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  • Extract from the Newport Encyclopaedia, 1937

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Description

This photocopy comprises a typed copy of the entry for The Newport Hebrew Congregation in the 1937 Newport Encyclopaedia. The entry was written by Alexander Hyams, who served the congregation as a preacher and Hebrew teacher from 1905 to 1945.

The entry recounts the establishment of the congregation in 1869 with the opening of the Francis Street synagogue, schoolroom, and minister's residence. As the community grew, the school had to move first to a temporary location on Bridge Street and eventually to Queen's Hill Crescent, where in 1922 a Hebrew school and social centre was erected. The main hall of the building was named the Nathan Harris Memorial Hall, in memory of Captain Nathan L. Harris, a member of the congregation, who was killed in action in 1918.

Mr Hyams notes that after the Second World War, many Jewish families migrated to bigger cities and the membership of the congregation fell so drastically that the community had to sell the Francis Street synagogue and convert the Nathan Harris Memorial Hall into a new place of worship. The Hall was consecrated in 1934.

Newport Monmouthshire Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1859 by orthodox Jews meeting at a temporary synagogue in Llanarth Street. A synagogue at Francis Street was opened in 1869 and consecrated by the Chief Rabbi Dr Herman Adler in 1871. In 1934 the congregation moved to the Nathan Harris Memorial Hall in Queen’s Hill which was converted to a synagogue. In 1997 this synagogue was closed, and the congregation moved to the Prayer House by the Jewish Burial Ground on Risca Road. Within 20 years the congregation had dwindled to a few members able to attend and this too had ceased to hold services.

Sources:
“History of our Shul. The First Hundred Years", published by Newport Congregation in 1959;
Oral history interviews with members of the Newport (MON) Hebrew Congregation, recorded in 2018 by JHASW.

Depository: Gwent Archives.

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