council’s job is not to get hot under the collar about a meeting which regards the creation of Israel as a catastrophe. It is far less for it to impute anti semitic motives to the organisers without evidence. The Rep Council is now an unrepresentative rump and is now not simply fairly ineffective but dangerous. Its Executive should either dissasociate itself from these activities or go.
    I will be at the Israel 60th celebrations. That doesn’t mean that those who consider this not to be time for celebration are trying to antagonise the Jewish community. By suggesting otherwise our so called community leaders have brought this community into disrepute and poisoned interfaith relations. They also seem to have never heard of the boy who cried “Wolf”.

  200. Oh yes said

    Well written A Beitz. How would you feel about making the following people President of the Representative Council?

    1. Stephen Kliner
    2. Rabbi Chaim Jacobs
    3. Paul Edlin

    er that’s it!

  201. Sellik Boy said

    What about Arthur Boruc?

  202. Teddy Bear said

    And don’t forget Walter Smith (soon to be Sir Walter)

  203. A Beitz said

    Personally I’d go for Pope JPII. He’d be as effective as some of the previous incumbents and would help with interfaith work. He would also in his present condition make an excellent honorary life president.

  204. Not Another Macher said

    To be a wee bit serious, I would normally advocate that the best way to change an organisation is to get involved, get onto the committee and change it from within. In the case of the Rep Council it’s not as straight forward.

    – First of all you have to belong to an organisation and become it’s nominated representative (probably the easiest bit)
    – Then you have to endure endless meetings mostly about nothing, where your viewa are unlikely to be listened to
    – Then you have to stand (be invited) onto the Exec Council – which if your opinion deviates from the party line, will never happen
    – Then if you break into the magic circle you have to wait many years to climb the ladder, by which time you will have grown old and infirm and be out of touch with your original nominating organisation and general Community feeling.

    I can see the point in a cross communal, representative body – and the Rep Council was ground breaking in it’s day – but there must be a better way to meet the needs of our Community as it is now and into the future – surely???

  205. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I consider we are long past the point where discussion of the future of the Rep Council could possibly be fruitful. As an organisation it is a basket case in the last throes of terminal decline. I actually pity poor Phillip. He has been handed a poison chalice which has been studiously avoided by any discerning communal leader.
    The question is “Where to from here?” There are several well led and well run organisations in the community fulfilling a limited and necessary role. Occasionally we need a community face that is able to represent the interests of the whole community to the outside world. We need a well briefed leader or spokesperson who has the backing of the community and the gravitas that is essential to be treated seriously both within and out with the community.
    PM reminds me of a long gone schoolteacher of mine who used to shout at his unruly class “Every time I open my mouth some fool speaks.”

  206. Giffnock Resident said

    Perhaps someone can throw some light on this – I attended the GJEF meeting with Alex Salmond. There was no presence by the local, communal security group.
    I checked with GJEF afterwards and I have discovered that the CSO did not turn up but their presence was requested. And I also understand that this has happened a few tomes previously, albeit this meeting had the biggest profile.
    Now, I am aware that members of the CSO give up their free time to have a presence at communal events. And the community by and large seems to welcome this. But, and it is a very big but – it is entirely unacceptable that they pick and choose which organisations they turn up for and which they stay away from.
    Would I be wrong in suggesting that they will be around at high profile Rep Council events?

  207. Past Parent said

    I noticed the absence of the CSO at the Alex Salmond meeting, but just assumed that given his position he had his own security and that it out-ranked the CSO.

    If a request was made and some decision taken not to attend, it makes a complete mockery of the work done by the CSO. Either there is a reasonable level of threat that necessitates their expertise and they should be present at such gatherings or their isn’t and they may as well be disbanded.

  208. Mr Accurate said

    It can be confirmed from GJEF that the CSO did not turn up at the rearranged meeting for Alex Salmond, gave no prior apology, and no apology since the meeting.
    As Giffnock resident has already indicated this has happened before at other GJEF meetings.
    It would appear that the CSO will only turn up if they agree with the politics or like the organisation running the meeting!
    Some of the previous office holders in CSO would be totally dismayed at the quality of those currently running this organisation.
    I think you are right Past Parent – maybe they should be disbanded!

  209. F R Brent said

    I presume you are talking about the CST – never heard of the CSO?

