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Book Notes: Jews in Glasgow 1870-1939: Immigration and Integration, Ben Braber

Dr. Kenneth Collins

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jews in Glasgow 1870-1939: Immigration and Integration, Ben Braber (Vallentine Mitchell 2007) ISBN 978-?-?85-30370-95, pp. 236, ?18.45 When the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre opened in Glasgow in 1987, Ben Braber was the first archivist and he has made considerable use of its exten? sive collections in producing this fine new work on Glasgow Jewry. The Centre remains focused on academic support besides providing a popular framework for the history of Jewish communities in Scotland. Ben Braber's knowledge of the sources and his involvement in a comprehensive oral history project ensure that this work is well informed and based on sound historic principles. Previous works on the Jews of Glasgow have focused on the main period of immigration before the First World War, but this book looks at the inter war period and includes material on developments after 1945. Braber looks in some detail at such areas as economic development, religion, education, work, welfare, politics and art. His descriptions of Jewish life in Glasgow are balanced by comparisons with other Jewish communities and with other immigrant and religious groups living in close proximity to Glasgow's Jews. On some aspects however, he is on less sure ground. His analysis of the struggles of the small Reform community to establish itself - not its 245</page><page sequence="2">Book Notes 'demise' - in the 1930s probably owes more to social conservatism than to religious attitudes within the new Jewish middle classes. Nor is it true that before the opening of the Jewish primary school, Calderwood Lodge, all Jewish children in Glasgow attended state-run schools. A significant number studied at private schools from early times, when Gorbals children entered the schools of the Hutchesons Trust where the fees were minimal and generous bursaries provided. The twin themes of immigration and integration have dominated the work of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre since its inception. Braber's work deals well with the historical trends and the factors in the wider soci? ety which impinged on Jewish life. It is an essential read for those interested in the development of contemporary Jewish life in Britain. Dr Kenneth Collins</page></plain_text>