Terenure Synagogue

Terenure Synagogue was built in 1953. The five windows in the front are shaped like the Star of David. The Star of David is a symbol of the Jewish religion and is part of the flag of Israel.

This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.

Terenure Synagogue

Do you know what a synagogue is? And do you know whether there are any in Dublin? Well a synagogue is the building where Jewish people go to pray and there is one on Rathfarnham Road in Terenure.

At one time, in the 1950s, there were between 4,000 and 5,000 Jews living in Ireland, most of them in Dublin. There had been some Jews in Dublin from the seventeenth century onwards – they had come from Portugal  and Spain but most came to Ireland from countries in Eastern Europe such as Russia in the 1880s and 1890s because they were persecuted there. They settled in the South Inner City, around Portobello, the South Circular Road and Clanbrassil Street which became known as ‘Little Jerusalem’. It became the centre of Jewish life in Dublin and had a number of Jewish shops. There was also a synagogue on Adelaide Road.

Apart from shop keeping, many of these Jewish families were also involved in the furniture business and the textile industry.

From the 1930s onwards many families moved to bigger houses in Harold’s Cross, Terenure, Rathgar and Rathmines. As they were now too far from their old synagogue on Adelaide Road, they decided to build a new synagogue on the Rathfarnham Road. It was built in 1953.

The synagogue was designed by the architect Wilfrid Cantwell as a modern-style building. He put five windows shaped like the Star of David at the front. The Star of David is a symbol of the Jewish religion and is part of the flag of Israel.

There are two memorials to all the Jews who were persecuted by the Nazis or killed in the Holocaust: a memorial window in the entrance porch and a memorial stone outside in the grounds.

Since the 1950s the Jewish population in Ireland has declined  steadily and today there are less than 2,000 Jews still living in Dublin. There are still two Jewish graveyards in Dublin: the old Jewish graveyard at Fairview Strand in Ballybough which was in use from 1718 until 1908 and the new graveyard in Dolphin’s Barn. There is also a Jewish museum on Walworth Road.

Although the number of Jews living in Ireland is small, they have taken on many roles in Irish life. Dublin, for example, has had two Jewish Lord Mayors, Robert and Ben Briscoe.

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