Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

Antony Lerman on antisemitism in Scotland

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2010

Antony Lerman

Controversy over the extent of antisemitism in Scotland has come to the country’s small but resilient Jewish community. The issue has engaged the attention of the SNP first minister, Alex Salmond, civil servants in the Scottish government, the Scottish police service, the Scotsman newspaper, the Community Security Trust (CST – the UK Jewish community’s defence body) and the Jewish Chronicle. In microcosm, it reflects both the wider confusion about the current state of antisemitism and the perennial issue facing all minority communities: “Who speaks for us?”

Two weeks ago Salmond sympathetically addressed Jewish sensitivities at a meeting organised by the Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum (GJEF) and gave this uncompromising message: “We will root out antisemitic and racist behaviour through the courts wherever we find it and will do everything we can to monitor such behaviour.” But he said there is no wave of antisemitic behaviour and he did not believe that the Jewish community is under siege nor “that it feels itself to be under siege”.

Salmond was responding to an assertion made by Martin Bright in the Jewish Chronicle based on information given to him by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), which claims to represent all the Scottish Jewish communities, that the steep decline in the Jewish population in Scotland is partly a result of growing antisemitism. But his address was also prompted by the erroneous claim in Bright’s article that the Scottish government had committed itself to launch an investigation into this alleged connection. Officials in the Scottish government have made it clear that while they are committed to doing all they can to ensure the safety of Scotland’s Jews – as they are for all Scotland’s minorities – no such investigation has been promised.

GJEF, a body committed to giving space to alternative Jewish views, disputes the claim of growing antisemitism and believes SCoJeC is exaggerating the threat and this will only harm the interests of Jews living in Scotland. The shrinking population is due to well-known trends: assimilation, children moving elsewhere, declining birthrate.

The CST’s communications director, Mark Gardner, appeared to give credence to SCoJeC’s claims in a speech on 25 May in Glasgow. Acknowledging disagreement in the community on the issue, he said: “Statistically things are worse.” Some people in small communities “feel far worse than they felt previously”. And he seemed to link it to “aggressive and extreme” pro-Palestinian activity.

SCoJeC has now upped the ante by calling for research into antisemitism in Scotland. “It might be antisemitism in the playground, it might be in the classroom, it might be some form of institutional antisemitism,” said SCoJeC’s director, Ephraim Borowski. SCoJeC claims that the police aren’t properly registering antisemitic incidents, and that some are occurring that the CST “did not know about”.

On the face of it, grounds for concern seem slight. CST reported 10 recorded incidents in 2008 (541 in the UK as a whole). It rose to 30 in 2009 (UK total: 924), most of them occurring at the time of the Gaza offensive. But up to May 2010, numbers had fallen back considerably. SCoJeC’s announcement of incidents unknown to the CST seems distinctly odd. The two bodies work very closely together. Why should SCoJeC seem to want to appear deliberately at odds with the CST, especially since the CST are not slow to use incident figures to raise the alarm?

There may well be fewer than 10,000 Jews in Scotland, a place traditionally seen as a tolerant and welcoming place for Jews. Any incidents are to be deplored, but drawing alarmist conclusions and hinting at the possibility of “institutional antisemitism” on the basis of such small numbers hardly seems justified. Bodies claiming to represent minority communities do tend to use perceived threats as a means of asserting their authority. If SCoJeC is doing this because it deems GJEF to be encroaching on its territory, this would be misguided. GJEF has no representative ambitions. Its aim is simply to encourage open, frank and informed debate so that the diversity of views in the community can be heard.

Quite appropriately, SCoJeC meets with the Scottish government, which, as Salmond confirmed, is more than willing to listen to the concerns of anyone in the Jewish community. (In fact, the government has a policy of speaking to diverse groups in minority communities in order to obtain a rounded picture of opinion.) He even made a point of saying: “I don’t think we should accept as a community that your position in Scottish society should be judged or affected by the policies of Israel. The Jewish community is not liable for those policies.”

But the response of SCoJeC’s public affairs officer, Leah Granat, to Salmond’s address and its suggestion that the authorities in Scotland are not properly categorising incidents seems to imply a degree of criticism of the SNP government and the police, which is unjustified. Scottish civil servants and the police are extraordinarily receptive to Jewish concerns, keen to learn as much as they can about the dynamics of antisemitism and determined to create a positive environment in Scotland in which all minorities can celebrate their contributions to Scottish society and maintain and develop their cultural traditions.

As we know all too well, tensions and disagreements in Jewish communities, however small, are not uncommon. But they can be creatively exploited and managed in such a way as to generate vibrant and relevant discussion about issues of the moment.

Small communities can more easily sustain themselves than in the past. So while research on antisemitism should always be encouraged, how will it help Jews in Scotland if it throws up the existence of a Holocaust denier on the Mull of Kintyre? If sustaining Jewish life in Scotland is the priority, money would be better spent on research into positive methods of achieving cultural renewal, drawing on the success achieved in communities elsewhere in the UK, in Europe more widely and in the United States. Politicising antisemitism and demonising pro-Palestinian activism will not be helpful.

© Guardian News and Media Limited 2010.

GJEF would like to thank the Guardian for granting permission to publish this article. To follow the debate on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website, please click here »

Antony Lerman’s rejoinder to Mark Gardner:

Part I

It’s good that Mark Gardner entered this discussion. Athough he and CST only get a few brief mentions in my piece, and I quote accurately from CST statistics and from the only report available of his remarks in Glasgow, which was published in the Jewish Telegraph, his thoughts on what I raise are significant since he is Communications Director for the UK Jewish Community’s defence body and therefore represents what one might call an official community view.

Unfortunately, however – and I’ve had occasion to point this out to him before – he has the regrettable habit of purporting to comment authoritatively on a text without having the good grace to read and absorb exactly what it says. In this instance, he seems to have tripped himself up and misrepresented my views in a headlong rush to launch an attack on me.

Just to clear up a couple of matters first. Yes, I’m guilty of deliberately hiding my relations with GJEF. How stupid of me then to have provided a link to the GJEF website where there is ample evidence of talks I’ve given to GJEF, articles I’ve written which GJEF re-posts, a report on the talk on antisemitism I gave to the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, which GJEF facilitated, etc. Note to self: must try covering things up better next time.

Second, Mark Gardner implies that I ignored the Borowski-Collins report Scotland’s Jews: Community and Political Challenges and failed to provide a link to it. Wrong. I read it and link to it in the 3rd paragraph (the third link). Proof positive of Mark Gardner’s failure to do me the minimum courtesy of actually reading my piece.

He takes every opportunity to ratchet up my reasonable comments, critique and questioning approach and turn them into extreme statements. I employ a little humour to illustrate the potential drawbacks of the kind of research on antisemitism in Scotland which might be undertaken – and this draws the insult that I “mock people’s fears about racism”. I calmly and reasonably question the wisdom of such a research exercise – and this becomes “disdain for SCoJeC’s research plans”. I make it perfectly clear that it’s right for SCoJeC to discuss these matters with the Scottish government, that the government properly takes into account Jewish concerns – but my perfectly reasonable question as to how such research might help becomes “his rubbishing of SCoJeC’s attempts to work with Scottish govt”, and my “bizarre opposition”. I make a general statement about “demonising pro-Palestinian activism” – and this becomes my “trashing” of everything SCoJeC does. This kind of epithet inflation is unworthy of someone in Mark Gardner’s position.

Perhaps research isn’t Mark Gardner’s strong point. If it was, he’d know that not every proposed piece of research is either affordable or desirable. And no, there’s no guarantee that the kind of research which seems to be suggested (and we don’t really know exactly what this is) will end politicisation of the issue or prove whether the concern about antisemitism is demonising pro-Palestinian activism. On the contrary, it could quite easily make matters worse. For argument’s sake, if research showed very low levels of antisemitism, or a kind of antisemitism which has no appreciable impact on Jewish life, would that allay the fears Mark Gardner refers to? I doubt it.

Part II

It’s well known that people’s fears of crime are not justified by the statistics and the surveys, yet awareness of those statistics doesn’t stop people having the most real fears that crime is rife. So people’s fears about antisemitism are very real to them, whether there is much of a threat or not, and need to be addressed directly. I respectfully suggest that research into the extent of antisemitism – which, if people have got the money and analytical expertise they are perfectly free to undertake – is not necessary in order to mount efforts which would help people feel more safe.

And while the Borowski-Collins paper is generally a good piece of work, I’m afraid that even the very small reference to antisemitism in the first bullet point Mark Gardner quotes is troubling. No serious evidence is given for the assertion of a “significant increase” in antisemitism, but this is immediately followed by reference to the Scottish trade union movement’s policy of boycotting Israel – the clear implication being, it seems to me, that this policy is antisemitic, thereby serving to justify the assertion of “significant increase”. This is where the demonising of pro-Palestinian activism comes in: oppose the boycott, argue that the boycott is unjustified, that it won’t work etc., but to imply that it is, a priori, antisemitic is without foundation. Any piece of research that began with such an a priori premise would indeed be a flawed exercise.

As for Mark Gardner’s implication that I mount an unjustified attack on SCoJeC for its politicisation of the issue, this, too, is grossly overstating what I write. He knows as well as I do that bodies claiming to represent minority communities are not above taking hot button issues and manipulating them to exert influence and control. I merely raise the question as to whether SCoJeC is doing this. I would be more than happy to acknowledge that they are not operating in this way. Perhaps an open discussion with GJEF and others on how best to help Jews feel safe, before any further discussions are held between SCoJeC and the Scottish government, would help in this regard. I’m sure SCoJeC have the interests of Scottish Jewry at heart, as I feel I do – especially having lived and worked in Glasgow for a year in the late 60s as a Jewish youth leader and retaining great affection for the place to this day.

Finally, one more word of advice for Mark Gardner. I realise that, to all intents and purposes, you’re a Jewish communal civil servant, and that it’s fashionable in your organization and others to parrot this kind of thing about my views: “far stupider than even Tony Lerman’s part-hidden underlying suggestion that those who express concern [about antisemitism] are merely some kind of Zionist frauds”. But I always thought you might be above this kind of contemptible and nauseating innuendo. It’s the sort of comment I’d expect from someone who knows nothing of, or seeks to rubbish, the service I’ve given to the Jewish community over decades, and betrays woeful ignorance of my views on Israel-Palestine. Show some independence Mark. Don’t stoop so low in future.

Part III

I think you’re in a hole Mark and the best thing to do is stop digging. I pointed out how you misrepresented my views in your earlier posts. You offer no defence. Instead you perpetrate further misrepresentations, presuming to know so much about my life that you can confidently say what my “primary role is”. Again, you resort to insult: “as often as not” I’m supposed to be saying that antisemitism “mentioned by UK Jewish groups” is “really just pro-Israelis trying to pull the wool over other people’s eyes.” This is a figment of your imagination. How you read such a view into my Cif piece is incomprehensible. It can only arise from the fact that you have fixed, preconceived notions about what I write. You certainly admit to making presumptions (about my link to the SCoJeC paper). Your presumptions about my views are just as false as your presumption about what was in my link. If you’re predisposed to think that all I ever say or mean is that “pro-Israelis are pulling the wool over people’s eyes”, which you obviously are, why should anyone now trust what you say?

I think the Jewish community should really be worried that the public face of antisemitism defence in the UK indulges in stereotyping and demonising someone who simply calls for a reasoned debate about what antisemitism consists of today and how serious the problem of antisemitism is. Your attitude to my writings on this indicate that this is not a debate you are prepared to have. That you say “very many others whom I know” agree with you is even more troubling. It’s not proof that you’re right, rather proof that a herd mentality, a group think divorced from reality, has gripped you and your colleagues.


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186 Responses to “Antony Lerman on antisemitism in Scotland”

  1. Guardian Reader said

    The comment written below on the Guardian website today in response to Tony Lerman’s article on antisemitism in Scotland is indicative of a troubled mindset – indicative of someone who has a grudge against GJEF – someone who has allowed his powers of judgement to become flawed and someone who promised so much more than to be a mere foot soldier within Borowski’s camp. The comment was posted under the name 67 Bhoy, obviously a Celtic supporter.

    I won’t reveal to you dear readers who I think he is he is – but if he again attempts to insinuate that Tony Lerman has done anything improper when he has only given advice and expertise and help to GJEF when asked, then I might not be so considerate next time.

  2. Guardian Reader said

    67 Bhoy

    • Tony Lerman has been sufficiently involved with GJEF to have obtained funding for it from an organisation he was involved with (not employed by)
    I can also say that to use a term from the Women’s Movement we need to reclaim the streets. I know one fit non paranoid Jew (not myself-that would be taking excuses too far!) who rarely goes to synagogue now on Fri or Sat night because of the abuse he has taken. Security is a fact of life at Jewish schools and other institutions.
    To those who make the point that racism against those of Asian origin is worse that is correct. However Jews generally are able to blend into the local community looking to all intents and purposes no different from their white Presbyterian counterparts. There does seem to be proportionately much more of a problem (for Jews) when they were atire which distinguishes them from the majority population.
    Lerman however seems to have misquoted the Scojec report and in doing so has set up skittles which are easy to knock down. I would challenge him to read the report in full and quote which parts he takes issue with and why rather than relying on second hand reports and the self important vitriol of GJEF with its 3 active members

  3. I'm sorry for Mark Gardner said

    Like Mark Gardner, I also grew up in Glasgow. His memories of his childhood are completely different from mine or anyone else I know. I actually find it rather sad that he has such a negative view of growing up in Scotland. It is possible that he does not actually believe what he has written. If he does, then I feel sorry for him – this is sad and desperate stuff –

    • ‘Scotland in all it’s history never had a single recorded anti semitic incident until the 2006 Israel/Hezbollah war when a Jewish child was attacked’ “.
    I remember it because I nearly fell off my chair when I read it. Not at all wishing to sound like someone who obsesses about his childhood, (because I really, really don’t, and my memories are overhwelmingly positive) but Berchmans obviously wasn’t there when my Jewish primary school cap used to get thrown into the traffic by kids from other schools, along with the antisemitic abuse.
    Glad to hear he wasn’t hiding in the secondary school toilets when the other kids made disparaging remarks about my mis-shapen shmeckl; and obviously he wasn’t acting as a mere bystander when the local NF kid tried to beat me up in the corridor; nor was he in the park on the numerous occasions when I was subject to antisemitic abuse and threats of violence; nor in the Chinese takeaway when the same thing happened etc etc etc
    I didn’t report any of the above to police, teachers etc, because I just thought it was normal. At school, there were casual antisemitic remarks on as many days as there weren’t. (I went to a pretty bad state secondary school.)
    I repeat, I am not, to the best of my knowledge, psychologically scarred by it, or at all bothered by it, and this is the first time I’ve thought about it all for many years: because at the time it felt just like being called ‘specky’ or ‘plooky’ (trans: ‘spotty’) or whatever.
    But the notion that there has been (and is) no antisemitism in Scotland is very very stupid indeed: and is far stupider than even Tony Lerman’s part-hidden underlying suggestion that those who express concern are merely some kind of Zionist frauds.

  4. Anglo-Saxon said

    Did Mark Gardner really write this?
    Are you sure?

  5. I'm Sorry For Mark Gardner said

    Unfortunately, it is Mark. There is no doubt. He wrote it today on CIF on the Guardian Website.

  6. Don't Worry, No Need to be Sorry said

    I wrote in the comment “my memories are overhwelmingly positive”.

    It is so sad, and so predictable, that you would misrepresent me as you have done.

    Mark Gardner.

  7. I'm Sorry for Mark Gardner said

    I have not misrepresented you at all – you wrote the following –

    “my Jewish primary school cap used to get thrown into the traffic by kids from other schools, along with the antisemitic abuse.”

    You also wrote

    the local NF kid tried to beat me up in the corridor; nor was he in the park on the numerous occasions when I was subject to antisemitic abuse and threats of violence; nor in the Chinese takeaway when the same thing happened etc etc etc

    Writing this on a national newspaper site gives a picture of Jewish life when you grew up in Glasgow that is a million miles away from the experiences of most of your contemporaries.

    You may still think that your experience was overwhelmingly positive but I think that using these examples in the way that you chose to do so is sad and desperate stuff.

    As for misrepresenting positions Mark, I think the several postings you made yesterday on the Guardian Blog about Tony Lerman’s position makes you an undoubted expert in that field.

  8. Look on the Bright Side of Life said

    Mark Gardner ought to know better. Lerman has put forward a very sensible argument. Gardner will give WIZO ladies nightmares by always trying to depict the worst case scenario. Life in Scotland for Jewish people is actually pretty good but you wouldn’t know it by listening to Mark.

  9. Still no need to worry or to be sorrry said

    I’m Sorry – of course you misrepresented me. You said “I find it rather sad that he has such a negative view of growing up in Scotland”, when my comment stated, “my memories are overwhelmingly positive.”

    (And the reason why I gave examples of antisemitism from my childhood was only because some moron had previously claimed that there had been no antisemitism in Scotland until very recent times. If you read the next comment I made in the chain then again you’ll see how little importance I attach to it.)

    Look On The Bright Side – ask the people who were at the WIZO lunch just what I did or didn’t say about Jewish life in Scotland, and about antisemitism.

    Alternatively, just get the summary about what the event chair said in her thank you to me at the end of the lunch – the bit about what her expectations had been, and how she actually felt by the end of it. Then, decide if you want to have the decency to apologise to me for having made such a crass and inaccurate accusation.

    In addition, the following is taken from my first response to Tony Lerman’s article at Comment is Free. Again, you are free to ask those who were at the WIZO lunch if its accurate or not:

    “The part of my speech that Tony Lerman quotes from (and then builds insinuations from) was given in reply to a question asking how Scotland compared with the rest of the UK re antisemitism.

    I said that last year’s statistics showed a three fold increase in incidents and said that whether you thought it was a big deal or not, it was still obviously a considerable percentage increase – and that if you or your children were one of the very small number of people who had suffered then you might believe it to be something of importance.

