14 February 2020

The synagogues of Cork: 3,
Cork Hebrew Congregation,
15 Union Quay

The site of 15 Union Quay, Cork … once the home of a short-lived breakaway synagogue also calling itself ‘Cork Hebrew Congregation’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2020)

Patrick Comerford

While Cork’s main synagogue for a century or more was the Cork Hebrew Congregation on South Terrace, an apparently breakaway group, also calling itself the Cork Hebrew Congregation, existed around the corner at 15 Union Quay.

The congregation on Union Quay appears to have split from the main Cork Hebrew Congregation but claimed to be the successor to the Remnant of Israel Synagogue, a small shul that had been at 24 South Terrace in the 1890s.

The Union Quay shul advertised in the Jewish Chronicle in September 1915 for a ‘competent Melamed with a fair knowledge of the English language, who shall be able to act as Shochet of fowls and as Bal Koreh; salary 30/- per week.’ The advertisement was placed by S Criger of 2 Great George’s Street, Cork.’

Simon Spiro, President of the South Terrace synagogue, wrote to the Jewish Chronicle a week later, pointing out that the synagogue had ‘already two qualified chazonim and chochetim and three teachers of Hebrew and religion, which is quite ample for our present requirements. There can be no further appointments in the Cork Congregation unless and until one of the existing offices becomes vacant.’

The exchange of correspondence continued for weeks.

The Jewish Chronicle reported a meeting of the Congregation at 15 Union Quay in mid-October when AH Goldfoot, SM Creiger, and a Mr Cliffe, were elected President, Treasurer, and Secretary, and the Revd MD Herschman was elected chazan, shochet and teacher. The report added, ‘The President presented the congregation with a Scroll of the Law.’

However, the bitter exchange of corresponded was soon discontinued, perhaps at the initiative of the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, and ‘the remnant of the remnant’ appear to have been reconciled with the members of the South Terrace synagogue.

As for the site of the shul at 15 Union Quay, it has long since disappeared, and it has been absorbed into a development that includes a multi-storey car park and a row of small shops, including a café.

Previous: Cork Hebrew Congregation, South Terrace Synagogue
Next: Remnant of Israel, 24 South Terrace.

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