Scottish Highlands, near Inverness

posted 3 Jul 2018, 09:10 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin

Scottish Highlands,

near Inverness

Kosher travel may sound like a very narrow field, yet our ventures do tend to be quite eclectic, from gastronomic tours in Europe to kosher diving in Honduras, from exploring the old ghettos to interfaith study trips. This particular project is one of the most wonderfully refreshing.

A family from southern England but with Scottish roots wanted their first-born to have a Bar-Mitzvah in the Highlands. From the more or less traditional tour operator we happily turned, on this occasion, into jacks-of-all-trades; caterers, event planners, entertainment experts, we even provided the Rabbi for the service (how fortunate we had one handy!).

With guests from all over the globe, the festivities went on for almost 4 days. The actual Bar-Mitzvah service and the dinner that followed was a kilt dress event; great fun to watch and participate, a whole lot of effort to prepare.

Today, I will tell you about the Jewish tartan.
Yep. It's a thing. A very recent development, but still.

Normally, if you don't have a clan and therefore a tartan to claim your own, the strict rules leave two pattern options open to you: Hunting Stewart or Black Watch. Indeed, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the schlimazel pretender to the Scottish throne, disclosed intention to allow the Jews to wear his red royal colours (probably seeing as the Jews were the crown property in Scotland anyway) but as he never got beyond the battle of Culloden and had to run away to the Isle of Skye disguised in a woman's dress, the grand plan went no further than that.

And now, after over 300 years of leading this tartan-less life in Scotland, the Jews here finally got their own colours thanks to an entrepreneurial Rabbi. Rabbi Mendel Jacobs (Glaswegian Chabad, born and raised in Scotland) managed to register 10 years ago the new pattern with the official Scottish Register of Tartans.

Besides blue and white for the obvious reasons (even more obvious once you consider the the Scottish flag bears the same colours as that of Israel), it features a central gold line to represent the gold of the Ark, silver to symbolize the Torah, and deep burgundy red for the Kiddush wine.

Wait no longer; get ye here, so we can dance our jigs in our newly official proper attire!

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi McEli