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  • Merthyr Express extract titled 'Merthyr Hebrews. Consecration of New Cemetery at Cefn', Cefn Coed, 2 November 1935

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Description

A newspaper clipping from Merthyr Express titled 'Merthyr Hebrews. Consecration of New Cemetery at Cefn', dated 2 November 1935.

The article describes how a new extension of the Merthyr Hebrew cemetery was consecrated and declared. The land on which the cemetery stands was bought in the 1860s by Merthyr's then large and vibrant Jewish Community. The first burial took place on 29 February 1872.

Reverend Eli Bloom performed the ceremony. Bloom was born in Riga, Latvia and trained in Russia, London and Manchester. He moved to the United Kingdom in the late 1800s. Following ministerial roles at Cork and Wrexham, he became Rabbi for the Merthyr Hebrew Congregation in 1901. He was also a popular lecturer at other places of worship.

About Merthyr Jewish community.

Merthyr Tydfil was once home to one of the largest Jewish communities of the south Wales Valleys. First Jews are believed to have arrived there in the 1820s and the first synagogue was established at the rear of 28 Victoria Street, (Joseph Barnett's pawnbroker's shop), c. 1948. In 1852, work began on a larger, purpose-built synagogue at the back of the Temperance Hall in John Street, which opened in 1853. The thriving community soon outgrew the premises and a new synagogue opened on Church Street in 1877. From the 1920s to the mid-1930s, the Merthyr Tydfil Hebrew Congregation had up to 400 members, but with rapid changes in the economic conditions and the exodus that followed, the membership dropped to 175 by 1937. Services were held in Merthyr until the late 1970s.

Sources.

- Coflein, Jewish burial ground, Cefn-coed-y-cymmer (2019) [accessed 23 September 2020]

- JCR-UK: Jewish Communities & Records, The Merthyr Tydfil Hebrew Congregation & Jewish Community, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales (2016) [accessed 23 September 2020]

- The Melting Pot: The Heritage and Culture of Merthyr Tydfil, Dr Solomon ‘Sammy’ Bloom (2020) [accessed 22 September 2020]

Newspaper article courtesy of Media Wales.

Depository: Merthyr Tydfil Central Library.

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