Lord Advocate: ‘My motivation’

SPECIAL GUEST: Glasgow Jewish Representative Council co-presidents Nicola Livingston, left, and Evy Yedd with guest speaker Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC

SCOTLAND’S Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC has revealed that his antecedents were from a prominent Berlin Jewish family.

The Lord Advocate was the guest speaker at a Glasgow Jewish Representative Council Public and Delegate meeting, at Jewish Care Scotland’s Walton Community Care Centre on Wednesday.

Mr Wolffe told the audience: “My father came to Scotland in the 1930s from Germany. His father was a lawyer, but suffered because my grandmother was Jewish.

“There were lawyers on her side of the family including, I’m told, the first Jew to be allowed to practise in Berlin, in the mid-19th century.

“I remember going to Berlin and visiting the remains of the original New Synagogue in the Oranienburger Strasse.

“The donor of the curtains was my great-grandfather. It was a reminder of what happens when the fair administration of justice and rule of law break down. It is a part of what has and continues to motivate me.

“Hate crime is a form of criminality I take particularly seriously. It is an affront to civilised society.”

Rep Council co-president Nicola Livingston spoke about it being time to revisit, revise and update the Community Futures Report, which was published in April.

It is likely that the council will engage a professional, as well as interested/experienced volunteers to carry out the bulk of the work.

The methodology and timescales have still to be decided, but it is hoped to start some aspects soon and launch the project at the annual meeting, scheduled for May 30.

The exercise will look at what has been achieved and will measure outcomes against the recommendations from the report.

It is planned to again hold some form of community consultations, so that individuals and organisations can have a say.

The result will be a revised strategic plan for the community, looking at all aspects of Jewish life, including — but not limited to — informal education, welfare, youth provision, religious requirements and social needs.

Co-president Evy Yedd, delivering the presidents’ report, spoke about the formation of the Alliance Forum.

Mrs Yedd said: “This working group has been formed by the Rep Council under the leadership of Miriam Jackson and consists of a small steering group which also involves members of the community with experience in Health and Social Care.

“Mrs Jackson has been given a place representing the Jewish community on the East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership community engagement group.

“The Forum consists of all organisations which provide care and support in the community, from the large and official care providers to the small informal voluntary groups.

“There have been two Forum meetings and discussions have focused on the need to avoid duplication and identify gaps. The organisations are committed to working closely together for the benefit of the community.

“Closer co-operation is already taking place at many levels — just last week, staff from Cosgrove Care helped Jewish Care Scotland to ensure all vulnerable people received the services they needed during the bad weather.

“Plans are underway to hold a facilitated ‘mapping event’ from which an action plan will be formulated and it is hoped to launch this soon.

“Any potential mergers or restructuring of organisations and buildings, involving synagogues and other communal organisations, will have a huge impact on the groups providing professional and volunteer support for welfare.

“The Alliance Forum will keep these organisations up to date while supporting them in any way possible to proceed with changes.”

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