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Aberdeen, Scotland

Aberdeen is a 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 Zvi 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 (dating from 1945) opened in 1983.


JHSEM, 4 (1942), 107; JYB (1968), 120; C. Roth, Aberdeen Codex of the Hebrew Bible (1966). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: JYB (2004), 135; Nathan Abrams: Caledonian Jews- A Study of 7 Small Communities in Scotland (London, 2009)

[Cecil Roth]

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.
Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.