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  • Trowel presented to Mrs Grwsener on the occasion of consecration of the Jewish Cemetery extension at Cefn Coed, 27 October 1935

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Description

This trowel was presented to Mrs Raina Grwsener on the occasion of consecration of the new extension of the Hebrew cemetery at Cefn Coed on Sunday, 27 October 1935. Mrs Grwsener, a member of the Merthyr Tydfil Hebrew congregation, was instrumental in getting the new cemetery section built and had the honour of declaring the extension open. The consecration ceremony was performed by Rev. E. Bloom, the minister of the Merthyr Hebrew congregation. Mr S. Freedman presented Mrs Grwsener with a silver trowel on behalf of the members of the Merthyr Hebrew congregation. The consecration was followed by a reception and tea at the Lesser Drill Hall [possibly a Drill Hall that was located on New Church Street, in Cefn Coed and used by the 1st Brecknockshire Battalion, South Wales Borderers). The inscription on the trowel reads, “Presented to Mrs GRWSENER by the MERTHYR Hebrew CONGREGATION on the occasion of the CONSECRATION of the CEMETERY OCT.27th 1935.” About Cefn Coed Jewish Cemetery. The Jewish cemetery at Cefn Coed (Cefn-coed-y-cymmer) was established and consecrated in 1865. It was one of the largest in Wales outside Cardiff and it served the Jewish communities in the locality of Merthyr Tydfil and Dowlais. The cost of the land for the cemetery was mainly paid for by the local community, but contributions were also made by Jewish communities and individuals across Britain, including Baron Lionel de Rothschild. A small brick prayer house was built in c. 1898. The cemetery was extended in 1935. About Merthyr Tydfil 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 purpose-built synagogue was erected either in the late 1840s or the early 1850s. 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. - Jewish Gen: (https://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/Community/merth/index.htm). - Newspaper article of 2 November 1935 published in Merthyr Express: https://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/Community/merth/Newspapers.htm#2November1935. - Parry-Jones, Cai (2014) The history of the Jewish diaspora in Wales. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University: https://research.bangor.ac.uk/portal/files/20579001/null. - Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cefn-coed-y-cymmer. Depository: Not yet deposited; item currently with JHASW.

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