    Just a theory, but perhaps CST don’t attend events unless they are held in communal buildings.

  210. Giffnock Resident said

    CST or CSO – I think we all know who we are talking about.
    I think FR Brent, you will discover that the venue is irrelevant – it is the politics which are the issue here.
    They will be at Yom Ha’atzmaut in Eastwood Theatre won’t they?

  211. History Man said

    Nachman suggests replacing the Rep Council setup with ‘a well briefed leader or spokesperson who has the backing of the community and the gravitas that is essential to be treated seriously both within and out with the community.’

    These kind of people are thin on the ground. The danger is that we have a situation like the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, where someone volunteers because they have the time and are very sure of their own ability (1st clue – MBE). How much control does the community have over such a person?

    So do we employ Nachman’s leader/spokesperson? And who actually is ‘we’? Does it become the nominee of one of the strongest organisations, eg UJIA or Giffnock Shul?

    And how do ‘we’ have this person accredited by the wider Jewish and non-Jewish community, while there is still a Rep Council and a President? Most of the community are apathetic when it comes to communal politics.

  212. History Man said

    And regarding the CST and the FM meeting… weren’t the CST at the meeting in Mearns Castle when FM cancelled and a substitute spoke? I’m sure I saw CST types at the front door. Aren’t we being a bit paranoid here? I suspect it’s probably down to no one being available that night to do the CST work, or just to some organisational mixup.

  213. Giffnock Resident said

    History Man – If I was you I would stop sitting near too many fences in the near future because you are likely to have a very sore backside.

    I have told you that CST were asked to turn up and didn’t. We have found out from GJEF that they did not apologise before or after for not being there and it has happened before.
    And we know that they will certainly be at Yom Ha’atzmaut.
    Now either they are totally useless or they have a problem with GJEF. That is not paranoia. And if they cannot be relied upon, then as past parent has suggested, they might as well be disbanded.

  214. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    You’re absolutely right, History man. There is no easy and obvious way of selecting an acceptable Community leader or spokesperson. However, that does not mean we have to accept the present situation which is an unmitigated disaster. It may be that the funds used to prop up this useless facade could be diverted to promote a well advertised crisis meeting where ideas could be thrown up for consideration. This would oblige those with power (which is usually control of funds) to be proactive rather than allowing the situation to fester and deteriorate further.
    I suspect that if this were to happen, other community organisations would re-examine themselves and accept criticism as being valid and sometimes positive.

  215. Community Member said

    Why would it be so difficult to consult with the community about what kind of representation they desire?
    I have been to many communal events over the years and very few communal organisations have ever asked me what I think about anything.
    That is until I went to hear the First Minister and took away an evaluation sheet to complete about what kind of events or speakers I would like to see.
    If GJEF can ask what people are looking for and what their purpose is, why would it be so difficult to ask the community how they wish to be represented and by whom and on what kinds of issues?
    Not rocket science is it?

  216. Paws 4 Thought said

    Maybe the leaders of GJEF could let us know the outcome of the evaluation sheets from the Alex Salmond and Fiona Hyslop meetings. How many were returnrd and what did they say?

  217. History Man said

    Giffnock Resident

    If the CST were so anti-GJEF, why did they turn up to the previous non-FM meeting? I still think it’s bad organisation, rather than some vendetta against GJEF, and I still think it’s paranoia to suggest otherwise.

  218. History Man said


    I may be wrong, but I don’t think there would be a big turnout for such a communal meeting. The biggest turnouts I can remember in the last 20 years have been when the butchers were going under and when the Jewish Echo was going under. I can’t see the same interest in whether the Rep Council’s going under.

  219. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Depends how its done. If the present Rep Council were to be in charge then you’d be right. If a bit of drama and imagination were used the result may be surprising. Of course, if people approach it with negative attitudes then they will fail before they start.

  220. Giffnock Resident said

    History Man – as a good historian you will appreciate the theory of getting your facts right.

    As I understand it from GJEF – they directly approached national CST for the first time after being blanked locally. 2nd time round this didn’t work. Previously GJEF have just been told there could be no cover or the CST didn’t appear without prior warning.
    I’m not suggesting it is a vendetta as you describe it. What I am suggesting is that either their are political motivations behind it or they are just useless.
    Either way what’s the point in maintaining a facade – that these guys know what they are doing – when they don’t!
    And you and I both know that what the CST believe are status events – they won’t miss!

