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  • Merthyr Express extract titled 'Synagogue Reconsecrated by Chief Rabbi of Commonwealth. Congregation's Endeavour to Preserve Jewish Way of Life', Merthyr Tydfil, 15 January 1955

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Description

A newspaper clipping from Merthyr Express titled 'Synagogue Reconsecrated by Chief Rabbi of Commonwealth. Congregation's Endeavour to Preserve Jewish Way of Life', dated 15 January 1955.

The article describes the events of a dinner that was held at the Miners' Hall in Merthyr Tydfil to celebrate the reconsecration of the then eighty-year-old Merthyr Synagogue. A special guest who attended the dinner and reconsecration was Reverend Israel Brodie, the then Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the British Commonwealth and Empire. Brodie was born in 1895 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was educated at Jews' College (London) and in Oxford. He was the Chief Rabbi from 1948 to 1965.

Eli Bloom, the then Rabbi of Merthyr Synagogue was also present. Eli 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. He was joined by Rabbi B. Rogosnitzky, the Reverend of Cardiff, and Mr Abraham Sherman, the treasurer of the Merthyr Hebrew Congregation. The latter opened the newly reconsecrated synagogue.

Among the topics covered in the many speeches was praise for how the wider Merthyr community supported the Jewish community over the years.

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.

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

- Lipman, Vivian David, and Rubinstein, William D., 'Brodie, Sir Israel', in Encyclopedia.com [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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