[An original version of this essay appeared on the YAHOO group, email@example.com]
ExOrthodoxJews was a YAHOO discussion group for former members of the Jewish fundamentalist religious experience.
When I was a wee lad, back in the Bronx, the Yiddish sons of Erin would celebrate St Paddys Day at a famous Jewish restaurant on East 14th street. The name of the restaurant escapes me. In my 20s I lived on West 14th street and one year I attempted to get into the restaurant on St Paddys Day. They wouldnt let me in. The whole restuarant was rented by the YSOE for the day.
When I was 18, I worked alongside an Irish Catholic parochial school girl who was not Jew friendly. When I told her that the mayor of Dublin was Jewish, she called me a liar. Actually, Bob Briscoe was voted first Jewish mayor of Dublin in the mid 1950s. His son Ben later succeeded him as the 2nd Jewish mayor.
Until I read James Joyce's ULYSEES, I was unaware of antisemitism in Ireland. Altho antisemitism has existed in Ireland, it has never reached the brutal magnitude as in other European countries. The one exception, the Limerick Pogrom, is detailed in the box to the right. ULYSEES is a very difficult book to read but I suggest you rent the 1960s movie with the great Irish actor Milo Shea who plays the Jewish protagonist, Leon Blum.
Jews first reached Ireland in 1492 when they and the Moors were expelled fom Spain. The Spanish Jewish refugees quickly assimilated into the Irish nation as part of what is known as the "Black Irish". But common Irish names such as Cowan, Donlevy, and Marrano betray a nonCeltic ancestry. The current Jewish community in Erin is Ashkenazic
In the Toledo area, all the Irish restaurants suspend reservations, remove the chairs and tables, and have a flood of Toledean drunks as customers all day. In New York City, I used to look forward to having lunch or dinner at an Irish restaurant.
I am reminded of the story in which the IRA find a man on the street and stick guns in his face, saying, Alright laddie! Are ye a Catholic or a Protestant? The man protests, No, I am a Jew. Aye, says the IRA leader, But are ye a Catholic Jew or a Protestant one?
Although St. Patrick's Day is actually a Catholic religious holiday, it has become a national, nonsectarian holiday for many people, including me.
History of the Jews in Ireland - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Ireland
Prominent Irish Jews
Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 10:13 PM EDT
The Jewish Ledger
Irish Jews have made their mark in history. Here are just a few of the many Irish Jews, past and present, who have rose to prominence. This list was culled from Wikopedia.
Robert Briscoe, member of the Irish Republican Army during the Anglo-Irish War and twice Lord Mayor of Dublin (1956 and 1961).
Ben Briscoe (son of Robert Briscoe), former Fianna Fáil T.D. and Lord Mayor of Dublin (1988).
Michelle Citron, feminist film, video and multimedia producer, scholar and author.
Daniel Day-Lewis, actor (an Irish citizen with Jewish mother).
Gerald Goldberg, Lord Mayor of Cork in 1977.
Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1919 to 1937, later of Palestine and Israel.
Chaim Herzog, sixth President of Israel.
Max Eager (son of George Eager), first Chief Rabbi of Ireland.
Sir Otto Jaffe, Lord Mayor of Belfast (1899 and 1904).
Immanuel Jakobovits, Chief Rabbi of Ireland between 1949 and 1958, later British Chief Rabbi.
Louis Lentin, director (documentary films, television, theatre).
David Marcus, author, editor, broadcaster and lifelong supporter of Irish-language fiction.
Yaakov Pearlman, Ireland's Chief Rabbi.
Alan Shatter, Fine Gael TD and former party spokesperson for justice.
Mervyn Taylor, former Labour Party T.D. and Irish Minister for Equality & Law Reform.
Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, founder of Harland and Wolff shipbuilders.
Max Nurok, Israeli Consul-General to Australia, subsequently Israel's first Ambassador to Australia.
This list from http://www.jewishledger.com/articles/2008/03/12/news/news10.txt
Return To the Essays Index Return to the literary chamber Email King Solomon