News broke today that the only remaining synagogue in Cork is to close, ending 135 years of Jewish history in the city. The South Terrace site has been the centre of Jewish worship in the city since 1905, but members say emigration and financial constraints have left them with “no money, no members, and no future”.
At least ten Jewish adult males need to live in the city to sustain a synagogue. Cork has just three.
Fred Rosehill, chairman of the trustees of the Cork Hebrew Congregation, said:
“We are down in numbers. We couldn’t support a rabbi, a Hebrew school, a synagogue. We tried everything. It has come to the stage that there is no money left. If someone gave us money in the morning it wouldn’t matter — we don’t have the members to sustain it.”
Mr Rosehill said Cork’s Jewish community spread all over the world:
“Between then and now, young people spread all over the world for social and economic reasons. We are lawyers, doctors and more. They went to make a life. They won’t come back here.”
Many of those who emigrated settled in Israel, where Mr Rosehill said there are at least seven Cork families.
The synagogue on South Terrace was consecrated nearly 111 years ago. Today, it hosts its last ever prayer service, with a rabbi and 14 men travelling from Dublin to ensure there are enough people present.
At its height, the Jewish Community in Cork consisted of 65 families with as many as 400 members. They first arrived in 1880 as migrants fleeing persecution in Russia. It is believed they were initially heading to America, but were won over by the warmth and welcome of Cork people and setting up home around Hibernian Buildings or locally known as Jew Town.
The artefacts from the synagogue have been temporarily given to Cork Public Museum while members look for a new centre of worship.
Source: Evening Echo
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