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December 09, 1994 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-12-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

S R A

EITONG

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Irish-Jewish Museum
Traces Early life

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1994
REGAL CUSTOM SEDAN

Stock #49331

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37911 GRAND RIVER • WEST OF HALSTED • FARMINGTON HILLS

810-471-0800

BUICK

68

OPEN SATURDAYS SALES AND SERVICE

One of the few remaining kosher food stores in Dublin.

A

lmast half a century before
James Joyce created the
immortal Leopold Bloom
and put Jews on the liter-
ary map of Ireland, the People of
the Book were a presence in the
Emerald Isle.
Following their expulsion from
Spain and Portugal, Sephardic
Jews settled in many of the port
towns along the southern coast
of Ireland, while Ashkenazi Jews,
driven from eastern Europe by
the rise of anti-Semitism, flocked
to Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Lon-
donderry and Waterford some
four hundred years later.
But it was the Irish-Jewish
protagonist of Ulysses, whose
birthplace is recorded by a plaque
at 52 Upper Clanbrassil Street,
who gave universal recognition
to the Jews of Ireland.
Leopold Bloom wandered
through the area of Dublin affec-
tionately known as Little
Jerusalem with its Jewish owned
shops and synagogues that day
of June 16, 1904, leaving, through
Joyce's symbolism, critique of con-
temporary society.
Unlike the fictious Bloom, who
will always be a part of this old
neighborhood, the outer suburbs
have claimed its Jewish citizen-
ry. And while many stores and
synagogues have closed, one that
was saved from demolition is now
the Irish Jewish Museum.
The former Beth Hamedrash
Hagodel Synagogue, which was
founded in 1917, has been reno-
vated and restored. It now hous-
es memorabilia of the Jewish
community in Ireland covering
the last 150 years. The museum
was dedicated in 1985 by Presi-
dent Chaim Herzog of Israel, who
was born in Ireland and was the
son of the first chief rabbi of Ire-
land, Isaac Herzog.
This museum, which is staffed
by enthusiastic volunteers, has a

permanent collection of pho-
tographs, drawings and docu-
ments of Irish Jews at home and
abroad on its first floor which was
originally the reception area of the
former synagogue. The displays
trace the history of the Jews in Ire-
land beginning with their arrival,
their various commercial business
and professional activities, the de-
velopment of their institutions and
their integration to their present
position and status.
Included are photos of Robert
Briscoe, a merchant's son (1894-
1969), who was the first Jewish
member of the Irish Parliament
and the first Jewish Lord Mayor
of Dublin, immigration cards of
Jewish immigrants to Ireland
and the memorabilia of weddings
. and bar mitzvahs that took place
in Ireland. There also are paint-
ings by Irish Jewish artists and
a cabinet of books written by Irish
Jews.
The second floor has the bimah
of the original synagogue, the ark
and the pews where the congre-
gants worshiped and various rit-
ual and religious objects.
Although there are still 2,000
Jews in Ireland today, Little
Jerusalem is home to very few.
Therefore, it comes as a surprise
to find a long queues outside the
Bretzel Continental Kosher Bak-
ery on Lennox Street Sunday
mornings.
"Everything here is very fresh
and good, and it's the only bak-
ery open on Sunday," said a
woman in line.
I joined the queue and when it
was my turn I bought a sticky
bun studded with raisins; it was
delicious.
The Irish Jewish Museum is
located at 3-4 Walworth Road off
Victoria Street in Dublin. It is
open Sunday and Tuesday in
summer and on Sundays only in
winter. fl

C f,

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