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Encyclopedia Judaica: Aberdeen, Scotland

ABERDEEN, Scottish seaport, northeast of Edinburgh. In 1665 it was reported that a ship with sails of white satin had put into harbor with a large party of Jews, presumably on the way to join the pseudo-Messiah Shabbetai *Ẓevi in the Levant (A New Letter from Aberdeen in Scotland, Sent to a Person of Quality, etc., by R.R., London, 1665). Marischal College in Aberdeen was possibly the earliest British university to give degrees to Jews ( Jacob de *Castro Sarmento , 1739, followed by Ralph *Schomberg ; perhaps neither professed Judaism at the time). A small community was established in Aberdeen by Polish and Russian Jews in 1893, and in 1966 numbered approximately 85. The Library of Marischal College contains a magnificent Hebrew illuminated Bible manuscript of the Sephardi type, probably originating in Naples. In 2004 approximately 30 Jews resided in Aberdeen. A refurbished community center and synagogue opened in 1983.


JHSEM, 4 (1942), 107; JYB (1968), 120; C. Roth, Aberdeen Codex of the Hebrew Bible (1966). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: JYB (2004), 135.

[Cecil Roth]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.