Chabad opening new centre in Dublin to cater for growing Irish-Jewish community
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Chabad opening new centre in Dublin to cater for growing Irish-Jewish community

Former Irish justice minister Alan Shutter welcomes new community hub in Rathmines as 'positive and good development'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Location for new Jewish centre in Dublin
Location for new Jewish centre in Dublin

Chabad is opening a new Jewish centre in Dublin to cater for an expected further increase in the size of the community in the Republic of Ireland.

The Orthodox Jewish community-outreach group are to build the new premises – which will provide kosher food, plus café and restaurant facilities, torah classes, and Shabbat dinners – on the site of a former Chinese restaurant in the Rathmines area.

Chabad Ireland  say the centre, which will be run by by Rabbi Zalman Lent and Rifky Lent, is necessary to cater for “changing demographics within the Irish-Jewish community”. 

Expected to open in September it will be situated close to a synagogue in the Terenure area.

Alan Shatter, the former Fine Gael TD and justice minister, told the Sunday Times that the centre will “fill a gap for Jewish people who may want to use such a centre and see it as advantageous.

“It’s a positive and good development, and I wish him [Rabbi Lent] well with it.”

The last 2016 census had shown an increase in the number of Jews living in Ireland, with  2,557 Jewish people there compared with 1,984 in 2011. 

Figures from the 2022 census have yet to be published, although they are expected to show a further rise in community numbers. 

Rabbi Zalman and Rebbetzin Rifky Lent

Shatter said the Jewish population had grown as young executives with multinational companies such as Facebook and Google moved to Ireland for work.

There was also a rise in those working in the pharmaceutical industry.He praised the “disproportionate” impact that the community had made to Irish life over many generations.

The first Jews arrived in Cork after a small number of Sephardic Jews were expelled from Portugal and Spain in the 15th century. 

Portuguese Jews established the first synagogue in Ireland in 1660.

Maurice Cohen, chairman of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, urged commentators to wait for the publication  of the 2022 census before properly assessing the size of the community in the Republic.

In contrast to the optimism in the Republic, there have been claims, repeated by UK government ministers, that the tiny Northern Irish community in Belfast faces a struggle to continue.

Supplies of kosher food, as a result of the conditions of the post Brexit protocol, are said to be under threat.

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