JCR-UK

Dublin Hebrew Congregation

Dublin, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 
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The facade of former Adelaide Road Synagogue in September 2014
© David Shulman 2014

 Congregation Data

Name

Dublin Hebrew Congregation (DHC)(i)

Current Status:

In a gradual process that took place between 1999 and 2004, the DHC merged with the independent Terenure Hebrew Congregation (THC). In January 1999, general meetings of both congregations agreed on a merger(ii) and later that year the DHC closed its Adelaide Road synagogue and moved its services to THC's synagogue in Rathfarnham Road.(iii) On 15 December 2004 the formal merger between the two congregations was completed when both congregations simultaneously approved the merger agreement.(iv) The new merged congregation assumed the name Dublin Hebrew Congregation(v) and holds its services at the Terenure Synagogue.

In order to avoid potential confusion, activities of the merged congregation (in light of its name) will generally be dealt with on this page, although such congregation is also the successor to the THC.

Current Address:

32a Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, Dublin 6. (in use by DHC from 1999)

For the history of the Terenure synagogue, see Terenure Hebrew Congregation.

Former Addresses:

36/7 Adelaide Road, Dublin (1892 to 1999)

This was the first purpose-built synagogue in Ireland and was built in Eastern Romanesque style, with seating capacity of 300 in the main body, and for another 150 in the galleries(viii) (architect Dublin-based John Joseph O'Callaghan(ix)). The site was chosen as it was within easy walking distance of the South Circular Road,(x) which had become the area in which most of Dublin's Jews were then concentrated. It cost over £5,000 to build and was funded by donations from British Jews, including the Rothschilds family, and from Jews and non-Jews throughout Ireland, and a £3,000 mortgage.(xi) The synagogue  was opened and consecrated by the new Chief Rabbi Dr. Hermann Adler on 4 December 1892.(xii)

The synagogue became known as the "English shul",(xv) differentiating it from the small congregations around Clanbrassil Street and Portobello, established in the 1880's and 1890's, primarily by recent immigrants from Lithuania and Poland. In 1915 a mikveh and baths were erected at the synagogue and in 1925 the building was materially enlarged, to provide school facilities for Jewish children.(xvi)

As a result of the movement of the Jewish population to Dublin's suburbs, the synagogue was closed in 1999 and services were thereafter held at the synagogue in Terenure.(xvii) Shortly following closure, the synagogue building was sold, for some £6 million,(xviii) and demolished, apart from its front façade, and replaced by either a block of flats(xix) or offices(xx). it was intended that the proceeds of sale would be used to to redevelop the Terenure synagogue site, with the construction a new synagogue, community centre and mikveh.(xxii) Ultimately, the Terenure site was not redeveloped and only the mikveh was added.(xxiii)


12 Mary's Abbey, (off Chapel Street) Dublin (1836 to 1892)(xxv)

These premises were formerly a chapel of a small Presbyterian group known as the Seceders or Non-Burghers, a sect of the Kirk of Scotland, who later went on to join similar groups in forming the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.(xxvi) Mary's Abbey, a short and narrow street off Capel Street, is the site of the St. Mary’s Abbey, founded by the French Cistercians in 1147 on the site of an older Benedictine foundation and dissolved in the Reformation of 1539.(xxvii) The lease of the building, which had a seating capacity of 90, was purchased by the congregation from the trustees of the Seceders for £300 in 1836 but the congregation was only able to purchase the freehold interest in 1853, for £350 from the Bank of Ireland.(xxx)

At the time of its purchase and for almost fifty years thereafter, the Mary's Abbey Synagogue was the only synagogue in Dublin. The 1880s saw the beginning of a major influx of Jews from the Russian Empire escaping persecution triggered by the assasination of Tsar Alexander II, many of whom settled in the poorer areas around Clanbrassil Street and Portobello, some two miles from the synagogue. These newcomers, primarily from Lithuania, were generally far more strictly observant than members of the existing somewhat assimilated Mary's Abbey congregation, which held services only on a Saturday morning. Furthermore, Mary's Abbey was also too small for the needs of the growing community and the largely Yiddish-speaking newcomers found its services too formal, stern, middle class and unwelcoming. In the 1880s and 1890s many broke away to established a number of own small, more conveniently situated, congregations, more to their liking.

