the former

Merthyr Tydfil Jewish Community

Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales




Page created: 21 December 2003
Latest revision or update: 4 August 2016

Newspaper Articles relating to the
Merthyr Tydfil Jewish Community


29 May 1847 - Merthyr Police Court
An Amorous Israelite. "You Know." - Rachael Burke

28 June 1873 - Jewish Wedding
The marriage of Miss Annie Jane Jacob, daughter of Mr. A. B. Jacob, to Mr. Mark Lyons

September 1883 - Obituary
One of the oldest inhabitants of  Merthyr, Mr. Harris Goodman

18 October 1884 - Jewish Wedding
The marriage of Miss Jennie Levinson of Merthyr to Mr. Julius Gittlesohn of Dowlais

26 October 1895 - Jewish Wedding
The marriage of Mr. Marcus Levinsohn to Miss Alvira Freedman

24 August 1901 - Jewish Wedding
The marriage took place of Mr Louis Price, of Preston and Miss Sarah Annie Freedman,

1 February 1902 - Jewish Wedding
The marriage of Mr Isaac Alswang, Isle of Wight, to Miss Jeannette Marks

18 September 1903 -  article in the Jewish Chronicle
Jewish Workmen at Dowlais

7 April 1906 - Jews Leave Dowlais
About 120 of the Jews of Dowlais to emigrate to Canada

2 December 1906 - Jewish Wedding
The marriage of Miss Sara Freedman, youngest daughter of the late Mr Lewis

17 December 1921 - Jewish Wedding
The marriage of Dr. Hyman Jacob Levy, M.B., eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Levy

30 September 1922 -  Merthyr Jewish Ball
The Treat of the Season!  Lovers of Dancing and Whist would do well to reserve

6 August 1927 - Well known Merthyr tradesman laid to rest
Funeral of the late Mr. W. R. Cohen, jeweller, High Street

1934 - Merthyr Wedding
The marriage of Hyman Fine, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Levy to Sallie Isaacs

2 November 1935 - Merthyr Hebrews
Consecration of New Cemetery at Cefn

June 1953 - Merthyr Barmitzvah
Barmitzvah of Elliot Gerald Fine

15 January 1955 - Synagogue Reconsecration
Synagogue Reconsecrated by Chief Rabbi of Commonwealth

18 November 2009 - article in South Wales Echo by Jackie Bow
Merthyr synagogue in Thomastown set to be turned into flats


Merthyr Express, 29 May 1847

MERTHYR POLICE COURT, FRIDAY, MAY 21. [Before William Thomas, Esq.]

AN AMOROUS ISRAELITE. "You Know." - Rachael Burke, a nymph of the pave, was charged by Lazarus Harris, (better know by his Jew brethren as "Vinegar Merchant," from the exceedingly sour expression of his countenance), with stealing a silver watch, his property, this morning. It appears that Lazarus (naughty man) is in the habit of taking ladies of this description into his house at very unseasonable hours, which was the case this morning, when he had the misfortune to lose his watch. Harris being sworn said _ I am a clockmaker, and live at Pontmorlais. Dis morning yer Vership, dat vooman come to my door about two o'clock, you know, and shay she could not get into her lodgings, you know, so I get up and let her in, you know.  Not for any ting else, you know. (Mr. Thomas said he did not know). Vell vhen she came in she shay she vant some coffee, you know, and den she go to de drawer vhere I keep me vatch, you know, and shay she couldn't find no coffee, and dat she vash werry bad, you know, and must go home; so she vent home, you know.  I look in my drawer after she vash gone, and my vatch vash gone too, you know (laughter).  Den I go to the sergeant here, you know, and go vid him to her lodgings, and der she vash in bed, you know, and de sergeant did starch her {search her} - (roars of laughter) - but he could not find my vatch.  I put de vatch in de drawer not long before she come in. - Sergeant Recs, proved the apprehension of the prisoner, and also the statement made by her.  He had been unable to find the watch. - The prisoner put several questions to Harris, with a view of showing that other girls had been in the house with him that night.  This he stoutly denied.  She was committed for trial at the next sessions.


Merthyr Express, 28 June 1873

On Wednesday an interesting ceremony took place in Merthyr on the occasion of the marriage of Miss Annie Jane Jacob, daughter of Mr. A. B. Jacob, of this town, to Mr. Mark Lyons, of Birmingham, a gentleman who has recently returned from the Cape of Good Hope, where he was one of the few successful searchers after wealth at the diamond fields.  The ceremony took place at the Synagogue, which was densely crowded on the occasion, the Rector of Merthyr and other gentlemen being present.  A most earnest and impressive address was delivered to the happy couple by the Rev. Mr. Abelson, Hebrew minister, who officiated.  The bride was attired in rich blue satin and lace; she wore an emblematic wreath of orange blossoms and a long white veil.  Her jewellery was remarkable for its costliness and beauty ....