    I said that statistically the incidents were little different per head of population to other parts of the UK, but pointed out that Scotland had relatively few people who were visibly Jewish. (And who suffer a disproportionate number of antisemitic attacks as a consequence.)

    I praised the efforts of the SNP to build an inclusive nationalism and stressed the sincerity that they had shown in all of the dealings that I have had with them. I noted the positivity of Scotland’s self-image as being a tolerant country, but said that since moving from Glasgow to London I had come to appreciate that there is a very real difference between multiculturalism and tolerance, which implies a willingness to put up with something.

    I stressed that the vast majority of Glasgow’s Jews are not visibly Jewish, and lead a comfy enough existence in largely white middle class neighbourhoods where street thuggery, street crime, gangs, racism and antisemitism were very rare. I noted that many of them would drive to work in their cars and did not have to use public transport.

    I then said that antisemitism, like any racism, impacts against the more vulnerable sections of the community – schoolchildren who wear kippot on their heads and use public transport; people who are literally the only Jew in the village, or on the council estate etc.

    I noted that these were the people who had felt vulnerable and isolated and had consequently turned to SCOJEC expressing alarm at the atmosphere they perceived during Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza last year. I said that I was proud to work with SCOJEC in representing these people’s concerns to Scottish Govt, Police and others, so that they did not feel alone and so that strategies could be developed to prevent things getting any worse.”

    Mark Gardner.

  10. I'm Sorry For Mark Gardner said

    I didn’t misrepresent you Mr Gardner. I know that you described your childhood experiences as “overwhelmingly positive” but the substance of what you wrote was totally negative. You gave memories of life in Glasgow which were a million miles away from how most people remember their early years and as I wrote before I think that was both sad and desperate.

    I have followed with interest what you wrote on CIF yesterday and today.
    Antony Lerman destroyed your argument and pointed out that your behaviour in misrepresenting his position and his character was ” contemptible and nauseating. ”

    I hope ADMIN posts MR Lerman’s response to you because it was excellent. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, several hours later you are still in denial.

    It is interesting and very important that belatedly you acknowledged on CIF this afternoon that Martin Bright’s article in the JC represented the views and opinions of Scojec. That is what this is all about. Mr Gardner, it was Bright’s article – full of Scojec material – which led to the First Minister talking to the Glasgow Jewish Community. You should have been there because you would have heard first hand what he had to say rather than rely on misinformed material from Scojec. As you will no doubt know the Scotsman article was also Scojec inspired and was again damaging to the best interests of this community.

    Maybe, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and you were misinformed by Scojec that the Scottish Government were setting up an inquiry into antisemitism when they had not agreed to do so. If that is the case you should look out for more reliable colleagues. If you did know that Bright’s claims were false and the premise of his article was incorrect then you are as bad as them.

    Thank you for telling us what you said to WIZO. As you have worked with Scojec in presenting their case to the Scottish Government then you may wish to tell us whether you also agree with Ephraim Borowski’s statement as reported in last week’s JC that there ” might be some sort of institutional antisemitism. ”

    You claimed that Antony Lerman had written an article ” that basically mocks people’s fears about racism. ”
    I think that statement by you is quite outrageous and without any substance whatsoever.

    Scojec have not represented this community positively on the issue of antisemitism to the Scottish Government or the Police as you claim. There are very good sincere people in both organisations who take antisemitism, when it occurs, very seriously indeed. Your determination and Scojec’s, to magnify individual incidents into something much larger and more sinister will be counter productive. If you had bothered to come and hear the First Minister when he discussed these issues with the Jewish community you would have realised that the claims by Bright were false. Is it not extraorinary that Scojec’s Director Ephraim Borowski, their chairman Walter Sneader and indeed you, the CST, did not think that the senior politician in Scotland discussing antisemitism merited your attendance?

    I understand that it is so much easier Mr Gardner to spread your message to the WIZO ladies, but in the real world sensible commentators have the right of response and you find that rather uncomfortable.

  11. I'm Sorry For Mark Gardner said

    Tony Lerman posted another withering putdown to Mark Gardner this evening on CIF. So much for Mark’s injured innocence that he has been misrepresented.

    ” I think you’re in a hole Mark and the best thing to do is stop digging. I pointed out how you misrepresented my views in your earlier posts. You offer no defence. Instead you perpetrate further misrepresentations, presuming to know so much about my life that you can confidently say what my “primary role is”. Again, you resort to insult: “as often as not” I’m supposed to be saying that antisemitism “mentioned by UK Jewish groups” is “really just pro-Israelis trying to pull the wool over other people’s eyes.” This is a figment of your imagination. How you read such a view into my Cif piece is incomprehensible. It can only arise from the fact that you have fixed, preconceived notions about what I write. You certainly admit to making presumptions (about my link to the SCoJeC paper). Your presumptions about my views are just as false as your presumption about what was in my link. If you’re predisposed to think that all I ever say or mean is that “pro-Israelis are pulling the wool over people’s eyes”, which you obviously are, why should anyone now trust what you say?

    I think the Jewish community should really be worried that the public face of antisemitism defence in the UK indulges in stereotyping and demonising someone who simply calls for a reasoned debate about what antisemitism consists of today and how serious the problem of antisemitism is. Your attitude to my writings on this indicate that this is not a debate you are prepared to have. That you say “very many others whom I know” agree with you is even more troubling. It’s not proof that you’re right, rather proof that a herd mentality, a group think divorced from reality, has gripped you and your colleagues.”

  12. P Cohen said

    Eddie Isaacs has not yet been elected yet as President of the Rep Council but you would have thought he would have also found the time to listen to the First Minister speaking on antisemitism recently when he is quoted as saying the following

    ” I believe there is under reporting of incidents”

    Mr Isaacs had a responsibility to make this point in public to the First Minister. The fact that he couldn’t be bothered to turn up is not impressive. Obviously thinking he was snubbing GJEF, he did not understand that actually he was snubbing the First Minister.

    Mr Isaacs ought to explain why he feels there is under reporting

  13. Still no neeed to feel sorry for Mark, but a little less hatred and spite wouldn't go amiss said

    The vitriol, bile and spite from posters above is absurd and upsetting, but I suppose anonymity emboldens people to say things that they probably wouldn’t say in person.

    This is an argument between SCOJEC, who have been contacted by Jews who feel isolated, vulnerable and scared: and GJEF, who haven’t been contacted by any such victims, and have no responsibility to represent those people’s fears, work out what is going on, or make strategies to ease the problem.

    Anyway…I didn’t say to Tony Lerman that Martin Bright’s JC article “represented the views and opinions of Scojec” as claimed above.

    I said that “I had the impression that your one-sided presentation of SCOJEC’s views derived from Martin Bright’s article on this spat: which to my mind was the only place where SCOJEC really looked to be making the claims that you and GJEF seem so eager to chuck at them.”

    Its an important point, because GJEF, and Tony Lerman, appear determined to over-exaggerate what SCOJEC say on this issue. If GJEF and Lerman wanted to present a more accurate depiction of SCOJEC’s views then they would also clearly mention, quote and draw heavily from what it was that sparked Bright’s article: namely, the detailed analysis that Collins & Borowski wrote on the issue of Scottish Jewry’s decline. It is avaialable at

    Given that Lerman, and posters above, seem to place so much store by what Bright wrote, its inconsistent that you’ve ignored this from Bright’s article:

    “Mark Gardner of the CST, himself from Glasgow, said the decline in numbers was undeniable but that it was not a place that was hostile to Jews who did choose to settle in Scotland. The litmus test, he said, was the atmosphere at Scotland’s universities. “You just don’t have the unpleasant stuff on campus that you get in Manchester, Leeds or London.” ”

    As for Tony Lerman’s Guardian CiF “withering putdown” of me: Well, I stupidly missed his weblink to the Collins & Borwoski report, but thought he should have explicitly mentioned the report, quoted from it and carried a far more obvious weblink than the one that he provided. Also, I thought he should have been open about his relations with GJEF rather than posing as a neutral observer. He said he provided a weblink to GJEF, so anybody going to the site would have seen his relations with them: I think that’s inadequate.

    Also, and this is what you’ve picked up on above, I expressed sincere despair that Lerman’s “primary role these days seems to be to tell Israel’s critics that when antisemitism is mentioned by UK Jewish groups, actually as often as not, its really just pro-Israelis trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.”

    I think that Lerman’s primary role is determined by his primary audience: Guardian CiF readers. Now, take another look at the conclusion of Lerman’s article. The conclusion of an article is its punch, its message, the memory and emotion that you want readers to take away from it. This is what Lerman chose for his Guardian CiF readers to remember his article by –

    “Small communities can more easily sustain themselves than in the past. So while research on antisemitism should always be encouraged, how will it help Jews in Scotland if it throws up the existence of a Holocaust denier on the Mull of Kintyre? If sustaining Jewish life in Scotland is the priority, money would be better spent on research into positive methods of achieving cultural renewal, drawing on the success achieved in communities elsewhere in the UK, in Europe more widely and in the United States. Politicising antisemitism and demonising pro-Palestinian activism will not be helpful.”

    Read the last sentence again,

    “Politicising antisemitism and demonising pro-Palestinian activism will not be helpful.”

    Which is why I wrote that “as often as not” he seems to be telling CiF readers of antisemitism: “its really just pro-Israelis trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.”

    I repeat, as I said above, this is an argument between SCOJEC, who have been contacted by Jews who feel isolated, vulnerable and scared: and GJEF, who haven’t sat face to face with any such victims, and have no responsibility to represent those people’s fears to Scottish Govt and Police, and have no responsibility to try and work out what is going on, or make strategies with others to ease the problem.

    This, from Tony Lerman’s conclusion is his take on that responsibility:

    “So while research on antisemitism should always be encouraged, how will it help Jews in Scotland if it throws up the existence of a Holocaust denier on the Mull of Kintyre?”

  14. I'm Sorry for Mark Gardner said

    Your injured innocence Mr Gardner is wasted. I read what you wrote about Antony Lerman and to claim that you are now the victim of hate and spite is just rubbish. As you have decided to be the latest PR officer on behalf of an organisation (SCOJEC) that has never sought the opinion of the Glasgow or Scottish Jewish Community on this subject, and to the best of my knowledge,on no other issue either, then hopefully we can get some straight answers from you on the most important points in this debate. Scojec have never asked anyone in this community if they would like Ephraim Borowski to represent their views to Government on issues such as antisemitism and any claims of a genuine democratic mandate to do so is ludicrous. Scojec meet with the Government privately in closed rooms where only the chosen few are allowed to hear Government’s response. The reality is that when they have been given Government’s response they have then misrepresented the situation to the media- ref Bright’s article in the JC. On the other hand GJEF open meetings to the entire community and allow anyone to hear it first hand. Democracy and Representation is obviously not your specialist subject Mr Gardner so please refrain from lecturing on it.

    Now maybe you will answer this –

    Do you agree with Bright’s claim that the Scottish Jewish community was in decline because of rising antisemitism.?

    Do you accept that both Bright and Scojec mislead the UK Jewish community by claiming that the Scottish Government had launched an inquiry into the falling numbers because of antisemitism when they had not agreed to do any such thing?

    Do you accept that the picture presented by Bright and Scojec was misleading because it painted a picture of a community at risk because of rising antisemitism?

    That is what brought about the First Minister’s address to the Jewish community – open to everyone, and the dynamics that followed resulted in Antony Lerman’s article.
    Some simple questions Mr Gardner – I hope you will have the integrity to answer them honestly. Thank you.

  15. Still no neeed to feel sorry for Mark, but a little less hatred and spite wouldn't go amiss said

    Sorry, I forgot that what passes for hate, spite and vitriol in the real world doesn’t pertain on this blog where anonymity rules.

    Anyway, you are conflating and over-simplifying two issues:

    1. the community is in decline, for a whole bunch of reasons, and Scottish Govt is concerned about that

    2. there was a rise in antisemitism last year that caused a number of Jews in outlying places to express concerns the likes of which SCOJEC and CST had never heard before. The Scottish Govt was concerned about that too.

    Is antisemitism a contributing factor to the decline in numbers? I think its a far more complex question than you are allowing it to be with your strict definitions of what antisemitism is, and isn’t.

    I’m very conscious in all of this that we all have different perpsectives on what constitutes antisemitism: and I have met people who have left UK, including Scotland, for Israel and USA who have cited antisemitism as in some way being a contributing factor in their decision. Maybe you have also.

    In some instances, what these emigrants describe to me as antisemitism, I would personally be more inclined to categorise as anti-Israel or anti-Zionist.

    So, to try and honestly answer your question as best I can: Yes, I believe that there are some people who have emigrated from Scotland to overseas and who have cited antisemitism – especially their fear about future antisemitism for future generations – as a contributing factor.

    I find its a common theme with people who express real fear: they tend to be fairly robust about their personal situation but feel despair about what the future would hold for the their kids or grandkids.

    Anyway, I still think that proper research on it would be worthwhile.

    very often in my experience people who cite antisemitism as a factor in, for insta my personal what I would classify as antisemitism is probably not going to be the same as

  16. I'm Sorry for Mark Gardner said

    I cannpt believe you think that your response is an adequate reply to the questions you were asked to answer.

    Mark Gardner you are a coward because you have ducked out of answering this properly.

    Not only have you become the appointed spokesman for Scojec you now have taken on the role of PR officer for the Scottish Government. Unfortunately you have got it badly wrong again.

    Why will you not tell us why Scojec and Bright’s claim that there would be an inquiry into the decline of the Scottish Jewish community because of rising antisemitism was untrue? It is because you know that admitting this crucial point will undermine your whole argument and will prove that Scojec have been guilty of exaggerating the threat.

    You are flying kites when you claim that the Scottish Government was concerned about rising antisemitism in outlying areas. The total amount of incidents was 30 in 2009, most of them occurring at the time of the Gaza offensive. This is thankfully a relatively small amount and when numbers have fallen back in 2010 it indicates that there is no trend emerging which shows antisemitism is rising in Scotland. Please stop scaremongering.

    Only Martin Bright, you and Scojec believe that the Jewish community is falling in numbers because of antisemitism. It is absurd to pick out one or two people that claim that is why they left and then try to claim that this is objective analysis.

    A community that is smaller in numbers does not have to be in decline and there are very many positive elements to Jewish communal life in Glasgow.

    Mr Lerman told you yesterday to stop digging because you were in a hole. You ignored his advice but it is relevant again today. Your comments exaggerate the reality and offer no serious objective analysis of antisemitism in Scotland. Prove your arguments with documented statistics and evidence rather than loose generalisations which prove nothing. You are meant to be representing a serious organisation and the community deserves better than this from the CST.

    No doubt Mr Borowski and Co will be reading this. My message to him is that he ought to get himself a new spokesman who can defend Scojec against serious charges that have been made against his organisation. Borowski has many faults but he is not that stupid to think that your arguments Mr Gardner will get him off the hook – you are only increasing people’s concerns about what is going on with Scojec and the CST in Scotland.

  17. Guardian Reader said

    When 67 Bhoy stumbles into the Giffnock Shul Pub today and consoles Ephraim Borowski over the public exposure of SCOJEC in recent days he should watch his back. I warned a few days ago that this person had a troubled mindset and held grudges which had allowed his judgement to become flawed. I did think he promised so much more but now I have come to the conclusion that he was born to be a footsoldier for Borowski and there cannot be a more damning character reference than that. Shabbat Shalom.

  18. P...... in the WInd said

    Someone please tell me what happened to Mark Gardner when he wrote the last paragraph of his last post – number 16.

    Did he respond to a call of nature?
    He has not been back…Is he ok?
    Maybe he’s locked in the toilet at CST Command Headquarters and can’t get out.

  19. Blowing in the WInd said

    If Mark Gardner’s arguments are anything to go by if he did respond to a call of nature he would surely have missed the target.

  20. Derech Eretz? said

    There is far too much hatred and bitterness here.

    I do think that Tony Lerman’s article was bad: I’ve explained why, above.

    Its up to you what articles you connect to, and what parts of the subsequent comments chain you utilise and what you ignore and how you spin that. Nevertheless, its clearly pointless for me to try and have a proper exchange of comments with you. I try to post a civil and reasonable reply and all I get is hate in return.

    I’ve already explained many times above (and also on Guardian CiF) why your & Tony Lerman’s characterisation of my own opinion (and I think of SCOJEC’s also) is wrong.

    I try and explain what it is that I am told by those people who do fear antisemitism; and what it is that we try and do on their behalf – and then you paraphrase that to make a totally over the top sound bite, namely:

    “Only Martin Bright, you and Scojec believe that the Jewish community is falling in numbers because of antisemitism. It is absurd to pick out one or two people that claim that is why they left and then try to claim that this is objective analysis.”

    So, you are right, there is no point in me digging any further. Whatever I say, you are determined to twist and misrepresent in order to paint me in the worst possible manner.

    You should have had hundreds of people at the First Minister meeting – that you didn’t is a reflection of what your own behaviour has done to your standing.

    Just show a bit of decency. Even if its through gritted teeth, you may find it’ll go a long way.

  21. I'm Sorry For Mark Gardner said

    Good try Mark but unlike other forums where they think you are a star ..on here its the substance of your argument which counts and you have been found out.

    Now you try and claim the moral highground – its all bitterness and hatred against you and you ignore the unfounded allegations made by you against Tony Lerman.

    Still we have not been given a response by you to the substance of the argument. Why did Bright and Scojec claim there was to be a Government inquiry into supposed rising antisemitism in Scotland that they claim had resulted in a decline in numbers when Government had never agreed to any inquiry? We know why you can’t answer this Mark – because it is indefensible.

    And you now attempt to venture an opinion on why some people never came to hear the First Minister. A snub to GJEF says Mr Gardner and legitimate. Brilliant Mr Gardner, absolutely Brilliant. That Mr Salmond is the elected First Minister in Scotland is irrelevant – that he chose to address a public meeting to explain his Government’s position on antisemitism is minor compared to the terrible people who were responsible for arranging it. You and those who you are attempting to legitimise deserve each other.

