Irish History Shabbat scheduled for Friday


Temple Emanu-El in Long Beach will be holding a second annual Shabbat for Irish History Month on Friday, March 24. The service acknowledges the connection between Ireland and the Jewish community.

The Shabbat comes just after St. Patrick’s Day and right before Passover.

“There’s a lot of interconnectedness between our two communities that we often don’t think about,” Rabbi Jack Zanerhaft said of the Irish and Jewish communities. “It’s just a way to create awareness between these two demographics.”

Along with Zanerhaft leading and speaking about the connections between the two demographics, the Hagen-Kavanagh School of Irish Dance will be putting on a performance. The school has two locations, with one in Long Beach and one in Rockville Centre.

The dancers will be showing off their Irish Step dancing skills to those in attendance.

“It’s going to be our second annual Irish Heritage Shabbat,” Zanerhaft said. “We’re really proud of that.”

Last year, Zanerhaft gave a talk about how Jewish refugees ended up in Ireland in the 1800s. They taught how the refugees immigrated from Germany, Latvia and Lithuania to the Emerald Isle, a nickname for Ireland. He also noted how Dublin’s first Jewish Lord Mayor, Robert Briscoe rose to prominence as well as pointing out Israel’s sixth President, Chaim Herzegovina was born and raised in Belfast. 

Zanerhaft said the talk was even more relevant with the Ukrainian refugees being displaced because of the war with Russia, which was going on during the time of last years’ service.

“We are trying to bring all different people together in our city,” Zanerhaft said in a past interview. “It’s about building bridges and showing that our similarities outweigh our differences. The Temple continues to build bridges with all segments of our community, and we are proud of our mission to accentuate our similarities and bring all people together in fellowship and understanding”.

Cantor Lisa Klinger-Kantor sang Danny Boy last year, an iconic and meaningful song in the Irish community, during the worship experience. After the services and during the dessert reception, about 50 congregants and guests in attendance were treated to a dance performance given by members of Long Beach’s own Hagen-Kavanagh School of Irish Dance. 

“For a lot of the kids there, the dancers and their parents, it was their first time in a Jewish house of worship,” Zanerhaft expressed. “We wanted to create a comfort level to where everyone can feel comfortable here, in the City by the Sea.”