How Jews changed Scottish culture

How the migration of Jews over the last century helped transform Scotland’s national identity is the focus of a new study.

The project will examine how the movement of Jews, through natural migration and refugees escaping Nazi persecution, helped change Scottish culture, contributing to architecture, art, literature, and religious institutions.

Researchers from the University’s School of Divinity and the University of Glasgow, have secured £500,000 funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the study.

Delving into archives

The three year project, which starts in September, will be working in partnership with the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, which houses extensive collections on the history of Jewish religious communities in Scotland since the late nineteenth century to present day.

The scheme will be led by Dr Hannah Holtschneider, senior lecturer in Jewish Studies at the University’s School of Divinity, with Dr Mia Spiro from the University of Glasgow and postdoctoral researcher Dr Deborah Butcher.

We look forward to working with this exciting new project over the next three years. The wide-ranging collections of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, brought together over the last 30 years, constitute a unique national resource, unparalleled in any other immigrant group in Scotland. We are looking forward to seeing our collections underpinning this AHRC-funded project and being utilised to interpret Jewish history in Scotland.

Harvey KaplanDirector of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre