Sunday, June 17, 2012

Post Bloomsday Thoughts, Bloom and the Dublin Jewish Community

I had a great time, and hopefully everyone (like Moses) met with success in coming down from the mountain.
Grave of an unknown Jew in Castletroy, Limerick
Speaking of Moses--

 “Mendelssohn was a jew and Karl Marx was a jew and Mercadante and Spinoza. And the Saviour was a jew and his father was a jew....”

Seana raised an interesting question last night as to just how many Jews there were in Dublin in 1904.  

So I turned to my good friend Wikipedia. (No, it turns out, Bloom would not have been the only Jewish man in Dublin--although the Jewish population was small. )

It appears that there has been a small Jewish community in Ireland since about the thirteenth century:

By 1232, there was probably a Jewish community in Ireland, as a grant of 28 July 1232 by King Henry III to Peter de Rivel gives him the office of Treasurer and Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer, the king's ports and coast, and also "the custody of the King's Judaism in Ireland".[3] This grant contains the additional instruction that "all Jews in Ireland shall be intentive and respondent to Peter as their keeper in all things touching the king".[4] The Jews of this period probably resided in or near Dublin.

As to the Jewish population of Dublin at the time of Ulysses, it was about 2200. In the first decade of the twentieth century, there was a significant growth in the Jewish population in Ireland, increasing from 3,771 to about 4,800 from 1901 to June 16, 1904:
There was an increase in Jewish immigration to Ireland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1871, the Jewish population of Ireland was 258; by 1881, it had risen to 453. Most of the immigration up to this time had come from England or Germany. In the wake of the Russian pogroms there was increased immigration, mostly from Eastern Europe (in particular Lithuania). By 1901, there were an estimated 3,771 Jews in Ireland, over half of them (2,200) residing in Dublin; and by 1904, the total Jewish population had reached an estimated 4,800. New synagogues and schools were established to cater for the immigrants, many of whom established shops and other businesses. Many of the following generation became prominent in business, academic, political and sporting circles.

The former Jewish school in Bloomfield Avenue, Portobello, Dublin.

Daniel O'Connell is best known for the campaign for Catholic Emancipation; but he also supported similar efforts for Jews. In 1846, at his insistence, the British law "De Judaismo", which prescribed a special dress for Jews, was repealed. O’Connell said: "Ireland has claims on your ancient race, it is the only country that I know of unsullied by any one act of persecution of the Jews".

During the Great Famine (1845–1852), in which approximately 1 million Irish people died, many Jews helped to organize and gave generously towards Famine relief. A Dublin newspaper, commenting in 1850, pointed out that Baron Lionel de Rothschild and his family had,
“ ...contributed during the Irish famine of 1847 ... a sum far beyond the joint contributions of the Devonshires, and Herefords, Lansdownes, Fitzwilliams and Herberts, who annually drew so many times that amount from their Irish estates.[9]
Since Ireland's Jews were city folk, businessmen, professionals and merchants, they bought their food instead of growing it and were thus not badly affected by the famine themselves.

Generally Ireland treated its Jewish population better than many other European countires. Sadly, Daniel O'Connel's assertion of Irish tolerance was not fully justified. The year 1904 saw the Limerick pogram, which caused Jews to leave Limerick for other cities. This was probably never far from on Joyce's mind when writing the Cyclops episode:

The boycott in Limerick in the first decade of the twentieth century is known as the Limerick Pogrom, and caused many Jews to leave the city. It was instigated by an influential intolerant Catholic priest, Fr. John Creagh of the Redemptorist Order. 

In 1904 a young Catholic priest, Father John Creagh, of the Redemptorist order, delivered a fiery sermon castigating Jews for their rejection of Christ, being usurers[27] and allies of the Freemasons then persecuting the Church in France, taking over the local economy, selling shoddy goods at inflated prices, to be paid for in installments. He urged Catholics "not to deal with the Jews."[27]Later, after eighty Jews had been driven from their homes, Creagh was disowned by his superiors saying that: religious persecution had no place in Ireland.[28] The Limerick Pogrom was the economic boycott waged against the small Jewish community for over two years. Keogh suggests the name derives from their previous Lithuanian experience even though no one was killed or seriously injured.[27] Limerick's Protestant community, many of whom were also traders, supported the Jews throughout the pogrom, but ultimately Limerick's Jews fled the city.[29]

A teenager, John Raleigh, was arrested by the British and briefly imprisoned for attacking the Jews' rebbe, but returned home to a welcoming throng. Limerick's Jews fled. Many went to Cork, where trans-Atlantic passenger ships docked at Cobh. They intended to travel to America. The people of Cork welcomed them into their homes. Church halls were opened to feed and house the refugees. As a result many remained. Gerald Goldberg, a son of this migration, became Lord Mayor of Cork.

The boycott was condemned by many in Ireland, among them the influential Standish O'Grady in his paper All Ireland Review, depicting Jews and Irish as "brothers in a common struggle"...
Joe Briscoe, son of Robert Briscoe, the Dublin Jewish politician, describes the Limerick episode as “an aberration in an otherwise almost perfect history of Ireland and its treatment of the Jews”.[13]

Famous Irish Jews
Chaim Herzog.png Mario Rosenstock crop.jpg
Gustav Wilhelm Wolff.jpg David Rosen.jpg
LouisBookman.png Daniel Day-Lewis 2007.jpg Geraldygoldberg2.jpg
Wolfgang Heidenfeld 1960 Hessen ArM.jpg Ronit.jpg Alan Shatter.jpg Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog 1945 portrait.jpg
Chaim Herzog • Mario Rosenstock • Gustav Wilhelm Wolff • David Rosen • Louis Bookman • Daniel Day-Lewis • Gerald Goldberg • Wolfgang Heidenfeld • Ronit Lentin • Alan Shatter • Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog

It turns out that the sixth President of Israel, Chaim Herzog was Irish...

All quotations, above are from the Wikipedia History of the Jews in Ireland and other Wikipedia links off the main article. 

I also found that the Irish Jewish community has a website:

1 comment:

  1. Nice and thorough answer to the question, Ed. A shame about Limerick, though.