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Description

The text written by (retired) Judge Anthony J. Morris recalls stories of Jewish life in Brynmawr, as told to him by his father, David Morris, who was born there on 11 February 1908. The text begins with Morris explaining how his grandfather, Jacob Morris/Moisei Dovidov Goldin, moved from Russia to London to Ebbw Vale and Brynmawr in 1905. There are descriptions of the Brynmawr Synagogue, small events that happened there and the cheder boys revolt, where the boys caned the Minister of the time.

Anthony Morris wrote the 'Tales' in 2007 or 2009 (in an email to JHASW on 10 January 2019, Anthony admits that he does not remember exactly).

The Brynmawr Hebrew Congregation was formed in 1888. Initially, services were held at the home of the then President of the congregation, Barnett Isaacs, and then later in Brynmawr Town Hall. The congregation solicited funds to build their own synagogue, which was eventually built on Bailey Street and opened in 1901.

A burial ground was acquired by the congregation in 1919 thanks to a donation by Abel Myers of Abersychan who purchased the land from the Brynmawr Urban District Council and conveyed it by a document of 23 October 1919 to five men: Abel Myers, pawnbroker, of Abersychan; Jacob Morris, jeweller, of Brynmawr; Isaac Brest, furniture dealer, of Brynmawr; Joel Ballin, draper, of Brynmawr; and Jacob Myers, clothier, of Nantyglo. The land measured 2 acres, 3 roods, and 3 perches, and the cost was £206.00. The plot was consecrated in August 1920.

By the early 1960s the Brynmawr Hebrew Congregation had decreased to such an extent that the community was forced to stop religious services in 1963. From then onwards the small number of Jews living in Brynmawr joined the Newport Hebrew Congregation, and the synagogue in Bailey Street was eventually sold in 1966.

Sources:
- Parry-Jones, Cai, 'The History of the Jewish Diaspora in Wales' (http://e.bangor.ac.uk/4987);
- Pollins, Harold, ‘The Jewish Community of Brynmawr, Wales’, The Jewish Journal of Sociology, L, 1-2 (2008): jewishjournalofsociology.org/index.php/jjs/article/download/15/16;
- ‘Brynmawr Hebrew Congregation’: https://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/Community/val1_brynmawr/index.htm.

Depository: Gwent Archives.

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