April 14, 2006

Who ever heard of an Irish Jew?

Well according to Leslie Bunder in Something Jewish, the Irish census authorities haven't heard of an Irish Jew or they would have made a space other than "other" for Irish Jews to register their faith/ethnicity on the form for the forthcoming census.
Irish Jews has reacted with concern that their country’s latest census which takes place on April 23 does not contain a box to record being a member of the Jewish faith despite other religious groups including Muslims and Presbyterians having a box to register their religion.

The only option open to them is a "other" category box which the community believes will not enable them to gather any meaningful data about the make up of the community.

"It's a pity and unhelpful that the Central Statistics Office didn't include a category," Carl Nelkin, vice chairman of the Representative Council of Ireland told the Jewish Telegraph newspaper.

"We're hoping they'll write Jewish, but we just don't know. Last time the numbers were encouraging, but if there were a specific category it would help," he added.

In 1946, there were just under 4000 Jews in Ireland, while in 2002 that number was down to 1790 and according to some, there has been a recent influx of Jews from around the world settling in the Emerald Isle and having accurate information on the Jewish community would enable the country to reflect its provision of services to them.
There have been various prominent Irish Jews including two mayors of Dublin (Robert and Ben Briscoe) and one of Cork (Gerald Goldberg). I heard a story that Gerald Goldberg opened a bridge which became known as the Passover. According to Wikipedia, it's true. Anyway, perhaps the best known Irish Jew (among politicals that is) is the late Chaim Herzog, once President of the State of Israel. I'm guessing that naitve presidents of Israel are still in a minority, like their prime ministers but I;m not sure.

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