The total population of Cork, Ireland is 150,000 of which 21 are Jews. Gerald Y. Goldberg is a member of this tiny Jewish community and is also Lord Mayor of Cork. Speaking at a press conference last night at the St. Regis Hotel, he said, referring to his election in 1977 as Cork’s first Jewish Lard Mayor, “It is a tribute to the generosity of the Irish people. This shows that minorities are appreciated in Ireland, and the tolerance, understanding and sympathy of the Irish people.”
The 66-year-old Lord Mayor, who was born in Cork, said that the Jewish population there was about 600 “when I was a boy.” But since the creation of the State of Israel, Goldberg explained, most of Cork’s Jews went to live in Israel. “But for me the call of Ireland was stronger,” he affirmed. He said he owed it to Ireland to stay and give it as much as he could as a citizen.
The son of Jewish refugees from Lithuania, he recalled his childhood: “In the street I was a little Irish boy; at home I was an Orthodox Jew. I did not speak English until I was six years old. I spoke Yiddish. I learned Irish when I was ten.”
Goldberg arrived here at the beginning of this week to participate in St. Patrick’s Day festivities in New York. The Lord Mayor and his wife will return to Ireland just in time to preside over the gala St. Patrick’s Day parade in Cork on March 17.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.