During the pandemic, in a number of round-ups and individual posts, we’ve highlighted many virtual Jewish heritage experiences, including online tours of synagogues, Jewish quarters, Jewish museums, and other sites.
Here’s another that has struck a chord — a Virtual Walk through the Jewish heritage and history in Cork, Ireland, a city, as we have reported, whose only remaining synagogue was closed in 2016 due to the dwindling number of Jews. It is now an Adventist church.
The Walk, and its web page — launched in mid-August — is a project by the performance artist Ruti Lachs, who is active in the Munster Jewish Community, a “broad mix of Jews living, working, studying or visiting Munster, the South-West corner of Ireland,” that was formed after the closure of the Cork Synagogue. It describes itself as “an eclectic and inclusive mix of all Jews living, or staying in the Munster area, and wishing to take part in Jewish events/festivals.”
The Virtual Walk came about as “a follow-on from research for the 2020 musical play, Green Feather Boa, set in the Cork Jewish Community a hundred years earlier.” Both projects were supported by Cork City Council.
The virtual tour is presented by Lachs and Marnina Winkler, a PhD candidate and local Jewish historian, and it also includes interviews, stories, and music.
Though accessible as a video on YouTube — the Tour anchors a web page that provides links to further reading and other resources.
The Jewish community was founded mainly in the late 19th century by immigrants from Lithuania who may or may not have actually been heading for New York.
Gerald Goldberg, the son of immigrants, was born in Cork in 1912 and served as the city’s Lord Mayor in 1977-78. (He was also a president of the synagogue.)
In 2017, a year after the synagogue closure, the Cork Public Museum opened an ongoing permanent exhibition on local Jewish history called “The Tsar, the Rosehills and the Music Shop.”
At its core is a selection of artefacts from the closed synagogue that were presented to the museum for permanent display.