    You care so much for antisemitism in Scotland that you did not venture up here to hear the First Minister directly. Maybe you were busy – where were your colleagues?

    You have attempted to lecture us on democracy and representation. At every stage you arguments have been countered by Mr Lerman or on this blog. The only refuge left is to claim that you have been treated unfairly.

    You have lost the argument. Admit it and grow up.

  22. Glasgow Punter said

    I write this as a Glasgow punter who has absolutely no connection to GJEF, Scojec, CST, the drinking club, etc etc. I have read with interest the opposing views of anti-semetism and its consequences. As with any debate, there will be a degree of right and wrong on both sides.
    In my view, anti-semitism takes many forms eg, articles and comments in the press, internet, radio and tv ie National/International. Local anti-Semitism takes the form of such things as the daubing at the cemetery. This form of anti-semitism is aimed at our community, whether it be Glasgow or beyond. Then there is the personal antisemitism. Aimed at you, the individual! Whilst the National/International and Local incidents are documented and reported to the appropriate authorities I wonder how many of the occurrences of personal abuse are reported?
    Like Mr Gardner, ( I don’t know him)I too had personal anti-Semitism levelled at me in senior school. From the snide comments made in a crowded corridor to the massive punch up in a classroom. At school, these incidents were few and far between, I am pleased to say. In the work place I suffered extreme anti-Semitism, the ramifications of which remained for over a decade.
    These personal incidents, and there are more, span a period of over 50 years. Were any of them reported? NO! I dealt with them in my own way, and moved on. Would I report such an incident should it happen today? I very much doubt it. Do I feel threatened as a Jew living in Scotland? Certainly not!! Would I consider emigrating? Definately not!!
    Perhaps I have been unlucky and I am the only person in Scotland to have been the target of anti-Semites. If that is the case I am truly grateful, if not amazed. I attended the meeting with Mr Salmond and would have been astonished if he had not made his statements, now well documented. He reacts to statistics and political correctness. But are these statistics accurate? I argue that there is, and always will be, a degree of personal anti-Semitism ….just as we will never rid our playgrounds of the school bully, we will never rid our streets of the antisemite.
    This is my first, and probably my last blog. Regular bloggers will, no doubt, criticise, be insulting and use all the usual tactics they employ. Their prerogative.

  23. Rab C Nesbit said

    Very interesting Glasgow Punter.
    I am delighted you don’t feel threatened. I don’t think anyone has denied that antisemitism does exist but it seems the debate is about whether individual incidents signify a trend.
    GJEF claim it does not and accuse ScoJEC of exaggerating the problem. I listened at the same meeting to Leah Granet, who is on ScoJEC’s payroll and I thought if I’m really honest, that her comments made me cringe. It was so over the top and unbalanced that my sympathies were with with GJEF.

    I still believe they are right and that ScoJEC have behaved irresponsibly.

  24. Samson Clare said

    Prejudice is everywhere in some form or other, and I submit this with one of my own. I have for many years considered The Guardian as one of THE papers to avoid if you wish to have a balanced view of the Middle East and also matters concerning the Jewish Community. So it is with a certain trepidation that I read Mr.Lerman`s article. He may or may not be speaking with the endorsement of the Guardian website and newspaper, but I rather feel that a Jewish journalist writing for the Guardian should be treated with some caution as perhaps should Scottish newspapers` reporting of England`s current campaign in the World Cup. Probably unfair but so be it.

    Mr.Lerman speaks of a `controversy in the community over the extent of antisemitism in Scotland`…where does he find this controversy ? He sees a controversy where others see indifference and while not underestimating the obvious problems of antisemitism and racism present throughout Scotland and indeed the world, I suggest that the `row` he speaks of is been overstated. We Jews in Glasgow see no noticeable sign of increasing antisemitism, but that doesn`t mean there is no increase. As Glasgow Punter points out if incidents are not reported that doesn`t mean they did not take place. Rest assured antisemitism is alive and kicking in Scotland as elsewhere in the world. Mr. Salmond said all the right things and his intentions are honourable if a little naive.

    Martin Bright`s assertion that the decline in numbers of Jews in Scotland is partly because of this `increase` in antisemitism is preposterous. Where are these Jewish folk fleeing to for avoidance ? The fact is that (for example) the Glasgow Jewish population is probably a quarter of what it was some 40 years ago…they are going and always have gone to Israel…London..Manchester…Leeds…New York…Paris… wherever, to try and better themselves. I suggest that antisemitism did not and will not have any bearing whatsoever in their decisions.

    Mr Lerman`s cheap jibe about a hypothetical Holocaust denier being uncovered in the Mull of Kintyre is as unhelpful as Mr.Gardner`s unnecessary assertion that those travelling with kippot will be identified as Jews before those that are without. Mr.Lerman intends his readers (both Jewish and otherwise) to give a wry smile at the thought of such a person existing, the actual effect is one of disgust to Jews who believe that the Holocaust demands no derisory comments, least of all from a fellow Jew.

    However I have some sympathy with both Mr.Lerman and Mr.Gardener`s positions despite my admitted cynicism of anything covered by The Guardian. I wonder if there are also some personal agendas here that have little to do with the subject discussed ?
    I am not suggesting that the issue should be ignored in any way and healthy debate is always welcome, but the conclusion for me at least is yet another bout of infighting amongst us Jews, already available in depth in this very forum.
    That can only benefit one type of person,the very subject we are discussing… the antisemite.

  25. DS said

    My question to anyone in this community who is not attached to either Scojec or GJEF –

    What is there to feel threatened about?

  26. DS said

    What is going on in Glasgow?

    Please read the attached story in tomorrow’s JC that praises the blog.

    Communal leaders are upset by personal criticism we have been warned. Surely not? I thought they didn’t read it.

    The biggest lie in Glasgow Jewry is undoubtedly – “I don’t read the blog ”

  27. Bernard said

    Simon Caplan is right – this blog is an asset to the Glasgow community.

    It is much better to have opinions than to not have them.

    Maybe GJEF should have badges made for proud bloggers –

    “Better to be a blogger than A Beitz”

  28. Not A Beitz said

    Whatever happened to A Beitz? My late grandmother used to always say that once a Beitz, always a Beitz.
    Inside knowledge claims Beitzy has fallen in love with the establishment.
    Could someone please confirm

  29. Looking Ahead said

    My understanding is that Simon Caplan is the consultant for the Community Trust and the Representative Council think very highly of him too. Mr Caplan’s comments in the Jewish Chronicle are very interesting and his objective endorsement of the blog as a medium to stimulate debate is very welcome.

  30. Representing No One said

    It surely must be commonsense that if the powers that be really want to seriously look at the future of our community then the last people they should want involved would be the Representative Council. That organisation are irrelevant and is a talking shop that is incapable of making any important decision.

  31. Radical said

    What has happened to radical GJEF? As this week’s article in the JC confirmed the blog has a reputation for telling the truth about community figures who claim to be leaders. It has a reputation for being honest and to the point and if abuse has been handed out to some more often than not they have deserved it

    “In Glasgow it’s just known as “The Blog” and is the scourge of the Jewish establishment because of anonymous contributors’ frank and sometimes sarcastic criticism of community leaders.

    But now the blog’s hosts, the Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum, have extended an olive branch to representative council president Eddie Isaacs – an offer of 500 unedited words and a discussion space on the council’s Community Futures project.

    This follows comments to the JC about Glasgow’s future by Jewish community consultant Simon Caplan, who stressed the benefits of such a blog for reflecting a range of opinion.

    The GJEF’s Tony Tankel said the offer had been motivated by a sense of responsibility towards the community. “The blog can be used as a medium to put across the vision of the representative council as regards the Community Futures project,” he said. “GJEF thought it would be appropriate to offer Edward Isaacs the opportunity of writing an article that we would post as the main discussion feature and open a comments facility to instigate genuine debate and discussion.”

    Mr Isaacs said “the offer is under consideration. There have been concerns about personal abuse on the blog but let’s move on from that.”

    Now GJEF have offered 500 words to Eddie Isaacs I think GJEF’s reputation as radicals must be questioned. Eddie Isaacs comes from the heart of the establishment and represents procrastination and indecision. Why should GJEF offer Isaacs a platform to pontificate more drivel?

    Unbelievably, Issacs says it is under consideration. He should be down on bended knees thanking GJEF for this offer. Next GJEF will be offering Borowski a platform but somehow I think that might be stepping a little lower than this offer to Isaacs who know one can take seriously.

    Get real GJEF – this is a waste of time.

  32. Edward Mendelsohn said

    I’m with you Radical. GJEF are selling out. This blog has allowed ordinary people like me to give their opinion, and read alternative views. Giving Eddie Isaacs the opportunity to write about his vision of the Community Future will be the shortest piece in years because he doesn’t have a vision. The 500 words offered by Tankel and CO should be changed to 35 words to allow Eddie to write….

    ” Im Edward Isaacs, President of the Rep Council and I would like to taken seriously and thought of as important. I hope to have a vision if someone can think of it for me. ”

    GJEF have battled the establishment for a few years. Is this a sell out?

  33. Fiona Livingston said

    Netherlee and Clarkston close up shop. What an impact Eddie is having already. Is this not what his Community Future Project is all about? You can sleep easily Eddie, organisations are closing the doors on their own – they don’t need your help.

    SCOJEC are on the prowl once more. Asking Giffnock Shul to send out an email to try and get young people involved in talking to their MP etc seems another project which benefits SCOJEC but no one else. I don’t really think our young have a problem getting in touch with their representatives, do you? This is just another project that enables SCOJEC to claim they are useful and extract money from the public purse which would be better spent by more responsible organisations.

    This latest project came from the SCOJEC consultants – Fiona Brodie and Nicola Livingston. Can anyone guess how many communal organisations these two represent between them. I will bet they would be the first to claim that not enough young people in our community are comming forward to do things. A little word in your ears Fiona and Nicola – unless you give up a little there is no room for young people to do anything..

    Have a Good Day

  34. Giffnock Shul Member said

    I too got the email from the Shul about the Scojec project.
    Anyone who thinks that anyone, young or old, needs any help in getting in touch with our local MP, Jim Murphy, has got to be bonkers. Mr Murphy attends more community events than anyone else and can seen in Giffnock Shul more often than 90% of the congregation.
    Scojec are time-wasters if they think this is serious.

  35. Anti Orthodox said

    Netherlee has gone. Who will be next? – Garnethill are finished too. Newton Mearns and Giffnock are the last two Orthodox Shuls remaining – you can discount Langside as it is run as something different by good honourable people.

    Will Rabbi Rubin please turn out the Giffnock lights when its all over soon. The young have voted with their feet – Orthodox Judaism is finished in Glasgow and lets have one hell of a party to celebrate. A more tolerant open minded community will be the prize.

    Those that still think that the United Synagogue has a future here are delusional.

  36. Giffnock Member (EX) said

    How many turn up in Giffnock Shul nowadays on a Shabbat morning if there is no Bar Mitzvah? The lights have gone out already.
    Religious belief only interests the old and the needy. Its over.
    We live in a modern world now.

  37. Israel- Racial Impurity? said

    He impersonated a human
    Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everybody else. But as luck would have it, he was born Palestinian.
    By Gideon Levy

    The article below was printed in today’s Haaretz newspaper.

    I am very troubled by this- Is this what Israel has come to?

    Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everybody else. But as luck would have it, he was born Palestinian. It happens. His chances of being accepted as a human being in Israel are nil. Married and a father of two, he wanted to work in Jerusalem, his city, and maybe also have an affair or a quickie on the side. That happens too.

    He knew that he had no chance with the Jews, so he adopted another name for himself, Dudu. He didn’t have curly hair, but he went by Dudu just the same. That’s how everyone knew him. That’s how you know a few other Arabs too: the car-wash guy you call Rafi, the stairwell cleaner who goes by Yossi, the supermarket deliveryman you know as Moshe.

    What’s wrong? Is it only fearsome Shin Bet interrogators like “Capt. George” and “Abu Faraj” who are allowed to adopt names from other peoples? Are only Israelis who emigrate allowed to invent new identities? Only the Yossi from Hadera who became Joe in Miami, the Avraham from Bat Yam who became Abe in Los Angeles?

    No longer a youth, Sabbar/Dudu worked as a deliveryman for a lawyer’s office, rode his scooter around Jerusalem and delivered documents, affidavits and sworn testimonies, swearing to everyone that he was Dudu. Two years ago he met a woman by chance. Nice to meet you, my name is Dudu. He claims that she came on to him, but let’s leave the details aside. Soon enough they went where they went and what happened happened, all by consent of the parties concerned. One fine day, a month and a half after an afternoon quickie, he was summoned to the police on suspicion of rape.

    His temporary lover discovered that her Dudu wasn’t a Dudu after all, that the Jew is (gasp! ) an Arab, and so she filed a complaint against the impostor. Her body was violated by an Arab. From then on Kashur was placed under house arrest for two years, an electronic cuff on his ankle. This week his sentence was pronounced: 18 months in jail.

    Judge Zvi Segal waxed dramatic to the point of absurdity: “It is incumbent on the court to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth, sweet-talking offenders who can mislead naive victims into paying an unbearable price: the sanctity of their bodies and souls.” Sophisticated offenders? It is doubtful that Dudu even knew he was one. Sweet talk? He says that even his wife calls him Dudu.

    The court relied, as usual, on precedents: the man who posed as a senior Housing Ministry official and promised his lover an apartment and an increased National Insurance pension, and the man who posed as a wealthy neurosurgeon who promised free medical care and other perks. Dudu had nothing to offer but his good name, Dudu, and still his fate was sealed, just like those who promise apartments and perks. Not only fraud, but rape, almost like the convicted serial rapist Benny Sela.

    Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein had, after all, defined the test of conviction for rape on “false pretenses”: “if in the view of an ordinary person this woman would have agreed to have sexual relations with a man who did not have the identity he invented.”

    In tune with the public, Kashur’s judges assumed, rightly, that the woman would not have gotten into bed with Dudu were it not for the identity he invented. She also might not have gotten into bed with him if he had told her in vain that he was available, that he was younger than he really is or even that he is madly in love with her. But people are not prosecuted for that, certainly not on rape charges.

    Now the respected judges have to be asked: If the man was really Dudu posing as Sabbar, a Jew pretending to be an Arab so he could sleep with an Arab woman, would he then be convicted of rape? And do the eminent judges understand the social and racist meaning of their florid verdict? Don’t they realize that their verdict has the uncomfortable smell of racial purity, of “don’t touch our daughters”? That it expresses the yearning of the extensive segments of society that would like to ban sexual relations between Arabs and Jews?

    It was no coincidence that this verdict attracted the attention of foreign correspondents in Israel, temporary visitors who see every blemish. Yes, in German or Afrikaans this disgraceful verdict would have sounded much worse.

  38. Guardian Reader said

    Israel turns upon its own –

    What now for those that still pretend that Israel is a liberal democracy?

  39. United United said

    The quest for new members for all Orthodox Synagogues in Glasgow is about to boil over into an unseemly bun fight to secure the most newcomers.
    What can the 3 Synagoues offer? –

    Newton Mearns have displayed their trump card very quickly – tea and cake is the big attraction at their open day on 1st August.

    Gartnethill will I’m sure follow with a tour of the archives- ( is that not the past rather than the future?(editor) and no doubt some pickled cucumbers and a jar of olives.

    Giffnock though I’m told will offer massive inducements to top anything else on offer. Lined up is 5 Bellies to conduct a tour of the Shul Pub and the offer of free malts to anyone too sober to join. The local Taliban will be kept indoors that day.

  40. Concerned said

    It was my understanding that you had given an assurance that this blog would be moderated and that it’s purpose is educational.
    I see no sign of this assurance.
    Good peoples names are still being slandered and you and your gang are still hiding behind the pretence that this site is doing something constructive for our fine community.
    If you want to do something positive for the community then moderate this properly like community minded adults.

  41. Also concerned said

    Which good person has been slandered previous blogger?

  42. NM Shul Member said

    Jeffrey Gladstone

  43. Concerned said

    The Clergy and numerous volunteers that endeavour to do good work for our community.

  44. Also Concerned said

    I didn’t know Jeffrey Gladstone was a member of the clergy. How has he been slandered?

  45. NM Shul Member said

    Someone called him Jeffrey 5 Bellies Gladstone

  46. Also Concerned said

    How is that slanderous? I’m told his friends call him by that name. I am not a lawyer but I thought that for something to be slanderous it had to be untrue or unfair.

  47. Very Concerned said

    How have the clergy been slandered?
    Examples please. Is someone suggesting that Gladstone is now a Reverend Gentleman?

  48. Rev Jeffrey said

    The clergy have not been slandered. Like anyone else they are subjected to the rough and tumble of community debate. If they do something good they should be praised and when they mess things up they should be criticised. Why should it be different for them?

  49. concerned said

    You are correct they are entitled to criticism if they get it wrong.
    What you are incorrect about is that they have been slandered on this blog by people who do not have the courage to do it face to face ,and wish to hide their identity.

  50. Rev Jeffrey said

    I don’t agree that they have been slandered. Please give me examples.
    Blog convention allows anonymity and you ” Concerned ” are happy to keep your identity private. What have you got to hide?

  51. Hypocracy with a capital H said

    Ephraim Borowski has interrupted his holiday in Israel to give his “Thought for the Day” on Radio Scotland this morning. I could give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest he has sunstroke but I’m afraid this is all too sadly true to form.

    He has decided to have yet another go at the Scottish Government – this time for disturbing graves – he also claims that one can tell much from a society on how it deals with its dead.

    Mr Borowski has disregarded evidence regarding how the Israeli Government has treated Arab graves within Israel. Many from our own community when they next visit the Tel Aviv coastline should go for a walk in Independence Park on Hayarkon Street and have a close look at the shocking condition of the Arab Cemetery.

