IRELAND

IRELAND, island W. of Britain comprising the Republic of Ireland (Eire, 26 counties) and Northern Ireland or Ulster (part of the United Kingdom, six counties). The Annals of Inisfallen record that in 1079 five Jews (apparently a delegation to secure the admission of Jews) went to Ireland bringing gifts for King Toirdelbach of Munster, but were sent back. The beginning of a Jewish settlement dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. The few Jews who established themselves there as merchants and financiers probably had to leave on the expulsion from England (1290). Some refugees from Spain and Portugal settled in Ireland at the close of the 15th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries, persons of Jewish origin held office in Ireland under the English crown. The founding of Trinity College, in its capital dublin , in 1591 witnessed the birth of Hebrew studies in the city. Five or six years after the resettlement in England (1656), a handful of ex-Marranos from Holland, who were engaged in the export trade, went to Dublin as "foreign Protestants." A synagogue is said to have been established in 1661. England's Glorious Revolution (1688) gave a considerable impetus to the tiny community of Dublin. In 1690 Isaac Pereira, a London Sephardi, was appointed commissary general to William III's expeditionary force and employed in his commissariat other Jews who later established themselves in Dublin. At the turn of the 18th century, some Ashkenazi families from Poland and Germany settled in Dublin. During the second half of the 18th century, further Jewish immigrants arrived from Germany, Poland, Holland, Bohemia, France, and England, and the Dublin community increased to approximately 40 families, engaged largely in the jewelry trade, with a few pencil-makers. Some richer Jews were accepted into Christian society, while Freemasonry provided an important sphere for contacts between Jews and the Protestant minority. A number of Jews also established themselves outside Dublin. As early as 1702 a Sephardi Jew was granted the freedom of the city of Waterford. A congregation was established in Cork, as an offshoot of the Dublin community, in about 1725, with its burial ground in Kemp Street. In the 18th century, Cork Jews imported wines and merchandise from Spain and Portugal in their own ships, while others exported preserved meat, certified by the local shoḥet, to England and the West Indies. By 1796 the Cork community was defunct, to modern jewish communities in ireland. Modern Jewish communities in Ireland.   be revived only some 60 years later. In the latter half of the 18th century, an organized community may have existed in belfast where the presence of individual Jews is attested already in the second half of the 17th century. Throughout the 18th century, missionaries were active among the Dublin Jews, some of whom became converted to Christianity. By 1791 the Jewish population had decreased to such an extent that the synagogue had to be closed. Abraham Jacobs (1656–1725?), "priest" of the Dublin Jews, who was baptized in 1706, translated the Anglican Book of Common Prayer into Hebrew in 1717. From 1743 to 1748 four bills were introduced in the Irish parliament to facilitate the naturalization of foreign Jews, but all were rejected because of the hostility of the peers. Acts of parliament passed in 1780 and 1783, granting aliens the right of naturalization, expressly excluded the Jews. It was not until 1816, when there were only three Jewish families in Dublin and a few others in the rest of the country, that the Irish Naturalization Act of 1783 was repealed. In 1822, with the arrival of Jews from Germany, Poland, and England, the Jewish community in Dublin was reestablished. By 1881, the number of Jews in the country had grown from a mere handful to about 450, rising by 1901 to 3,769, the majority living in Dublin. This increase was the result of the immigration of Russian Jews after 1881, reinforcing the Dublin, Belfast, and Cork communities and leading to the establishment of new ones such as limerick , Waterford, and Londonderry. In 1901 the Jews of Dublin were mainly occupied as   petty traders and moneylenders, but they have since played a leading role in the manufacture of clothing, furniture, and jewelry. Apart from some anti-Jewish rioting in Limerick in 1884 and in Cork in 1894 (JC, April 11, 1894), the most serious anti-Jewish agitation took place in Limerick in 1904, when a Catholic priest attacked the local Jews from the pulpit. This resulted in an economic boycott, which remained in force until 1906, and led to the decline