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  • Photograph of the exterior of the Pontypridd Synagogue, together with the Rabbi and members, 1928

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Description

A black and white photograph, taken probably around 1928, of the Pontypridd Jewish congregation standing on steps at side of the building. The image records the opening of the new Jewish community hall in the basement of the synagogue in Cliff Terrace. The old lady at the front is Sarah Freedman, then the oldest member of the congregation. The man wearing the chain of office is Artemus Seymour, chairman of Pontypridd Urban District Council for the year 1933-34. He was a Labour councillor for Cilfynydd. The rabbi is Isaac Chaitowitz (1906-1972), who served ten years in Pontypridd from 1926-1936. He was previously rabbi in Brynmawr.

A synagogue was first founded in Pontypridd in 1867, when a school room was converted into a place of worship, but the Jewish community dates back to at least the 1840s. Although the membership of the congregation remained small, the congregation established their own section in the Glyntaff Cemetery in the 1890s and built a synagogue in Treforest in 1895. The congregation was dissolved in 1978 and the Cliff Terrace synagogue was sold and converted to flats.

Sources:
'The History of the Jewish Diaspora in Wales' by Cai Parry-Jones (http://e.bangor.ac.uk/4987).
JCR-UK/JewishGen (https://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/community/val1_tredegar/index.htm).
Jewish Yearbook (JYB), 1896-1929.
Glamorgan Archives: (http://calmview.cardiff.gov.uk/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=D1717%2f1%2f1&pos=2).

Depository: Glamorgan Archives.

Comments (3)

Frealan's picture
I can identify some of the people, members of my family, in this photo, which is probably around 1928. The matronly woman at the front is Sarah Freedman (nee Mendelson, 1856-1949), known as Granny Freedman. She was an important woman in the community. I don't know the important-looking couple behind her. Behind them are my grandparents, Simon (1883/5-1961) and Leah Freedman who died in 1981 aged 92. Simon is in the bowler hat. Two rows behind, the smiling woman in the middle is my great-aunt Sophie Freedman (1886/7-1970), my grandfather's sister. And behind her, the youngster on the left is my uncle Geoffrey Freedman, my father's elder brother. He looks to be around 10, which would place a date on this photo. Next to him is my uncle Max Freedman (1891-1972) standing behind his sister. Max and Sophie lived for most of their lives at 50 Rickard Street which features in another photo here. I have fond memories of visiting that house. The woman almost at the top, on the left by the wall, could be my aunt Dorothy, another sister.
Frealan's picture
I can precisely date this picture to March 11 1934 (Adar 24 5694) as I have a related picture.
Jewish History Association of South Wales (JHASW)'s picture
Many thanks for this: it's always very satisfying when users of the site add further details to those we already have. We're actively researching the Jewish community in Pontypridd for our current project - if you think you'd be able to provide more information please feel free to get in touch: email details can be found in the Contact Us part of our website at https://jhasw2018.wixsite.com/news

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