IJM Annual Heritage Week Event | August 20th, 2017 @3.30pm


Pulse of the Past: Reviving Memories of the Jewish Diaspora

Join Dublin-based poet Gerry Mc Donnell, Russian-born writer Margarita Meklina, world-touring pianist, violinist and composer Maja Elliott along with Klezmer clarinettist Alain Halimi and Yiddish singer Carl Nelkin in a unique afternoon of literature and music to celebrate the 2017 European Days of Jewish Culture.

The event is a confluence of Jewish history in the form of words and music bringing together the rich heritage of Jews in Ireland and other countries. Here, the Jews of the old cemetery in Ballybough in Dublin speak from beyond the grave, giving us an insight into their lives in the 19th century. The musical instruments which are mentioned in the poems are piano and violin which will accompany the spoken words in the event. We will also explore the lyrical world of a Jewish boy who escapes Tsarist Russia to live side-by-side with gauchos in Argentina, in a Jewish colony sponsored by the philanthropist Maurice de Hirsch. The Jewish community has lessened over the years so it is doubly important to preserve the memories of those who walked the streets of our cities and who believed it was ‘better to carry a burden on the shoulder rather than a worry in the heart.’

Reserve a seat: email info@jewishmuseum.ie | Admission 7 eu / 5 eu 

Find out more about Heritage Week.


GERRY MC DONNELL was born in 1950 and lives in Dublin. He has had five collections of poetry published and has written for stage, radio and television. His interest in Irish Jewry has resulted in the play Song of Solomon, a chapbook Jewish Influences in Ulysses and a collection of monologues, Mud Island Elegy, in which Jews of 19thcentury Ireland speak about their lives from beyond the grave. Lost and Found depicts a homeless Jew wandering in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Mud Island Anthology, concerning ‘ordinary’ Dublin gentiles who lived in the latter half of the 20th century, was published by Lapwing Publications in 2009 and is a companion collection to the Elegypoems. In 2015, Lapwing published I Heard an Irish Jew, a selection of poetry and prose which has been translated into Romanian. He is a member of the Writers Guild of Ireland and the Irish Writers’ Union.

Award-winning author MARGARITA MEKLINA has published six collections of short stories in Russia. Her first novel in English The Little Gaucho Who Loved Don Quixote is an imaginatively told story of a Jewish boy Naftali and his family in Imperial Russia’s Pale of Settlements. As one reviewer noted, “Naftali’s place as an outsider, by virtue of his religion, and the world he saw around his family there, turn the story from simple fictional adventure into near cinematic verisimilitude. Sparked by literature, his imagination is in thrall to questing knights on horseback; Naftali lives this familiar alternative reality of childhood within the difficult surroundings of his life in that uncomfortable time and place.”

MAJA ELLIOTT trained to be a concert pianist at the Guildhall School of Music in London and has performed worldwide. Her music has often been heard on Lyric FM. She combines classical, jazz and ethnic influences with an intuitive flair for improvisation. In presence of President Higgins, she synchronised live piano to a film about the Irish poet Richard Murphy. With Margarita Meklina, Ms. Elliott composed music-to-text and toured in Russia and Sweden. She also sings ethnic and traditional songs and plays the violin. “Maja’s piano playing has touched me. She is so sensitive, holding notes in fearless witness of subtle emotions” (Antony and the Johnsons)

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