The Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre has
achieved many major milestones in a
very short period of time
Here is our story
A group of Jewish people in Edinburgh, known as The Edinburgh Jewish Dialogue, conducted a series of public consultations to identify a way forward for the Jewish community to thrive in future years.
Founded by Jane Ansell and Janet Mundy and chaired by Professor Joe Goldblatt, Edinburgh Jewish Dialogue invited leaders of successful Jewish communities in London, Oxford and Stockholm to share their ideas with our community on how to develop and nurture a vibrant Jewish identity.
Interest in the work of the Edinburgh Jewish Dialogue began to spread throughout the Jewish community and, following an extensive period of research and consultation, the group’s ideas crystallised around establishing a Jewish Cultural Centre in Edinburgh that would serve the whole of Scotland. The group decided to formalise their future work by transforming into a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation entitled the Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre (EJCC) in April 2018. Our board was duly formed (see below) and we began to explore establishing a positive physical home for our new Centre.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP unveils a plaque funded by EJCC in Usher Hall in 2017
Summerhall, October 2017
Summerhall, October 2017
Our first major public event marked the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the first Jewish community in Edinburgh and the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF). EJCC commissioned a plaque to be permanently displayed in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh’s largest concert hall, in honour of the two Jewish artists who founded EIF in 1947. This plaque was unveiled by Nicola Sturgeon MSP, the First Minister of Scotland, in August 2017.
Initially, EJCC published a document that encapsulated the organisation’s values and principles. We articulated what a Jewish Cultural Centre could contribute to the Jewish community in Scotland, to our City of Edinburgh and to its diverse range of residents and visitors. We stressed the role the Centre would play in fostering community cohesion across all groups and communities in the City. In the intervening three years we have successfully curated, produced and presented a range of activities that have shared and celebrated Judaism and Jewish life and culture with hundreds of participants.
In November 2019 we co-ordinated Limmud Scotland for the first time in Edinburgh in partnership with Limmud UK, with 250 people participating.
Photo © Eddy Maher
Successful ending to first Limmud to be conducted in the City of Edinburgh
Photo © Eddy Maher
In January 2020, we co-ordinated the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz with an official ceremony at the City of Edinburgh War Memorial that was led by the Lord Provost, Councillor Frank Ross.
In March 2020 we celebrated International Women’s Day by establishing and presenting the biennial Gertrude Herzfeld Award in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. The award will be presented every two years to an outstanding Jewish female medical or scientific researcher whose work emulates the spirit of Dr Herzfeld who was the first female practising fellow of the College.
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman MSP presents the Gertrude Herzfeld Award posthumously to Francesca Loening who is a distant relative of
Photo © Eddy Maher
Limmud singing workshop
Councillor Frank Ross lays wreath for 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz Commemoration
Francesca Loening and Dr Judy Evans, Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, at Herzfeld Awards Ceremony March 2020
We will curate, promote and present Jewish cultural activities and events across a range of healthy, safe spaces, both virtual and real, where our practice reflects the best and latest
OUR PURPOSE & VALUES
We will work in partnership with statutory and public sector bodies to bring new thinking to how our city functions in the best interests of all of its citizens
We will work in partnership with like-minded third sector and faith-based organisations to promote individual well-being and community cohesion across our city
We will curate, promote and present Jewish cultural activities and events across a range of healthy, safe spaces, both virtual and real, where our practice reflects the best and latest health guidance
We will develop our technological capabilities and expand our online capacity so that our work can be shared seamlessly, virtually, unconstrained by the limitations of time, space or geography to potentially engage many more participants near and far
We will be an outward-looking organisation that seeks to share our activities and programmes with people of all faiths and none
We will build the principles of diversity, inclusion and equality into everything we do
The Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre LIVE
The Hoppensteins – 120 years of an Edinburgh Jewish family
with Fiona Frank
Thursday 27th May 2021 at 7.30 pm - ONLINE
Rabbi Zvi David Hoppenstein and his wife Sophia arrived in Edinburgh in the 1880s, and lived in eight different addresses in Leith, Dalry, St Michael, and around the Meadows as they raised their nine children – five boys and four girls.
For her PhD at the Scottish Oral History Centre, Strathclyde University, Fiona Frank tracked down and interviewed Zvi David and Sophia’s descendants across the UK and as far as Cape Town. Some branches of the family were harder to find than others, as ‘outmarriage’ meant that some cousins were no longer in touch with the wider family. Fiona listened as members of the family talked about their relationship with their Jewish identity and their Jewish roots. The story of the family and the research is featured in Fiona’s book, Candles, Conversions and Class: five generations of a Scottish Jewish Family published by the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre (see below for details of how attendees can purchase this book at a reduced price).
Fiona will talk about how and why she embarked on her research journey, how she chose the Hoppenstein family (or how the Hoppenstein family chose her!), and how she tracked down different members of the family. She’ll share some of the stories she was told – and because we’re online, we will have the opportunity of hearing from some of the extended Hoppenstein family who were interviewed, who will tell some of their own stories as part of this fascinating session.
Fiona Frank has a BA in European Studies from the University of Bath, a Masters of Education from the University of Sheffield in Adult Literacy studies, and a PhD from Strathclyde University Centre. After 20 years working in adult education and educational research at Lancaster University, she moved to a position with SCoJeC, the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities in 2011, and was their Projects and Outreach Manager, carrying out research and organising events with Scotland’s Jewish communities, till her retirement in autumn 2020.
Fiona Frank photo © Ruth Corney
This will be an event on Zoom. Join the event from 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start.
To book a place at this event please use this link: https://tinyurl.com/EJCC270521 to complete your registration. Shortly after booking you will receive an e-mail with the full login details including password. We will also send a reminder on the day to remind you of the meeting ID and password.
If you have any problems using this link, please e-mail email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
**To purchase Candles, Conversions and Class: five generations of a Scottish Jewish Family at the reduced price of £10 plus £3.60 p&p (normally £12.50) go to https://www.sjac.org.uk/product/candles-conversions-and-class/.
Rabbi Mark Solomon addresses the Scottish Parliament following the unveiling of the plaque honouring the Jewish founders of the Edinburgh International Festival