Feb 23,2007
Travel And Adventure: No blarney … museum chronicles Ireland’s Jews
by Marilyn Zeitlin

She stood holding a prayer book and reading aloud. She wore an emerald green dress and her hair, shiny auburn, rested on her shoulders and sleeves. From a side view, I could see freckles on her face. She was the quintessential, pretty Irish lass. And she was reading Hebrew from her prayer book. Elsa Humphreys had driven from Belfast to Dublin because “the synagogue in Belfast is too Orthodox,” she told me. She preferred a more “progressive” service.

JEWISH MUSEUM – This unobtrusive building with signs in Hebrew and English is the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin. The Hebrew sign says: ‘The Great Synagogue.’ CNS Photos by Marilyn Zeitlin.

CURATOR – Raphael Siev is the curator of the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin. Irish Jews have lived in Ireland for centuries.
There were about 50 Irish Jews reading and singing in Hebrew – adults and children – led by a three-woman choir. It was only after the service, when people spoke to each other in English, that I knew this was “The Emerald Isle,” because their accents, in English, were so Irish!