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Twenty-two volumes accumulated of Jewish history in Ireland

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Stuart Rosenblatt, president of the National Archives and the Genealogical Society of Ireland, is seen with the then-Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh in August 2015, when he presented his definitive volume of Jewish history to the Dublin city archive and public library. (Screencap: YouTube)

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You certainly have heard the name Stuart Rosenblatt if you are a member of the Irish Jewish community or had some interaction with them. He has been the ‘clan genealogist’ for over 25 years now and documents family information covering centuries.

He cited the passing away of his parents as the moment that spurred this voyage: “Naturally, like all of us lesser mortals we leave this realm one day and as the real library of family details are no longer with us, making contact with our ancestors is all the more difficult.”

Over time, covering his own family tree branched off and evolved to a record that now spans 70,000 individual names of ascendants and descendants in what seems to be every country in the world. He notably helped uncover a story, published in the Irish Examiner, where IRA legend Michael Collins hid among the ‘chosen people’ and even disguised as an Orthodox Jewish man. Collins once even cursed at the British in what sounded like Yiddish, with Reverend Gudansky of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation whispering in his ear.

The archives date as far back as 1555 (when most Irish Jews were Sephardim from Spain). However, most today are Ashkenazim whose ancestors came from Lithuania and other bordering countries in the 1870s.

Many a time, unscrupulous captains and port agents who sold tickets deceived them saying it was the United States and not knowing the English language disembarked in Cork thinking it was New York. 

“America’s loss was Ireland’s gain,” he says.

This conglomerate of East European individuals settled in the area of Dublin which would be dubbed Little Jerusalem. Today, their descendants have emigrated to almost every country in the world, notably the UK, Israel and the US. Others live in Australia, Canada and as far away as Vietnam. 

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The records have much detail from birthplace, place of burial to schools they attended. From a high of 4,500 in the 1950s to less than 500 individuals nowadays in Dublin, Belfast and Cork. There are 6 congregations, 2 have no shul.

He has compiled 22 volumes of information in the National Archives and the Genealogical Society of Ireland of which he is currently President. The Irish Jewish Museum also has copies. All of these highlight the importance of his research.

“Maybe in 100 years, someone may look for my ancestry – from my father’s side they come from Zarnow, Poland and my mother’s in Akmene, Lithuania,” Rosenblatt adds.

So, his task on writing Irish Jewish genealogy is simply something that grew thanks to much dedication.

He requests those of Irish Jewish descent to come forth if they have information that would add to these important records that connect families with their ancestral ties. “They will receive an outline of the family tree in return,” he says. The website is www.irishjewishroots.com and he can be reached directly via [email protected]

Avi Kumar is a historian of Sri Lankan descent who lives in New York.

He has a unique spin on current affairs.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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