23 December 2011

Ordinands pay study visit to Irish Jewish museum

Today’s edition of the Church of Ireland Gazette [Friday 23 December 2011] publishes the following report and photograph on page 5:

Ordinands pay study visit
to Irish Jewish museum

CITI students, Rob Clements (Dublin and Glendalough) and Andrew Campbell (Connor), visiting the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin (Photograph: Canon Patrick Comerford)

Before Christmas, a group of students from the Church of Ireland Theological Institute recently visited the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin.

The Year II students from the Liturgy and Spirituality module of the M.Th. course were accompanied by their lecturer, Canon Patrick Comerford.

The small museum on Walworth Road in Portobello is in a part of Dublin that once had such a prominent Jewish community that it was known to generations of Dubliners as ‘Little Jerusalem.’ The museum is housed in a former synagogue that was built in 1917, when two adjoining terraced houses off the South Circular Road were knocked together.

The museum was opened in June 1985 by Chaim Herzog, the then President of Israel, who was born in Belfast and grew up in Dublin, the son of a Chief Rabbi of Ireland.

Debbie Briscoe and Howard Freeman showed the visiting group around both the traditional synagogue upstairs and the exhibits on the ground floor. A unique feature of the Museum’s ground floor is a traditional kitchen, with double kitchen sinks and a typical Sabbath meal setting from a Jewish home of the late 19th and early 20th century in this neighbourhood.

Mrs Briscoe and Mr Freeman also recalled the history of Jews in Ireland over the centuries, including the communities in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Belfast, and the contribution which Irish Jews to Irish political, social and cultural life.

“In the days leading up to Chanukah and Christmas, this was an opportunity to appreciate the Jewish community’s understanding of sacred space, worship and inculturation, and the story of an important religious and cultural community in Ireland,” Canon Comerford said after the visit.

He added: “There was more than food for thought during this visit, as there should be at all times in interfaith dialogue.”

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