From Google to growth: Irish Jewry boosted by influx of high-tech workers

Dublin Jewry is being boosted as workers brought in from overseas by multinationals opt to stay


An influx of young professionals to the Dublin offices of high-tech US multinationals is helping to revive Jewish life in Ireland after a long period of decline.

Recently released figures from the 2016 Irish Census show a Jewish national population of 2,557, almost a 30 per cent increase since 2011. The majority live in the Dublin area.

Maurice Cohen, chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, said that tech companies had been increasing operations in Ireland in search of a business-friendly, English-speaking base within the EU’s single market. For example, Google’s European headquarters are in Dublin.

“There has been a big influx of Jewish people — mainly from the UK, Europe and Israel — to work specifically in these industries.

“Initially it was thought most would come here for a few years and then go back home.

“But what we are now finding is that more and more are getting married here — or coming here married — and purchasing houses. That’s a fairly good indicator that they will stay.”

There are two shuls, Orthodox and Progressive, in the capital. In 2016, the synagogue in Cork closed, bringing a 135-year history to an end.

For those with young families, there is the added attraction of both a Jewish primary school and secondary school in Dublin.

Rabbi Zalman Lent, who leads the Orthodox Dublin Hebrew Congregation, said the new arrivals had “saved” the community from terminal decline.

“We’ve been really lucky. With the size of our community, we were really struggling.

“People are looking to stay here long-term and we’ve got a lot more children coming through the school system.

“But whereas the original community — which is an ageing group — will attend Shabbat services, many of the new arrivals are less religious, especially those from Israel.

“It’s about finding ways to get them involved in our community just as much by putting on a lot of different events,” he explained.

“Over Chanukah we will get between 100 and 150 and on those numbers you would think we are thriving. My challenge is to integrate some of those people into the Shabbat services regularly.

“But this is a very positive thing for us.”

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