  221. History Man said

    OK Nachman, but you still haven’t said who should organise such a thing. I remember years ago there was a lot of excitement (well a wee bit) about direct community-wide elections to a UJIA Renewal board. But we never ever saw the experiment repeated.

  222. Community Member said

    Stephen Kliner would think he should chair it – but we can rule that out for starters.
    It can’t be that difficult to arrange a meeting.
    But you need those that fund the Rep Council – and still have some communal clout – to make it very clear to the Rep Council that the current situation is over. Whether Malcolm Livingstone and Adam Berkley have the balls to tell their colleagues on the community trust – and all the ex Presidents that sit there – that the party is over, is very doubtful. Sometimes good people find it easier to do nothing in the hope that things will work out.
    I would suspect that they would not get it through the Trust – there will be a blocking veto over anything that would change things that would remove their power base.
    So, in effect, what you need is for Malcolm Livingstone and Adam Berkley, as co- chairs of the community trust – to say that they think change is necessary for the good of the community and to either be backed or sacked by the other trustees. If they are backed then the community can plan its representation for the future. If they are sacked then, the Trust will soon be seen as defunct as the Rep Council , and the community can move ahead without them.
    And then the Community can consider who does what and what is really required for the future.
    My gut feel is that Malcolm and Adam will sit tight and let it drift further. That will be their easier option.

  223. History Man said

    CM – who exactly is the Community? How do you suggest we establish who has a right to inherit this role? Who will have a mandate from the community, and how will they get it?

    Maybe all the organisations in the community should nominate representatives and get together and elect someone? Sound familiar? Or do we leave it to those with control of the funds, or UJIA?

  224. A Beitz said

    I think you have to decide firstly whether the community (whatever that may be) needs a representative body, overlapping with that what its functions are to be, and how it will be elected.
    Dealing with the first and second I don’t see the representative body’s mandate as encompassing criticising rival meetings as being antagonistic or indeed supporting Israel except where its right to exist is questioned. There are many other bodies who can deal with the former and it certainly does not represent the whole community. An “Israel right or wrong” is perfectly legitimate for some of the Zionist groups but not our representative body.
    Liason at the political end of matters seems to have been, whether you think it is for better or worse, taken over by SCOJEC.
    Where there is a gap is for men and women of vision to bring together the various groups in the community to determine how best the community can move forward. It should have been a representative body that tried to bring together the various shuls together rather than it being perceived as Giffnock trying to take over people. Equally is it approppriate that we have so many social services groups in the community eg Jewish Care, Cosgrove Care, The Blind Soc, Newark Care, The Jewish Sick Visiting etc? I appreciate fundraising may actually be easier by each group having a separate identity but there is an overlap and rivalry. Is it appropriate to have a youth centre at Maccabi when various buildings are underused for much of the week? Every individual group can no doubt make a case for its separate existence but some relatively disinterested visionaries could see consolidation in a way that the community could move forward. Is there any way of keeping people in Glasgow and even bringing in more? All of this what the community needs but the representative body has either ignored them or lamentably failed when dealing with them.
    Such a body should also fight to keep institutions which the parent London organisations close in the community which really needs them. After all what the Rep Council do when London Hillel closed its Glasgow branch and happed the proceeds? Would it do anything if London Habonim tried to close the Bayit in Barrhead Rd and take the proceeds from the sale or sit on its hands?
    That’s my own view as to what such a body should be doing. My impression of the present body is it sees perceived communal unity as an end in itself and its mission.

    There should also be a postal ballot to elect the officebearers by delegates with delegate status belonging to any bona fide communal group.

    Obviously there is much to be done to sort out the rough edges but we do need to move on from what was previously mediocrity but has recently deteriorated.

  225. Not Another Macher said

    CM in your scenario you suggest that if Malcolm and Adam were sacked as a result of standing up to the Community Trust, “the Trust will soon be seen as defunct as the Rep Council , and the community can move ahead without them.”

    How so? Are Malcolm and Adam not at least a stabilising influence within that body and what might happen to the distribution of the considerable sums of money currently keeping many of our essential Care & Community organisations afloat if they were not there?