    Allowing Borowski to present Thought for the Day on this subject when he was responsible for taking Scottish pilgrims to listen to members of the Kach Party last summer is not something that reflects well on the BBC.

    We can’t expect anything better from the Director of Scojec but the BBC ought to be held to account for giving him a regular platform.

  52. Community Member said

    Ephraim Borowski thinks that it might be true that you can judge a society’s attitude to the living when you see how it respects its dead.
    Maybe Ephraim might like to reflect on how a society ought to respect its minorities or would that not be something he would like to boast about?

  53. Thought for the Day said

    This is serious, I promise. Would Mr Borowski please let us know what he thinks about David Cameron describing Gaza as a prison camp?
    Is the Prime Minister right?

  54. After Thought said

    What’s the point. Borowski has an agenda and the argument will be adapted to fit as required. It has always been thus with him.

    If anyone thinks otherwise please give any example when it has been any different.

    Surely, the Glasgow community can find someone with more spirituality than Mr Borowski to go on the radio?

  55. Religiously bereft said

    Is there not one religious person in Glasgow who is able to give a Jewish spiritual message on Thought For the Day that would offer a moral and enlightened modern approach to Judaism?
    Those that argue that the Glasgow Jewish community is served well by religious leadership ought to think about this.
    I cannot think of anyone, and I mean anyone, that could do this properly from a religious perspective that would reflect well on this community.

  56. A Better Choice said

    Why don’t we ask Rabbis who once worked here to do it. At least they would do it properly –

    The Jewish Telegraph already uses Rabbi Jeremy Rosen so I’m sure he could be persuaded to record a regular message for radio.

    Rabbi Pete Tobias also writes for publications down South and would be a worthwhile contributor.

    Two suggestions – both much more suitable than anyone I can think of locally and far preferable to Ephraim Borowski as a spiritual voice of Judaism to the outside world.

    Its even more outrageous that Borowski thinks he is an appropriate person to be on radio when one thinks he is currently part of the Burial Society Management being taken to an employment tribunal for religious discrimination.

  57. Voice Down South said

    Interesting article by Daphna Baram on the problems of free speech in Israel

  58. Latest news from the Moshiach said

    Rabbi Rubin joins Lubavitch. His picture is slap bang in the middle of the Lubavitch Scotland Website.

    Is this his punishment for allowing a pub to be run during services on the Shul premises?

  59. The Mail on Friday said

    The personal profile of Fiona Brodie in this week’s edition of the JT , was insightful and truly insipirational , & not to mention motivational for Glasgow Jewry.However, I am still curious as to what all these various & venerable institutions do for Glasgow Jewry as a whole? Limmud is obvious but for the rest and remain unconvinced that they truly serve Glasgow Jewry.

    I do hope that Sharon Mail, will not delay or hesitate in producing an upfront and personal profile of that heavyweight paragon of charity & virtue Jeffrey Gladstone!

  60. Disappointed in Ken Mackintosh said

    Ken Macintosh MSP ought to do his research more carefully before attempting to score points with sections of the Jewish community by raising the issue of antisemitism in the Scottish Parliament.

    Mr Macintosh has been an MSP for enough time to be aware that there are different viewpoints within the Glasgow Jewish community regarding the extent of antisemitism that exists in Scotland. The fact that he has not consulted more widely and asked those who dissent from the Scojec party line is pretty lamentable and one can only deduce that he thinks that to raise this issue in the way that he does is going to get him some extra votes. Ken Mackintosh not too long ago also allied himself to the Scottish Friends of Israel – an organisation rightly condemned for distributing material that could have been construed as racial incitement. Politicians ought to behave better than this and should know the arguments much better than Ken Mackintosh does.

    It seems to me that his pavolovian attitude towards the SNP Government – complaining about everything and anything – has resulted in his alliance with Ephraim Borowski and Scojec. The fact is that the Scottish Government take antisemitism very seriously indeed and the First Minister put the record straight at a public meeting for the Jewish community on this subject only 3 months ago. Our community is not under siege and exaggerating the threat is unhelpful, counter productive and dangerous. Mr Mackintosh chose not to attend. If he had turned up he would know much more about the issues.

    Some people like SCOJEC appear to have a vested interest in exaggerating the threat of antisemitism. It would appear that Ken Mackintosh also shares this interest. The charges against the Scottish Government are unfair and irresponsible and is cheap politics.

    Mr Mackintosh is using the Jewish community and as usual Scojec’s fingerprints are all over it. Another person conned by Borowski.

    If Mr Mackintosh wants to help his Jewish constituents he ought to look at the statistics and the number of incidents. He will then realise that the Government and Police are acting very responsibly. Telling his constituents that would be a more appropriate response.

  61. Politically Aware said

    Mackintosh and Jim Murphy think that by ingratiating themselves with what they perceive as the Jewish community viewpoint it will be worth votes at the ballot box. They are probably right. It hasn’t even crossed Ken’s mind that this might actually be against the best interests of Jews living here. Principles are of secondary iomportance if not third.

  62. The Book of Soudry said

    And The Lord heard about what Mr Soudry had been up to this weekend and he was not pleased. At Garnethill Shul Mr Soudry had yet again launched into a vitriolic attack on a member of the community who had attended to observe the Sabbath. The Lord thought to himself – Who is this ar– who thinks it his place to attack someone publicly for their allegiance to Masorti? A member of the Masorti clan was forbidden for being the Gabbai by this employee of Garnethill. The Lord then asked himself two more questions.
    Who are these people who sat there when one of my people was humiliated in public by Mr Soudry and did not have the courage to say or do anything? What has become of the people ( the piddly amount that are left ) that they have such little moral fibre to speak out when Mr Soudry makes a pratt of himself?
    The Lord then thought about what had happened in a little more depth. He promised that he would visit Gerald Levin the Shul President sometime soon in the middle of the night and remind him that Mr Soudry is not the boss. He would also remind him that Garnethill’s days are numbered and that sometime really soon the Lord would pronounce it closed. Glasgow, the Lord thought, has too many Shuls and if I have to close them one by one I will do it.
    Then the Lord thought about Mr Soudry. A Synagogue is a place where all Jews should be welcome regardless of their political orientation. This pathetic little man who is only a Mr, sometimes calls him a Reverend, but has never been a Rabbi, has stepped over the line. If Mr Soudry had managed to even bring a few members to Garnethill over the years the prospects of this Shul might be brighter but the fact is thought the Lord, Mr Soudry is generally thought of as an ar– and he should not be behaving in this way.
    The Lord wondered what he could do to Mr Soudry that would be sufficient punishment. The Lord smiled to himself and decided to put a red hot poker into the furnace to make it even hotter. The next time Mr Soudry attacks my people he had better watch his backside thought the Lord because he won’t be able to sit down for 6 weeks. Prior to this thought the Lord Mr Soudry will have some very painful haemorrhoids. The Lord was pleased. He could think of no better punishment than this for such an ar–.

    To be continued…..

  63. The Ghost of Garnethill said

    The Book of Soudry is an accurate summary of the talents of the officiating officer in the North of Glasgow Shul.
    The doors are closing on Garnethill – that is certain and it will be left to Harvey Kaplan to trawl through the remains to safeguard any memories worth preserving. Harvey and the Archives will need to find a new home because no one will visit Garnethill soon. Having done his best to undermine Masorti using a room in the Shul, justice will be served if Harvey had booked a room in Nerthlee as his next location……

  64. Homeless Archivist said

    Maybe Harvey should sell the Jewish equivalent of the Big Issue outside the Deli. If he saves up for long enough he might be able to pay the rent to get a new home for the Archives.

  65. Hashem said

    Hello everybody, it is me the Almighty, your Lord, AKA Hashem. I read the blog too and unlike many others in the Glasgow Jewish community I am proud to admit that I do. I find out what’s going on in your part of the world when I log on.
    Anyway, to the case in point. I’m told that some guy known as Snoudry has been twisting my words again.
    Everyone is welcome to worship me at any Shul that they choose. I couldn’t care less what kind of Judaism you follow – what’s important is that you keep the Sabbath and Honour my Commandments. I also believe you should respect each other. If you were all the same life would be rather boring. What gets me going is when I hear some of my people ranting that their way of worship is the only way. It isn’t – there are many ways of worshipping me. Repeated wrongdoings will be looked at during Yom Hadin. Watch your step Snoudry – once is mistake, twice is deliberate.

    Enjoy your evening. I’m looking forward to Eastenders.

    Love and kisses
    Your Lord.

  66. Religiously Bereft said

    I wonder if Hashem might tell us about the other communal wrongdoings that take place under the pretext of religious rules?

  67. Homeless Archivist said

    If there is a God and Hashem is the Lord then why is Harvey’s Archives group on the brink of being homeless?
    Why has he allowed Aron Soudry to attack other Jews because he doesn’t agree with how they wish to practise Judaism? Why would any Minister or Rabbi want to attack any group of Jews for wanting to start up a Shul? Soudry wasn’t the only one – Rubin did it too? Hashem should start giving us some answers.

  68. The Book of Soudry said

    And the more the Lord looked at Mr Soudry’s conduct last Shabbat, the more he was unhappy. By castigating a worshiper Mr Soudry had blown it big time because Garnethill were left with only 9 men and were unable to have a minyan. The nine who had turned up were not very happy as treking to the city centre is not something many do lightly hence the reason Garnethill is virtually finished as an active Synagogue. The Lord did visit Gerald Levin and told him to call Mr Soudry in and give him a dressing down. The Lord had to repeat 3 times that this should not be taken literally.
    Mr Soudry should be told that this was unacceptable behaviour said the Lord and it should be made clear that he should stop behaving like an ar**. However the Lord sighed because he knew that the powers at Garnethill don’t have the bottle to tell Mr Soudry where to go.
    The red hot poker inserted into Mr Soudry’s backside seemed the better alternative.

    To be continued.

  69. Welcome to Glasgow Mr Levy said

    Acclaimed Israeli journalist Gideon Levy will be visiting the UK between 15th and 26th August 2010 to launch his book ‘The Punishment of Gaza” Gideon Levy has reported from the West Bank and Gaza for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz since 1982

    Tuesday 17 August, Glasgow: Renfield St Stephens, 260 Bath St, G2 4JP, 7.30pm

    Hope the Jewish community will turn out in large numbers to hear Mr Levy including the local MP, the local MSP, President of the Rep Council, the Chairman and Director of Scojec, all the Scojec Project workers, Wizo, all Zionist organisations, Jewish Student organisations etc etc etc.

  70. Disappointed Of Giffnock said

    It seems that Sharon Mail, has not written up a profile of Jeffrey 5 Bellies, as requested last week.

    Sharon , we beg you to please produce an Illuminating & Creative written insight on this community minded HEAVYWEIGHT.

    You are doing the Jews of Scotland a disservice but not producing this article.

    I wont hold my breather though!

  71. concerned said

    I am also disappointed, and in fact embarrassed that members of our Jewish community would behave in this manner.

    The posts over the last few days are insulting and defamatory not to mention childish as well.

    The GJEF is supposed to be educational and I could see a benefit to the community if this was the case, but to allow posts like 62 65 and 68 is nothing short of SHOCKING.

    I thought there had been an assurance by Tony that this site would be moderated.

    GJEF you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  72. Not Concerned said

    What’s defamatory that has appeared on this blog in recent days? I am neutral but if Aron Soudry has misbehaved why shouldn’t he be held to to account on the blog? If you are really concerned you will tell us why this is unacceptable. I don’t think there has been anything on here that is bad – okay someone posted as Hashem – probably not the real Hashem but who knows – and someone had another pop at Jeffrey G but its up to him to respond. Relax concerned and join in the discussion. Maybe Concerned is Jeffrey G or Aron S – Who knows? Maybe they are Hashem – who knows either? Maybe its me?

  73. Linda L said

    Went to the Masorti service today, was blown away with the easy to follow, openness & friendly disposition of everyone there! Wow , when I say everyone there must have been upwards of 47 people that attend the Shabbat service & not a Black hat in sight.

    Loads of familiar faces attended & people whom I wouldnt have thought would attend either where there.

    I am not sure what the formulae is that Masorti have or is there one as such , maybe its just that it is really, realy is USER friendly!

    Best wishes to the Masorti Scotland organisers, looking forward to receiving my membership form soon.

  74. white tiger said

    Does any one know if the Muslim fraternity in Saudi Arabia , UAE, Kuwait have assisted their Muslim brothers in Pakistan?

    The reason I ask is that it seems[ from news reports] not so. The coverage by Urla Gurin has not mentioned any donations by these states yet.

    Other than Muslims in Scotland sending in the clothes to islamic relief in Glasgow

  75. woodend said

    I agree with Linda L. I was there too, maybe we spoke to each other?

    The Masorti Scotland shabbat service was relaxed, inclusive, welcoming and had a feel good factor attached to attending Shul that I have not experienced in ages. Like all new communities they have their work cut out for them , but you have a feeling that they will SUCCEED.The numbers attending yesterday, dictate that this SHUL will grow & grow.

    There is also a certain charm to be involved in a new community which appeals to my sense of self & to my core jewish values.

    Masorti Scotland’s style of egaliterism synagogue is what sets it apart.

    It may not be right for everyone, but for it felt good for me & that is what matters. I really enjoyed the sense of ownership of the service, whereas at a United Shul we really are just an audience, watching & not participating in the service.

    Excellent kiddush , very well attended. I will be back with a cheque towards helping them establish themselves…..

  76. Laura G said

    It will soon be the Jewish holiday season. I enjoy spending family time together but Shul does nothing for me. I am a member of Giffnock but find the atmosphere dreadful. Women are so not part of the service that we might as well not be there – so I don’t go. There is no serious attempt to engage the youth ( I have teenage children) with the moral issues of the day. All it is is simplistic ritual that does nothing for the vast majority. There is not a Shul in Glasgow that offers anything dynamic or innovative. Many, or probably more accurately, some of my contemporaries would go occasionally if there was a charismatic religious leader that could give a relevant sermon with a relevant moral message. Are Masorti likely to offer that? Unlikely. However, at least they are delighted to welcome people to their services if I have read the recent messages of support properly which is more than can be said for Giffnock.
    I won’t go to Shul on Rosh Hashana and maybe not even on Yom Kippur because the services are boring, repetitive, out of date and I have no wish to be shouted at from the pulpit and told that Judaism expects something from me on these supposed High Holy Days. We all have free will and my choice is to stay away. I will have the family round for dinner and lunch because that is pleasant and meaningful rather than 3 hours of drudgery in the attic space at Maryville Avenue.

    I hope my comments don’t offend the Rabbi or chairman at Giffnock. Its not personal – just an honest comment from a lapsed Shul attendee who needs some very good reasons why I should ever come back. I was discussing this with my children the other day and they suggested putting it on this blog and I thought why not. So this is it.

    Comments please.

  77. Laura's Friend said

    Laura, your analysis is spot on. I agree with every word you wrote. The Rabbis only reach out to the converted and do not understand why most of the community believe that going to Shul is as pleasurable as root treatment at the dentist. If Masorti is more fun and more interesting – and that is a BIG IF – then maybe they will get much more support. If they are serious they should have a guest Rabbi from down South up here every time they hold a service. Masorti in London have an obligation to do this if they are serious about establishing a community in Glasgow. Masorti need to tell us why we should go to them rather than stay at home.

  78. Laura G said

    I’m happy. Not only have I got a blog friend but my children think their mother has got a bit of street cred as I have blogged for the first time. I have been told that this blog is nasty, rude etc but it provides a function because where else could I have given my view. Before anyone tells me that I could raise it at the AGM, that isn’t serious. So Mr Strang and Rabbi Rubin – can you tell me why I should go to Giffnock Shul on Yom Tov and what enjoyment I might get out of it.
    Should a Shul not stimulate discussion about religion? I don’t see much of that happening in Giffnock as numbers decrease. My children won’t go either. What would they get out of turning up either?

    Comments please

  79. Reformer said

    Mrs G….if you are serious then please try Reform ; we have been doing it for over 75 years in Glasgow and we have a beautiful shul , a relevant take on modernity versus the 17th century and a vibrant community…who needs Masorti !!

    I’d be delighted to show you around.

    Meantime the black coats can get on with their Kapporot….(google it if in doubt).

  80. Laura's Friend said

    I just googled it Reformer. Thank You

    What does Reform offer that is an improvement on the rest?

  81. Kentucky said

    Is it being suggested that Rabbi Rubin waves a chicken around his head?

  82. Calimero said

    Rabbi Rubin swinging chickens above his head is of interest to him and his chickens and possibly the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Birds.

    It would be interesting to know how many of the Giffnock congregation can relate to this practise.

    Do the chickens need to be Kosher Reformer?

    Its an injustice. It really is.

  83. Linda L said

    Dearest Sister Laura G,

    So refreshing to read your comments on this blog. This blog does serve a purpose for the Glasgow Jewish Community & despite its detracters , has succeeded in keeping the community informed.

    There is no reason for your to attend any shul on the Yom Tovim.That will be your individual choice and yours alone.

    To be honest it doesnt matter whether you attend the attic space at Maryville or participate in the service at the KIRK at 147 Ayr Rd or sit in the ladies cattle stall at Larchfield Rd, they both tend to have Rabbi’s with very large Ego’s and panache for the SHOWBUSINESS side of religion.

    Masorti Scotland,will however provide you with a lay lead service in hebrew, in which everyone can participate and no one suffers any nose bleeds from taking the moral high ground.Masorti Scotland are a very welcoming , inclusive group of people. The services tend to be leaner too. I was there on Saturday!

    There is something quite refreshing & rewarding about joining a new group at grass roots level. You will be able to influence the decision making processes, become involved in something new, exciting & which emraces a strong traditional Jewish value structure without the dross.

    Masorti welcome both non traditional & traditional families.Masorti Scotland gave Aliyah’s to people who have married out, they still consider them to be Jews.

