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Description

These letters were sent from Superintendent of the Cardiff Baths and Gymnasium at Guildford Crescent to Rabbi Asher Grunis in response to complaints:
• Bath to be changed after each bather;
• Opening hours during the winter months (8am to variously 4 to 7 pm. Monday to Saturday);
• Unavailability after 4 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays because the Gymnasium was required for Gents’ class;
• Availability between 5-30 and 7 pm Monday to Wednesdays during alterations.
The last letter is from Cardiff Corporation Baths and Gymnasium.

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. 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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