Being Jewish in Edinburgh
Thinking of coming to live in Edinburgh? Whether you are considering visiting for a holiday, coming to work here or to study, you may be wondering how easy it is to lead a Jewish life in the city.
The Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation is the home of the city’s Orthodox synagogue. The synagogue was built in 1932 to accommodate over 1000 members and reconstructed in 1980 to seat 500. While the membership is much smaller now the community remains vibrant, organising services and events throughout the year. Regular services are held on Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning. Weekday services can be arranged for Yahrzeits. There is also Cheder on Sunday mornings.
Kosher bread from London is available in branches of Waitrose supermarkets. Sainsbury's at Cameron Toll has a wide range of kosher chilled foods and dry goods; and a limited range of kosher dry foods is also available in other local supermarkets including some branches of Tescos, and Morrisons. Deliveries of kosher meat and other goods are made regularly from Manchester and Glasgow. Customers order and pay direct to the stores and then can pick up their order at the Synagogue. See "Kosher Food Outlets" under "Visiting Edinburgh?".
Glasgow – an hour away by car or train – has a well-stocked kosher delicatessen – Mark’s Deli. The Deli has a fifty seat café/restaurant and is open six days a week. They deliver grocery orders to Edinburgh every two weeks and can also provide catering. There is also L’Chaim’s Restaurant and Sora’s Café in the grounds of Giffnock Synagogue. They also deliver and can provide catering.
Details of further information on Kosher catering and supplies can be found at: www.scojec.org/resources
Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation also runs a Lunch Club for senior citizens held in the Community Centre every Thursday.
Social and Cultural life
The Jewish Literary Society, which was established over 125 years ago, continues to flourish, running a season of talks every year. During the Edinburgh Festival the synagogue also runs a Festival Open Day welcoming performers and visitors to the City. Jewish Festivals are celebrated with events such as special kiddushim, Seudahs, lunches, a communal Seder, and Friday Night dinners are held twice a year. The Community Centre Committee hold a variety of events – an annual Quiz, film nights, pre-Yom Tov coffee mornings, Picnic Walks in the surrounding country side and an annual Chanukah Dinner. And if you want to learn or improve your Yiddish there’s a friendly weekly class held for most of the year.
It is not difficult to lead a Jewish life in Edinburgh – we may be a relatively small community, but we are a vibrant and friendly one, to which new members and visitors are made very welcome.