    Dont be afraid of the new or of change, embrace it, give Masorti Scotland a shot. It could be that you just like it for it’s unaffected ways.

    I intend to join once the membership is available.

  84. Reformer said

    No one can say that Reform is an improvement , other than in an entirely subjective sense .It works for me. But given the issues bothering Mrs G. I think Reform will give her what she and her bairns are currently not getting at Giffnock .Those who get what they need at Giffnock have no need to look elsewhere.

    The Chicken question was merely thrown in to illustrate why orthodoxy is at a crossroads…… least in Glasgow. Can anyone really claim that Giffnock shul and Newton Mearns are thriving , vibrant and similar to their equivalents in Manchester and London ? Not even the evangelical born again frumers (you know who you are ) would claim that . We need a strong community here and the orthodox aspect is currently failing- and would do so even if Reform and Masorti did not exist. The overwhelming reason is that the leaders of orthodoxy are not strong enough to embrace the wishes of their own community.

    The Bader affair is a perfect example of this- contrary to medical opinion myopia can be fatal-and if the Orthodox community do not arrest the decline soon it will be to late . Those of us in Reform and Masorti would suffer too and believe me when I tell you that progressive judaism would much rather have a strong orthdox community that was respectful than no orthodox community.

    So why did the chicken cross the road ? Easy , first to avoid getting swung round someone’s head , second to avoid inheriting someone’s evil deeds and third to get the other side of Ayr Road that he could hear Rabbi Nancy.

  85. Reformer said

    I do not think Rabbi Ruben was ever mentioned in my email about Kapporot ; if this is to be a serious debate then there is no need to personalise it.

  86. Black Coat said

    Most people’s acquaintance or connection with ” Black Coat ” Judaism in Glasgow is through Rabbi Rubin. I am sure he is very proud of what he stands for and believes in. Reformer, respect starts with spelling his name properly.

  87. Reformer said

    No disrespect intended ; I never mentioned him to start with !

  88. Black Coat said

    Reformer, what do you know about Black Coat Judaism which gives you the right to pontificate about the future? Is your experience based on heresay or reliable facts? I suggest you come up with some evidence for your theories and your prognosis about what might survive in Glasgow and what won’t.

  89. Reformer said

    I see no need to expand upon my views ; you can disagree all you want. Anyway since when did rational or logical proofs persuade Black Coats of anything ?
    I wish you well.

  90. Hashem said

    Hello everybody, its me again Hashem, AKA The Lord, Almighty, Adonai whatever.
    I am really enjoying this discussion between black coats and reformers and masorti. Good discussion always appeals.

    Last night I decided that Mr Snoudry had to go. I visited some of the Executive Members of Garnethill (making sure I had a majority ) and inspired their thinking into giving Snoudry the chop. And wow, lo and behold, last night the executive met and decided to give him his jotters – and he has been given 3 months notice to terminate his employment.

    Mr Snoudry has got what he deserved. Insulting members of my people because they choose to worship in a different way from him was just not on and he did it on several occasions.

    I hope anyone standing up in a Shul will now realise that this kind of behaviour is not on and I won’t stand for it. As I have said countless times there are many different ways to worship me and no one way is the right way. Laura G has to decide for herself whether it is worth going to Shul on Yom Tov but I do recognise that people who behave well, and do good things, are just as likely to be rewarded as those that go to Shul, and think that by shoogling all over the place they are impressing me when the minute they are out of there they are behaving badly again.

    Surely people can see I am a lot brighter than to be conned by that.
    Sermon now over
    Enjoy your afternoon

    Love and Kisses
    Your Lord

  91. Black Coat said

    YOu are a bigot reformer because you have inferred that black coats cannot be persuaded by anything rational or logical. That is wholly unfounded and you should apologise. You choose not to expand your views – that is your choice. However, that is evidence that your views are unsubstantiated drivel.

  92. Reformer said

    No , I have paid a tribute to their ability to see things in a different way and to be guided by faith and belief over logic. As is their right . Vive la difference.

    As for you , your just spoiling for a fight , but you are a matter of little consequence to me so your not getting one . What ‘s more you are not really a black coat at all…you are probably Tony Tankel in disguise.


  93. Black Coat said

    No I’m not Tony Tankel. However you are probably Nicholas Naddell. Am I right?

  94. Reformer said

    The said NN broke all blog etiquette by blogging in his own name I recall ; it was an honest and decent blog entry which if my memory serves me well had him defending Giffnock’s Chairman. Sadly for you Reformer will remain unmasked just like Kendo Nagasaki.

    Are you Tony’s wife then ?

  95. Black Coat said

    You are Nicholas Naddell. Only he could have written this. However, I am a black coat ans obviously are not Tankels

  96. Reformer said

    your slurring….have you been on the Palwin ?

  97. Les Jardins Du Prince Nigel said

    Dear Hashem

    I realise you have been busy sorting out Garnethill Shul their issues recently,but, I have a wee request of you, please!

    Could you kindly intervene now with Sharon Mail at the Jewish Telegraph so that she will do an article on that inspirational & community minded Jeffrey 5 Bellies.

    I promise that I will say all my Brocha’s. I cant wait to open my JT tomorrow.

  98. Laura G said

    Will those involved in Reform, Masorti, Orthodox and Black Hat please realise that I am not into Shul. I don’t like going and I don’t want to attend your Shul either unless you can tell me what good it would do. Incidentally Linda L, if I want a new social group I can either go to the gym, play cards or take up art – I don’t need religion for that. I try to be a good person and I am proud to be Jewish. Shul, in my experience, is boring and uncomfortable and does nothing for me. If it is good for you then I wish you good luck but I won’t be coming to 147 Ayr Road, or the Masorti Scout Hall or Newton Mearns or the attic in Maryville Avenue. I am quite happy not going anywhere.
    I asked you why I should go – not why you want me to come. None of you have told me why attending Shul on Yom Tov would be something worthwhile.

    Comments please

  99. Woodend said

    Laura G

    Icy calm , dear this is just a blog!

    No amount of persuasion from any of us will entice you to attend Shul- what ever form it takes

    Nobody on here said that you were not;kind person, consderate, proud to be a Jew, careing,loving etc etc.

    Celebrate you YomTov they best way you can, eat drink & be merry.

    Have a sweet and charming life.

    lots of lurve , your Yiddishe sista

  100. Observer said

    Garnethill have acted properly in taking steps to ensure that proper standards of behaviour are adhered to.
    Well Done

  101. Reformer said

    Laura G
    if that is how you feel then you are right -do not go to shul ; it does not make you a worse jew not to go if the g-d thing doesn’t float your boat.
    I saw your email as an invitation to give you an alternative to Giffnock but you are in fact looking for a reason not to go to any shul , you need no reason , you are your own boss ; why don’t you email Hashem for a one to one , he sometimes comes on to this blog and he seems like a decent guy.I am sure he will make you feel better.
    Talking of feeling better I do hope that Black Coat has shaken off his Palwin hangover .He was rambling on a bit yesterday but needs to be coherent for Shabbos and the Yom Tovim…being drunk in charge of a chicken just won’t do.He could get banged up for that. G-d forbid.
    Good Shabbos to one and all.

  102. Tony Wankel said

    Hi everyone,
    I thought its about time I came out the closet so to speak.
    You have probably guessed by now that I am all of the above bloggers.
    My original aim was to provide the Jewish community with an educational and informative platform to express views.
    I have now decided that my priority is to destroy the Glasgow Jewish community by spreading lies, mocking people of authority and bringing the clergy to their knees.
    I think I am doing rather a good job?
    Tony Wankel

  103. Get Real Sunflower said

    Post 102;

    It certainly cant be Tony because I posted some comments and I am certainly not Tony , well aleast when i last looked. I have a full head of hair for one & not that grey either

    Bring the clergy to it’s knees, now thats an interesting analogy if ever there was one. I always thought we [jews] davend standing! But there is a certain visual element to that comment that doesnt seem to be correct and conjures up some other kind of sordid images.

    What lies has he spread?Explain yourself!

    People of authority? Please explain or issue a list of those you deem to be in authority, so that Glasgow Jewry as a collective can tear the list apart on here.

    Sounds like you have a fetish for AUTHORITY FIGURES, but i could be way off the mark

    Gut Shabbos

  104. Les Jardins Du Prince Nigel said

    Dearest Hashem

    I have to say that I am most distraught today.

    I sent you a private petition on the blog yesterday and when I went to read my Jewish Telegraph today, still no COMMUNITY PROFILE on Jeffrey 5 Bellies!

    Did I not say enough Brocha’s? Did I transgress?

    I promise that I will go to Giffnock Shul tomorrow and for the whole week, but please can’t you have a word with Sharon Mail to do that profile as requested on that dashing community minded fellow Jeffrey 5 Bellies?

    Glasgow Jewry are being denied a unique opportunity to study up close & personal a HEAVYWEIGHT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS ,which i doubt is very fair!

  105. Laura's Friend said

    I am not Tony Tankel either. 102 should grow up and debate the issues properly. The discussion on religion and Shul attendance has actually been interesting. The clergy are not being brought to their knees. They are being challenged and so they should be.

  106. Voice Down South said

    Eddie Isaacs ought to consider the implications of his actions. He led a delegation to Glasgow City Council to voice concerns that the Glasgow Council had approved a motion condemning Israel for the attack on the Gaza flotilla. The following quote appeared in the Jewish Chronicle –

    ” Although emphasising that the rep council did not normally take sides on Israeli politics, “we felt we had to express our concern”, Mr Isaacs said. “We didn’t think that it was their place to pass a motion on an international political issue. They were bringing Middle East politics into the local sphere. Our concern is that constant vilification of Israel has been proven to lead to increased antisemitic activity.”

    Mr Isaacs is currently searching for a communal role and it is obviously his intention to seek as high a profile as possible. Pro-Israel advocacy is not the remit of his Representative Council and trying to stifle debate about Israel and the Middle East will not be to the advantage of the Glasgow Jewish community.

    Accompanied on his trip to Glasgow Council by some of the usual Scojec suspects involved in the controversy about antisemitism – the charge against that organisation is that they are irresponsibly exaggerating the threat to the detriment of the community. Mr Isaacs should be more careful.

    It is one thing pronouncing about his Representative Council and their role in community life, it is something different to stray into the debate on antisemitism and the effect of Israeli actions on the Glasgow Jewish community. Has Mr Isaacs made his feelings known to Israeli Ambassador Ron Prossor and suggested that his Government behave better and act more carefully? Of course he hasn’t.

    Mr Isaacs should be aware that there are many much more qualified than he is to discuss these issues and he should consider that striving to increase his profile in this way will get him into serious trouble.

    He only needs to ask his friends in Scojec how they made such a mess of the antisemitism issue and read Antony Lerman’s article on this blog.

    Edward, be warned.

  107. Serious said

    Relieved to at last see some comments that are interested in furthering the development of the community. I would love to see this blog move beyond the name calling, and reopen again as a forum for serious discussion.

    Many of the issues raised by Laura G are on the mark. Most of them are relevant to all sectors of Judaism, and will be pertinent to Masorti should they establish themselves.

    So some questions:

    1. Many people are in shul for a ‘show’, and only ever use synagogue facilities when necessary – shivas, Bar Mitzvahs etc. How to create a healthy balance between these masses, and those out for a meaningful experience, without alienating anyone.

    2. The rabbis are overworked, and need help from the laity to develop their communities. One of the reason shuls in London and Manchester thrive is because people take the initiative in many ways – organising programming, educational and social, create a network for communal support, etc etc. How are we to reengage the laity in this way?

    3. The youth – what can a shul offer irreligious youth? Why is it important?

    4. Glasgow is in the process of downsizing. How can this be done in an effective manner? (ie the Chief Rabbi’s question).

    5. Can this forum be tweaked to achieve it’s goal? Ie can we start again, with transparency, and a system of moderation? It is a shame for GJEF that the reputation of this blog undermines the events it runs.

    I’m sure there are many other things to discuss. Please put forward suggestions. And those who have nothing of value to say are welcome elsewhere…

  108. Another Friend of Laura G said

    I thank you for your contribution Serious even if I disagree with some of your arguments.

    1. The clergy are not overworked.
    2. The current Rep Council story is that they are planning for the future – the downsizing of this community. Why can’t they give us one idea – yes just one – about how they think we can do something positive for the future. Why don’t they market some of the good things about living here to communities elsewhere rather than always tell bad news. Why don’t they try and attract people to come and live here?
    3. What really irritates me is when people say the young are leaving because there are not enough Jewish people living here and they want a Jewish social life. Why don’t those parents who have encouraged their children to leave or that the grass is greener elsewhere get off their backsides and tell people that living in the West of Scotland has many advantages. Remember many people don’t really feel comfortable in the mainstream Jewish community so they are not leaving just to mix with other Jewish people. They leave for employment reasons or whatever and it is possible to attract some new people here to replace them.

    The reputation of this blog and the establishment dislike of it is an excuse. What they don’t like is that GJEF are independent – they run this blog according to their rules and are not susceptible to communal pressure from those who think they are important. Much of what is written on here is nonsense but don’t take it so seriously. It creates discussion and often controversy – good. Simon Caplan visited this community recently and was quoted in the Jewish Chronicle welcoming the fact that this community had a blog. People from outside can see it so people here should stop getting all hot under the collar complaining about it.

    There is a system of moderation – GJEF’s moderation. I don’t have a problem with that.

    Please don’t accuse me with being a member of GJEF – I am not. I am not Tony Tankel nor am I Nick Naddell or Jeremy Stein or Michael Samuel or David Barnett. Nor am I Derek Livingstone. Who cares who I am? Allow the arguments to flow and give as good as you get. I actually believe that GJEF are a strong alternative voice in the community and one much required.
    That this blog allows criticism of the clergy and the establishment should be applauded by one and all. I was at Giffnock Shul yesterday and saw their pub in action and the state of some of the regulars and I thought to myself – good on the blog for exposing these drunken bums.
    Good night.

  109. Liberal said

    I wonder what Reformer makes of this.
    Pete Tobias used to be the Rabbi at the Reform Synagogue.

    Friday’s JC……

    The Liberal Synagogue Elstree is to pilot a new triennial structure for Torah readings, allowing extended readings from the five books of the Torah.
    Shul minister and Liberal Judaism rabbinic conference chair Pete Tobias is behind the project, drawing up the revised structure during a sabbatical. Rabbi Tobias has long believed that the yearly pattern of Torah readings in most Progressive synagogues offers an unconnected selection of excerpts giving no sense of the whole.
    He hopes to provide a greater sense of continuity, although “there is still much that is omitted – most of it with good reason.
    “In the first year, all the palatable stories of the book of Genesis will be heard. The second year looks at the history of the Israeli people, from Egypt and through the wilderness, with readings from the first half of the book of Exodus, much of the book of Numbers and elements from the book of Deuteronomy. The third year concentrates on the priestly and prophetic elements of the Torah.”
    Elstree congregants are backing the change and he is optimistic that other Liberal congregations may take it up.
    “It was discussed at the rabbinic conference in April and deemed to be of possible interest. It is being considered by three other congregations. But everyone is waiting to see how the experiment proceeds at TLSE.”

  110. The Bookie said

    Two community sackings have taken place because of an attitude of intolerance towards Masorti………….
    First Warren Badder and now Aharon Soudry.

    The following odds are on offer – Who will be next?

    Rabbi Moshe Rubin 8/1
    Rabbi Danny Bergson 25/1
    Rabbi Bamberger 15/1
    Jeffrey Gladstone 5/1 Burial Society Trustee
    Ephraim Borowski 6/1 Burial Society Trustee etc etc etc etc etc zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    All bets must be placed within the next 7 days

  111. The Punter said

    I’m voting for 5 Bellies. At these odds I put on £1000.
    ( By the way if they don’t fire him there should be a steward’s inquiry)

  112. Hashem said

    Hello everybody its me again. When I told you on this blog that I had instructed Gerald Levin to give Mr Snoudry his jotters I didn’t think that Sharon Mail and the Jewish Telegraph would steal the story.
    If I had wanted to put it in that comic I would have done but I didn’t because I am a fan of the blog and that’s where I have decided to comment and talk to all of you. The Jewish Telegraph is for the Eddie Issacs of this world – the blog is for me Hashem.
    The cheek of it – they have plagiarised my news story.

    Love and kisses
    Your Lord

  113. GERALDINE G said

    Well done to the Council at Garnethill Shul for sacking Soudry. Any person who is involved with or promotes themselves as doing INTER FAITH RELIOUS WORK and then makes inappropriate/disparaging comments about other people’s form of worship or their take on Judaism is NOT FIT to hold the office or be accorded the honourary title of Reverend, least of all for that venerable instituion that is Garnethill Hebrew Congregation.

  114. Frankie's Pal said

    Well at least Garnethill have given Soudry 3months notice and have behaved in an honourable way, unlike the way the Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society behaved towards Bader when he was given 1 days notice,and now they have already employed someone else to carry out the duties he was doing despite comments by David Jackson that it a cost cutting excerise dismissing Bader at the time…what aload of tosh the executive of the GHBS are

  115. Hypocracy with a capital H said

    Same old Borowski – same old claptrap.
    This is the same nonsense that he spouted on Thought for the Day on Radio Scotland. Seems Eph is a journalist in high demand – the Helensbrugh Advertiser no less – must have a circulation of thousands

    Please refer to my previous post – no 51 that tackles the fall out from Borowski’s sunstroke.

  116. Foolish with a Capital F said

    Borowski is still trying to convince his people that he is a prophet.
    Helensburgh has no Jewish community so why is Borowski interested in telling them that Israel has a different attitude to graves than Scotland? Who is he trying to impress? This man is foolish with a capital F.

  117. Hashem Light (Borowski) said

    Ephraim Borowski has all the worst traits of Peter Mandelson. The new Scojec website is up and running and the cult of personality continues. Everything and anything on this website is there to promote the idea that Borowski is just a wonderful guy, when that is only about 1% of the story.

    Look at the Home Page –

    The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) is the representative body of all the Jewish communities in Scotland. We advance public understanding about the Jewish religion, culture and community, and develop and provide information and assistance to educational, health and welfare organisations. We represent the Jewish community in Scotland to government and other statutory and official bodies, monitor the Scottish Parliament and liaise with MSPs and others on matters affecting the Jewish community. We work in partnership with other organisations and stakeholders to promote equality and good relations and understanding among community groups.

    Firstly, Scojec are not the representative body for all the Jewish communities in Scotland , they are “a” representative body. They have never sought a genuine democratic mandate from anyone and use an archaic structure to try and claim that they are genuinely representative. Furthermore, they represent themselves to Government, not me or in all likelihood you and it is well known that other groups like GJEF have as much clout, if not more, with Government than Borowski and co.

    Their website exists to tell the whole world how wonderful they are. They are now trying to have a semi discussion on their website and think that by this will somehow give them more legitimacy as if they are taking account of other people’s views. The hope is obviously to try and pretend that this blog is not the only community discussion forum.
    Lets see then Borowski how many join in and whether this still exists in 3 years time.

    Is Borowski writing on this blog using the pseudonym Hashem? He thinks he is God so it probably is him.

  118. Open Letter to Edward Isaacs said

    Dear Eddie,

    I know that someone will draw your attention to this open letter, addressed to you as President of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council.

    You have not been President for very long but you are making grave errors which are against the best interests of our community.

    There is an article on the front page of this week’s Jewish Telegraph written by Sharon Mail which quotes you extensively.

    “A Boycott of Israeli goods by Muslim shopkeepers in Glasgow has been slammed ”

    “If they are going to boycott Israeli goods, why aren’t they going to boycott goods from other countries throughout the world whose records on human rights are deplorable”

    “It may damage the very good relations between the Jewish and Muslim communities in Glasgow”

    “I’m concerned that the continuing campaign …to dehumanise and delegitimise Israel will lead to increased antisemitism”

    Others have written regularly that pro Israel advocacy is not the remit of the Representative Council. You are wading into waters far deeper than you are aware of and your comments are irresponsible and could potentially harm the interests of the Jewish community. Furthermore, the community has never given you any mandate to represent or reflect Israeli concerns in Scotland.

    I do not support boycotts generally because I think they are rarely productive or helpful. However, it is the right of any individual or for that matter any organisation to ask others not to buy produce from another country. That is democracy.

    The Jewish community will not be affected by this boycott because presumably the vast majority would not be shopping in areas where there are large Muslim populations. Mr Isaacs, most of the Jewish community shop in Giffnock, the Avenue or Silverburn so I suggest your research into community shopping habits is flawed.

    If you wish to fly the flag for the Israeli government then I suggest you apply to the Israeli Embassy for a job. There are no doubt different viewpoints within our community about the wisdom of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians. However, for you to claim that boycotting of Israeli goods will lead to increased antisemitism is just unfounded and exaggerated nonsense.

    Mr Isaacs, there are different qualities required of leadership. As time passes hopefully you will learn that opening your mouth and giving an easy quote is not always the best policy and is often counterproductive.

    Sometimes it is better to say little, especially when you do not understand the consequences or the ramifications of your rush to print.
    You are not renowned for being an expert on Israel – nor have you contributed to the debate on antisemitism and are not seen as an expert on this either.

    I would have thought that you would be better to reflect on the ” Community Future’s Project” and how you may enlist serious support for your attempt to look at the numbers who will be here in years to come, rather than straying into territory that you don’t understand. Otherwise you and your organisation are likely to be gone before your 3 years as President is up.

    Please take this advice seriously. It is genuinely offered in the hope that you will stop making errors which are against our community’s best interests

    Best wishes

    One of the Community that you are supposed to serve.

  119. Mr Bean said

    Eddie Isaacs is desperate to be President of the Rep Council but that in itself is not a qualification for the job. The last blogger though is wrong in suggesting that Eddie could lose office soon. Just think who is the Rep Council vice-President and only a heartbeat away from being the top guy.

    I would bet that Eddie has never had a proper conversation about Israeli policy with any Muslim and would have no idea what concerns they might have. If Muslims in Glasgow want to show some solidarity with their co religionists living in the West Bank that should not concern us.

    Our concern should be that Eddie and his colleagues will damage relations between us and the Muslim community if they continue to make stupid statements.

  120. Israel supporter said

    The Glasgow Jewish community has had an active interest in Israel for many years. That interest may be cultural, charitable, political or educational. I cannot recall Eddie Isaacs saying anything about Israel anywhere. Correct me if I’m wrong Eddie but your interest seems to have been adopted in the last few weeks.

  121. Isaac Edwards said

    Rentaquote Isaacs is doing us no favours ; some Muslim owned shops have been avoiding Israeli produce for years and they are perfectly entitled to do so .So where is the sudden news story ?

    All this claptrap about how it may damage the good relations between the two communities . Can someone tell me what relations we have with our Muslim fellow Glaswegians other than superficially ?

    Correct answer none at all nor do we need one , nor do they , nor does anyone care , nor is it an issue -we are an irrelevance to them and them to us-why pretend otherwise ?

    So Mr Issacs well done on potentially starting a dispute with a group that so far has had no issue with us.
    Please think before you speak the next time .

    How about “As President of a useless and irrelevant body populated by has-beens and never-weres , and without any mandate whatsoever to comment on Israel , boycotts or Muslims , I would like to decline to comment so as not to give the mistaken belief that the Jewish Community has a single opinion nor to suggest that I have any right to speak on behalf of anyone at all other than myself and a few like minded deluded individuals who think their opinion matters . Thank you and good night.”

    Taxi por El Presidente………………

  122. Jeffrey Boycott said

    I am against boycotts in principle, in actual fact I have never supported any boycott. However I have just read this story and I am prepared to make an exception. Can I suggest that the Glasgow Jewish community immediately start boycotting Edward Isaacs and his Rep Council. No that would be something around which the whole community could unite.

  123. Israel supporter said

    I will support a boycott of Eddie Isaacs and the Rep Council unreservedly.

  124. Giffnock Shul Goer said

    ref #121 The claptrap being spouted by Isaac Edward is an example of what makes this blog so disgusting for many of us who are trying to support our community in the face of adversity.

    Who are you to judge what our Jewish Community wants or needs and furthermore when was the last time you talked to a muslim about their wishes? I suspect on both counts you would be found wanting. However, don’t let that get in the way of your nonsensical vitriolic rants.

    If the only contribution to your community is to take pot shots from the sidelines with an air of pomposity that cannot disguise your lack of talent in writing anything constructive, then it would be better if your keyboard was removed from your household.

    Tony Tankel promised to remove posts containing personal abuse. On this count he has been found wanting too.

    Hopefully the New Year brings about some reflection and improvement in behavior to bring more credit to you, Tony and GJEF.

  125. On the Sidelines said

    I suspect that the last post could only have been written by a member of the Rep Council’s inner sanctum
    Please look at the facts Giffnock Shul Goer

    Where is the evidence of the so called vitriolic rant?
    Where is the evidence of a post containing personal abuse?

    Every time someone posts on here something that is hard hitting and to the point some loony pops up asking Tony to clean up the blog………………………………………………..Its complete tosh.
    Edward Isaacs is rent a quote – so blame him, for his stupidity – not GJEF

    Enjoy your apples and honey Giffnock Shul Goer and maybe 5 Bellies will pour you a large dram in the Taliban Pub to welcome in the new year.

    Shana Tova

  126. Giffnock Shul Goer said

    Personal abuse and ranting is there for even a blind man to see. Furthermore if you are on the sidelines then I am a Dutchman. I suspect you are very closely aligned to Phoney Tankel and his band of hatemongers.

    Furthermore for you to indulge in name calling further demeans you and your GJEF sidekicks. I used to think there was hope when you managed to arrange some decent speakers that your organisation could bring something useful to our community. I even was quite supportive when you called SCOJEC and the burial society to account. Now I realize my hope was misplaced. You are a spent force and your crew are more to be pitied than scorned.

    I hope 5771 will be a better year for GJEF than 5770.

    Shana Tova

  127. Barry said

    Happy New Year

    Giffnock Shul Goer has got it badly wrong. In my opinion this blog is a very positive addition to communal life in Glasgow and GJEF should be thanked for providing it for the community.

    Now we can have our say about anything that goes on here and do not need to accept 2nd rate community leaders telling us how wonderful they are.

    Giffnock Shul goer is nuts – in one sentence he or she complains about abuse being handed out and then in the next they attack GJEF and some of its members.

    What is wrong with you Giffnock Shul Goer? Get a life.

    Tell me one person who has had a hard
    time on the blog who didn’t deserve it.

  128. Another Giffnock Shul Goer said

    Raymond Strang was innocent

  129. Not a Member of Giffnock Shul said

    Raymond wasn’t innocent. He took the hump because someone suggested that he might have become a black coat because he was photographed wearing a black kipah. It was a bit of fun but he went off the deep end.
    Also, he attacked the blog publicly at the Giffnock AGM in an effort to divert attention from some of the criticisms made against Giffnock Shul and their Rabbi and their in house pub.
    He certainly was not as innocent as he tried to make out

  130. Don't Believe a word that Scojec tells you said

    Another New Year and Epphraim Borowski and Scojec couldn’t resist telling everyone how wonderful they think they are –

    The front page says it all. No mention of the fact that the First Minister addressed a public meeting of the community under the auspices of some other community group but instead they trumpet their own meeting and again revisit the story of grafitti at Glendufhill – January 2008. Yes, January 2008 is still the story that Scojec keep returning to.

    Borowski must have thought it better not to tell you that his organisation was the subject of an article on CIF in the Guardian and news articles in the Jewish Chronicle where they were accused of exaggerating the threat of antisemitism to the detriment of the Scottish Jewish community.

    Quite possibly this Scojec comic will be on your Shul seat. Use it for Origami or Toilet paper but don’t believe a word of the content.

  131. Tradition said

    Rabbi Rubin’s Yom Kippur Musaph sermon was rather sad. His theme was that unless we hold on to tradition and every part of it then nothing will be left.
    He held up a Machzor, and wondered out loud who had held it before and where they had prayed.
    He then dismissed Tevye’s idea of tradition as portrayed in Fiddler on the Roof.
    Those familiar with this story – and millions of people – Jewish and non Jewish – have had an introduction into Jewish culture because of it – will remember that for Tevye new ideas came about and new ways of thinking that challenged his Jewishness. Tevye had to embrace some of these ideas to keep his family together but could not accept that one of his daughters married out.
    It would appear that Rabbi Rubin finds change unacceptable and unless everyone keeps Orthodox Jewish traditions in totality then ultimately we will be left with nothing.
    This way of thinking is so far removed from how the vast majority of his congregants practise their Judaism that I found it sad that he was so desperate to try and get people to see things his way that he doesn’t understand their motivations and concerns.
    Desperately unhappy that certain festivals are virtually ignored (he gave the example of Shavuot) it is inevitable with his approach that he will be talking to ever decreasing numbers.
    The powers at be at Giffnock Shul ought to wake up and see that the message being delivered by their Rabbi will only speed up a huge decline in interest and numbers.

  132. Linda L said

    I hope everyone had an easy Fast. I had been meaning to post on here after reading the article in the Telegraph , that Masorti are the fastest growing Jewish group in the world and most espcially the UK.

    It seems that it appeals to Jews disallusioned by the right wing Orthodoxy that is United Synagogues and by current members of the Reform Movement seeking more Traditional services.

    I have to concur with these points , I was at the Masorti Scotland service the last service they had and was suitably impressed with the service!

    If you have not tried it , i think there is a service scheduled in October.

  133. Tevye the Milkman said

    Very respectfully I would suggest to the Learned Rabbi at Giffnock Synagogue that my contribution to preserving Jewish tradition should not be underestimated. I have reached millions of people world wide and have shown what Judaism was all about. Has he?

  134. Sholom Aleichem said

    So Rabbi Moshe Rubin thinks he understands Jewish tradition. My story, Fiddler on the Roof, deals with issues such as Jewish history, culture and tradition and persecution, poverty and the struggle to hold on to that tradition and religious beliefs when faced with hostility.
    That my friends should be applauded and praised from the Giffnock pulpit, not derided.

  135. lazer woolfe said

    It is rather sad that the so called ‘orthodox jewry’ seem to constantly egg each other on to so called higher levels of minute observances, forgetting that in so called ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ days, people/families did not have 3 different sets of crockery to keep Kosher…..these people were for the most part desperatly poor farming stock and that if they were fortunate enough to have 2 or 3 sets of crockery they would haven been [mostly]destroyed during the frequent Pogroms, otherwise all what we have been fed is incorrect.

    The other point is that as Jews we had been subjugated and keep from places of Learning, it was the Enlightenment that set in motion our up liftment to the privilage of holding positions of authority such as in law & medicine. What would Rabbbi Rubin have us do?

    Return to the period of ‘darkness’ and subjugation again!

  136. Perchik said

    The world is changing. Just as happened in Anatevke it will happen in Glasgow. Rabbi Rubin can hold on to all of his traditions, that is his choice. But everyone else will be gone.

  137. Mr C Draper said

    Rabbi Rubin ought to be pleased that his sermon is getting this amount of attention.
    Maybe others would care to comment on the Rabbi’s denunciation of those who only sit Shiva for one night. There were some members of the congregation who for various reasons could only sit for one night.
    Perhaps their family live elsewhere.
    They did not deserve to be admonished publicly on Yom Kippur when they were in Shul for Yizkor.
    Attacking members is not only wrong it is counter productive and only encourages people to stay away.

  138. The Book of Soudry ( The Penultimate Chapter) said

    And the Lord could not believe what was going on. Mr Soudry had agreed with Garnethill that he would not talk to the press. This is a condition of him being allowed to work 3 months notice after being sacked. Mr Soudry,thought the Lord, is just too silly. What does he do? He talks to the Jewish Telegrph and is again the subject of a front page article. The Lord thought it very odd that Mr Soudry could tell the press that he ” would honour my agreement and not comment ” but he had given the paper enough material for yet another story. The Lord thought that this circus must end soon. He thought that Mr Soudry might wish to tell everyone that he is the innocent victim after years of unselfish service but the Lord would keep reminding everyone that Mr Soudry had attacked congregants who had entered a Synagogue to worship Him. The Lord was so hacked off. He had been pleased that the Excecutive at Garnethill had decided to get rid of Soudry for continually being an ass. He had heard the rumours that one or two of the Executive had been wobbling under presure from the Soudry Come Back Campaign. The Lord thought to himself that if they are so stupid that they bring back that man who has behaved very badly towards other members of the Jewish religion then He would cut off all financial aid from the Synagogue and make it become insolvent even sooner. The Lord hoped he could trust Gerald Levin to keep his nerve. Soudry must go.
    The Lord thought to himself -He had a lot of time in recent days to do some thinking when His people were jumping up and down and shoogling and pleading for forgiveness or something like that. The Lord actually likes Fiddler On the Roof and still keeps Topol’s autograph in the drawer beside his bed. What is going on in Glasgow? First Soudry and now Rabbi Rubin is giving sermons that are not up to the mark. My people he thought come to Shul and what does he do but give them a ticking off.
    The Lord poured Himself a large gin and tonic and thought that some religious inspiration is badly needed in that place in Scotland.

    To be continued.

  139. MUTT & jeff said

    You couldnt make this up this latest comedy act from Aahron Soudry, not even Hollywood scriptwriters would be able to come up with a single comedy act that is Mr Aahron Soudry. He is his own the Lauren & Hardy or Mutt & Jeff!

    The man has publicly admitted that he was responsible for his bad behaviour towards Masorti Scotland, and yet still wants to be involved and lead Interfaith Community work in Scotland but withou forethought sets about to make sure that he makes things as difficult & unpleasant for the Masorti people renting a room at Garnethill!

    The fact of the matter is that Masorti Scotland is only one small group of many , many people that Soudry has alienated.

    How can one forget that he was PROHIBITTED from officating at the funeral of one Garnethill’s Honourary Past Presidents’. That it was a dying man’s wish that he would not have Soudry officate at his funeral.

    I am surprised that Soudry doesn’t suffer with severe nosebleeds due to his continued taking of the so called Moral High Ground!

  140. The End is Nigh said

    The end is nigh. Garnethill Shul is finished. It will shortly cease to be and it won’t be sleeping it will be dead. So why is there such an obsession with what is going on there? If Mr Soudry keeps his jib for a few more weeks it is of bug…
    all importance to anyone but the membership that remain. There are next to none of them left. Every 2nd week there is a picture or report in the paper about something going on at Garnethill when everyone knows that the last rights will soon be delivered.
    Can someone please tell me as an aside whether Harvey Kaplan is moonlighting as the Garnethill Shul janitor? He’s not I’m told even a member so the Shul odd job man seems the more likely explanation.

  141. On the March said

    2000 – Orthodox Shuls 5 Progressive 1
    2011 – Orthodox Shuls 2.5 Progressive 2

    Who is winning the battle in Glasgow ?

  142. Harvey's Fan Club said

    Harvey is also the Archives Janitor.
    He must be the commnity’s janitor – They should give him an award for that.

  143. A Soudry Supporter said

    Is there a Rabbi’s Union? Do they fight for one of their own kind? I am utterly astonished that Rabbis Rubin and Bergson have not come out in support of Mr Soudry for standing up for Orthodox Judaism?
    Rabbis Rubin and Bergson I suggest you speak out for Mr Soudry before another Orthodox institution is closed.

  144. the Frozen Rabbi said

    Hey Post 143:

    You seem to have forgotten Rabbi Bamburger , Rabbi Chaim Jacobs & Rabbi Mendel Jacobs from your list of supporters for the Mr Soudry , also you have forgotten, the Rebbonimum -in -Training currently at the Kollel at Giffnock.

