Copyright/attribution: Jewish History Association of South Wales
Object held at Cynon Valley Museum, Digital Image & Research copyright Jewish Historical Association of South Wales.
What do you see?
We can see a women wearing black and white striped gloves. We can also see an address in Aberdare. Look closely, what do you see?
What do we know?
This is an advert for ‘Jane Cooper’, a women’s clothing store in Aberdare. ‘This business was owned and managed by Ruth Golding (Goldberg), who belonged to a Jewish family, daughter to Benjamin and Ida Britz of Penrhiwceiber. Ruth was born in England in 1898 but grew up in Penrhiwceiber. Ruth started ‘Jane Cooper’ in 1939 and later opened another business called ‘Barbara Golds.’
In the early 20th century, the Cynon Valley area had a small Jewish community. It was made up of around 50 families throughout the towns of Abercynon, Penrhiwceiber, Mountain Ash, Aberaman and Aberdare. Most of these Jewish families migrated to Wales from Eastern Europe, mainly Russia. The earliest record of a Jewish community in this region dates from 1858-1859. Aberdare held the largest Jewish community from 1910 – 1930. The community gradually declined after this period and the synagogue in Aberdare closed in 1966.
What do you wonder?
We might wonder how Ruth felt to run her own clothing shop for women? We also might wonder if she attended services at the synagogue in Aberdare? What do you wonder?
Why is it important to learn about the stories of female Jewish business owners?
Why did the Jewish community in Cynon Valley decline?