Cyril Rosen­berg


The Jewish Chronicle - - Obituaries -

LOVED AND re­spected in Belfast by the Jewish and wider com­mu­nity, Cyril Rosen­berg re­ceived the 2003 Vol­un­teer of the Year ti­tle from NICEM -— North­ern Ire­land Coun­cil of Eth­nic Mi­nori­ties — for his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to com­mu­nity re­la­tions through his 30 years of guided syn­a­gogue tours.

Lon­don-born, he moved to Dublin at eight when his fur­rier fa­ther, Alec, be­came fore­man of a lead­ing fur work­shop on Grafton Street in 1937. Cyril’s grand­par­ents were im­mi­grants, es­cap­ing Rus­sia’s late 19th-cen­tury pogroms.

From Dublin’s Zion School, Bloom­field Av­enue, he gained a schol­ar­ship to Wes­ley Col­lege. But he was un­able to take it up as it co­in­cided with yet an­other fam­ily move to Belfast, to­gether with his mother, Bella, and late brother, Stan­ley.

In the late 1940s Belfast had a vi­brant Jewish com­mu­nity. Cyril soon met his teenage sweet­heart, Norma Si­mons, whom he mar­ried in 1953. Their 56-year mar­riage was a fruit­ful part­ner­ship, with both in­volved in com­mu­nal life.

Af­ter work­ing sev­eral years in his fa­ther’s fur­rier busi­ness, he switched to his fa­ther-in-law’s jew­ellery busi­ness in Belfast’s Smith­field Mar­ket.

When a 1974 ter­ror­ist at­tack com­pletely de­stroyed Smith­field Mar­ket, he opened his own jew­ellery busi­ness un­der the name of David Al­lan. With his rep­u­ta­tion for in­tegrity, he be­came trea­surer and, in 1980, pres­i­dent of the North­ern Ire­land Jew­ellery As­so­ci­a­tion.

Com­mit­ted to the wel­fare of the com­mu­nity, he reg­u­larly at­tended syn­a­gogue and was a long-serv­ing mem­ber of the con­gre­ga­tional coun­cil.

Among his many re­spon­si­bil­i­ties he was honorary sec­re­tary in 1989 of the Belfast He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion — which in 2004 added the name Belfast Jewish Com­mu­nity to at­tract web­site vis­i­tors. His wife took over as sec­re­tary in 1995.

For the last ten years he rep­re­sented the com­mu­nity at the an­nual Armistice Day com­mem­o­ra­tions at Belfast City Hall. He was also an ac­tive mem­ber of the Shalom Ma­sonic Lodge and a past wor­ship­ful mas­ter and lodge chap­lain.

A reg­u­lar news con­trib­u­tor to the JC, he was a cor­re­spon­dent from 20042006.

His hugely pop­u­lar guided tours of Belfast’s syn­a­gogue in­tro­duced thou­sands of peo­ple in North­ern Ire­land — school chil­dren, churches of all de­nom­i­na­tions and groups from ev­ery walk of life — to Ju­daism and the 135-year his­tory of the Belfast com­mu­nity.

His care and con­cern cre­ated friends and in­creased un­der­stand­ing and tol­er­ance to­wards the com­mu­nity.

He served on the Coun­cil of Chris­tians and Jews and the ex­ec­u­tive of the In­ter­faith Fo­rum, and at­tended Chris­tian Em­bassy meet­ings. Priests and nuns, min­is­ters and bish­ops al­ways asked about Cyril Rosen­berg.

He had a pro­found love of mu­sic. At 12 he was a choir­boy in Dublin’s Ade­laide Road Syn­a­gogue, in later years he was a cho­ris­ter in the Belfast Syn­a­gogue. His other great in­ter­est was sport. An ac­tive ten­nis player in his youth, he later joined Shaftes­bury Bowl­ing Club.

His last 10 years were plagued with ill­ness, which he fought coura­geously. His warmth, hu­mour and in­tegrity never left him, even when in fail­ing health and se­vere ill­ness.

He is sur­vived by his wife, Norma; two sons, Alan and Ian; and four grand­chil­dren.

Doyen of Belfast Jewry Cyril Rosen­berg also wrote for the JC

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