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Description

The back row of this photograph shows (from left to right) his sons Sydney, Nathan, Hirsch and Abraham. The front row shows his daughter Paula, Rabbi Asher Grunis, his wife Chana (Hannah) Baila and his son Leo. Two sons are not in the photograph: Israel and Yona, who moved to Israel (whose son Asger Grunis became President of the Supreme Court of Israel). Five of the sons and the daughter came with their parents to Cardiff. Hirsch was a minister to the Bangor and Bettws-y-Coed communities before the war. Nathan is the only son who stayed in Cardiff and his son still lives there. Abraham joined the RAF and drowned in the Pacific while a prisoner of war in Japanese hands on 29 November 1943. The eldest child Leo was himself a Rabbi and later became a doctor; he moved to Israel. {Source: Asher Grunis, son of Hirsch.]

Rabbi Asher Grunis was born in Pietrokov in Poland in 1877. A child prodigy, at the age of nineteen he was appointed Rabbi of Wilczyn in Poland. He married Hannah Baila in 1896 and they had seven sons and one daughter. In 1921 he was appointed the first communal Rav of Cardiff, overseeing the correct application of Jewish religious dietary laws. Rabbi Grunis successfully campaigned to permit Jewish children to leave school early in winter on the Sabbath, and prevent Jewish students being forced to take examinations on Saturdays and Jewish Holy days. He also unsuccessfully tried to have kosher food available to Cardiff prisoners throughout the year. He died in July 1937 and he and his wife are buried in Highfields Jewish cemetery. His major work, a commentary titled P’ri Asher (Fruits of Asher), was published posthumously. [Sources: Bimah article by grandson Asher Grunis and Introduction to the Fruits of Asher by Rabbi Asher Grunis and his son Iyeleg Grunis]

From the Grunis family archives, which are to be deposited in the National Library (Edward J. Safra Campus) at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

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