Merthyr Express, September 1883

Our obituary this week records the death of one of the oldest inhabitants of  Merthyr, in the person of Mr. Harris Goodman, of Victoria-street.  Mr. Goodman died on the 28th ult. at the patriarchal age of 96.  The de-ceased was the father of Mr. Moses Goodman, of Victoria-street.  He came from Poland to England over 60 years ago, and spent nearly 50 years of his life in the town of Merthyr.  He was one of the founders of the original synagogue in this town, and an earnest member of the new synagogue.  He always bore the character of an honourable and upright tradesman, and was sincerely respected by all who knew him


Merthyr Express, Saturday, 18 October 1884

On Wednesday afternoon was celebrated, with great eclat, the marriage of Miss Jennie Levinson of Merthyr with Mr. Julius Gittlesohn of Dowlais.  The ceremony, the Rev. A. Abelson officiating, was celebrated in the pretty little synagogue, which was crowded to excess, not only by the friends of the happy couple, but by an eager and interested number of Christians who attention was divided between the strange ritual and the handsome dresses of the bride and bridal party.  The bride wore a dress of rich ivory brocade, trimmed with orange blossoms and lace, from the celebrated Peter Robinson of Oxford Street. The five little bridesmaids were the nieces of contracting parties and their beautiful little dresses were the admiration of everybody.  The ceremony lasted about half an hour and concluded by the bridegroom smashing into innumerable pieces a piece of glass to symbolise that it is as impossible to sever the marriage bond as it is to re-piece the glass. From the synagogue, the entire party of invited guests, amid shower of rice, adjourned to the Temperance Hall, which was tastefully decorated and where a most recherché dinner was provided. The health of the newly married couple were drunk with great enthusiasm, together with those of their relatives and several near friends, also that of the venerable philanthropist, Sir Moses Montefiore.


Merthyr Express, 26 October 1895


Considerable local interest was evinced in the marriage of Mr. Marcus Levinsohn, High Street, Dowlais, and Miss Alvira Freedman, daughter of Mr R. Freedman, Swansea, on Wednesday se'nnight.  The bridegroom who is Secretary and Registrar of Marriages to the Merthyr Hebrew Congregation, is well-known and respected in the district by a host of friends of all creeds and persuasions; and the bride, in her own circle enjoys the esteem of all.  The bride, who was given away by her father (Mr. B. Freedman) looked charming in a dress of white silk trimmed with lace, and the bridal veil was attached to a wreath of orange blossoms, whilst she carried an exquisite shower bouquet of lilies and orchids, the gift of the bridegroom.  She was attended by the Misses Freedman, Swansea, (sisters of the bride), who were attired in white silk with hats to match; Miss Maud Gittelsohn and Miss Beatrice Gittelsohn, Cardiff, (nieces of the bridegroom), prettily costumed in pink silk with hats to match, who acted as bridesmaids.  They also carried handsome bouquets, gifts of the bridegroom. Mr W. R. Cohen, Merthyr, (uncle of the bridegroom), fulfilled the duties of best man.  The marriage ceremony was performed by the Rev. P. Wolfers, and the Rev. Miron, of Swansea, and very impressive addresses were delivered by the rev. gentlemen.  At the conclusion of the service, the newly-wedded couple received the hearty congratulations of those present, and best wishes for their future happiness.  Amongst the relatives and friends present at the function were:- Mrs. Levinsohn, Merthyr (mother of the bridegroom); Mr. and Mrs. L. Cohen, London; Mr and Mrs Mendilsohn, Merthyr; Mrs Morris Cohen, London; Mr H. Gittlesohn, Union Street Dowlais; Mr. H. Isaacs, Horse-street; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jones, Church-street; Dr. John R. Evans, Union-street Surgery; Mr, and Mrs. W. England, Victoria Inn; and Mr. J. H. Hyman, Union-street. A reception followed, and in the evening a banquet was succeeded by a ball.  Mr. and Mrs. Levinsohn have been the recipients of numerous handsome and valuable presents, and we join with pleasure in the congratulations and expressions for a bright and prosperous future.  The honeymoon is being spent at London and the South Coast.


