Yaldi! Kosher Jewish tartan officially rolled out in Scotland

The pattern of the official new kosher Jewish tartan. Credit: Screenshot from jewishtartan.com.

It's official. The Scottish Jewish community is getting its own kosher Jewish tartan.

What is a tartan, you might ask? It's a fabric made with a pattern of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in different colors, typically associated with Scottish kilts.

The new Jewish tartan pattern is a blue-and-white design and was initiated by Rabbi Mendel Jacobs of an independent Orthodox Jewish congregation in Glasgow. Now, the pattern has been officially approved by the Scottish Tartans Authority, which oversees the officially-sanctioned tartan patterns.

The new fabric is "kosher" because it is not a wool-linen mix, thereby abiding by the rule of "shatnez" that prohibits the mixture of wool and linen in clothing. According to jewishtartan.com, the fabric's design also incorporates many Jewish themes, such as the colors of both the Israeli and Scottish flags, with "the central gold line representing 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." 

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

“Jews have always enjoyed a positive relationship with Scotland. It’s one of the few countries where there is no history of persecutions....It’s nice to produce a symbol that represents both Jewish and Scottish culture," he added.

There have been Jews in Scotland since the 17th century, although most modern Scottish Jews descend from 19th-century immigrants to Scotland. The new kosher Jewish tartan is actually not the first Jewish tartan to be produced in Scotland. A tartan designed in 2008 by Glasgow dentist Dr. Clive Schmulia and Jewish Telegraph editor Paul Harris has gone out of production.

Posted on March 29, 2016 .