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Disgrifiad

Hebrew alphabet cards used by the Newport (MON) Hebrew Congregation, Newport, 1900s. The cards were used to teach children who attended the synagogue's cheder, (the school for Jewish children in which Hebrew and religious knowledge are taught). The Newport synagogue's Hebrew School grew following the appointment of Alexander Hyams as headmaster in 1905. At that time, 22 boys and 12 girls were enrolled in the school and four classes were formed, meeting five times weekly. Immediately after the first world war, the number of students attending the Hebrew School increased to one hundred. However, membership subsequently declined and when Mr Hyams retired in 1945, the number of pupils at the Newport Hebrew School had reached its "lowest ebb".

The images represent one or two letters and have probably been used as numbers (n dates and in Bible references, Hebrew letters can have a numerical function: https://hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_Eight/Letters_as_Numbers/letters_as_numbers.html).

- Image 1: yud tet = 19;
- Image 2: yud gimel = 13;
- Image 3: lamed = 30;
- Image 4: aleph = 1.

Newport Monmouthshire Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1859 by orthodox Jews meeting at a temporary synagogue in Llanarth Street. A synagogue at Francis Street was opened in 1869 and consecrated by the Chief Rabbi Dr Herman Adler in 1871. In 1934 the congregation moved to the Nathan Harris Memorial Hall in Queen’s Hill which was converted to a synagogue. In 1997 this synagogue was closed, and the congregation moved to the Prayer House by the Jewish Burial Ground on Risca Road. Within 20 years the congregation had dwindled to a few members able to attend and this too had ceased to hold services.

Sources:
“History of our Shul. The First Hundred Years", published by Newport Congregation in 1959;
Oral history interviews with members of the Newport Mon Hebrew Congregation, recorded in 2018 by JHASW.

Depository: Gwent Archives.

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