of the Jewish community there from 200 to less than 40 people. The antisemitic campaign ceased only with the removal of the priest. During World War I, Limerick had again a congregation of about 40 families. -Modern Period When in 1921 Southern Ireland became independent of Britain, first as the Irish Free State and later as the Republic of Ireland, the majority of its Jews became, at least de jure, independent of the Anglo-Jewish community, under their own chief rabbi and with their own representative council (1938). The 1937 Constitution of the Republic recognized Judaism as a minority faith and guaranteed Jews complete freedom from discrimination. In 1968 the Jewish population numbered 4,000 out of a total population of 2,800,000, of whom 95% were Roman Catholics. There were three main Dublin congregations and four smaller synagogues at the time, and all other Jewish institutions were unified under the Orthodox auspices of the chief rabbi. The Jewish Progressive Congregation of Dublin, comprising about 60 families, functioned independently. The chief rabbinate has been held by Isaac herzog (c. 1926–37), immanuel jakobovits (1949–58), Isaac Cohen (1959–79), David Rosen (1979–84), Ephraim Yitzhak Mirvis (1984–92), Gavin Broder (1996–2000), and Yaakov Parlman (from 2002). Community affairs were coordinated by the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, which was established in 1938 and is responsible for the appointment of the chief rabbi and the bet din. The council represents the views of the Jewish community in government departments and in the general public. Autonomous bodies in Dublin administer sheḥitah, Hebrew education, welfare, burial, Zionist affairs, youth activities, and student societies. In 1968, 400 pupils, constituting 90% of all Jewish schoolchildren, received Hebrew education in Jewish day schools (primary and secondary) and afternoon classes. In Cork, a rapidly dwindling community of about 50 Jews existed in 1970, dropping to just 21 in the late 1980s. Although friendly relations existed between the Jewish communities of Northern Ireland (see below) and Eire, there was no common activity between them, the former regarding themselves as part of English Jewry, under the authority of the chief rabbi of Great Britain, while the latter operate as an independent body. The salient feature of Irish Jewish life in the modern period has been the decline of the Jewish population, due both to a fall in the birth rate and to emigration, from 3,255 in 1961 to 2,633 in 1971, 2,127 in 1981, and around 1,300 in the mid-1990s, though in 2004, about 1,790 Jews were recorded, with 1,500 in Dublin. At the turn of the 20th century there were five Orthodox synagogues and one Liberal in Ireland, with four in Dublin and one each in Belfast and Cork. The two major Orthodox synagogues in Dublin were Adelaide Road (which celebrated its centenary in 1992) and Terenure; the two smaller congregations were Machzikei Hadass (formerly St. Kevin's Parade, which celebrated its centenary in 1983) and the Abraham Gittleson synagogue in the Jewish Home for the Aged, opened in 1991. The Dublin Jewish Progressive congregation marked its 40th anniversary in 1986. The Greenville Hall synagogue was sold in 1986 but the developers have retained the original perimeter walls, windows and cupola, and welcome visitors. The mikveh was restored in 1984. The main educational facility, Stratford College, was rebuilt after an arson attack in 1983, and its three-tier educational complex remained in full operation. It was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for Jewish education in 1989. The Edmonstown Golf Club built a new 6,000-square-foot clubhouse, opened in 1990. The old Jewish cemetery at Ballybough, which was in use from 1718 to 1890, was reopened to the public in 1990. An extension to the Jewish Home for the Aged was opened by the Irish president, Mary Robinson, in 1992. The old headquarters of the Board of Guardians and former Talmud Torah premises in Bloomfield Avenue were sold in 1983. A number of new organizations were founded in the 1980s and 1990s: the Irish Council of Christians and Jews in 1983; the Ireland-Israel Economic and Business Association in 1992; while the Irish-Israel Friendship Association was revived in 1989. A number of international conferences of Jewish interest were held in Dublin. These included the International Council of Jewish Women (1985); the International Council of Christians and Jews (1985); the International James Joyce Symposium in 1991, which held a session at the Irish Jewish Museum; while the first Irish Genealogical Congress in 