Jews have been coming to Ireland since the 18th century; some earlier than that. But by far the greater number, some 4500-5000 arrived during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Now there is one Jew in Limerick, perhaps 2-3 elderly souls in Cork: less than 1000 in Dublin, and declining. Just Resting will be a forty minute documentary examination of Arrival and Departure, with the emphasis on why the Departure.
Irish Jews have over the years contributed highly to the arts, professions and politically, but for many there is a sense of a "glass ceiling"... so far but no further. Is that what is causing the present decline in numbers? Is there just an absence of Yiddishkeit or perhaps of greater importance, a deep sense of being Irish, sufficient to hold them here? The young leave! Those of a retiring age also depart! In ten years time the community will be almost defunct.
So what is it? Am I here like so many others, simply because my grandparents came here in the late 19th.century? Almost all Irish Jews name Akhmean, a Lithunian shtetl as their hinterland. I don't have a past except within my own life: I don't really have roots. Without a tradition can there be modernity? Does it take generations to realise that Ireland is or was just a resting place in the eternal search for a home? ". Is Ireland unique in this?
For my friends
and colleagues the fact that I am Jewish does not impinge. I am sure this applies
to most. But for many Jews, being Jewish in a predominantly Catholic society
is in itself an impinging factor. Are Irish Jews holding in their subconscious
something we cannot or do not want to articulate, or is it just the age-old
desire to better oneself? Far off hills seem green, although you can't get much
greener than the Emerald Isle.
An evocative blend of memories, buildings, remains, sites with the reality progression of opinions, explanations from those who left, those who stay. Lets knock on the glass ceiling, does it really exist or is a figment of the imagination? Ireland is a lovely country. It can be, is and was for many a good life. Which raises the question of materialism and is it ever enough? Why the Irish Jewish Diaspora in England, America, South Africa and of course Israel? Can it just be the old Jewish urge to move on? Just Resting intends to find out