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Encyclopedia Judaica: Cardiff, Wales

CARDIFF, Welsh seaport. In 1537, a sea captain who had contracted to convey a number of *New Christians from Lisbon to London made them disembark instead in Cardiff and exacted blackmail for taking them on to Flanders. A small community was established in 1840 and Lord Bute presented a plot of ground for use as a cemetery in the following year. The reputed founder of the community, which in 1852 had 13 members, was Mark Marks, an auctioneer, father of the painter B.S. Marks (1827–1916). After the influx of Jews from Russia at the end of the 19th century, the Jewish population rapidly increased. Cardiff, with its growing prosperity, replaced *Swansea as the principal Jewish center in Wales. In 1968 there were two associated Orthodox synagogues with ancillary institutions, a Reform congregation and an active Jewish life. In 1968 the Jewish population numbered approximately 3,500. In the mid-1990s the Jewish population dropped to approximately 1,200. The 2001 British census found 941 Jews by religion in Cardiff. In the early 21st century Cardiff had an Orthodox and a Reform synagogue as well as a range of Jewish institutions.


M. Dennis, in: Cajex, magazine of Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, Cardiff, vols. 1–5 (1950–55), subsidiary articles in later issues; P. Grunebaum-Ballin, Joseph Naci, duc de Naxos (1968), 31. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: JYB, 2004.

[Cecil Roth]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.