Page created: 31 January 2004
Latest revision or update: 29 February 2016
Cork Jewish Community
City of Cork
Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) is the second largest city of the Republic of Ireland. The city is a major port, although situated slightly inland from Ireland’s southern coast proper, sitting on the estuary of the river Lee where it flows into Lough Mahon and thence to Cork Harbour. Although geographically part of County Cork, the city of Cork has a separate administration, and was officially referred to as a “County Borough” until 2001, when the term was formally replace by “City”. Although the city has a population of about 120,000, there are well over 185,000 living in the Greater Cork area.
The Cork Jewish Community
The first Jewish community in Cork, was a relatively small community of Sephardi Jews from Portugal in mid eighteenth century. Relatively little is known of these Jews and it is believe that they did not established a synagogue, although they had their own Jewish burial ground. This community appears to have died out after a short while as a result of intermarriage.
Subsequently, an Ashkenazi Jewish community was established in the late nineteenth century, which founded the Cork Hebrew Congregation in the 1880s. A second congregation, the Remnant of Israel Synagogue, existed in the early twentieth century but this merged after a few years with the Cork Hebrew Congregation. In 1915, there was a breakaway congregation, the Cork Hebrew Congregation in Union Quay, which appears to have closed after only a short period.
The community reached its zenith shortly after Word War I, numbering 400-500 souls, but thereafter numbers gradually continued to declined. By February 2016, only a handful of Jews remained in Cork and, due to these declining communal numbers and unsustainable finances, the Cork Hebrew Congregation's synagogue closed its doors and was sold, bringing to an end some 135 years of continuous Jewish congregational presence in the city. (See more detailed History, reproduced from Cork's Jewish Community and Congregation's official website)
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