Author Topic: Irish Jewish History  (Read 1320 times)

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Irish Jewish History
« on: September 18, 2007, 12:01:17 AM »
There was a small community of Irish Jews that was expelled in 1290 along with the Jews from the rest of The British Isles. After The Jews were allowed to return, the community slowly grew again. A few Marranos settled in Dublin. There wasn't a strong community until 1822 when there was a significant influx of Jews from England and Eastern Europe. Immigration continued and after 1881, large numbers arrived from The Russian Empire. They mainly settled in Dublin due to its postition on The East Coast. Some of them settled in Ireland intentionally but others were decieved by their boat captains in thinking that they had landed in America.


In 1901, there were 3,800 Jews in Ireland. It is estimated that the highest amount of Jews in Ireland was at one time 8,000. Jews played a role in the struggle for Irish independence, and The Constitution of The Irish Republic, adopted in 1937, recognizes Jews as a minority and accords special status to The Irish Chief Rabbi.


Today, The Jewish Community of Ireland is almost exclusively concentrated in the capital city of Dublin and numbers around 1,000. Irish Jewry has been experiencing a great decline over the past 30 years, in part due to economic stagnation and a lack of opportunities. During this period, young Jews emigrated to The United Kingdom, Israel, and The United States. This has halved the community's population and diminished its activism.


The Jewish Representative Council of Ireland brings together various Zionist, youth, and women's organizations. The Chief Rabbi of Ireland supervises the republic's synagogues. All of them are in Dublin except for one in Cork. Past Chief Rabbis of Ireland have included Rabbi Isaac Herzog and Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, whom respectively, became The Chief Rabbis of Israel and of The British Commonwealth. The Chief Rabbi also supervises the kashrut of Dublin's kosher butcher. There are also several synagogues in Dublin.


There is a Jewish school, including a high school called Stratford that also has many Non-Jews among its student body and faculty. The Dublin Jewish News is published four times each year. The Jewish Museum in Dublin presents the history of Irish Jewry.


Robert Briscoe played an important role in the struggle for Irish independence and was twice Lord Mayor of Dublin. Apart from being an Irish patriot, he was also a Jewish patriot. He was a friend of Vladimir Jabotinsky and greatly aided The Zionist Revionisist Movement in its struggle for a Jewish state. His experience in clandestine military activity inspired The Irgun Tzvai Leumi, the Jewish underground.


Israel's first Ambassador to Ireland arrived in 1994. Since 1948, 673 Irish Jews have made aliyah to Israel. An Israeli President, Chaim Herzog, was born in Ireland.