Merthyr Express, 24 August 1901


On Wednesday, at Merthyr Synagogue, the marriage took place of Mr Louis Price, of Preston and Miss Sarah Annie Freedman, daughter of Mr Harris Freedman, Miriam-buildings, Dowlais.  The ceremony was performed by the Rev J. Abelson, Bristol; Rev Mr Bloom, rabbi; and the Rev Mr Levene, Tredegar.  The bride looked charming in a dress of white ivory satin, with transparent yoke and sleeves, trimmed with Brussels lace, with a court train and veil, and real orange blossom.  She also wore three diamond rings and a diamond necklet, and carried a lovely shower bouquet, the gifts of the bridegroom.  The bridesmaids were Miss Lena Freedman (sister of the bride), who wore a dress of white china silk lined with gold satin, with transparent yoke and sleeves, and picture hat to match; Miss Freyda Roseman (niece) of Plymouth, who wore white silk trimmed with gold lining; and Miss Annie Roseman, who was similarly dressed; and the page was Master M. Harris of Dowlais.  The bridegroom's best man was Mr. A. Newhouse, of Preston. Mrs Freedman wore a dress of black brocaded silk, trimmed with blue chiffon and cream lace. The visitors were Mr and Mrs Roseman (sister and brother-in-law of the bride), the Misses Freedman, London; Mrs Sherwinter, Edinburgh; Mrs Saul, Swansea; Mr and Mrs Goldstone, Aberdare; Rev J. and Mrs Abelson, Bristol; Mr and Mrs Jacobs, Aberdare; Mr and Mrs Harris, Tredegar; Mr and Mrs Levene, Tredegar.  The canopy under which the bride and bridegroom stood was specially made for the occasion by the bride. It was composed of white satin, with ribbon streamers, the poles being trimmed with red and white ribbons.  At each corner were forget-me-nots, and the roof was surmounted by a large artificial sunflower.  The canopy was afterwards presented to the church by the bride.  Miss Lena Freedman, wore a pretty gold necklet set with pearls, and the other bridesmaids had gold bracelets set with pearls, all the gift of the bridegroom, who himself wore a large cluster diamond ring, the gift of the bride.  After the ceremony a reception was held at Miriam Hose, and the happy pair departed upon their honeymoon.  They were the recipients of handsome presents.


Merthyr Express, 1 February 1902


On Wednesday week, 22nd January, the marriage of Mr Isaac Alswang, Isle of Wight, to Miss Jeannette Marks, daughter of Mr Jacob Marks, Merthyr, was celebrated at the Synagogue in the presence of a large congregation.  The bride was given away by her parents and her brother, Jos. Lionel Marks; the bridegroom by his sister, Mrs Lewis (London), and the Rev S. N. and Mrs Levine (Tredegar).  The officiating clergymen were the Rev E. Bloom (Merthyr) and the Rev S. N. Levine (Tredegar), brother-in-law of the bride.  The bride was daintily attired in white satin trimmed with Honiton lace, and wore a veil with orange blooms, and carried a fine shower bouquet, the gift of the bridegroom.  She was attended by Miss May Joseph, Miss Annie Isaacs, and Miss Sophie Levene (niece of the bride) as bridesmaids.  The young ladies looked charming in white silk, and carried baskets of flowers.  She was also attended by her sisters, Misses Sophie, Ray, Nellie, Bessie, and Gertrude, who looked extremely well in their costumes, which lent an appreciable colour to the interesting spectacle.  After the ceremony a reception was held at the schoolroom, tables being decorated with artistic style and a recherche luncheon was served.  The bride and bridegroom subsequently left their honeymoon with many hearty congratulations from their many friends.  The presents were also numerous and costly.  The following were the guests:-  Mrs Lewis, London; Rev S. N. and Mrs Levene, Tredegar; Rev A. Abelson, Merthyr; Rev E Bloom, Merthyr; Mr. Gittlesohn, pres Hebrew congregation; The Misses Gittlesohn, Dowlais; The Misses Isaacs, Dowlais; Mr and Mrs M. Levensohn, Merthyr; Mr and Mrs I. Fine, Merthyr; Mr and Mrs A. J. Freedman, Dowlais; Mr. Mrs and Miss Prag, Merthyr; Mr and the Misses Goodman, Merthyr; Mr and the Misses Freedman, Penydarren; Mr and Mrs G. Freedman, Dowlais; Mr and Mrs H. Freedman, Dowlais; Mr. J. Hyman, Dowlais; Mrs. L. and T. Freedman, Dowlais; Mr and Mrs H. Harris, Dowlais; Mr and Mrs K..nopky, Merthyr; Mr and Mrs M. D. Goodman, Merthyr; Mr and Mrs C Isaacs, Merthyr; Mr and Mrs Bennett, Merthyr; Miss H. Hyman; Mr and Mrs Mendelsohn, Merthyr; Miss L. Abelson, Merthyr; Miss S. Baron, Treorchi; Mr and Mrs Barnett, Pontypridd; Mr Roller, Swansea; Mrs Jacobs, Aberdare; The Misses P. and L. Jacobs, Aberdare; The Misses E. and S. Fine, Aberdare; The Misses A. and J. Roskin, Aberdare; Miss Harris, Aberdare; Mr. Mrs and Miss Goldstone, Aberdare; Mr H. Levene, Tredegar; Mr. M. Fine, Tredegar; Mrs and Miss Bernstein, Tredegar; The Misses Fine, Troeyrhiw; Mrs Abrahams, Brynmawr; Mrs Baddiel, Brynmawr; Mrs Schwartz, Penydarren; Mrs Mathews, Abercynon; Mrs Barnett, Abercynon; Mr and Mrs Isaacs, Merthyr; Miss Isaacs, Brynmawr.


