Ernest Rosehill fled persecution and pogroms in Tsarist Russia and, like many of his compatriots with their poor English and scant resources, ended up in the unlikely city of Cork in south west Ireland. After rescuing members of his family, he opened a music shop on the city’s Grand Parade, where he purveyed records and instruments for decades to follow. A synagogue was opened in 1915 for the flourishing Cork Hebrew community. It overflowed on the Sabbath of every week. However, as the young Jewish left Cork for education or marriage opportunities the community declined and the synagogue finally closed in 2016, leaving some of its treasures to Cork Public Museum.
This display needed to tell a big story that would fit into the museum surroundings and into a constrained space. A background mural of a tree pulled together the various textual and photographic elements. A disused, deconsecrated Ark was repurposed into a lighted, environmentally controlled display cabinet for a Torah, a silver yad (or pointer), a Kippah, a prayer book and a number of children’s relics. A purpose-built cabinet displays a large restored tablecloth with embroidered inscriptions of the community’s births, deaths and marriages. A wooden pew allows for rest and contemplation at the display.
The photo shows writer and Jewish historian Yanky Fachler helping us translate the inscription on the front plate of the Torah.
The beautiful image of the yad (or pointer) lying on the Torah was taken by photographer Clare Keogh.