Needless to say, I feel a strong sense of personal connection and pride as an Israeli Jew with a direct Irish connection and derive special pleasure from the arrival of these volumes to Israel,” President Isaac Herzog said in a letter
The National Library of Israel has received a genealogical history of Ireland’s Jewish communities, spanning 22 volumes: The documents were presented by Stuart Rosenblatt, head of the Irish Jewish Genealogical Society and president of the Genealogical Society of Ireland.
The Jerusalem Post
The event, made possible by the Irish Embassy and the Israel-Ireland Friendship League (IIFL) and chaired by IIFL Chairman Malcolm Gafson, featured guests such as Irish Ambassador to Israel H.E. Kyle O’Sullivan, NLI Chairman Ambassador Sallai Meridor and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Yossi Havilio.
The documents were presented by Stuart Rosenblatt, head of the Irish Jewish Genealogical Society and president of the Genealogical Society of Ireland, who wrote and compiled the history.
“These volumes are a living history of people who have now no voice,” said Rosenblatt. “Their presence is here in the National Library of Israel. The passage of time in the four corners of Ireland, in every county and town where the wandering Israelites sojourned, is now recorded for posterity. Births, marriages, deaths, census, alien registration, synagogue memberships, home and business addresses, grave details and inscriptions are just a sample in the 22 volumes”.
While compiling the collection, Rosenblatt traveled to all 32 counties in Ireland and Northern Ireland, searching for documents and conducting oral history interviews.
During his studies, Rosenblatt discovered the Alien Register of 1914-1922, which contained the names of people from outside the United Kingdom who lived in Dublin and needed to register themselves with police.
The collection includes information about more than 70,000 people who lived in Ireland from 1700-2021, such as birth, marriage and burial records, naturalization certificates, alien registration forms, school records and records from the 1901 and 1911 censuses.
History of Jewish community in Ireland
The first permanent settlement of Sephardic Jews in Ireland was established in the late 1400s when Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal. Then, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was an influx of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe.
There were 2,557 Jews in Ireland, more than half of whom (1,539) live in Dublin, according to the 2016 census, a 28.9 percent increase from the previous census in 2011.
by Mark Weiss
Thirty years of research that led to the creation of a 22-volume genealogical history of the Jews in Ireland has been presented to the National Library of Israel at a ceremony in Jerusalem on Monday, attended by Ireland’s ambassador to Israel, Kyle O’Sullivan.
The compiler of the archive, Stuart Rosenblatt, president of the Irish Jewish Genealogical Society, explained that a phone call from his sister launched the three-decades-long labour of love to create the definitive history of Irish Jews.
In the call, his sister informed him that she had found the naturalisation and birth certificates of their father which showed his mother was not the grandmother they knew, causing a controversy in the family.
Over the years, Mr Rosenblatt’s work grew to trace no fewer than 72,000 names of Jews who have lived in Ireland, their ancestors and descendants from all over the world. Now, anyone with an Irish Jewish connection can quickly trawl through generations in seconds.
The first permanent settlement of Jews in Ireland was established in 1497 following their expulsion from Spain and Portugal, but most of the Jews in Ireland came from Lithuania, Poland and Russia at the end of the 19th century, fleeing pogroms and poverty.
Many believed they were going to the United States but were tricked by unscrupulous ship captains. One immigrant unable to speak English who landed in Limerick took two weeks to realise that he was in Ireland.
Most stayed and flourished, enjoying the relative tolerance absent elsewhere. By 1904 the total Jewish population had reached an estimated 4,800. In the 1950s, there were 4,500 Jews in Dublin, and another 1,000 elsewhere.
“The Jews arrived and brought up their families in Ireland, contributing greatly to the benefit and welfare of the State. They became model citizens,” Mr Rosenblatt said. “They were law abiding with very few incidents of crime.”
Three other copies of the genealogical history exist in Ireland’s National Museum, the Irish National Archives, the Genealogical Society and Ireland’s Jewish museum.
Ambassador O’Sullivan said it made sense to bring the collection to Jerusalem: “It tells a good story, a story many of us didn’t know.”