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Description

This history of the Cardiff branch of the Youth Association of Synagogues of Great Britain is based on financial records and minute books of the Cardiff New Synagogue Youth Association, known as the CNSYA. The history gives details of social events and finances, and also lists committee members and appointments.

The first subscriptions are recorded in February 1949 and a summer dance made a profit of £117-0-8d. There was a bus outing in early August and a dinner at the Royal Hotel in the autumn. On the 17 September 1949 the Association's first service was addressed by Ernest Bello, President of the Youth Association of Synagogues of Great Britain.

In 1950 there was a visit to Duffryn Park on Whit Sunday and on the 4 June Dr Keith Robinson gave a talk about Ceylon. The dance was still the main event but was no longer held in a hall but in a ballroom, hired at 16 guineas. The band's charges had increased to 15 guineas and the buffet cost £65-12-6d. A profit of £44-18-3d was made.

The accounts for the year ending 26 February 1951 show £21-9-2d was paid for a wedding canopy. Meetings continued to be held at the Royal Hotel each Sunday and in November varied between a 'musical evening presented by Dr. A. Essex and other musicians' and a talk by Rev Professor E R Rowlands entitled 'The Christian attitude towards Judaism'. It seems that there was no dance or significant fund-raising event in 1951, but there was a New Year's Eve party which made a loss of £2-1-11d.

Meetings continued to be held on a weekly basis at the Royal Hotel. The 1952 highlight was a play at the Everyman Theatre between the 26 and 29 March; £70-19-8d was taken and the profit of £34-19-9d was donated to the Cardiff Jewish Board of Guardians (a charitable group). There was a New Year's Eve party and in December/January meetings started to be held in the Synagogue hall. A gift of chairs to the Synagogue at a cost of £35-8-0d was made during the year.

Table tennis was an important activity during the early 50s with meetings held every fortnight; from March 1953 Tuesday night was table tennis night at the Synagogue. A dance was held (presumably in the Synagogue hall) 'with the inevitable brochure' and seems to have been organised in conjunction with the Ladies' Guild to whom a cheque for £25-17-6d was subsequently sent. Contributions to the Synagogue continued to be made in kind and a total of £73-8-11d in respect of carpets, curtains, microphones and loudspeakers is recorded in the accounts.

In 1954 meetings continued to be held each week, a Scavenger hunt took place in May and there was a social weekend which included a Tea Dance in the autumn. It took £25-10-0d but expenses were £51-0-9d. By contrast the Autumn Dance although possibly not as grand as some of its predecessors brought in £20-14-0d against expenses of £14-8-11d. The account books end on 1 March 1955 and the correspondence on the 21 August.

The Cardiff Reform Synagogue was founded in 1948 as the Cardiff New Synagogue. The following year, it became a constituent member of the Movement for Reform Judaism. Born in reaction against the more restrictive traditions of the Orthodox Judaism of Cardiff Hebrew Congregation, such as the prohibition of driving on the Sabbath and the ban on interfaith marriages, the new Synagogue appealed to the immigrants who had fled the war-torn Europe, where the Reform movement was already well-established. The congregation worships in a converted Methodist Chapel on Moira Terrace they acquired in 1952.

Sources:
Parry-Jones, Cai., ‘The History of the Jewish Diaspora in Wales’ (doctoral thesis, Bangor University, 2014) [accessed 24 February 2021]
JCR-UK/JewishGen. Cardiff Reform Synagogue, Cardiff, Wales (2020). [accessed 24 February 2021]

Depository: Glamorgan Archives.

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