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These two undated, typed pages signed by I[srael] Rocker recount the history of the Newport (Mon) Hebrew congregation.

Rocker notes the meeting of eight [Jewish] worthies in 1859 to establish a place of prayer and a burial site. The cemetery, donated by Charles Morgan, Lord Tredegar was opened on Risca Road that year and became known as Jew's Wood.

Rocker mentions that the Queen's Hill Synagogue has been put up for sale, making it safe to assume that the document was written in or about 1997. At the time, Dr Rocker was a chairman of the trustees of the congregation.

Rocker discusses the migration patterns of Jewish communities. The story begins with immigration from Eastern Europe, continues with further immigration and evacuation during the World Wars, and the subsequent migration from the Valleys to Newport and within Newport, from the city centre to the suburbs.

In the 1930s, the recession saw people move to bigger cities and the beginning of the decline in the number of congregants. Since the departure of Rev Braunold, the last minister appointed to Newport, the services have been conducted by the congregants.

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.

“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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