James Joyce's Leopold Bloom--the atheistic Everyman of Ulysses, son of a Hungarian Jewish father and an Irish Protestant mother--may have turned the world's literary eyes on Dublin, but those who look to him for history should think again. He could hardly have been a product of the city's bona fide Jewish community, where intermarriage with outsiders was rare and piety was pronounced. In Jewish Ireland in the Age of Joyce, a leading economic historian tells the real story of how Jewish Ireland--and Dublin's Little Jerusalem in particular--made ends meet from the 1870s, when the first Lithuanian Jewish immigrants landed in Dublin, to the late 1940s, just before the community began its dramatic decline. In 1866--the year Bloom was born--Dublin's Jewish population hardly existed, and on the eve of World War I it numbered barely three thousand. But this small group of people quickly found an economic niche in an era of depression, and developed a surprisingly vibrant web of institutions. In a richly detailed, elegantly written blend of historical, economic, and demographic analysis, Cormac O Grada examines the challenges this community faced.
He asks how its patterns of child rearing, schooling, and cultural and religious behavior influenced its marital, fertility, and infant-mortality rates. He argues that the community's small size shaped its occupational profile and influenced its acculturation; it also compromised its viability in the long run. Jewish Ireland in the Age of Joyce presents a fascinating portrait of a group of people in an unlikely location who, though small in number, comprised Ireland's most resilient immigrant community until the Celtic Tiger's immigration surge of the 1990s.
Cormac O Grada is Professor of Economics at University College Dublin. His seven previous books include "Black '47 and Beyond" (Princeton), which won the 2000 James J. Donnelly, Sr., Prize for Best Book on Irish History or Social Studies and was one of "Choice"'s Outstanding Academic Books of 1999.
List of Illustrations and Tables ix Acknowledgments xi INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER 1: Arrival and Context 9 Leaving Home: History and Memory 12 The Migration in Context 21 CHAPTER 2: "England-Ireland" and Dear Dirty Dublin 30 Mortality 33 Living Standards 40 Interwar Dublin 41 Water and Sanitation 42 The Jewish Community in Context 43 CHAPTER 3: "They Knew No Trade But Peddling" 45 The Weekly Men 47 The Old and the New Peddling 56 "The Jewman Moneylender" 61 CHAPTER 4: Self-Employment, Social Mobility 72 Artisans 72 Occupational Mobility 73 Immigrants as Entrepreneurs and Workers 84 Technical Appendix: More on Age and Occupational Choice in the United States 92 CHAPTER 5: Settling In 94 Housing and Settlement 94 Six Streets in Little Jerusalem 105 Within-Street Clustering 108 Cork and Belfast Jewries 115 CHAPTER 6: Schooling and Literacy 122 CHAPTER 7: The Demography of Irish Jewry 129 The 1911 Population Census 131 The Fertility Transition 134 Jewish and Gentile Fertility 136 Infant and Child Mortality 143 Mortality in Jewish Ireland 147 Culture Mattered 152 Technical Appendix: Accounting for the Variation in Fertility and Infant/Child Mortality 154 CHAPTER 8: Culture, Family, Health 160 Litvak Culture 164 Food, Drink, and Health 171 CHAPTER 9: Newcomer to Neighbor 178 In the Beginning 179 Remembering Limerick 191 Autobiographical Memory 194 Social Learning across Communities? 200 A Note on Litigation between Jews 202 CHAPTER 10: Ich Geh Fun "Ire"land 204 Religion 205 From Little Jerusalem to Rathgar and Beyond 206 Decline 209 APPENDIX 1: Letters to One of the Last "Weekly Men" 217 APPENDIX 2: Mr. Parnell Remembers 221 APPENDIX 3: Louis Hyman, Jessie Bloom, and The Jews of Ireland 224 Notes 229 Bibliography 271 Index 295