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Description

The minutes are of a meeting held on 24 September 1959 or 1960 at the Newport Civic Centre, presided over by the Chairman, Mr K Cyril Lord, and attended by about 60 representatives from various religious and other associations. The minutes appear to have been taken by a member of the Newport Mon Hebrew Congregation. They record a discussion of the World Refugee Appeal, including which refugees would be prioritised by the appeal and the government's expectation that Wales would raise £100,000. There is uncertainty about which refugee organisations would benefit from the appeal, including whether any funds would be directed to "Arab Refugees". The minutes record the establishment of various subcommittees for fundraising. Judith Jacobs was present at the meeting on behalf of the Ladies' Guild and was elected to serve on the Ladies' Committee. The minutes suggest delaying the launch of the appeal by the Newport Mon Hebrew Congregation until the JPA (Joint Palestine Appeal) is "cleared".

The World Refugee Appeal was part of the World Refugee Year (1959-1960), which was approved by the United Nations in December 1958. The initiative primarily focussed on four refugee groups: first, the refugees who were living in camps, mainly in Germany and Austria, after the end of the Second World War. A second consisted of Palestinian refugees. The third group was Chinese refugees in Hong Kong. A final group was made up of several thousand elderly refugees of Russian origin who left Soviet Russia for China in the wake of the 1917 Revolution. The aims were to encourage additional financial contributions from governments, voluntary agencies and the general public, and to support permanent refugee solutions through voluntary repatriation, resettlement or integration.

Newport Monmouthshire Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1859 by orthodox Jews meeting at a temporary synagogue in Llanarth Street. A synagogue at Francis Street was opened in 1869 and consecrated by the Chief Rabbi Dr Herman Adler in 1871. In 1934 the congregation moved to the Nathan Harris Memorial Hall in Queen’s Hill which was converted to a synagogue. In 1997 this synagogue was closed, and the congregation moved to the Prayer House by the Jewish Burial Ground on Risca Road. Within 20 years the congregation had dwindled to a few members able to attend and this too had ceased to hold services.

Sources:
United Nations Year Book 1960, Office of Public Information United Nations (New York, 1960);
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newport_Civic_Centre;
“History of our Shul. The First Hundred Years", published by Newport Congregation in 1959;
Oral history interviews with members of the Newport Mon Hebrew.

Depository: Gwent Archives.

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