1991 held a workshop on Irish Jewry. Relationships with the authorities continued to be cordial. The president of Ireland, the lord mayor of Dublin, and many dignitaries were guests of honor at Jewish occasions and delegations from the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland have reciprocated with courtesy visits. The chief rabbis continued to make TV appearances on major Jewish festivals. There has also been a rise in Jewish participation in the top sectors of public life. Throughout various general elections, three Jewish TDs (members of the Dail, the Irish parliament) retained their seats – one for each of the main parties. Ben Briscoe, who represented Fianna Fail, was also lord mayor of Dublin in the city's millennium year (1988), following in the footsteps of his father, robert briscoe . Gerald Goldberg was lord mayor of Cork in 1977. Alan Shatter of Fine Gael was also appointed his party's environment spokesman. Mervyn Taylor of the Labour Party in 1993 became Ireland's first Jewish cabinet minister. Antisemitism was very low-key, although occasionally exacerbated by casualties suffered by Irish troops serving in   UN units in Lebanon. The tiny Nationalist Socialist Irish Workers' party, which exported anti-Jewish pamphlets to the United Kingdom in 1984, has not surfaced for years. Nevertheless, Ireland has taken high-profile positions at international bodies like the UN which have seen it come into conflict with Israel. A survey by St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, found only 40% of the respondents would marry or welcome Jews into their family (which should be seen partly against religious backgrounds) while 13% did not welcome them as Irish citizens. Apart from Dublin, the only other community that still exists in the Republic of Ireland is in Cork, which has a burial ground and synagogue. However, services take place only during the High Holy Days when the minyan is brought up to strength by volunteers from Dublin. Park Shalom was dedicated by Cork Corporation and the Irish Gas Board, 1989, in fond memory of the city's Jewish community, and is appropriately situated in the area where they lived. The disused Limerick Jewish cemetery (early 20th century) was restored in 1990 by the Limerick Civic Trust. The ceremony was attended by many church and civic leaders. (Asher Benson) In recent years there has been a good deal of interest in the history of the Jews of Ireland, with such works as Dermot Keogh's Jews in Twentieth-Century Ireland (1998) and Ray Rivlin's Shalom Ireland: A Social History of the Jews of Modern Ireland (2003). -Relations with Israel Ireland accorded de facto recognition to Israel on Feb. 12, 1949, but only established full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1975 and a residential embassy in 1996. Relations between the two states have been friendly, and Ireland has frequently supported Israel at the United Nations. Trade relations developed satisfactorily; in 1969 Israel exported $800,000 worth of goods to Ireland and imported $700,000 worth. Israel's president Chaim herzog , who was born in Belfast and educated in Dublin, paid a state visit to Ireland in 1985. On this occasion he opened the Irish Jewish Museum in the former Walworth Road Synagogue. A pro-PLO Palestine Information Office was established in Dublin in 1986. -Northern Ireland By the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 the six northwestern counties of Ireland (Ulster) became a self-governing province of the British Crown under the name of Northern Ireland, with the Jewish community recognizing the authority of the British chief rabbi. The Jewish population was mainly concentrated in its capital, Belfast; a smaller community existed in Londonderry from the 1880s to World War II. The 1964 census recorded about 1,200 Jews living in Northern Ireland. The decrease to 968 recorded in 1971 can be linked to the outbreak of disturbances between the Catholics and Protestants and has continued, with quiet but steady emigration to Australia, Britain, the United States, and Israel. The community is now estimated at about 200 families, maintaining an active communal life. (Louis Hyman and Isaac Cohen) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Shillman, Short History of the Jews in Ireland (1945); idem (with L. Wolf), in: HSET, 11 (1924–27), 143–67; I. Cohen (ed.), Irish-Jewish Year Book (1951– ); C. Roth, The Rise of Provincial Jewry (1950), 56–57; L. Hyman, History of the Jews in Ireland (until 1910), (1972).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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