The Jewish History Association of South Wales (JHASW) was established in November 2017 with the aim to uncover, document, preserve, and share the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Jewish communities of south Wales.
We launched an ambitious project to tell the story of Jewish people in south Wales. The community has links back to the 1730s when, according to oral tradition, the first settlement was established in Swansea. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were small Jewish communities in many of the south Wales valleys, as well as larger ones in the main towns.
According to The Jewish Yearbook, in Merthyr
- in 1919, there were 400 Jews.
- in 1939, there were 175 Jews.
- in 1959, there were 40 Jews.
- in 1999, George Black “The Last Jew in Merthyr”, died aged 82.
The decline of the Jewish community in Merthyr was, for the most part, echoed throughout south Wales, due to an ageing population, the migration of children to university, economic downturn, and movement to larger communities.
The Jewish community has made a wide-ranging contribution to life across south Wales. Individuals, whose roots are in the local Jewish communities, have, over the past 250 years, excelled in many fields, including the area’s economic, social, political and artistic life.
It is vital to record the stories of those still living before they are lost forever.
JHASW is a Registered Charity in England and Wales.
Charity Registration number: 1178852.