21 November 2009

Wales: Oldest synagogue to be converted

The oldest Welsh synagogue will be converted to apartments, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

The 1870s' Neo-Gothic synagogue in Merthyr Tydfil - the only one known to incorporate a Welsh dragon in its architectural design - has been closed since 1983. Now empty and a target for vandals, it was used as a Christian community center and gym.

A company in Warwickshire plans to convert the Grade II listed historic building into eight apartments, and will leave the exterior intact as well as maintaining the synagogue's Magen David stained glass windows.

Today, some 2,000 Jews live in Wales, about half of the total living there in the early 20th-century. Only about a dozen live in the town today, and most Welsh Jews live in Cardiff, which has an Orthodox and a Reform synagogue.

Read more at the Jewish Chronicle.

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