  145. Garnethill Member said

    Gerald Levin and his committee are spineless and have buckled uner pressure. They should hang their heads in shame. Levin has turned Garnethill into a joke and he should resign and take Greenhill and Edlin and the rest of these losers with him.

    30 September 2010

    The following statement has been prepared and approved by the Council for the purpose of briefing the Congregation on current events that have occurred since the EGM on the 4th July 2010.

    A series of events occurred in the period February to August 2010, which led to a total conflict of interest between the Council and the minister.
    In view of the seriousness of the situation, the council issued Mr Soudry with a notice of termination, effective from 1st September 2010 with the opportunity of continuing to serve the Congregation up to the end of November.

    During September, the positive response and cooperation of Mr Soudry, together with the concerns of the Congregation, regarding the Minister`s notice of Termination were taken into account by the Council , requesting that the Executive review the situation. The Executive have now recommended that the notice of termination be withdrawn. Mr Soudry`s valued service over many years weighed heavily in his favour.

    It may be noted that Mr Soudry, in response to the offer by the Council to withdraw the notice of termination, has responded positively and has agreed to enter a negotiation with the Finance committee regarding a new position for the year September 2010 through to August 2011, based on the available funds as indicated at the EGM that took place on the 4th July 2010.

    Dr Michael Greenhill
    Correspondence Secretary
    PP Garnethill Hebrew Congregation

    It is now deemed appropriate to bank the appeal funds, and hope that members who have been awaiting developments may now wish to contribute.

    Would those on e-mail, please try and inform those without internet access.

  146. Gerald the chicken said

    So Soudry’s back without ever being away but on a reduced salary. Meanwhile Garnethill will try and fight off bankruptcy.
    Gerald Levin and his committee should resign immediately because it is as clear as could be that they used Soudry’s attacks on Masorti as an excuse to try and reduce their wage bill. This was not about principles. We should have known better. Soudry deserved to be fired because what he did was unacceptable and outwith the boundaries of decent behaviour.
    Levin and the Garnethill committee could not cope with a little bit of heat and they have run for cover. So Soudry stays and they have 20 members. Its not worth it.
    Gerald Levin is chicken.

  147. Another member on the Hill said

    Now just a wee minute here. In light of the comments posted previously on this thread by certain obnoxious individuals (qv#62, 90 et al):

    a) assuming the name of Almighty G-d in vain
    b) offering to physically abuse Mr. Soudry
    c) using this organ to publish private shul council business, and boasting of their influence on the council

    is it any wonder that the sacking of Mr. Soudry has been reviewed? It’s these comments which are ‘unacceptable and outwith the boundaries of decent behaviour’, not Soudry’s.

    Or maybe it’s because half the members of Garnethill felt that Mr. Soudry’s actions were, in fact, appropriate for a minister in his position, and that they disagreed with his sacking? I suggest there is a greater number of members alienated with the Council than with Soudry.

  148. Fruma Sara said

    Garnethill may well take Soudry back, which is a shame, but it will not stop the fact that Garnethill will close its doors , the members are for the most part aged in their very late 70’s and beyond. So that in the end they will struggle financially and in terms of getting people to undertake the journey on a Shabbat to the west end from Newton Mearns.

    They would in my humble opinion just be delaying the inevitable stay of execution on the Garnethill Hebrew Congregation.

    Garnethill should now take to opportunity to save whatever cash reserves they have and instead send Harvey Kapaln and his minions at the Archives on a SVQ course on Good Housekeeping and the purchase of some fashionable housecoats to this end.

    Garnethill is destined to become one of many so called ‘Museum Synagogues’ that will inevitably spring up throughout Great Britain within the next 5 to 10 years.

  149. Rejoice, Rejoice said

    The Garnethill committee are cowards. The previous post was quite right to call Gerald Levin chicken. I have always thought that anyone that has the inclination to be a chairperson or a vice chairperson of an Orthodox Synagogue in Glasgow should be prevented from doing it because no one with any sanity would want to do that job and the inmates should not be allowed to run the asylum.
    I couldn’t care less myself but I hear that Garnethill’s letter was sent out on Yom Tov to tell the world that Soudry had been saved. I’m prepared to bet that Mr Soudry won’t be banging the bimah in protest about that little error from a supposed Orthodox Synagogue which makes his outbursts against Masorti sympathisers who come to prey at his Shul even worse.
    My riposte to Another Member on the Hill is to hope that we have another installment of the Book of Soudry really soon. That stuff was just great and is very welcome.

  150. Hashem said

    Hello everybody its me again. AKA The Lord, Adonai, Almighty whatever.
    Snoudry is getting on my nerves and his followers need a harsh reminder who is in charge of this world.
    I thought I made it clear that Snoudry had to go and I spelled out why. On August 10th I wrote

    “Everyone is welcome to worship me at any Shul that they choose. I couldn’t care less what kind of Judaism you follow”

    Even the dimmest of you should have understood what I meant.

    Then on August 19th I decided to remind you again

    “Insulting members of my people because they choose to worship in a different way from him was just not on and he did it on several occasions.”

    “I hope anyone standing up in a Shul will now realise that this kind of behaviour is not on and I won’t stand for it. As I have said countless times there are many different ways to worship me and no one way is the right way”

    What don’t these dumbells at Garnethill understand? I know that not all my people on earth have the same brains and that is good because it would be pretty boring if you all thought the same about everything but Garnethill and Snoudry are taking it a bit far and will win the prize for outstanding stupidity.

    Last night as I was watching telly and enjoying Match of the Day my wife kept reminding me that I had to deal with the Snoudry affair. Quite simply I told her there were better things to do with a Saturday evening than waste my time on Garnethill. After all hardly anyone goes there and those that do deserve the place. If I was you I wouldn’t bother going to a Shul in the middle of the city centre and if I was you I wouldn’t walk 10 yards to hear a sermon delivered by Snoudry.

    Anyway just as Everton scored my wife said come on Adonai focus on the solution, what are you going to do about it.

    You will all remember the story of Noah and the flood. Well Glasgow is going to get a downpour this Sunday. Its going to p down most of the day. If any of you were looking forward to doing something outside then blame Snoudry and Garnethill.

    I understand that some people are weak. But defying my will is not on. Levin and his fellow executive deserve to be punished. However, I am normally a benevolent chap, all those terrible things that happen in the world are nowt to do with me.
    (On another day when I am not rushing to eat my Rice Krispies I will explain why) Basically Garnethill is not worth the effort. The sooner it is shut the better. As for Snoudry if it were a couple of hundred years ago he would be put in the stocks and pelted with rotten tomatoes. Nowadays there are things like blogs to get your own back on irrelevancies like him.

    I’m going to think what to do with him and Garnethill, but only when I have nothing else to do. I could excommunicate the lot of them and might yet do it.

    Love and Lisses
    Your Lord

  151. Concerned said

    Post 150 I would like to poke you in the eye!

  152. Drunk and Disorderly said

    Threatening the Almighty with physical abuse is extraordinary. Have you by any chance been drinking at the Taliban pub in Giffnock Shul?

  153. Serious said

    I am reposting what I said a few weeks ago, just in case there is a chance to open serious, thought-out discussion (as opposed to the one comment saying one of my questions (which I amended)) was out. Anyone serious reading please respond!!!

    1. Many people are in shul for a ‘show’, and only ever use synagogue facilities when necessary – shivas, Bar Mitzvahs etc. How to create a healthy balance between these masses, and those out for a meaningful experience, without alienating anyone.

    2. The rabbis are overworked, and need help from the laity to develop their communities. One of the reason shuls in London and Manchester thrive is because people take the initiative in many ways – organising programming, educational and social, create a network for communal support, etc etc. How are we to reengage the laity in this way?

    3. The youth – what can a shul offer irreligious youth? Why is it important?

    4. Glasgow is in the process of downsizing [that is – people are leaving.Does anyone have clear numbers?]. How can this be done in an effective manner? (ie the Chief Rabbi’s question).

    5. Can this forum be tweaked to achieve it’s goal? Ie can we start again, with transparency, and a system of moderation? It is a shame for GJEF that the reputation of this blog undermines the events it runs.


  154. Samson Clare said

    Would somebody explain why the claptrap being spouted is still under the thread topic of Antony Lerman please ? This `blog/forum` is an insult to the intelligence of the Glasgow Jewish Community.
    It is difficult to conclude anything other than that the `ultra clever` nom-de-plumes are nothing more than a figment of no more than three or four contributors` imaginations.

    Either moderate this forum into a decent debating outlet or I will stop looking in twenty times a day for the latest tittle tattle from these yachnes.

    Thank you.

  155. Obsessive said

    Samson Clare you disappoint me. You read this blog 20 times a day but are unable to contribute to the debate in any meaningful way. I suggest that you need some cognitive therapy for your obsessive compulsive disorder.
    I am actually enjoying the discussion about Soudry and Garnethill. I heard today that another Shul, Clarkston, is now going to stay open.
    Its so crazy you couldn’t make it up.

  156. glasgowpunter said

    I agree with Samson Clare. The moderators are usless – completely lost the place. However, I suspect Mr Clare should seriously consider the cognitive therapy being suggested by Obsessive.

    I have searched the usuual journals and websites but cannot trace Mr Clare. OMG!! Are you using a Nom-de-plume?

    I think Mr Samson Clare should expose himself!

    Thank you.

  157. Eddie's Masterplan said

    The undernoted master plan was conceived and written by Glasgow’s management guru – Mr Edward Isaacs.

    Here’s the latest. Soudry can go from no job to two jobs and can double up as Minister of Garnethill and Minister of Netherlee and Clarkston, now that they have decided to stumble on. Garnethill can start services at 9am and then Soudry can run as fast as he can and get to Netherlee to begin at 11am. Garnethill can pay him 50% of what he was previously getting and Netherlee can pay him the other 50% which is cheaper than having to pay someone 100% and its sorted. If this works Giffnock could get rid of Rubin and start their service at 12.30 and Soudry could do that one too. Newton Mearns could hold a Friday night evening service instead of a Saturday morning one and Soudry could do that as well.
    Then Soudry will have 4 jobs and every Shul will have cut their expenses.
    Edward Isaacs will be acknowledged as a community genius for having the foresight to work this all out by himself.

  158. Not Believable said

    I’m sorry but I can’t believe that Eddie’s Masterplan has anything to do with Edward Isaacs. If it had Eddie would surely have recommended getting Mr Soudry sponsorship by a sports shoe company to supplement his salary in recognition of all the running required to become the Minister in 4 shoes.
    Edward Isaacs would have pointed that out, I know he would. Also, Eddie is trying to close unnecessary Shuls down and he must be perplexed that he is being ignored as they are popping up all over the place.
    Come to think of it, why is Mr Soudry not President of the Rep Council? He could do that job as well as officiating in 4 Shuls.

  159. Adios Dios said

    Why doesnt Aaaaaaaaaaaharon do the all the Burials too as well as selling the Kosher wine & running the deli’s and the Whole of Scotland Kasrut service.

  160. Fruma Sara said

    A Conservative candidate in next year’s Holyrood election has resigned after allegedly saying Scots were “so thick” for hating Margaret Thatcher.

    Businessman Ivor Tiefenbrun, founder of electronic firm Linn Products, was to have fought the Glasgow Maryhill seat.

    In a statement he said he did not want anything to divert attention away from important issues facing the country.

    The Scottish Conservatives said Mr Tiefenbrun’s decision had been taken in the best interests of the party.

    The businessman is said to have told The Scotsman newspaper that “you would have to be thick to accept that” former prime minister Baroness Thatcher was an “evil force” in Scotland.

    The comments provoked a furious reaction among some party members north of the border.

    Sir Albert McQuarrie, a Scottish Tory MP between 1979 and 1987, told The Scotsman: “They were certainly very ill-chosen words and if someone has a view about Margaret Thatcher’s time in office, this is the wrong way to go about expressing it.

    ‘Political immaturity’

    “There are misinformed views that people have about Margaret Thatcher’s time in office, but to say that Scots are thick is daft.

    “It shows a real political immaturity as I’ve always believed that Scots are very proud of their views and able to put forward their points without making comments like this.”

    In a statement, Mr Tiefenbrun said: “There are many important issues facing our country and I have no desire for anything to divert my party – or indeed the media – from concentrating on those vital challenges.

    “Accordingly, I will not be standing in the forthcoming Holyrood elections.

    “I wish my successor and our candidates across Scotland well in May.”

    Scottish Conservative Party chairman, Andrew Fulton, added: “I have spoken to Ivor and respect and understand his decision which has been taken in the best interests of the party.”

    Patricia Ferguson, the Labour MSP for Glasgow Maryhill, said she was pleased that the Tories had seen sense and decided “to cut this candidate loose”.

    But she said: “This entire episode has exposed the Tories’ utter dearth of talent in Glasgow.”

    The SNP’s Glasgow MSP Bob Doris demanded Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie launch an internal inquiry into the matter.

  161. I never knew that....... said

    I am quite amazed that the article in today’s issue in the JT by Simon Yaffee allegedly caused
    Zionist leaders in the UK such indignation that Ibrahim Zakzaky has been granted leave to enter in the UK and address rallies.

    One has only to be a member of a religious organization in Glasgow such as Masorti to know that certain Rabbi’s and lay ministers have openly condemned & derided people who have participated or who may have contemplated attending Masorti synagogue. It is the commonly held belief that one people may have even been sacked for his involvement in the creation of Masorti.

    So what is the REAL difference if yet another individual comes to this country and does the same against the JEWS! We seem to be doing a good job of fostering intolerance amongst ourselves already.

    Mr Tiefenbrun has now completely exposed [the] Scottish Jewish community to anti- Semitic behavior thanks to his recent comments about ‘thick Scots’. The sad realisation is that now we will have Ephraim Borowski & Leah Granat running around more so with ‘fairy’ tales of alleged intolerance to Jews in Scotland and now one man would have been the cause of it.

    Before we get ‘up to high dough’ the community needs to get it own act TOGTHER.

  162. Samson Clare said

    Replying to ‘Obsessive’…I did indeed join the debate, scroll back to 24 if your mouse has enough battery life. But that debate (Antony Lerman) seems to have got lost in the usual diversion tactics of this blog. If you are going to have a general free for all, then open a section called chit chat where the vast majority of contributors can hide under their usernames and call fellow Jews whatever they like displaying their personal agendas to create unrest in the community. Until then this blog will be treated with the derision it has earned.

    So I myself am now going to offer a further diversion, but I will be surprised if it has legs, as it is not personal enough for the backbiters that offer their wisdom here or far more likely the moderators, who should be embarrassed to be called that when really it is just a case of `anything goes`.

    Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Maccabi 40th Year Reunion party. It was pretty well attended but mainly by the age group that wouldn`t have been the one that transferred from the old Tudor (happy days!) in 1970.
    So where were the others ? The alte-cackers like myself and probably most of the readers and contributors to this blog. Non-Runners alas. Probably too busy watching the X-Factor or composing their personal attacks for here.
    That they couldn`t support the wonderful Maccabi that has done so much for Jewish Youth in Glasgow says everything. Too far to schlepp to Giffnock ? Surely the £25 entrance fee didn`t deter them ?
    While we have apathy like this in Jewish Glasgow then really a blog like this is superfluous to requirements. Unless of course you wish to ridicule someone with personal jibes, then this blog suits you perfectly.

    I will now leave the thread to enable the readership to attack Mr.Tiefenbrun whom no doubt has done enough to upset the wise and sensitive souls here by his recent (admittedly) politically incorrect announcement.

    Rant over..Thank you.

  163. Sporty Stan said

    I have nothing whatsoever against Maccabi and would encourage everyone to play sport but could it just be the case that an all Jewish sport club has past its sell by date because Jews are allowed to join and participate in whatever sport they choose without discrimination.
    I wouldn’t call that apathy I would call it progress Samson Clare.
    Jews playing sport only with other Jews – is that excusable?
    Cultural connections are acceptable but sport should be non discriminatory.
    I recall that when I was a boy Maccabi would not allow a non-Jew to play in my football team even though he was very friendly with some of the players. Hopefully, most of the community would not accept that kind of behaviour any more.

  164. Samson Clare said

    “Jews playing sport only with other Jews – is that excusable? ”

    Totally SS why not ? You seem to be leaning towards the ridiculous political correctness of today. Maccabi (and Bonnyton for that matter) were formed for the Jewish community, that is not discrimination against non Jews. I don`t reckon that the young footballer you recall was surprised that he couldn`t play in a Jewish League…no more in fact than I would have been to learn I had been rejected for the local tennis club (which I would have been).
    Maccabi was also much more than sport back then…and remains so.

  165. Sporty Stan said

    Perhaps you will allow me to explain. Sport should be across boundaries of religion, race, colour, ethnicity. Only playing sport with other Jews is at best narrow and insular. Thirty or forty years ago there was both justification and necessity for Jews to have their own sport club in Glasgow because there were some barriers to Jews joining clubs elsewhere – whether in golf or tennis. However, today, these barriers are gone and rightly so.

    I find your comments deplorable that because others discriminated against Jews that then makes it perfectly acceptable for us to discriminate against children in our clubs.

    I accept that Maccabi is today much more than a sport club and provides a very valuable service to our community and runs some truly excellent activities.

    Nevertheless, your justification of sectarianism and bigotry Samson Clare dumfounds me.

  166. Samson Clare said

    Well, after my criticism of some of the contributors to this forum above perhaps I shouldn`t blink an eyelid at Sporty Stan`s incredible retort !

    Other readers will judge for themselves who is doing the ‘dumbfounding’ here. From a mild and even slightly tongue in cheek rebuke to others who failed to support the Maccabi Reunion party…I stand accused of sectarianism and bigotry. Next Sporty Stan will have me marching up and down Fenwick Road and gathering other militants from outside Hello Deli to keep the dwindling Jewish population of Glasgow from mixing even socially with those not of our faith.
    If I didn`t know better Stanley you are a forum `fisher` and even winding old Samson up here. Your interpretation of the points I made about Maccabi is truly surreal. Lighten up man ! I bet you analyse how many workers were exploited in producing the cornflakes that fill your cereal bowl each morning.

