Jewish History Association of South Wales/Cymdeithas Hanes Iddewig De Cymru (JHASW/CHIDC).
The Cardiff Reform Community was founded in 1948. A community consists of buildings, artefacts (religious or otherwise) and people. Each has a story to tell but who in the current century wishes to listen and, having listened, how can they be recorded?
Members of CRS over the past 74 years were not only born in Wales. Their ancestors lived in many parts of the globe and some settled in Wales. Some stays were transient, some permanent. Some were professionals, others were in trade and many were workers but all have a story to tell, often supported by photographs. However, the passage of time results in family histories, stories and photographs being lost. In 2008 the Hineni project recorded the tales of 60 members of CRS and issued a booklet (copies still available) but then, nothing. No one went behind those stories or updated them.
In 2017 the Jewish History Association of South Wales/Cymdeithas Hanes Iddewig De Cymru (JHASW/CHIDC) was formed. It became a registered charity the following year. It is the only Jewish heritage organisation based in South Wales and aims to uncover, document, preserve and share the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Jewish communities of South Wales. (The Foundation for Jewish Heritage is concerned with preservation of the Merthyr Synagogue building only).
CRS and JHASW/CHIDC have had a warm and fruitful relationship over the last 5 years. Mounted on the back wall of the synagogue is a wooden tablet, illuminated by a light that is never extinguished. Inscribed on the tablet are the names of 102 individuals related to members of the congregation who were murdered in the Shoah. They have no graves but their names are inscribed. Of course these are not simply names. They are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Their lives deserved to be remembered, just as their deaths are commemorated. Many, if not all, of the descendants of these names have died or left Cardiff and little was known about many of the people listed and so JHASW/CHIDC was able to secure funding to research all the names and ensure that a permanent record of their lives were preserved.
This is the link to the Memorial Tablet Research.
Another JHASW/CHIDC project is to record oral testimonies. We are all different. There may be similarities but we are individuals. The life stories of many members or former members of the South Wales Jewish community (not just CRS members) have been recorded and if you are approached please say “yes”. Please contact JHASW/CHIDC if we have not approached you. You are part of a much larger story and who will be there to tell it when you are no longer?
Stanley Soffa BEM.
Please click here to visit the JHASW/CHIDC website!