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Ordinands pay end–of–semester visit to Irish Jewish Museum
Added on Saturday 24th December 2011

visit to irish jewish museumThe first semester of the Academic Year has come to a close at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, with students back in their home parishes and placement parishes for the Christmas celebrations.

Before the semester came to an end, part–time students and full–time students celebrated the year’s end with their traditional, season parties and reviews.

In the closing days of the semester, a group of Year II students also visited the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin as part of the Liturgy and Spirituality module on the MTh course, and were accompanied by their lecturer, Canon Patrick Comerford.

The small museum on Walworth Road in Portobello is in a part of Dublin that once had such a prominent Jewish community that it was known to generations of Dubliners as “Little Jerusalem.” The museum is housed in a former synagogue that was built in 1917 when two adjoining terraced houses off the South Circular Road were knocked together.

The museum was opened in June 1985 by Chaim Herzog, then President of Israel. He was born in Belfast and grew up in Dublin, the son of a Chief Rabbi of Ireland.

Mrs Debbie Briscoe and Mr Howard Freeman showed the visiting students around the traditional synagogue upstairs and the exhibits on the ground floor. A unique feature in the museum on the ground floor is a traditional kitchen, with double kitchen sinks and a typical Sabbath meal setting from a Jewish home of the late 19th and early 20th century in this neighbourhood.

Mrs Briscoe and Mr Freeman also recalled the history of Jews in Ireland over the centuries, including the communities in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Belfast, and the contribution over the centuries of Irish Jews to Irish political, social and cultural life.

“In the days leading up to Chanukah and Christmas, this was an opportunity to appreciate the Jewish community’s understanding of sacred space, worship and inculturation, and the story of an important religious and cultural community in Ireland,” Canon Comerford said after the visit. “There was more than food for thought during this visit, as there should be at all times in interfaith dialogue,” he added.

[Caption: CITI students Rob Clements (Dublin and Glendalough) and Andrew Campbell (Connor) visiting the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)]