    As they say in the more intelligent mediums of communication….

    This correspondence is now closed.

  167. Sporty Stan said

    Samson Clare you will be no loss to this forum. You couldn’t win an argument in a children’s nursery. You justified religious discrimination against non-Jews on the grounds that Jews are sometimes discriminated against by others and now you cry that I have suggested that you are a bigot which is exactly what you are.

    Don’t forget to tidy up your toys before you leave.

  168. Samson Clare said

    Up early to attend nursery Sporty Stan. At least they teach me to read there…would you care to quote me where I stated I was departing this forum please ?
    I shall be keeping my username for my future communications to the community…will you ?

    Last word to you sir, perhaps you will enlighten readers to which part of
    ” THIS CORRESPONDENCE IS NOW CLOSED ” you failed to understand.

  169. Sporty Stan said

    Come on Sammy, you can do better than this. You are peeved that I called you a bigot. Your defence wasn’t good so you thought that you would be smart and declare correspondence closed. I thought, or maybe hoped that you wouldn’t be back.
    I got that wrong. I thought that you would retire hurt and not continue to make a fool of yourself. I’m sorry, you are dafter than I thought you were. Please accept my apologies.

  170. Rabbis for Human Rights said

    Please see below article by Seth Freedman from Comment section in the Guardian. Rabbis for Human Rights should be applauded. Do they have any members in Glasgow?

    The olive groves where peaceful solidarity grows. While some Israelis are vandalising West Bank farms, others are volunteering to help the harvest

    Seth Freedman

    With the olive harvest in full swing across the West Bank, reports are flooding in of settler attacks on Palestinian farmers trying to gather their crops. Acts of arson, sabotage and theft all make for great copy, and rightly so: the atrocities committed by Israeli extremists in the name of nationalism and religion must be condemned.

    However, focusing solely on the settler violence paints a distorted picture during the two-month-long harvest. At the same time as settler vandals pillage the property of their Palestinian neighbours, hundreds of Israeli volunteers gather in solidarity with the farmers every week to assist them in their work. These selfless individuals cannot single-handedly right the wrongs of the occupation or bring back to life the Palestinians’ scorched and uprooted trees, but they can – and do – offer a vital alternative to seeing all Israelis as vicious, racist thugs.

    Organisations such as Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) and Humans without Borders (HWB) tirelessly organise groups of Israelis and internationals to aid the farmers, and in doing so break down suspicion and distrust on both sides of the border. I accompanied a group of HWB volunteers on Friday to see firsthand the way in which Jews and Arabs come together under a banner of peaceful coexistence, and was more heartened by the experience than any other I’ve had in Israel/Palestine in a long time.

    There was no hidden agenda – just a simple, stated aim of providing free labour for farmers near Qalqilya who, due to military orders, can’t do an honest day’s work in their own fields. Their olive groves are out of bounds, thanks to the route of the separation wall that bisects their land in typically heartless fashion, and the army would grant only three members of the family permission to cross the fence to access their crops – far too few to get the job done.

    Into the breach stepped the HWB group, made up of 20 young Israelis; some native-born, others immigrants from the UK, America and Australia. Meeting at an ungodly hour at Arlozorov train station in Tel Aviv, they had given up their weekend to perform the ultimate mitzvah (commandment): love thy neighbour – though religion was far from the prime motive for the majority of the volunteers. Instead, their own brand of Zionism – one which promotes, rather than tramples on, the human rights of all inhabitants of the region – was the catalyst for their quest.

    They worked for hours in the scorching heat, completing endless cycles of laying down tarpaulins, raking the fruit free from the sagging branches, bagging up the fallen olives and moving on to the next tree in the line. Despite working alongside the farmer and two of his sons, the focus was on the harvesting rather than turning the day into a mutual love-in between Israelis and Palestinians; such dialogue-heavy events might have their slot in the activist calendar, but this was neither the time nor the place.

    After all, time is money to the farmers, and getting the olives to market as fast as possible can be the difference between the family business sinking or swimming from one year to the next. As the group sat down to break bread with their Palestinian hosts after six straight hours in the field, the relief was palpable on the farmers’ faces; they expressed their gratitude both verbally and via the banquet laid out for the volunteers, recognising the difference the extra hands on deck had made to their task.

    For the Israelis present, the day was not about proving their self-righteousness to either themselves or others, but rather an opportunity to both remind themselves of the effects of the occupation on ordinary Palestinians as well as to humanise the “unseen other” by way of such everyday interaction. While higher-octane events such as violent anti-wall protests in Bil’in and Nil’in are more attractive to some, seemingly mundane actions such as olive-picking provide far more clement conditions for true peaceful solidarity between the two sides to flourish.

    For every door that the hilltop hooligans slam shut between Israelis and Palestinians, another one is opened by the likes of RHR and HWB. Their efforts are worth their weight in gold, both for the practical assistance they provide, but also for the opportunities for mutual understanding and discovery that they offer all who participate, Jew and Arab alike. The activists’ efforts are as much the true face of Israeli interaction with Palestinian farmers as those of the settlers.

  171. Samson Clare said

    In no way would anyone criticise the rabbis, however I reckon many like me will surely read this as a (not so) thinly veiled attack on Israel as is expected from that miserable newspaper rather than applause for the noble efforts of the rabbis.

    With highly emotive words in the first few paparagraphs like `atrocities`…. `pillage`…. `vicious racist thugs`, it is quite clear where the writer`s sympathies lie.
    For balanced Middle East reporting, the Guardian should not be the first port of call and in my opinion this article should be treated with the utmost caution.

  172. Guardian Reader said

    Samson Clare’s contribution is another pitiful example of shooting the messenger rather than dealing with the content of the message.
    We’ve heard all this nonsense about the Guardian being antisemitic and anti-Israel before and thankfully on this blog it is only the minority lunatic fringe that fly those kites.
    Would Jonathan Freedland, as an example, write for such a paper if Samson was right?
    Hopefully there are not too many like you Samson or we are in bigger trouble than I think.

  173. Observer ( not Observant) said

    Blog 170 has probably answered their own question. A Glasgow Rabbi affiliated or a member of Rabbis For Human Rights is not very likely. It is our misfortune as a community that we do not have such a religious leader to guide us about these ethical and moral considerations.

  174. Samson Clare said

    Guardian Reader…you`re having a laugh. Imagine citing Jonathan Freedland in support of your defence of the paper, a quick Google suffices…
    “Israel has plenty of tactics for war, but none for peace …..
    A leadership dazzled by its own military might ignores the political reality and believes the only solutions lie in force…”

    Jonathan Freedland
    The Guardian, Saturday 3 January 2009
    Perhaps you`d like to respond with some pro Israel quotes from Freedland to suggest why he wouldn`t write for that paper if he were not a supporter of the Guardian`s well known stance ?

    That the paper has these views is accepted by most Jews and non Jews and only a blinkered Guardian Reader as you are brave enough to call yourself would consider otherwise.
    Read the article again and tell me my view above is not entirely accurate please.

    Just a few lines in addition to my quotes above for you to digest…

    “Instead, their own brand of Zionism – one which promotes, rather than tramples on, the human rights of all inhabitants of the region – was the catalyst for their quest.”

    “For every door that the hilltop hooligans slam shut between Israelis and Palestinians,….”

    Still of the same opinion ?

  175. Guardian Reader said

    Samson Claire obviously does not understand that disagreeing with the politics of the Israeli Government does not make someone opposed to the state itself.
    Jonathan Freedland writes critically about Israeli policy as does Seth Freedman and others. I have read the article again and your powers of deduction are obviously limited. There are many in Israel that disagree with their government – does that make them anti the State itself?
    Maybe you are an advocate of Lieberman and would suggest a loyalty test not only for non Jews but maybe Jews like Freedland too.
    One minor point Samson Claire – Jonathan Freedland has a long track record of involvement in pro-Israel organisations starting with Habonim.
    What about you sir?
    Please tell us what gives you the credibility to set yourself up as one of “My Country Right or Wrong brigade”

  176. Samson Clare said

    Guardian Reader..It was YOU who introduced Jonathan Freedland into this topic and now you further digress by introducing the Israeli government`s politics.
    My comments were solely about the article produced above and the newspaper that printed it,and my verdict remains that it is an ill disguised attack on Israel…dressed up as a tribute to the rabbis and their followers and full of vitriol towards Israel.

    I have little time for journalists that communicate by insinuation…and there is little doubt in my mind where this particular writer`s real prejudices lie.

    If you prefer to read it as an honest assessment of a rare shining light in a troubled area, then that is your prerogative.

  177. Guardian Reader said

    It was you that suggested the Guardian was anti-Israel when the paper is supportive of a Jewish state.
    You then tried to claim that Freedland is also anti Israel after I suggested that a journalist of his credentials would not write for such a paper if your ludicrous allegations had any merit.
    You know nothing about Seth Freedman either I would expect but once again you suggest that there is something either underhand or sinistre about commenting about Israel in the way that he does.
    Quite simply Samson I don’t think there is any merit in your arguments.
    Actually it is worse than that – your response is indicative of a closed mind that only sees what you want to see.
    The interesting question is why you won’t tell us whether you have any credentials in speaking up about Israel when casting doubt on people like Freedland who do. So stop hiding Samson and answer the question.

  178. Samson Clare said

    What is it with this forum ? You need CREDENTIALS to post a comment here ? No wonder it is so quiet in here, you try and debate and are then belittled because your opinion does not agree with the management or forum `seeds` (as I see it). It is difficult to believe other than that, as if my and others` comments were so worthless then a regular forum user wouldn`t even bother to respond.
    Perhaps understandable (the credibility issue) if the forum had some dignity, but a bunch of namecalling nom-de-plumes who are inarticulate and shameless enough to call shulgoers `The Giffnock Taliban`….and criticise Rabbis going about their duties…? is that what goes for fair comment in this place Guardian Reader ? Perhaps you should concentrate on those contributors and their failings for your pointless ire with me and my sort.

    However I like a bit of an argument ! so I will answer your question in as many lines as I can muster and then like Sporty Stan (that`s not you is it ? ) will allow you the last word, and you can then rest, at least until the unwordly and illiterate Samson next tries to comment on something here…or maybe, do I sense a ban coming on ? Two arguments above,mmm….. maybe it`s three strikes and out on here ? Obviously it is never acceptable to question the party rule, and it is extremely heartening for me to upset someone`s blinkered views. My mind may be made up, but it`s unlikely that you will be able to change it with such paltry responses.

    My criticism of the article c/ped by the catchy usernamed ‘Rabbis for Human Rights’..(who he and where he after his initial offering ? ) was based on what I consider a cheap attempt at reportage by The Guardian. Can ANYBODY on here including you GR tell me that was not unbiased journalism ? If you say yes then your naivety is outrageous. If Seth Freedman is an honest unbiased observer of the Middle East, then heaven help those poor readers. I like my hacks to have the courage of their convictions rather than those that ask you to read between the lines.

    Now to my credentials for having the brass necked audacity to criticise the esteemed Mr.Freedman and his paper.
    Unlike he I did my early shmying around at Maccabi… and unlike Seth,I found Habonim just a little too uniformed for my tastes. Obviously he was bright enough to take his chosen path GR…I had to make do with The Tudor where playing football where the cinema seats used to be became an art form for those like myself and others of a misspent youth. That he made the progress to scale the heights of the Guardian while I offer my ramblings to an undoubtedly limited audience on here is a cross I have to bear.
    As my mother demanded, I didn`t marry a shiksa…I went to shul on a part-time basis…but here`s what you are waiting for Guardian Reader…my credentials for `speaking up about Israel` (your words)are admittedly very limited.
    In fact Guardian Reader…they are non existent. Never visited, not even for a simcha, never really desired to (my counsellor is working on me)…and felt deeply embarrassed when my friends were volunteering in `67 and I was busy looking for a girlfriend. (:-(
    There, I`ve come clean…I`ve got it all out, see what you`ve made me do GR ?

    I apologise for this lack of insider knowledge into that country and if this disqualifies me from commenting on anything to do with Israel, I will accept my punishment like a man….oh hang on I`ve thought of something…I attended the after match reception for Petach Tikva in Clarkston Shul after they played Third Lanark around 1960ish….does that count ? Maybe not, but I tried didn`t I ?
    Anyway I`ve never been to the moon but I still know it is far away.

    I leave the final word to you, but while treating me with derision please answer with a simple yes or no my question. Was the above article a fair piece of journalism without a hidden agenda ?
    Anybody else out there (as if) is welcome to answer the same question…let`s have a poll in fact, the no`s have it at 1-0 at present, let`s see if we can get it up to 5 responses.

    I rather doubt it Guardian Reader !

  179. Rabbis for Human Righrs said

    Of course it was a fair piece of balanced journalism. It described a situation that far too many do not want to see and Seth Freedman deserves praise for highlighting what is going on.
    As you have brought up the subject Samson Clare a word in your ear about the Giffnock Taliban. Its not the fact that they are shulgoers that has got them the notoriety of being called the Taliban it is the fact that their endorsement of fundamentalism and their judgemental approach to others that do not choose to live their lives as they do. I have no real stake in the argument but the description of Giffnock Shul as the Giffnock Taliban did strike a chord with me and many others. Nothing hurts as much as the truth.

  180. Community Member said

    Yes. I thought it was fine too.

  181. Samson Clare said

    2-1 against me, but the votes are still pouring in…it`s down to you GR…we await your final word.
    To help you make up your mind here is a few choice words from Mr. Freedman`s article that RFHR and CM seem to have ignored in their decisions….

    ‘Acts of arson, sabotage and theft all make for great copy, and rightly so: the atrocities committed by Israeli extremists in the name of nationalism and religion must be condemned.’
    ‘settler vandals pillage the property of their Palestinian neighbours,’
    ‘offer a vital alternative to seeing all Israelis as vicious, racist thugs.’
    ‘Instead, their own brand of Zionism – one which promotes, rather than tramples on, the human rights of all inhabitants of the region’
    ‘For every door that the hilltop hooligans slam shut between Israelis and Palestinians’

    You still call that a “fair piece of balanced journalism” RFHR ?
    I applaud the actual story by the way, I simply object to the manner of its telling.

    Is there really nobody else out there who can`t see the damage the piece does ?

  182. ML said

    Does it not come down to whether what was written is true or not?
    Unfortunately, I think it is.
    The score is now 3-1 Samson
    It may be unpleasant reading but that dos not mean it is anti Israel.
    Being an ostrich with your head in the sand Samsonand in denial does not help Israel’s cause one little bit.

  183. Samson Clare said

    Well ML I never stated what was printed was untrue did I ? But are you referring to the story or the story behind the story ?

    Before I exit this forum, a few final words.

    Firstly to ‘Rabbis for Human Rights’ I`ve saved you the embarrassment of c/ping your original UNEDITED reply to me. I had read it as a welcome touch of irony ! However do you not think it unfair that the management have the EDIT facility and the handful of GENUINE posters on here do not ? And do you not consider forum seeding unethical ?

    This blog/forum was a wonderful opportunity for Jewish Glasgow. I only participated fairly recently, but had heard of the furore quite a while ago. The criticisms I`m afraid are entirely justified. NOT I hasten to add because I disagree with much of the content but simply for the reason that all debate here is manipulated from within. That is dishonest, and some readers may not recognise it. But it is now obvious that that `some` is even smaller than anyone could have imagined.

    That the administration consider talking to themselves appropriate is their decision, however I sense their disappointment with the numbers that don`t. This will remain while the chosen agenda for GJEF is so blatant.

    I`m all for fair debate and wide, varying points of view, however until this place contains such dialogue it will sadly remain the wilderness it is and solely the thoughts of a tiny minority.

  184. ML said

    What a magnificent piece of prose Samson and I applaud your efforts to hoodwink readers. You are trying to be the judge and the jury.
    However, it was you that were up for trial with your statement that Seth Freedman’s article was anti-Israel and you then attacked Jonathan Freedland as well as the Guardian newspaper.

    Your support and work for Israel you admitted was non existant – you have never even bothered to try and visit but you think that you can get away with describing people who write and comment about events there, who have been involved in the argument for years, as being anti the state. I have no problem whatsoever with you explaining why you disagree with them but I will defend them and others like them who are treated by mindsets like you as if they were traitors.

    You are such a man of principle Samson – you then attack the forum that has given you a platform to attack Freedman and Freedland as being unfair and run dishonestly.

    You can’t be that daft Samson – think about it more carefully. You have now moved on to attack those that run this blog who gave you your soapbox to pontificate and express your scorn for others.

    There is no other forum in Glasgow where people can comment about community affairs or Israel. This one is not perfect – it might not even be that good – but who else has had the balls to try. The supposed intillegentsia ( although I’m not sure Glasgow Jewry could ever claim to have such a group ) tell the outside world how this blog should be run and what they don’t like about it. If it was so easy they would arrange for someone else to start one up or do it themselves. The fact is that years later and despite the vitriol against GJEF no one else has even come near to providing an alternative.

  185. Jewish Echo Reader said

    Quite right, ML. Samson Clare should be greatful that he gets to speak his mind here even if he has being dishonest, as you’ve pointed out. Unlike Samson, I have actually been to Israel and have seen some things first hand so I know what I’m talking about. At least he had the guts to admit he doesn’t have any first hand experience. I wonder how many more of the so-called ardent Zionists who dare to pop up here from time to time really know what they’re talking about. My guess is that fewer than half, or perhaps even less than that.

    What I’d like to know is why someone who cares that much about a place that he’s never even been to. Eh?

  186. Admin said

    Comments are now closed. Please see the latest article on the main page, in which Tony Lerman considers the revivification of apocalyptic fears within anglo-Jewry.

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