Scottish Jews finally have their own tartan after a 300 year wait
They waited 300 years to have their own tartan, but for the 6,400 Jewish people living in Scotland there has finally been a victory.
A rabbi initiated the process of the officially registered plaid, meaning Scottish Jews can now dance their jigs in officially registered attire.
The tartan, featuring distinctive tones of navy and burgundy, is a kosher non wool-linen mix which abides by shatnez – the Jewish law prohibiting the mixture of wool and linen in garments.
Religious experts and tartan authorities worked together to come up with a design that represent both Jewish values and Scottish history.
The tartan is registered with the Scottish National Register of Tartan in the name of the Jewish Community of Scotland.
The colours, weave, and number of threads have all been picked for their importance in Judaism.
The tartan design features blue and white, the colours of both the Israeli and Scottish flags, with the central gold line representing the gold from the Ark in the Biblical Tabernacle.
The silver is to represent the silver that adorns the Scroll of the Law, while the red depicts the traditional Kiddush wine.
There are seven lines in the central motif and three in the flag representations – both numbers of great significance in Judaism.
Rabbi Mendel Jacobs – the only Scottish-born Rabbi living in Scotland – chose the kosher tartan.
The tartan invention began in 2008 when a Glaswegian dentist, Dr Clive Schmulian, sat next to Paul Harris, editor of the Jewish Telegraph, at a charity dinner in Glasgow.
Clive was wearing a Flower of Scotland tartan kilt and was being subjected to questioning by Mr Harris about whether there has ever been a Jewish kilt or Jewish tartans.
‘There aren’t any,’ he told the Jerusalem Post. ‘So we commissioned Slanj, a leading kilt outlet in Scotland to come up with three designs.
‘We put them to an online poll on the Jewish Telegraph’s website, 10,000 people voted, one was chosen and the winning design was announced.
‘Our aim is for the tartan to be worn by Scottish Jews, ex-pat Scottish Jews, members of Jewish organizations, individuals of any religion with links to the Jewish and Israeli communities, so we also expect interest from expatriates and Jewish people in Scotland.’
The first Jewish person recorded as living in Edinburgh is 1691.
Most Scottish Jews arrived in the 1890s, when Scottish shipping companies were active in transporting Jewish passengers from Eastern Europe to America.
Thousands of passengers were routed through Glasgow and when they arrived, many Jewish immigrants decided to cut their journeys short, settling in Scotland instead of New York.
Passengers who were unable to meet the rigorous health standards demanded on Ellis Island also sometimes decided to stay in Scotland, and build their new lives there.
Scotland’s Jewish community rose to the challenge of providing for the influx of Eastern European Jews.
In 1908, at the peak of Jewish immigration, only 75 received state-funded statutory poor relief in all of Scotland.
All other new arrivals had their needs – from housing to health, from education to food – provided by Scotland’s many Jewish charities.