Jewish Chronicle, 18 September 1903 



Merthyr Express, 7 April 1906

Thanks in a large measure to the efforts of Mr. Marcus Levinsohn, of Merthyr, arrangements have been made for about 120 of the Jews of Dowlais to emigrate to Canada. By far the majority of those exiles have found their way to Dowlais during the last twelve months having come from Russia. They have been hospitably treated at Dowlais, but owing to work being slack they have experienced considerable difficulty in making a living. One of their number - Mr. B. Rabbinowitz - who called at the "Express" office the other day, had nothing but praise for the Dowlais people. Asked how they have been treated here he replied "A thousand times better than in Russia This is the land of freedom. They would have killed us if we had remained in Russia." Mr. Levinsohn, who is president of the Jewish community in Merthyr and Dowlais, took the matter in hand in conjecture with Mr. A. L. Freeman of Dowlais. The circumstances of the Jews, were brought tot he notice of the Jewish Board of Guardians in London, who sent an agent down to make enquiries. As a result arrangements were made for the first batch, forty-four in number, to leave for Canada last Thursday, when they sailed from Liverpool by the s.s. "Canada." Another batch of 80 will leave on the 19th inst. In these arrangements preference was given to single men, or married men who had no children, the Board of Guardians declining to defray the cost of large families emigrating. Mr. B. Rabbinowitz, who has six children, was particularly anxious to go to Canada, but for the reasons stated the Board could not find the money. Mr. Levinsohn, however, decided to raise the necessary funds, and he succeeded in collecting £35, with which tickets were bought for Mr. Rabbinowitz who, with his family, will leave for Canada with the next batch. Naturally the Jews are greatly indebted to Mr. Levinsohn, and as a mark of their appreciation of his kindness have presented him with an address, the text of which is as follows:- To "Marcus Levinsohn, President of the Jewish Community in Merthyr and Dowlais. Dear Sir - We, the undersigned workmen at Dowlais, desire to express our heartfelt gratitude to you in this small token. We are under a debt of obligation to you for your practical sympathy and services in our times of depression, also for representing us to the Jewish Board of Guardians, for is help in getting us to Canada. Having spent sufficient time here now, we can testify that the bonds of friendship have been drawn closer between us. We trust that Divine Providence will give you and Mrs. Levinsohn and your children the blessings of health, happiness and prosperity, and that you may continue your good works in time to come" - The address was signed by over a hundred Jews in Dowlais and district.


Merthyr Express, 2 December 1906

The marriage of Miss Sara Freedman, youngest daughter of the late Mr Lewis and Mrs Rachel Freedman, Penydarren, to Mr Hermann E. Fine, Treharris, was solemnised at the Synagogue, Merthyr, on the 28th ult., the officiating ministers being the Revs. E. Bloom and L. Aarons. The Bride, who was given away by her eldest brother (Mr. J. Freedman, of Birmingham), wore cream Oriental satin, draped with lace and clusters of grapes, which made a most effective garniture, lace veil and orange blossoms, with a shower bouquet. Mrs Ash, married sister, was attired in black silk trimmed with green panne velvet; Miss Rose Freedman, younger sister, vieux rose silk; Mrs. J. Freedman, sister-in-law, green chiffon velvet. The bridesmaids were attired in white, pink and blue silks, respectively carried floral muffs and wore pearl and gold brooches presented by the bridegroom. Miss Cissie Gittlesohn, dressed in palest blue and pink, looked a veritable Dresden shepherdess. Mesdames Fine, Tanchan, and Gordon, with the Misses Kittie, Anne, and Mary Fine, sisters to the bridegroom, were most becomingly dressed in grey, blue, brown, and green taffetas, the whole wedding party forming a striking "coup d'oeil." After the ceremony, the wedding party drove to the Drill Hall, where a sumptuous dinner was provided. A reception and dance followed, which was attended by nearly 200 guests. Dancing was kept up spiritedly until 3.30 a.m. The happy couple are spending their honeymoon at London and Brighton.

