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An empty cardboard record sleeve from ‘Record Salon’, 16 Lewis Street, Aberaman. The sleeve also gives the store proprietor ‘A. Shumanski’ [Abraham]. There are two illustrations of record players on either side of the sleeve and the trademark symbol for ‘His Master’s Voice’ at the top of the sleeve. This record sleeve may originate from the early years of ‘Record Salon’ business, as later sleeves of different designs also include several Record Salon store locations in Mountain Ash and Aberdare.

The Record Salon in 49b Commercial Street, Aberdare was the third business premises of that name opened by Abraham Shumanski. Abraham was born in Warsaw in 1885 and the family moved to Cardiff sometime around 1901. A watchmaker by trade, he founded his first shop at 16 Lewis Street, Aberaman, and later opened a further store at 37 Oxford Street, Mountain Ash. In 1920 he married Rachel (Rae) Harris, from a prominent Jewish family in Aberdare and they continued to live locally until at least 1939. By 1957 they had moved to Cardiff but continued to commute daily to Mountain Ash to run the business there. Sometime during the 1960s the sold the Aberdare shop to their employee, Grace Jones. When they disposed of the other businesses is not known.

Abraham died in 1973, aged 78.

Rae died in 1977, aged 77.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Cynon Valley had a small Jewish community, consisting of some fifty families throughout the towns of Abercynon, Penrhiwceiber, Mountain Ash, Aberaman and Aberdare. Most of Jewish families came to Aberdare from Eastern Europe, mainly Russia. The earliest record of Jewish presence and activity in the Cynon Valley dates to 1858-9. The name of Harris Freedman and the partnership of Lyons and Hyman are listed as trading as pawnbrokers and general dealers in Aberdare.

Initially the Jewish community worshipped in individuals' homes or business premises but in 1887 David Hart allowed the use of his premises at 19a Seymour Street, Aberdare, as a permanent Synagogue. The Aberdare Hebrew congregation was at its largest, with around 90 members, from the 1910s to the 1930s. However, the community declined and services had virtually ceased by 1957, when the congregation was down to 35. In 1966 it was reported that services were no longer held there. The building, now a private residence again, received a blue commemorative plaque in 2015.

Depository: Cynon Valley Museum: ACVMS 1998 2671

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