For any visitor to Dublin’s rustic Irish Jewish Museum, the warm-natured, red-bearded curator Raphael Siev was more than a familiar face: he was a fount of information and an admired Irish-Jewish leader.
Siev, 73, died of a short illness in the last week of January, during which he had insisted upon speaking at a Holocaust memorial event, The Independent newspaper in Dublin reported.
Dublin native Carl Nelkin synthesizes his dual musical heritages and releases an Irish-inflected Holocaust album.
Standing on the bima behind a golden menorah, an emerald green leprechaun read from the megillah last Purim, a plush green top hat perched on his head and a red Irish-chasidish beard glued onto his flushed cheeks.
There have been Jews in Ireland since at least 1079, when the Annals of Innisfallen records the arrival of five, probably merchants from Rouen, on the island. As recently as the late 1940s there were over 5,000 Jews living in Ireland, but that number has dropped steadily since then and the Jewish population is now slightly more than a 1,000. Yet Ireland’s Jews have been, for the most part, a welcome part of their communities, successful in business and, above all, in politics; Jews have served repeatedly as Lord Mayors of Dublin and Cork.
What’s one of the world’s greatest rock stars doing at a Jewish benefit dinner? The answer came Monday night when Bono, the voice and wordsmith driving the fabulously popular band U2, became the first rock and roll personality to receive the Humanitarian Laureate Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Bono, a 43-year-old native of Dublin, was honored for his international campaign to raise public awareness of the AIDS epidemic killing millions in Africa and forgive the crushing monetary debt of poverty-stricken Third World countries.