The last Sabbath service was conducted at Mary’s Abbey on 3 December 1892,(xxxi) which included a valedictory sermon by Chief Rabbi Dr. Hermann Adler, the congregation moving to the larger Adelaide Road synagogue, situated closer to the main Jewish residentail areas. 


40 Stafford Street, Dublin (1822 to 1836)(xxxii)

In 1822, the few Jewish families in Dublin formed a new Jewish congregation that met in the home of Joseph Wolfe Cohen at 40 Stafford Street (now Wolfe Tone Street). In 1829, when Cohen moved to other premises, the congregation rented the upper storey at 40 Stafford Street.(xxxiii)

Formation:

The congregation was founded in 1822, there having been no Jewish congregation in Dublin since the closure of the Marlborough Green Synagogue in 1791, due to the community almost dwindling away. Joseph Wolfe Cohen presented the new congregation with a gift of two Torah scrolls that he and his brother, Abraham, had rescued from sale by the creditors of the Marlborough Green Synagogue. A third scroll was presented by Reuben Isaac Phillips.(xxxvi)

Ritual:

Ashkenazi Orthodox. A bequest in 1854 was made on condition that the congregation conforms "to the form and service observed by the Great Synagogue, Duke's Place, London."(xxxvii)

Affiliation:

The congregation is unaffiliated although until Irish independence in 1922, it would have been under the aegis of the (British) Chief Rabbi. However, in 1840 the congregation propsed that it it be considered as a branch synagogue of the Bevis Marks Synagogue although nothing appears to have come of this proposal.(xxxviii)

Website:

http://www.jewishireland.org/irish-jewish-communities/dublin-hebrew-congregation

Ministers & Early Readers:(xlii)
(To view a short profile of a minister or reader - hold the cursor over his name.)

Rev Isaac Davidson - reader and shochet from 1829 until 1844.(xliii)

Rev. Julius Sandheim - reader and shochet from about 1839 until 1882 (not continuously).(xliv)

Rev. Jacob D. Davis - preacher, reader and teacher from 1855 until November 1861.(xlv)

Rev. Philip Bender - preacher and minister from 1862 until 1881.(xlvi)

Rev. Israel Leventon - reader and shochet from about 1881 until 1899.(xlviii)

Rev. Francis L. Cohen - minister from 1885 until 1886.(xlix)

Rev. Edwin Hyman Simeon Collins - minister from about 1887 until about 1888.(l)

Rev. Louis Mendelsohn, BA - minister from 1895 until about 1901.(li)

Rev. S. Alfred Adler - minister in about 1900.(lii)

(In 1919, the congregation was one of the six congregations which combined to appoint Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog as communal rabbi of the Dublin Jewish community, prior to him being appointed Chief Rabbi of Ireland in 1922.)

Rev. Abraham Gudansky - reader from 1901 until about 1925 and then minister until 1939.(liii)

Rabbi Theodore (Teddy) Lewis - minister from 1944 until 1948.(liv)


From 1949 to 1982, the congregation decided to defer appointing its own dedicated rabbi or minister and instead, during this period, relied upon the services of the various Chief Rabbis of Ireland (Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Jakobovits, Rabbi Dr. Isaac Cohen and Rabbi David Rosen), who occupied by rotation the pulpits of the various orthodox congregations in Dublin, as well as the community's dayan, Dayan S. Zalmon Alony).


Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis - minister from 1982 until 1984, when he became Chief Rabbi of Ireland.(lvii)


After 1984 (except for the period in about 1995 when Rabbi Vivian C. Silverman was acting minister(lviii)) the congregation generally relied upon the services the various Chief Rabbis of Ireland, until 2008 (when that office was left vacant) and Dublin's Communal Rabbis, Rabbi David Radomsky (1985 to 1988)(lix) and Rabbi Zalman Lent (from 2003).(lx)

Rabbi Zalman Lent was also later appointed as minister of the merged Dublin Hebrew Congregation, being the only resident rabbi to serve the congregation since the merger.

Chazanim  (Cantors) since 1900:

Rev. Simon Wykansky - reader in about 1908.(lxiv)

Rabbi Elkan Eliezer Gavron - second reader from about 1901 until 1921.(lxv)

Rev. Morris Roith - second reader from about 1921 until 1966.(lxvi)

Rev. Naftali (Nandor) Freilich - chazan from about 1939 until 1949.(lxvii)

Rev. Isidore Gluck - chazan from 1951 until 1964.(lxx)

Rev. Izak Halpert - chazan from 1964 until 1980.(lxxi)

Cantor Alwyn Shulman - chazan from 1991 until about 2020.(lxxii)

Lay Officers from 1896:

Unless otherwise stated, the following data on lay officers has been extracted from Jewish Year Books, first published in 1896/7 and which subsequent to 1956 generally ceased to provide details of lay officers other than the secretary.(lxxviii)

Presidents

1896-1901 - M. de Groop, JP

1901-1913 - Ernest W. Harris, LLD

1913-1915 - Edwin Maurice Solomons, MA JP

1915-1923 - J. Isaacs, JP

1923-1925 - L.H. Rosenthal, KC

1925-at least 1956 - Edwin M. Solomons, MA


Treasurers

1896-1907 - Adolph Davies

1907-1909 - Joseph Isaacs

1909-1911 - Hoseas Weiner

1911-1912 - L.J. Clein

1912-1915 - D.L. Cohen

1915-1918 - W. Nurock

1918-1920 - A. Newman, JP

1920-1925 - Philip Sayers, JP

Vice Presidents & Treasurers

1925-1927 - Philip Sayers, PC

1927-1928 - Myer Golding

1928-1934 - Michael Noyek

1934-1938 - Hoseas Weiner

1938-1940 - Lewis Levinson

1940-1945 - no data

1945-1946 - S. White

1946-at least 1956 - H. Good, LLB

Secretaries

1881-1899 - Rev. Israel Leventon(lxxix)

1899-1901 - Rev. Louis Mendelsohn, BA

1901-1939 - Rev. Abraham Gudansky


Hon. Secretaries

1896-1907 - John D. Rosenthal, LLB(lxxx)

1907-1913 - Edwin M. Solomons, MA JP

1913-1915 - Philip Sayers, JP

1915-1920 - I. Elyan, JP

1920-1923 - S. Stolovern

1923-1925 - J. Zlotaver

1925-1927 - Bernard Shillman

1927-1932 - A. Spiro, BA

1932-1940 - S. White

1940-1945 - no data

1945-1946 - Geo. R. Morris

1946-1956 - S. Crivon, LLB

1956-1968 - no data

1968-1975 - H.C. White, LLB

1975-1977 - M. Gordon

1978-1983 - M. Simmons

1983-1985 - D. Wine

1985-1989 - M. Gordon

1989-1997 - M. Simmons

1997-2003 - Dr. Seton Menton

Membership Data:

General

1845 - 19 ba'allai batim and 21 seatholders (Chief Rabbi's Questionnaire)

Number of Seatholders - Jewish Year Books(lxxxi)

1896

1899

1900

1903

1905

1912

1938

1945

1953

1962

120

105

120

130

150

160

248

365

294

300

Cemetery Data:

See Dublin Jewish Cemeteries Information on the Dublin home page.

 

Online Articles and Other Material
relating to the Congregation


On JCR-UK

On Third Party websites

 

Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) Although this name does not appear to have come into common use until about 1859.

  • (ii) Blog by Patrick Comerford of 16 October 2019. (See lower part of this page.)