Bridegroom to Bride, pearl and diamond pendant necklet; Bride to Bridegroom, fitted suit case; father of Bridegroom, cheque; Mr. J. Freedman, Birmingham, Irish linen bed spread; Mr and Mrs Ash, Cardiff, case of fish eaters (silver); children of Mr and Mrs Ash, silver tea tray; Mr David Freedman, (brother of the Bride), pair silver candelabra; Mr. S. Freedman (brother of the Bride), black and copper curb.. suite and screen; Miss B. Freedman (sister of the Bride), pair of silver hair brushes and mirror and comb; Mr. and Mrs. Abelson, Bristol, asparagus dish and server; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Tanchan, Bristol, early English silver gravy spoon (W-M); Mr. and Mrs. Gordon, Tonypandy, brass bedstead; Mr. and Mrs. Fine, Abergavenny, silver goblet; Mr. Sam Fine (best man), pair silver pepperettes; Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Fine, Bristol, cheque; Miss Kitty Fine (sister of the Bridegroom), satin eiderdown; Miss Annie Fine (sister of the Bridegroom), Angora table cloth; Miss May Fine (sister of the Bridegroom), skin rug; Mr. and Mrs. O. Freedman, Dowlais, tea spoons and tongs (silver); Mr. J. Freedman, Dowlais, cake basket (silver); Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Freedman, Dowlais, manicure set (silver); Mrs. Sophia Cohen, Cardiff, silver epergne; Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jacobs, Swansea, Austrian centre piece; Mr. and Mrs. Sol Barnett, Newport, silver bread boat; Mr. and Mrs. B Goodman, Cardiff, French vases; Mr. and Mrs. S. Schwartz, flower and fruit centre piece; Miss H. S. Goodman, Merthyr, plated tea pot; Mr. H. Abelson, Bristol, epergne; Mr. Isaac Abelson, Bristol, modern Derby afternoon tea set; Miss Bessie Abelson, Bristol, hall brushes and glass; Mr. H. Israel, London, marble clock; Mr. and Mrs. Gittlesohn, Merthyr, silver soup ladle; Mr. and Mrs. Barny Isaacs, Tonypandy, silver time-piece; Mr. H. Marks, Tonypandy, sugar bowl scoop; Mr. and Mrs. A. Roseman, biscuit box; Mr. and Mrs. J. Woolf, Cardiff, silver syphon stand; Mr. and Mrs. S. Harris, Merthyr, sugar and cream stand; Mr. and Mrs. Meredith, preserve jar; Mr. and Mrs. J. Ford, London, silver sweet basket; Miss R. Cohen and Mr. Levinsohn, cruet stand and pickle jar; Mr. and Mrs. Watkins, pair of salt cellars; Mr. and Miss Roskin, silver sweet dish; Mr. and Mrs.Geo. Nathan, Birmingham, silver-top pot; Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Levy, Birmingham, silver encriere; Mr. F. L. Beddoe, silver stand and pickle jars; Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs, Cardiff, toast rack and butter dish; Mr. P. Seal (brother), pair of silver sweets; Mr. M. and Miss Goodman, Merthyr, plated bread boat; Misses Sellie and Ellie Gittlesohn, silver-mounted scent bottles; Mrs. Cook, Penydarren, plated toast rack; Miss Cissie Gittlesohn, silver card case; Mr. S. Wallen, silver bread fork; Mr. and Mrs. G. Humphreys, Tonypandy, sifted sugar and cream stand; Mr. and Mrs. Abrahams, London, silver sweet dish; Mr. B. Joseph and sister, silver-mounted marmalade dish; Miss Maggie Jones, butter dish; Mr. and Mrs. E. Cohen, Cardiff, silver tea spoons and tongs; Mr. J... ...., .....ydd, preserve dish in stand; Mr. and Mrs. L. Cohen and daughter, fruit eaters in case; Mr. and Mrs. J. Prag, silver ...... and knife (butter); Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Hyman, silver photo frames; Miss M. Abrahams, London, five o'clock tea spoons; Mr. and Mrs. J. Martin, London, fish servers; Miss Shunklin, silver mounted carvers; Mr. J. A. Jenkins, Treharris, military brushes and comb; Mr. B. Isaacs and daughters, silver hand mirror; Mr. Davies, Trenharris, butter dish; The Misses Marks, hand painted table centre; etc., etc.


