Kilts and plaid kippot? Not your everyday attire at a synagogue fundraiser, but it was a popular choice at the Robbie Burnstein Dinner in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. No, there really wasn’t a Scottish Jew named Robbie Burnstein (that we know of). But the dinner itself, held at Beth Tzedec Congregation, was quite real – a takeoff on traditional Burns Night suppers honoring the 18th century Scottish national poet Robert Burns.
The Burnstein dinner is increasingly popular, with this year’s $250-a-plate event attracting 370 people, including members of the local Scottish community and friends from Edmonton’s Beth Shalom Synagogue. Besides hearing the requisite bagpipes, guests enjoyed a Scottish-inspired kosher dinner, Highland dancing, Scotch tasting, poetry readings, and cigars. Plus, the dinner netted a generous contribution to Beth Tzedec’s education and outreach programs and to the Woodridge PREP Centre, an organization dedicated to the inclusion of youth with Down Syndrome in the community at large. Oh, and Beth Tzedec’s rabbi, Shaul Osadchey, made the kosher haggis.