History of the Jews in Wales


History of the Jews in Wales

The History of the Jews in Wales starts with the establishment of Jewish communities in South Wales in the eighteenth century CEFact|date=June 2008. In the thirteenth century, shortly after Wales was conquered by Edward I of England, he issued the 1290 Edict of Expulsion expelling the Jews from England, and executed over three hundred English Jews. We have no knowledge of the contemporary situation in Wales and no testimony that Jews were living there at that period. Between 1290 and the formal return of the Jews in 1655, there is no official trace of Jews as such on English soil and the same is true for Wales.

Major Jewish settlement in Wales dates from the 19th century, although there are records of Jewish communities from the 18th century as well.

Middle Ages

Like the rest of Western Europe, Wales has traditionally been a majority-Christian country. This has meant that Jews have experienced minority status, but that there was some familiarity with certain Jewish scriptures.

The medieval Welsh clergyman and author Gerald of Wales (c. 1146ndash c. 1223) wrote an account of his journey through Wales in 1188, the object being a recruitment campaign for the Third Crusade. In his account of that journey, the "Itinerarium Cambriae" (1191), he gives an obviously allegorical account of a Jew and a Christian priest travelling in Shropshire, England, but makes no reference to Jews in Wales. [Gerald of Wales. "The Itinerary through Wales and the Description of Wales", trans. Richard Colt Hoare (Everyman's Library), p. 137.]

With the fall of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales of direct descent, Wales became subject to Edward I of England. He decreed the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290; whether this affected Wales, where the writ of the English king was for a long time limited to the implanted boroughs and some of the Marcher territories, is not known. The Welsh chronicle "Brut y Tywysogion" refers to the event but only in the context of Jews in neighbouring England. [Thomas Jones (ed.), "Brut y Tywysogion, Peniarth MS. 20" (Cardiff, 1941), p. 229b.]

Early modern period

In neighbouring England, between 1290 and their formal return to that country in 1655, there is no official trace of Jews as such except in connection with the Domus Conversorum, which kept a number of them within its precincts up to 1551 and even later. There is no comparable evidence for Wales.

The BBC notes, "The oldest non-Christian faith [in Wales] to be established was Judaism, with a presence in Swansea dating from around 1730. Jewish communities were formed in the next century in Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd and Tredegar." [cite web|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/religion/sites/timeline/pages/religion_in_wales_15.shtml|title="Multicultural Wales"|accessdate=2007-12-06|publisher=British Broadcasting Company]

Modern period

[


right|thumb|300px|The_former_Cardiff Synagogue, with Welsh, English and Hebrew all within view. There was once a fairly substantial Jewish population in South Wales, most of which has disappeared due to various factors. This synagogue is now an office block, and is on Cathedral Road.]

Increased Jewish immigration in the 19th century led to the founding of new Jewish communities in Wales: "By the end of the 19th century... there were small Jewish trading communities in most industrial towns in the South Wales Valleys." [cite book|title=The Jews of Britain, 1656-2000|author=Endelman, Todd M.|publisher=University of California Press|date=2002|location=Berkeley and Los Angeles, California|page=p.130]

Generally, the Jewish communities appear to have been well-tolerated in Wales, with some notable exceptions: "The one major outbreak [of anti-Semitism in Wales] before World War I ... occurred in South Wales in August 1911, when working class mobs looted and destroyed Jewish shops in Tredegar and ten surrounding towns, inflicting damaged estimated at £12,000 to £16,000." [cite book|title=The Jews of Britain, 1656-2000|author=Endelman, Todd M.|publisher=University of California Press|date=2002|location=Berkeley and Los Angeles, California|page=p.162]

Jews continue to flourish in Wales. The modern community in south Wales is centered in the Cardiff United Synagogue.

List of Welsh Jews

Welsh people of some Jewish background, or Jewish people with a Welsh background:

* Dannie Abse
* Leo Abse
* Maurice Edelman
* Raymond Garlick
* Albert Gubay
* Michael Howard
* Joe Jacobson
* Michael Moritz
* Lucy Owen
* Jon Ronson
* Sacha Baron Cohen, father Gerald of Welsh-Jewish origincite news |last= |first= |coauthors= |title=Valley G's wicked Welsh rootz|pages= |publisher=BBC News|date=2002-03-28 |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/1898402.stm|accessdate=2006-11-22 ]

References

Further reading

* Davies, Grahame (ed.). "The Chosen People: Wales and the Jews". Seren (March 1, 2002) ISBN-10: 1854113097 ISBN-13: 978-1854113092

* The Jewish Communities of South Wales. Shemot July 1994 vol. 2/3
* The Jews of South Wales. Historical Studies, Henriques, U Q., 1993. (JCL, LBL, UCL)
* The Jew as Scapegoat? The Settlement and Reception of Jews in South Wales before 1914, Alderman, G., Trans JHSE XXVI 1977
* The Rise of Provincial Jewry. Roth, C., 1950, p. 104 (JGSGB, LBL, UCL, Susser Archive - available on-line)
* Troubled Eden - An Anatomy of British Jewry. Bermant, C. pp. 59-61. 1969 (Vallentine Mitchell, London) (UCL)
* Cardiff Jewish Roll of Honour WW1 based on 1919 Western Mail (JGSGB)
* Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen & Women (AJEX) consecration and unveiling of War Memorial 1939-1945 at Cathedral Road Synagogue (JGSGB)
* The Jewish of Merthyr Tydfil. Shemot September 1998 vol. 6/3
* A vanished Community - Merthyr Tydfil. 1830-1998 September 2001 vol. 9/3
* 'Celebrating diverse identities, person, work and place in South Wales' by Mars, L. in Identity and Affect: Experiences in a Globalising World, Campbell, J.R. and Rew, A. 1999, pp. 251-274 (This is about a Jewish doctor who was a member of the Swansea community)
* 'Cooperation and Conflict between Veteran and Immigrant Jews in Swansea' by Mars, Leonard, in Religion and Power Decline and Growth: Sociological analyses of religion in Britain, Poland and the Americas, 1991, by Peter Gee and John Fulton, pages 115-130

External links

* [http://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/wales.htm Modern Welsh Jewish communities]

See also

* Jew
* Jewish history
* Religion in Europe
* List of religious populations
* Islam by country
* Buddhism by country
* Hinduism by country
* Judaism by country
* Protestantism by country
* Roman Catholicism by country
* Irreligion


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • History of the Jews in Scotland — The earliest date at which Jews arrived in Scotland is not known. It is possible that some arrived, or at least visited, as a result of the Roman Empire s conquest of southern Great Britain, but there is no direct evidence for this. What the… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in the United Kingdom — Please see * History of the Jews in England * History of the Jews in Scotland * History of the Jews in Northern Ireland * History of the Jews in Gibraltar * History of the Jews in Wales …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in Australia — The history of the Jews in Australia began with the transportation of a number of Jewish convicts aboard the First Fleet in 1788 when the first European settlement was established on the continent in present day Sydney. Today, an estimated… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in Italy — The Great Synagogue of Rome Part of a series of articles on …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in Spain — Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in the Netherlands — Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in Malta — For the play by Christopher Marlowe, see The Jew of Malta. Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in the Czech Republic — Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in Denmark — Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in Norway — Sanctuary of the synagogue in Trondheim The Jews in Norway are one of the country s smallest ethnic and religious minorities. The largest synagogue is in Oslo. A smaller synagogue in Trondheim (63° 25 N) is often claimed, erroneously, to be the… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.