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  • Book review from The Jerusalem Post, 31 October 1993

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Description

This newspaper clipping from The Jerusalem Post contains a review of the anthology, The Jews of South Wales, edited by Professor Ursula R. Q. Henriques. The article notes the particular difficulties encountered by the Jews who arrived in Wales in the late 19th and early 20th century. Unlike the Sephardi Jews who had arrived a century earlier and were fully Anglicised, the new immigrants were Orthodox Jews who maintained their unique, foreign identity. This combined with their association to trades such as pawnbroking and peddling, aroused suspicion among the non-Jewish members of the local communities.

However, the author emphasises that there were no rational ground for enmity as the Jewish communities looked after their own poor, did not marry local girls, and stayed away from unpopular political causes. The main Jewish organisations, including the newspaper The Jewish Chronicle, and representatives were also hostile to Zionism, which the general public in the late 19th century was nevertheless largely unaware of.

Against this background, it is something of a surprise that violent enmity towards the Jews erupted in August 1911 in Tredegar from where it spread to nearby communities. The summer had seen labour unrest, including strikes and rioting, around the UK, but only in Wales were the looting directed almost exclusively against Jewish establishments. The hostilities were fuelled by anti-Jewish rumours utilising longstanding stereotypes.

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