    BTW my understanding (no doubt someone will correct me if I’m wrong) of the Community Trust is that it’s a bit of a misnomer – was it not set up by a number of private philanthropic individuals who wished to give some of their money to the Community. In recent years they have invited some additional people – ex presidents of the Rep Council on to the group which decides how to distribute funds, presumably thinking they would have an overview of the various communal organisations & the needs of the Community……

    I agree with History Man – how do you define ‘The Community?’ We can’t even count how many people are in it. Do people opt in or opt out? Is it self defining and would we get certain religious organisations/people refusing to be part of any new body if the Reform were part of it – and others refusing if Lubavitch were included?

  226. Community Member said

    The Community History Man is anyone that considers themselves to be a part of the Jewish people, living in Glasgow.
    I think the role of organisations, in deciding how the community wishes to be represented and on what issues, should be very limited. I believe that everyone who wants a stake should have one and their voice is equally valuable.
    I agree with much of what A Beitz wrote about some of the issues but I would like us to move away from the idea that membership has to be through existing organisations.
    I would also suggest that if people get elected on a personal vote with a reasonable amount of people participating in an election that gives them a powerful mandate.
    I would ideally want to see a community with a diversity of views , pluralistic in its outlook.
    People with different opinions should be welcomed, not feared, and the community will be richer for it.
    Some of the current problems are never solved because too many people have too many loyalties and it becomes impossible to create a dynamic for change or improvement. If a new body is to succeed it has to be seen as independent. This new body will have to gain respect by what it does and how it behaves – not as happens now.
    The points raised by Not another Macher are not too difficult to answer.
    Firstly, the charitable donations to communal organisations by the Community Trust. I think what would happen is this. Some of the trustees would continue to support charitable projects within the community. Those interested in power and prestige would huff and puff but ultimately they would go with the flow because they would not be brave enough to do otherwise.
    The trust by virtue that they applied for charitable status are now accountable. It is no longer their own money but is now money governed by charitable laws and regulations. Previously members of the community could buy membership – at one time the figure was £50,000 but because the trustees wanted to be seen as a ” community organisation ” working in the best interests of the community, they invited others on who had Rep Council involvement.
    With the benefit of hindsight a big error of judgement because these people have by and large presided over decline and stagnation and have never shown genuine leadership.
    As I said earlier, I don’t believe either Malcolm or Adam will do what is necessary – they would rather fate conspired to bring about meaningful change.
    Those that want a say in what happens to this community will need to opt in by registering to have their voice heard and their vote counted. If they don’t want to be part of change let them bleat from the outside. Those who want to bring about a positive change for the good will want to be on board.

  227. Jeffrey said

    Who do you think will arrange this meeting?

  228. Michael said

    I would suggest that anyone interested in reading a good article that you look at Jonathan Freedland’s piece in today’s guardian.

    P.S.1st time on the blog..good fun and interesting discussion.

  229. Artur Boruc's T Shirt said

    Rabbi L you’re late!

  230. NLL said

    Maybe too many Yom Hatzmaut celebrations???

  231. Monica said

    Was anyone at Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations at Eastwood Theatre?
    Is Eddie Isaacs the only person on the planet who can make Philip Mendelsohn be missed?

  232. Jamie said

    You obviously were not at Yom Ha’atzmaut, Monica. I can assure you that Mr Mendelsohn was seriously unmissed. Eddie Isaacs did prove however, that in a committee where members are promoted several notches above their ability, why he got trapped as the perpetual bridesmaid.

  233. Lucinda said

    If Eddie Isaacs wasn’t up to the job could they not have been persuaded to let Graham Sneader run the show?

  234. A Beitz said

    Was in Giffnock Shul today. Found various positives in the proceedings.
    In the first place there was a prayer of those in Burma who have been affected by the disaster there. It was refreshing to see that we were being asked to asked to pray for population of non Jewish people It is, of course, as it should be but often it is claimed that the orthodox only care about Jews.
    The Rabbi in his sermon also criticised the hatred on both sides in the Israel/ Palestinian dispute and referred to a youth group going to Hebron and how parents were reassured it would be safe because “The Palestinians will be under curfew when you visit”. He made it clear that a curfew of this nature was also unacceptable and that both sides had to recognise each other’s rights.
    It is good to hear that people like Rabbi Rothenberg are not unique amongst the orthodox clergy.

