THE Argus has teamed up with the Jewish History Association of South Wales so that articles about their community are preserved for future generations on a Welsh Government historical website.

The People's Collection Wales site celebrates the rich history of the country by collecting thousands of items from individuals and community groups.

Jewish History Association of South recently received a National Lottery grant of £40,800 to help trace the history and heritage of the Jewish community across the region.

The organisation contacted the Argus to ask for permission for news articles it published to be used on their section of the People's Collection Wales website.

Jewish roots in South Wales stretch back over four centuries.

Swansea’s Jewish burial ground dates from 1768, making it the earliest physical evidence of Jews in Wales while the Cardiff community began in the 1840s, and there remain two synagogues, orthodox and reform.

Between 1848 and 1902, Jewish communities flourished in mining and industrial towns, including three in Gwent – Newport, Brynmawr and Tredegar – as well as Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd and Llanelli.

Notable Welsh Jews include the colourful late Labour MP for Pontypool, Leo Abse as well as former Conservative leader and Home Secretary Michael Howard.

Famous comedians who have Welsh Jewish fathers are Sacha Baron Cohen, of Borat and Ali G fame, and Fantasy Football League’s David Baddiel.

However, Jewish communities in Wales have been in decline since the 1920s due to an ageing population, the migration of children to university, economic downturn and movement to larger cities.

The project aims to capture their heritage while some of the people who remember it and were part of it are still alive to tell their stories.

Reflecting their dwindling presence is a recent story published in the Argus from June 2017 which has been preserved in which Ron Black urged the remaining Jewish people of Gwent to make use of Newport’s last synagogue.

The article said that the house of worship on Risca Road had been used for more than 100 years.

Mr Black, a member of the congregation since 1944, told how the synagogue had originally been used for Jewish funerals.

A Jewish History Association of South Wales spokesman said: “We are delighted to have uploaded our first set of images to the People's Collection Wales website.

“Included are items in the Newport Museum and Art Gallery from the 1940 Heinkel crash (a Nazi bomber which was downed in the city killing two Jewish teenagers) and (Newport toastmaster) Harry Poloway's red coat.

“Also featured are photographs, documents, press cuttings, and minute books from the Newport Hebrew Congregation, including the original 1860 minute book and the charming minute book of their Jewish Literary and Social Institute (1902-1921)."

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