  • (iii) Jewish Year Book 2000.

  • (iv) Blog by Patrick Comerford of 16 October 2019 and Jewish Year Book 2008.

  • (v) Ray Rivlin's Jewish Ireland - A Social History (2011) ("Jewish Ireland"), p. 255.

  • (vi) and (vii) Reserved.

  • (viii) Louis Hyman's The Jews of Ireland, from Earliest Times to the Year 1910 (1972) ("The Jews of Ireland"), p. 196. 

  • (ix) Blog by Patrick Comerford of 7 October 2019.

  • (x) Jewish Ireland, p. 54.

  • (ix) Blog by Patrick Comerford of 7 October 2019. 

  • (xii) The Jews of Ireland, p. 196.

  • (xiii) and (xiv) Reserved.

  • (xv) Jewish Ireland, p. 34.

  • (xvi) Blog by Patrick Comerford of 7 October 2019.

  • (xvii) Blog by Patrick Comerford of 16 October 2019 and Jewish Year Book 2008.

  • (xviii) Jewish Ireland, p. 245.

  • (xix) Sharman Kadish's Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland (2015) ("Jewish Heritage"), p. 264.

  • (xx) Blog by Patrick Comerford of 7 October 2019.

  • (xxi) Reserved.

  • (xxii) Jewish Ireland p.244.

  • (xxiii) Jewish Heritage, p. 264.

  • (xxiv) Reserved.

  • (xxv) Blog by Patrick Comerford of 2 October 2019.

  • (xxvi) The Jews of Ireland, p. 105 and blog by Patrick Comerford of 2 October 2019.

  • (xxvii) The Jews of Ireland, p. 105 and blog by Patrick Comerford of 2 October 2019.

  • (xxviii) and (xxix) Reserved.

  • (xxx) The Jews of Ireland, pp. 105/6.

  • (xxxi) The Jews of Ireland, p. 196.

  • (xxxii) Blog by Patrick Comerford of 1 October 2019.

  • (xxxiii) The Jews of Ireland, p. 93.

  • (xxxiv) and (xxxv) Reserved.

  • (xxxvi) The Jews of Ireland, p. 93.

  • (xxxvi) The Jews of Ireland, p. 106.

  • (xxxvi) The Jews of Ireland, pp. 105/6.

  • (xxxix) to (xli) Reserved.

  • (xlii) This list includes those "readers', in the early years of the congregation who effectively performed the duties of a minister, although they were not generally described as such. The distinction between offices of reader (now generally known as chazan, or cantor) and minister was somewhat blurred.

  • (xliii) The Jews of Ireland, p. 124.

  • (xliv) The Jews of Ireland, p. 126. Rev. Sandheim was also listed as second reader and secretary inThe Jewish Directory of 1874.

  • (xlv) The Jews of Ireland, pp. 128/30.

  • (xlvi) The Jews of Ireland, pp. 130/32.

  • (xlvii) Reserved.

  • (xlviii) Jewish Chronicle obituary: Rev Leveton died in office in 1899, said to have served for 18 years. He was listed as a joint minister in Jewish Year Books from the first edition (1896/7) through 1899/1900).

  • (xlix) The Jews of Ireland, p. 198.

  • (l) Jewish Chronicle obituary of 12 June 1936.

  • (li) The Jewish Chronicle reported on 15 February 1895 that at the Adelaide Road synagogue, in the presence of a large congregation the previous Sabbath, the Rev. L. Mendelsohn, B.A., assumed his official position for the first time, and delivered his inaugural address. In his Jewish Chronicle obituary, it stated that he served the congregation for six years. He was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from the first edition (1896/7) through 1900/1901), until 1899/1900 jointly with Rev. Leventon.

  • (lii) Jewish Chronicle reports and obituary of 2 December 1910.

