WALES

WALES, country of the United Kingdom. No Jewish communities are recorded there during the Middle Ages. However, individual Jews are mentioned in places where English influence was prevalent, such as Caerleon and Chepstow. The charters of newly created boroughs in northern Wales in 1284 included the "liberty" to exclude Jews. In the 18th century Jews began to resettle in Wales. They are found in swansea from 1731, a community being organized in 1768. The cardiff community followed in 1840. In the second half of the 19th century other communities were established, especially after the beginning of the Russian-Jewish influx to Britain in the 1880s. The newly arrived immigrants set up small businesses and pawnbroking establishments in the mining towns of Tonypandy, Tredegar, Aberdare, Llanelly, Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd, Porthcawl, and elsewhere. An attempt to introduce Polish Jews into the coal mines failed owing to local opposition, which had some antisemitic undertones. The disorders in South Wales during the miners' strike in 1911 took on an anti-Jewish tinge. On August 18–19 several Jewish-owned shops and houses were looted and wrecked in Tredegar, and the disorders swiftly spread to other mining towns in the area, driving hundreds of Jews to seek refuge elsewhere. winston churchill , then home secretary, was responsible for sending troops to put down the disorders. These anti-Jewish riots, virtually the only example of violent antisemitism in modern British history, have been the subject of much dispute among historians. They also contrast starkly with the long-established Welsh Protestant tradition of philo-semitism and pro-Zionism, which produced such figures as david lloyd george , who promulgated the Balfour Declaration. With the change in economic circumstances in   South Wales after World War I, many of the small communities in the mining centers ceased to exist. While the parent community of Welsh Jewry, Swansea, decayed, Cardiff became a considerable Jewish center. Llanelly, Bangor, and the resort town of Llandudno (in northern Wales) had small communities. The total number of Jews in Wales in 1967 was estimated at 4,300 (3,500 in Cardiff). In later years the Jewish population of Wales declined considerably. The 2001 British census found 941 declared Jews in Cardiff, 170 in Swansea, 39 in Newport, and smaller numbers in other towns, about 1,300 in all. Cardiff (the capital of Wales) has an Orthodox and a Reform synagogue and a number of representative institutions. There are also Orthodox synagogues in Llandudno, Newport, and Swansea. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Roth, England, 82, 92; idem, Rise of Provincial Jewry (1950), 102–4; Lehmann, Nova Bibl, index; O.K. Rabinowicz, Winston Churchill on Jewish Problems (1956), 167–72. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: U. Henriques (ed.), The Jews of South Wales: Historical Studies (1993); W.D. Rubinstein, "The Anti-Jewish Riots in South Wales: A Re-examination," in: Welsh History Review, 18 (1996–97); G. Alderman, "The Anti-Jewish Riots of August 1911 in South Wales: A Response," ibid., 20 (2000); G. Davies (ed.), The Chosen People: Wales and the Jews (2002). (Zvi Zinger (Yaron)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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