The Irish Jewish Museum actively promotes education in the basics of Judaism and Jewish history, with particular attention to the Holocaust. The museum works with teachers to tailor a programme to fit their students’ needs. Suitable for all levels. A donation of 3 euro per student is kindly requested. You are very welcome to contact us for school programs and learning groups. Learn more about school tours here.
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What is Judaism?
That is a hard question. As with many areas regarding the Jewish people, there are multiple answers.
Judaism is religion, family, community, culture, social law, moral law, diet and political structure. It’s a large concept that perhaps can be broken down into the following: Judaism is the expression of faith by which the Jewish people live. It is a physical, cultural and spiritual lifestyle centered around the commandments of Torah as given to the Jewish people by the Creator, G-d.
You will find many aspects of the ‘Jewish’ (through the lens of Judaism) lifestyle displayed within the Jewish Musuem. The Major Holidays and life events are curated for and our staff are more than ready and willing to walk and talk visitors through our displays, explaining the milestones of the Jewish year and Jewish life.
JEWS IN IRELAND
The earliest reference to the Jews in Ireland was in the year 1079. The Annals of Inisfallen record “Five Jews came from over sea with gifts to Tairdelbach (king of Munster), and they were sent back again over sea.” They were probably merchants from Normandy (source).
No further reference is found until nearly a century later, in the reign of Henry II of England. That monarch, fearful lest an independent kingdom should be established in Ireland, prohibited a proposed expedition there. Strongbow, however, went in defiance of the king’s orders; and, as a result, his estates were confiscated. In his venture Strongbow seems to have been assisted financially by a Jew; for under the date of 1170 the following record occurs: “Josce Jew of Gloucester owes 100 shillings for an amerciament for the moneys which he lent to those who against the king’s prohibition went over to Ireland.” (Jacobs, “Jews of Angevin England,” p. 51).
The Irish Jewish Museum currently receives school groups from all over Ireland who come to pursue their studies in world Religions and History. The museum provides a speaker for each group on the subject(s) of their interest and gives a guided tour of the museum.
The subject of the Holocaust is normally integrated into the talks as part of the history of the Jewish people. There is a special emphasis given to the experience of the Holocaust as it relates to Ireland. For this, we draw upon the exhibits at the museum including those on Ettie Steinberg, (A Dublin victim of Auschwitz), the Dublin bombings, letters of appeal on behalf of refugees, and notification of the termination of the Jewish secretary to the German legation in 1933.