Merthyr Express, Saturday, 17 December 1921


On Wednesday, December 7th the wedding took place at the Jewish Synagogue, Merthyr, of Dr. Hyman Jacob Levy, M.B., eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Levy, Ivor-street, Dowlais, and Muriel, only daughter of the late Mr. A. I. Freedman and Mrs. Freedman  Penybryn Villas, Penydarren.  Exceptional interest was taken in the event as both parties are well-known in the district, the bridegroom being in partnership of Dr. R, S. McClelland, Dowlais.  He arrived at the Synagogue with his brother, Mr. Isaac Levy, as best man.  The bride, who looked charming in white satin with veil and wreath of orange blossoms, was given away by her uncle, Mr. L. L. Fine J.P., Cardiff, and carried a bouquet, the gift of the bridegroom.  She was attended by Miss Joe Freedman, Penydarren, Miss Silverman, London, Miss Betty Fine, Merthyr, Miss Olive Freedman, Dowlais, and Miss Ena Freedman, who were picturesquely attired in primrose dresses, and each carried a bouquet, the gift of the bridegroom.  The officiating ministers were the Revs. E. Bloom and - Jerevitch, Cardiff.


Merthyr Express, 30 September 1922

The Treat if the Season!  Lovers of Dancing and Whist would do well to reserve Wednesday October 18th, 1922 for the Whist Drive and Dance to be held in connection with the newly-formed Jewish Institute.  Arrangements are being made for the engagement of one of the finest Dance Orchestras in Wales, and who have not yet appeared in Merthyr.  There will be valuable prizes for whist.  Application for tickets (Gents, 7s. 6d. Ladies, 6s. 6d; refreshments inclusive) should be made to Mr. Moses Bloom, 1, Castle Street, Pontrebach, Merthyr.



Merthyr Express, 6 August 1927

Amid manifestations of sorrow and respect, the mortal remains of Mr. W. R. Cohen, jeweller, High Street, whose death was recorded in our last issue, were laid to rest at the Jewish Cemetery at Cefn on Wednesday.  Mr. Cohen came to Merthyr over 60 years ago, and with a few others immediately set to to the task of obtaining the necessary funds to erect the Synagogue, and for almost 60 years he was a prominent member, and also a life president.  Distinguished for his sterling character, respected for his exemplary life, admired for his abilities, and beloved for his geniality and modesty, he was well known and esteemed by all sections of the community.  To all charities he was always a most liberal subscriber.  Mr. Cohen was a Freemason, being a member of the Loyal Cambrian and other lodges, and also a well known member of the Chamber of Trade.

The service was conducted by the Rev. E. Bloom, and the Rector of Merthyr conducted the Masonic service, each brother dropping sprays of acacia upon the coffin.

The mourners were Mr. H. Gittelsohn (and sons), Mr. Harry Isaac (and son), Mr. Levinsohn, Mr Charles Tyler, Mr. J. Gibbon (and sons), Mr. M. Abrahams, Mr. B. Abelson, Mr. Alf. Martin (London), Mr. King, Messrs. Isaac and Edward Levi (Swansea), Mr. M. Lowensohn (Llandaff), Mr. Levinsohn (Cardiff), Mr. Lipsett (Merthyr).  Among others present were Dr. Llewellyn Jones, Rev. E. Davies, Mr. V. A. Wills, Mr. Gay, Mr. Jones (tailor), Mr. Bellham, Mr. Millward and others.



Merthyr Express, 1934


Mr. Hyman Fine, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. W. Fine, Tredegar, was married at the Merthyr Synagogue on Thursday to Miss Sallie Isaacs, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. Isaacs, of Merthyr.

The Rev. E. Bloom officiated.

The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a gown of ivory …... ripple satin, which was moulded to …… figure from a net shoulder yoke, embroidered in crystal and diamanté. Her head-dress was a swathed roll of ripple satin matching her gown, banded with crystal and worn at an angle over the forehead. From this fell a lovely net veil.

The bridesmaids were the Misses Doris Fine, Renee Fine and Bertha Cohen, while the Misses Sybil Fine and Zelda Fine were flower girls.

The bridesmaids wore gowns of white taffeta with picture hats of white net, and they carried bouquets of clove carnations. The flower girls were dressed ……  organdie and carried posies of pink rosebuds.

Mr. M. Fine was the best man.

After a reception at the Miners’ –hall, Merthyr, Mr. and Mrs. H. Fine left for the East Coast.

The bride wore a turquoise linen tweed ensemble with a navy and white hat and silver fox furs.

The bridal gown and many of the ensembles worn by the guests were designed and supplied by Messrs. Potter Gilmore, Ltd. of 24, St. Mary-street, Cardiff.