  235. History Man said

    The Jewish Chronicle has been listing its Top 100 people with the most influence on the Jewish community in Britain. As usual, it’s anglo-centric, with no Scots listed, not even Ephraim MBE!

    So let’s do a Scottish Top 10. My nominations:

    8 Phillip Mendelsohn

    7 Kenneth Collins

    6 Ephraim Borowski

    5 Rabbi Hackenbroch

    4 Head Teacher of Calderwood Lodge

    3 Rabbi Rubin

    2 Adam Berkley

    1 Malcolm Livingstone

    Can’t even think of 10 – anyone else try?

  236. Benji said

    History Man – you are trapped in the past like your name.
    Your list is by and large, but not exclusively, made up of establishment figures. They don’t have influence over the majority of the Jewish community.
    Some of them are good people. But influential they are not.
    The JC have indulged in a ridiculous project that has no meaning whatsoever.
    Donald Duck is as influential to most of our community as most of the names on your list.
    Quack quack!

  237. A Beitz said

    I think your names are a little predictable. I would include
    Rabbi Nancy Morris
    Rabbi David Rose
    Ethne Woldman
    John Dover
    Adele Conn
    Stephen Kliner
    Doreen Cohen

    Were however you to be asking about the unsung heroes of the community there are many most of whom by the nature of their work I don’t know. People like
    Barry Landman who takes services at Westacres every week
    People who carry out tahara including Carolyn Dover and Jonathan Glasser
    Volunteers at Cosgrove Care, Westacres and Jewish Care
    People who organise Friday dinners and other social functions at the shuls
    Youth and Brownie and Guide leaders

    They are the people who are major cogs in this community but rarely receive recognition. Without them the important structures of the community would disappear.

  238. Community Member said

    I think we need to take a reality check here.
    The number of Rabbis on the lists supplied by A Beitz and History Man is absurd. Because someone holds the title of Rabbi does not give them influence. Add up how few people are interested in turning up in Shul and you will get a more accurate indication of their level of influence. Not much.
    Also, Mr Beitz, I think that your gong show misses the point. Because a person does a good deed or an act of kindness does not make them unsung heroes as you call them. For instance the fact that someone is into organising a social event in a Shul does not in everyone’s eyes qualify for a medal – that may be their hobby – other people have different ones – and it is no more worthy of recognition than someone who runs a golf club event or is a youth leader or a football coach.

    I think we’ve already touched on the Stephen Kliner issues so we don’t need to go there again for the moment.
    One final point though, is that all paid employees are not unsung heroes – it is their job. So remove the Rabbis and the Chief Executives and the Caterers and the teachers and think again if you must.
    I won’t. These exercises are of no merit whatsoever.

  239. A Beitz said

    Community Member/Benji/ whatever you want to call yourself this hour of the day. Whether you like it or not the lack of other full time Jewish officials in the community along with the fact that at least for major life occasions most people go to rabbis mean they are of influence.
    The fact some people get satisfaction out of voluntary work does not prevent them from being an unsung hero or whatever you wish to call them. There are many people who are to the fore when there is publicity going whilst the people I have referred to get on with things sacrificing time rather than money and as I said are vital.
    In your desire to regularly change names you also appear to have lost the ability to assimilate information. Otherwise perhaps you could explain to me where I said any of the paid employees were unsung heroes. I gave some of them as having influence. Incidentally influence is not always for good but that does mean it does not exist.

  240. Community Member said

    Mr Beitz – because you happen to think that Rabbis have influence doesn’t mean that you are right. Most people will use Rabbinical services to be married or to be buried but that isn’t the same thing. This discussion began by History Man suggesting that certain people had influence over our lives – if we use your criteria we might as well include the postman or the paper boy or even the window cleaner.
    I have no wish to have a pop at some of the individuals yoou suggested but not all of them are as honourable as you suggest – and let’s leave it at that.
    My point is that there are countless others who you and I don’t know about. That is why your gong show in rewarding only those you know about is worthless.
    Also, I don’t agree that Shul is as central to communal life as you do.
    Two further points – it was you who used the term ” unsung heroes” so I suggest you, not me, need to remember what you have written previously.
    And finally, who is Benji ?

  241. Golf School and Golf Academie Agadir Marocco…

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