12 December 2011

Visiting the Jewish Museum again

The Torah Scrolls in the Ark in the synagogue in the Irish Jewish Museum this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

Patrick Comerford

I visited the Irish Jewish Museum once again this afternoon with Year II students from the Liturgy and Spirituality module of the MTh course.

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.

This small museum on Walworth Road in Portobello is in the area that once located in a part of Portobello that once had such a prominent Jewish community that it was known among Dubliners as “Little Jerusalem.”

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

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 Jewish population later migrate from this area to the southern suburbs, and the main synagogue in Dublin is now on Rathfarnham Road in Terenure.

Debbie Briscoe and Howard Freeman showed us around the traditional synagogue upstairs and the artefacts and exhibits on display on the ground floor, and told us the colourful and culturally rich stories of Jews in Ireland over the centuries, including the communities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Belfast, and the contribution over the centuries of Irish Jews to Irish political, social and cultural life.

The traditional kitchen, with a typical Sabbath meal setting, in the Irish Jewish Museum this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

A unique feature in the museum on the 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.

There was more than food for thought here this afternoon, as there should be at all times in interfaith dialogue.

1 comment:

dave said...

It is good to see that an Jewish Museum exists in Ireland. Belfast Cinema.