Newspaper and text kindly provided by
Elizabeth Dorfman



Merthyr Express, 2 November 1935

Consecration of New Cemetery at Cefn

The new extension of the Hebrew Cemetery at Cefn Coed was formally consecrated and declared open on Sunday in the presence of a large gathering.  The new section adjoins the old portion of the cemetery,  which has been in existence upwards of 70 years or so, and the ground has been prepared and greatly improved by the inclusion of concrete paths and terraces overlooking the main road to Brecon. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. E. Bloom, the minister of the local Hebrew Congregation, who referred to the fulfilment of a very necessary want in the acquisition of the plot of land which was converted  into the new portion of the cemetery.  He paid a tribute to the work of the committee, and especially to Mrs. Raina Grwsener (formerly of Treharris) who had handsomely subscribed towards the project and had  thus helped them to realise their ambition.

Mrs. Grwsener, in declaring the place open, said she hoped the ground would not be used for many years. It was her pleasure to render this service to the community. Mr. Sol. Freedman presented Mrs. Grwsener with a silver trowel, suitably, inscribed, on behalf of the  members of Merthyr Hebrew Congregation. A reception and tea followed at the Lesser Drill Hall. Mr. Sol. Freedman, who presided, was  supported by the Rev. E. Bloom,  Mr. Isaac Hamilton, Mr. E. M.. Cohen, Mr. A. Moscovitch, Mr. B. Shelower,  Mr. Harris Schwartz, and others. The Chairman made touching reference to the recent passing away of Mr. Hermann Gittllesohn, their honourable  member and one of the founders of the congregation, whose demise they all greatly deplored.  The speaker  called upon the audience to stand in memory of their departed friend and co-religionist. Mr. Freedman then paid a tribute to all those who had worked so well for the noble cause, and especially  mentioned Mr. A. Moscovitch, the president of the burial society, who had devoted a considerable amount  of his time towards the supervision of the work connected with the renovation of the new cemetery.

In responding to the toast of the visitors, Mr. Elkan, Pontypridd, said the Merthyr Congregation was, without doubt,  the finest in South Wales.  They had an admirable leader in the Rev. E. Bloom, who had served them so faithfully  for the past 35 years.  He hoped they would all continue to prosper. Responding, Mr Isaac Hamilton (treasurer) said they had an ideal congregation and felt proud of its members.  Mrs Grwsener had done the right thing in making her gifts during her lifetime, a matter which afforded gratification to the giver when one saw the fruits of one's endeavours.
Mr. Harris Schwartz said that as one of the promoters of the new cemetery he felt delighted to witness the  completion of their efforts.  Mr. Moscovitch and others also spoke.  Mr. G. A. Swallow proposed the vote of thanks  to the ladies' committee, who had worked so ably for the cause.


Jewish Chronicle, June 1953

FINE  - Elliot Gerald, younger son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Fine, “Luctonia,” The Walk, Merthyr, will read Maftir and Haftara at Merthyr Synagogue on Saturday, June 27.

 Synagogue Re-consecrated by Chief Rabbi of Commonwealth

Merthyr Express, 15 January 1955


The smaller Jewish Communities were an inspiration and an example to the larger communities where their institutions tended to be taken too much for granted, said the Very Rev. Israel Brodie, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the British Commonwealth and Empire, at a dinner held at the Miner's Hall, Merthyr Tydfil, on Monday.

The dinner was in honour of the Chief Rabbi's visit to Merthyr on the occasion of the reconsecration of the Synagogue.


After the Cantor of Merthyr, Rev. A. Cohen, had expressed the hope that the Chief Rabbi's visit would put new life and vigour into their spiritual affairs, the Chief Rabbi said he was glad to feel that, as a result of his visit, the Synagogue might start a new chapter in its history as illustrious as that in the past.

"I see a handful of people," he said, "who might come what might, persist in their endeavour to maintain the Jewish way of life in all  its  variety and in spite of the financial sacrifice which is entailed."

The Chief Rabbi was responding to a toast proposed by Dr. S. Bloom and seconded by the Rev. A. Cohen.


"We in Merthyr are a small community and a slowly dwindling one," said Dr. Bloom.  "We hope that the Chief Rabbis' visit will intensify our feeling of the need for more communal activity."


 A toast to the Merthyr Hebrew Congregation was proposed by Rabbi B. Rogosnitzky, Rav of Cardiff.  Responding Mr. A. Sherman, treasurer of the Merthyr Hebrew congregation, said that although the local community had dwindled considerably in the last 25 years, and although they were comparatively few in number, their strength lay in the fact that they were united.


The Chief Rabbi was welcomed by the chairman, Mr I. Hamilton, president of the Merthyr Congregation.  "Praise for the Welsh people is inexhaustible in my heart," said Mr. Hamilton, who stated that when Jews first came to Merthyr a hundred years ago and looked into the homes of Merthyr where there was a Bible on every sideboard, they said, "How good they are; we must build a shrine in their midst - and that was how the Synagogue was built," said the speaker.

