Chaim Herzog and Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh were childhood friends … one the sixth President of Israel and the other fifth President of Ireland. How so, you ask? Answer is both men were born and raised in Ireland – both Irish lads. Believe it or not moment for many is that yes there are Irish Jews – REAL Jews who happen to be born into and of Irish nationality. The history of Jews in Ireland extends back at least one thousand years – denoted well in Ulysses by James Joyce’s Bloom, as well as other great literary works. Other constructiveness of the two comes from the intermarriage Irish Jewish unions having (literally) given birth to famous and well known people like Daniel Day- Lewis [married to Rebecca Miller – daughter of the great American Jewish playwright Arthur Miller], actors Mathew Broderick [husband of my sister JAP Sara Jessica Parker] and Daniel Radcliffe (yes Harry Potter is Jewish), Brooke Burke [American actress, model, dancer and like myself, breast cancer survivor] and more that celebrate this combined heritage. Not unique really in that we Jews are a diaspora – spread far and wide to every corner of the world , where roots are settled and families grown. This week we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day 2013 and who is not Irish on that festive day – we all feel the warmth, the gaiety and boisterous commonality that this holiday provides our communities.
The earliest reference to Jews in Ireland goes back to the Annals of Innisfallen, in the year 1079. So yes we Jews are noted in mid-evil Irish historical records – there we are as merchants crossing the sea from France. In 1232 King Henry III gives the Jew, Peter de Rivel office of Treasurer/Chancellor of Irish Exchequer, ports, coasts and “custody of the King’s Judaism in Ireland“. We Jews seem to have made permanent residence in Ireland around the fifteenth century. After that – as in so many parts of the world, we established ourselves as merchants, academics, as lawyers and doctors and even government political operatives. Often welcomed and at times facing prejudice but still comfortably living and thriving beside our Irish neighbors of Christian faiths. Persecution and wars have driven we Jews to many lands – Ireland no different and so it is that the Russian pogroms, both WWI and II had us fleeing to and staying in adopted nations like the Emerald Isle. There are synagogues and Jewish museums in Ireland – which I have happily visited. Ireland has a Chief Rabbi – presently Rabbi Mirvis who succeeded Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks in September 2013.
Modernity has presented Ireland with difficulties that we Jews cared about deeply … my own Father, Abraham that I write so often about, made it his [as did many Jews] business to weigh in on and contribute through many organizations a solution to that nation’s so called “The Troubles“. As my REALLY wise Father explained to us [his family], the Irish people suffering is all our sufferings as any man or woman or child in a struggle to exist diminishes every one of us dwelling here on earth. For we Jews and Israel the intrinsic knowing of REAL prejudice and denying of equal status in a nation where we lived for many years is a far too often dealt with reality – in that we saw our Irish brethren torn asunder between Catholic and Protestant sectors. My first husband, David Colin, who I was widowed by in 2001 after almost twenty-one years of marriage was a WASP – yes and part of that denotation was Irish Protestant [other part English and Norwegian]. Dear David converted to Judaism and so one might say that I created a Jewish Irishman through marriage. I reference this fact here as a specification toward how REALLY interlocked seemingly divergent groups can end up being. My country of citizenship – the great U.S.A. produces so many interfaith and multi-nationality people that to not care about any other nations difficulties is a REAL “fool’s paradise“.
On a REALLY personal note – my dear parents Abraham and Mary Solomon, were involved with the Israeli Bond Drive in the 1950’s and so attended events for that effort – there/through that undertaking, they met and friended Lord Mayor Robert Briscoe of Dublin and corresponded with this fine Irish Jew often. I was told he frequently quipped that he spoke “Yiddish with a Braugh accent” and so I dedicated the title of this blog post to him. So let us toast the Irish in us all this weekend – wish well those living in that lovely country and say Mazel Tov to those Irish REALLY happy Jews amongst us. As for me – no beer drinking involved but still loving the parties and parades – celebrating and enjoying the Irish today!!!
P.S. In my memoir, Heiress Mommy … A Modern Super Woman Life! I will detail my REAL travels and REAL very eclecticism life activities – including that I fly-fish – yes this REAL JAP fly fishes and I REALLY have in Ireland Scotland and Wales [among other places]. Here is a photo from my last REAL Ireland trip in late 1990’s – lakeside trail tour (from river) of a newly restored Gothic Church. Looking forward to returning quite soon – I promised Irish friends a book signing event there next year.
Note: I dedicate this blog post to my dear supportive and REALLY amazing friend Valerie Corbett … a citizen of Ireland and a tireless friend and activist in support of all things Jewish and Israel. Hers is a REALLY Christian soul – I love you dear lady and am looking forward to visiting soon with my growing family – will be my REAL third visit to the magnificent Emerald Isle!