First official Jewish tartan unveiled

JEWS around the world with a love of all things Scottish will now able to dress in an official kosher tartan.

Rabbi Mendel Jacobs with a prayer shawl in the new Jewish tartan

The distinctive blue and white design was created by Mendel Jacobs, the only Scottish-born Rabbi living north of the border, and has been registered with the Scottish Tartans Authority.

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.

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“A friend of mine told me about a Polish tartan and a Sikh tartan had been registered, so why not a Jewish one?” said Mr Jacobs, from Glasgow.

The Jewish tartan is designed to represent both Scottish and Israeli heritage

“Jews have always enjoyed a positive relationship with Scotland. It’s one of the few countries where there is no history of persecutions.

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“There are also a lot of Jewish ex-pats around the world with links to Scotland.”

Mr Jacobs worked with Mike Wilson of the Scottish Tartans Authority to finalise the design.

The Jewish tartan is designed to represent both Scottish and Israeli heritage

“I chose blue and white as the colours of both the Israeli and Scottish flags,” he said.

“The central gold line represents the gold from the Ark in the Biblical Tabernacle and the many ceremonial vessels.

“The silver is to represent the silver that adorns the Scroll of the Law and the colour red is for the traditional red Kiddush wine.”

Mr Jacobs, who is minister of an independent Orthodox congregation in Glasgow, has produced a variety of prayer shawls, skull caps and other items in the new tartan.

“We’ve already had a lot of interest from around the world,” he said. “It’s nice to produce a symbol that represents both Jewish and Scottish culture.”

Jews have been living in Scotland since at least the late 17th century. The majority of Scottish Jews today are descended from immigrants who arrived in the late 19th century, mainly settling in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

A previous Jewish tartan, designed by Glasgow dentist Dr Clive Schmulia and Jewish Telegraph editor Paul Harris in 2008, is no longer being produced.

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