The last synagogue in Cork has closed because there is “no money left,” bringing to an end 135 years of Jewish history in the Irish city.
Desperate trustees said they “tried everything” to save the South Terrace site, operational since 1905, but that with “no money, no members, and no future,” they had been forced to accept a situation.
“We are down in numbers. We couldn’t support a rabbi, a Hebrew school, a synagogue,” said Fred Rosehill, chairman of trustees at Cork Hebrew Congregation.
“We tried everything. It has come to the stage that there is no money left. If someone gave us money in the morning it wouldn’t matter – we don’t have the members to sustain it.”
Cork’s Jews are now spread all over the world, he said, leaving for social and economic reasons. “They went to make a life. They won’t come back here.”
The first wave of Jewish emigration to Cork was in 1772 with the influx of Sephardic Jews from Portugal. At its peak, it reached 400 members.
At least seven Cork families made aliyah. In recent years, the shul has been sustained by 14 Jews from Dublin, who travelled to Cork to ensure there were enough people present.