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Description

An undated letter from Lewis Lougher of 54 Merchants Exchange, Cardiff, who was MP for Cardiff Central, to Rabbi Asher Grunis of 39 Craddock Street, Cardiff. It states, “On the eve of my departure for the United States and Canada I take this opportunity of wishing my constituents of the Jewish religion a happy and prosperous New Year.”
Lewis Lougher was MP for Cardiff Central from 1924 to 1929. In 1910 he established the shipping company Lewis Lougher and Co. Ltd. He became chairman of a large number of shipping companies in Cardiff, Penarth and Barry, chairman of the Federation of Bristol Channel Shipowners in 1919, chairman of the Cardiff Chamber of Trade and a member of the National Trimming Board. He was responsible for the Road Transport Lighting Act, “which he presented as a private member's bill in February 1927, and which to the present day requires that every vehicle shall have a white light at the front and red light at the rear.” [Source: Prys Morgan, Swansea, Dictionary of Welsh Biography https://biography.wales/article/s2-LOUG-LEW-1871, accessed 28 October 2018.]

Rabbi Asher Grunis stated that he was born in Pietrokov (now Piotrków Trybunalski, although other sources mention Czarnocin/Ksarloshin), in Poland in 1877. He married Hannah Baila in 1896 and they had seven sons and one daughter. In 1902 he was appointed Rabbi of Wilczyn in Poland. In 1921 he was appointed the first communal Rav of Cardiff, overseeing the correct application of Jewish religious dietary laws. Five of the sons and one daughter came with their parents to Cardiff and one son, Hirsch, was a minister to the Bangor and Bettws-y-Coed communities before the war. 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: Page 43 of Bimah issue 18 (Pesach 5759 - 1999) 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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