Mr. Ben Hamilton, secretary of the Merthyr Congregation, proposed a toast to the Merthyr Corporation/  "The Corporation had a regard for the young of the Borough, and Merthyr was the pioneer of free education in this country," he said


The Mayor of Merthyr Coun. M. Osborne, J.P., said that the Children of Israel were among the best law-abiding citizens in the town.  "In the depression we always received financial help from our Jewish friends," he said.


Lt-Colonel R. Freedman, proposed a toast to the Guests, and Mr. S.O. Davies, M.P. for Merthyr, and Mr. George Thomas, M.P. for Cardiff West responded.

Presentations were made to Messrs I. Hamilton, A. Sherman and S. Simons.

The loyal toast was proposed by Dr. S. L. Isaacs, and Mr. H. Sherman proposed a toast to the State of Israel.

Dr. M. Bloom proposed a toast to the chairman.

Grace was chanted by the Rev. A. Cohen


As the Scrolls of the Law were brought to the doors of Merthyr Synagogue on Tuesday evening, the Very Rev. Israel Brodie acclaimed in Hebrew, "Open unto me the gates of righteousness; I will enter then and praise the Lord."  This was the prelude to an impressive service in which the Chief Rabbi re-consecrated the 80 year old Synagogue after its re-decoration.  Also officiating were Rabbi B. Rogosnitzky, Rav of Cardiff, and Rev. A. Cohen, Cantor of Merthyr Synagogue.

In the presence of a large congregation the Synagogue was opened by Mr. A. Sherman, treasurer of the Merthyr Hebrew Congregation.

It was a dramatic moment when the embroidered curtains were drawn back revealing the Ark.  After the Scroll Bearers had made a circuit of the Synagogue the Scrolls of the Law were placed in the Ark, and a prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel was changed.  The Ark was then closed.


In his address to the congregation, the Chief Rabbi referred to the persecution which made Jews leave the lands of their birth and how they had found freedom of worship in Merthyr.


The Chief Rabbi said that the founders of the Merthyr community had built the Synagogue for the congregation who were privileged to continue the Jewish tradition.

"This has been a Synagogue," he continued, "where people have not only prayed and studied, but have deepened their sense of association as a Jewish community, part of those dispersed throughout the world.  There exists here an underlying friendship, a mutual regard, and a readiness to help not only the members of the congregation but to respond to the cry for help reaching these friendly shores from lands of darkness.  "Happy are you who dwell in this House," he said, "successors to those departed who kept our sacred faith.  May you in your happiness, in your sense of gratitude to the Almighty, resolve that Jews will continue to praise the lord as long as there are Jews here."

The Chief Rabbi said he was glad to see the children present.

MERTHYR synagogue in Thomastown set to be turned into flats
by Jackie Bow
(provided by Harold Pollins)

South Wales Echo, 18 November 2009

The oldest remaining synagogue building in Wales looks set to get a new lease of life with plans to convert it into apartments.

The deteriorating Grade II-listed former synagogue is a historic landmark near Merthyr Tydfil town centre and located in the Thomastown conservation area.

Built in the 1870s by Merthyr’s Jewish community, and dominating the view up Church Street, little remains inside the synagogue, which is built in Northern Gothic style.

Since 1983, it has been used as a Christian centre and a gymnasium but is now redundant and suffers continued vandalism.

Previous proposals to revive it as a gym and for offices proved unviable, councillors have been told.

The company behind proposals to convert the building into nine flats, Warwickshire-based Choice Circle Ltd, whose director is Valleys-born Ken Evans, is applying for full planning, change of use and listed building consent for the development.

Considerable internal alterations would have to be carried out but externally the building, which contributes a significant historic landmark, will remain “largely the same”.

A nine-space car park is also proposed, accessed off Church Street, and two off-road parking spaces would be created for the adjoining Primrose Hill, a Grade II-listed house in multiple occupation.

It is proposed to convert part of its forecourt as an access road to the new car park.

As one of 12 conditions attached if planning approval is granted, the synagogue’s existing Star of David stained glass window would have to be repaired, rather than replaced with a new design as proposed by the developers.

A roof void and louvre opening would have to be maintained in perpetuity to allow continuing use by legally protected roosting pipistrelle and brown long-eared bats.

In his report due before councillors today, planning manager Norman Davies recommends approval of the application.

He says: “The building is in need of urgent renovation and it is considered that bringing it back into beneficial use will not only improve the character of the building itself but restore a key element to the Thomastown conservation area.”

He also says the car park scheme is acceptable and work will not affect the setting of the listed Primrose Hill house to a great extent with mitigation measures in place.

Cadw must be notified if the council approves the listed consent application and could call it in for further consideration and reserve the right to alter the decision or conditions


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