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A photocopy of a booklet by Alban Levy entitled 'History of the Cardiff New Synagogue' dated 1973. The booklet was written to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the formation of the Cardiff New Synagogue (later Cardiff Reform Synagogue). Levy begins by describing the turbulent early years of the synagogue following its official formation in 1948, before noting the exciting "firsts" of its congregation and then moving on to its eventual triumphs making this booklet as much a celebration as a historical account.

Details of note:

1) The conflict between this new Reform Synagogue and the already established Orthodox community in Cardiff.

A number of the Orthodox Jewish community felt wary and threatened by the progressive practices of Reform Judaism including the acceptance of intermarriage (marriage between Jews and Gentiles).

The Cardiff United Synagogue (Orthodox) took a particularly tough stance against the Cardiff New Synagogue. Barely two weeks after the New Synagogue's formation the United Synagogue made amendments to its constitution, effectively removing its membership privileges from anyone attending the New Synagogue. This, among other lost rights, meant that all members of the congregation of the New Synagogue were no longer allowed to buy kosher meat. Following the Chief Rabbi's intervention, the kosher butchers in Cardiff were instructed that they must not "refuse to sell kosher meat to any of their registered customers whether they are members of the Cardiff United Synagogue or not" (page 4, paragraph 2).

2) The trials and tribulations of not having a permanent Place of Worship.

In 1948 the temporary place of worship for the Cardiff New Synagogue was the Temple of Peace and it remained so until 1952 when a converted Methodist chapel in Moira Terrace was acquired as its permanent Synagogue. The congregation worships there to this day.
Source: 'The Growth of Cardiff's Jewish community' in 'The History of the Jewish Diaspora in Wales' by Cai Parry-Jones, p.276 (

3) The important role played by the Ladies' Guild.

The Ladies' Guild of the Cardiff New Synagogue was formed on 8 May 1950. The author of the booklet highlights the hard work of the Guild's members and emphasises the importance of the events that they organised to raise much needed funds for the community.

4) The Chevrah Kadisha.

Alban Levy describes his role as Funeral Secretary in the Synagogue's Chevrah Kadisha (a 'sacred society' which has the duty of preparing the dead for burial). He claims that few Reform Synagogues have their own Chevrah Kadisha.
Source: 'Chevrah Kadisha' (

Depository: Glamorgan Archives.

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