  • (liii) The Jewish Chronicle of 31 May 1901 reported that A. Gudansky had been elected to the vacant position of chazan, teacher, etc, to the congregation and on 12 May 1939 it reported that Rev. A. Gudansky was about to retire from his post as chief minister of the congregation. He is listed as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1901/2 through 1925 and as minister from 1926 through 1939. He was named as emeritus minister in the 1940 and 1945/6 editions.

  • (liv) The Jewish Chronicle of 1 December 1944 made reference to Rabbi Theodore Lewis, who was recently appointed minister to the Dublin Hebrew Congregation, Adelaide Road. On 26 November 1948 it reported that Dublin Jewry regrets the impending departure to the U.S.A. of Rabbi Theodore Lewis, who, for the past five years, has been senior minister of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation, Adelaide Road. He is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1945/6 through 1949.

  • (lv) and (lvi) Reserved.

  • (lvii) The Jewish Chronicle of 16 July 1982 reported on Rabbi Mirvis's arrival in Dublin to take up the post of minister of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation (Adelaide Road) and on 21 December 1984 it reported that Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the minister of the Adelaide Road Synagogue, is to be the new Chief Rabbi of Ireland, to take up his appointment the following month.

  • (lviii) The Jewish Chronicle on 24 February 1995 placed Rabbi Silverman at Dublin, having recently left Central Synagogue, London and on 19 January 1996 it reported that Rabbi Silverman, previously acting rabbi to two of Dublin's Orthodox synagogues, has taken up his new appointment as rabbi of the Hove Hebrew Congregation.

  • (lix) Listed as communal rabbi of Dublin in Jewish Year Books 1987 and 1988.

  • (lx) Listed as communal rabbi of Dublin in Jewish Year Books 2004.

  • (lxi) to (lxiii) Reserved.

  • (lxiv) Jewish Chronicle reports.

  • (lxv) Jewish Chronicle obituary of 14 November 1941 refers to Rabbi Gavrone leaving Adelaide Road in 1921 after 20 years service.

  • (lxvi) Jewish Chronicle obituary refers to Rev. Roith succeeded his father-in-law Rabbi Gavron at Adelaide Road and Jewish Chronicle report of 21 October 1966 refers to his retirement kiddush at Adelaide Road.

  • (lxvii) The Jewish Chronicle of 31 May 1939 report on Rev. Freilich's induction service his obituary of 8 April 1949 stated that he died while in office.

  • (lxviii) and (lxix) Reserved.

  • (lxx) The Jewish Chronicle obituary 14 March 1997. Rev. Gluck was listed as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1952 through 1963.

  • (lxxi) The Jewish Chronicle of 9 October 1964 reported on Rev. Halpert's induction and on 10 October 1980 on his retirement. Rev. Gluck was listed as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1965 through 1977.

  • (lxxii) Internet research.

  • (lxxiii) to (lxxvii) Reserved.

  • (lxxviii) Where a person is first listed in a year book as holding a particular office, it has been assumed that his term of office commenced in the year of publication of the relevant year book and that he continued in office until the commencement of office of his successor, unless the office was vacant. Initially year books corresponded to the Hebrew year, and thus ran roughly from autumn of one year - the year of publication - until autumn of the next year. From 1909, year books were published according to the Gregorian year, being published generally towards the end of the year prior to the year appearing in the title of the year book. For example, if an officer is listed in Jewish Year Books 1919 through 1924, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1918 and continued in office until 1924. However, it should be noted that this is only an assumption and, accordingly, his actual years of office may differ somewhat from those shown here. Publication ceased during the war years 1941 to 1945. Generally, data has been extracted beyond the year 2000.

  • (lxxix) Based upon Rev. Leventon's Jewish Chronicle obituary of 18 August 1899.

  • (lxxx) LLD from about 1902.

  • (lxxxi) As listed in the Jewish Year Book for the relevant year.


Dublin Jewish Community home page


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Page created: 12 June 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 20 November 2022
Page most recently amended: 9 December 2022

Research by David Shulman and Steven Jaffe
Formatting by David Shulman


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