17 At The Turn of the Century. Several Compulsory Additions
After completing the final draft of this monograph, I came across some sources that offer additional perspectives on the life of the Jewish community of Podu Iloaiei at the turn of the 19th century and into the 20th.
The peasants' uprisings in 1888 and those in the following years, as well as the economic crisis at the end of the 19th century, had even worse effects on the Jewish population due to a series of laws and administrative dispositions that were applied abusively and excessively. This was the case in 1897 when the mayor of the commune of Podu Iloaiei forced the community to pay from its budget the wages of 10 daytime guardians who were supposed to protect the interests of all the town's inhabitants. A sum of 450 lei was to be paid from the money collected from the taxes on kosher meat. This affected especially the population with modest revenuesthe craftsmen, the workers, and the small merchants. The president of the community, Zeida Rosenberg, resigned because he could no longer pay the rabbi, the four shochets, some of the teachers, and the physician, and it was the same with the payments for social assistance and for his office. On the other hand, the guards, although paid, could not stop the frequent thefts that were taking place in the commune (see the newspaper Opinia of Iasi from July 27, 1897).
The abuses of the communal counsel continued in the following years. The Jews protested, though they did not ask for the dissolution of this local institution (see the newspaper Evenimentul of Iasi from July 18, 1900 The Event of Iasi).
Despite the precarious economic situation, which worsened during the years 1898 to 1900, charitable acts were initiated by the Jews who felt united with their coreligionists who were in great need, as happened with the calamity victims in Stefanesti in the Botosani district (see Opinia, July 6, 1897).
One of the mayor's abuses was the order to close down the 25-year-old brick factory owned by the Jew Avram, while allowing others nearby to continue to function (see Iasi State Archives, the Prefecture's fund, record 87, 1896, page 13).
The situation caused some of the town's Jews to take part in the well known on-foot emigration in 1900. Evenimentul on April 30, 1900 writes that 100 of the townspeople are preparing to immigrate to America. After some time, we learn that their number grew to 400. This emigration trend continued during the following years. The paper Evenimentul on July 25, 1901 writes on page 3: A delegate of the Jews named Sraier living in Podu Iloae arrived in town yesterday and pleaded to Mr. Auerbach (the representative of the I.C.A. in ParisI.K.) the cause of a certain number of craftsmen from this small town who want to emigrate, especially the women who were left alone after last year's wave of emigrations. Mr. Auerbach promised to visit Podu Iloae in the weeks to come.
New hardships appeared after the promulgation of the Public Education Law in 1893, according to which the children of aliens will be received in limited numbers at schools, having to pay taxes, which was one more burden on most of the Jews' already slim budget. Striving to know the country's language better and become familiar with the elements of modern culture, the Jews had to build their own school. The initiative was taken in 1899 and became a reality in 1902.
In the meantime, the borough was developing. A public park was opened and town-planning projects were designed with the hope of obtaining the title of town (1903). The townspeople read Romanian papers; the distributor was L. Fruchtman in 1897. From among the hundreds of Jewish families, only six were considered rightful, having civil and some political rights. They voted in the communal elections in 1902.
At the end of the century, the community's life becomes more diverse, moving beyond the strict framework of synagogues and, rarely, some charity society. The interest generated by the movement Hoveve Sion that started in the 1880s led to the opening of a local branch in 1881 that sent Saie Steinberg as its delegate to the congress in Galati in 1894. There, he presented an activity report. Upon his return, the society's activity was reorganized (see the supplement to the Yiddish paper Folksblat from January 12, 1895, page 2).
The society's activity continued with interruptions probably caused by internal rivalries. In 1901, the society Carmel reopened, led by Ghersen Cohn, who previously had edited a temporary Yiddish newspaper in Iasi with I. Finchelman and the student M. Sraier (see Evenimentul, May 5, 1902, page 3). In the same year, at the Zionist congress, the delegates were Michel Sor (who became the mayor's helper in 1923) and Iosef Rosental (who later became a Hebrew teacher). Also that year, the Zionist society Macabei was established, led by Iosef Solomon and Asbert Spaier (see Evenimentul, April 30, 1902). In the same year, the society Dr. Herzl's Youth opened, led by Elias Reisch and Vigder Iosupovici; it included a reading group with 40 members. Delegates from other towns represented this society and the Carmel society at the congress.
The following people gave a speech at that year's Hanukkah holiday: H. Meirovici, Spirt the medical undergraduate, and the teacher I. Rosental. The children recited and sang in Hebrew as well. More or less, these societies were active until 1916, owning a library of 1,000 books written in Romanian and Yiddish. Actually, between 1900 and 1916, there was a marked process of modernization of the community's life. A notable fact: The attention paid by the newspapers in Iasi, Evenimentul and later Opinia, to the events that concerned the Jewish community shows that these papers had an important number of Jewish readers and subscribers who had to be taken into consideration. Subsequently, around 1907, both papers not only stopped publishing any news about Jewish life, but also adopted an anti-Semitic attitude. The Jewish readers changed their preferences to the democratic papers Dimineata (The Morning) and Adevarul (The Truth). These papers had many readers before the Balkan war. The paper Infratirea (The Brotherhood) of the Local Jews Union also had many readers and, of course, so did other Jewish magazines and papers that appeared in Romanian or Yiddish. Some subscribed to the Hebrew press from abroad and read Modern Hebrew literature. Yiddish books, some written by second-hand authors and others by famous authors like Shalom Aleichem, I. L. Perea, Morris Rosenfeld, were much appreciated. Romanian books that appeared in the collections Everybody's Library, Minerva, and Astra were very popular since, due to the existence of the Jewish-Romanian primary school, all the young people were able to read and write in the country's language, although Yiddish was mostly resorted to in private.
Public lectures were held both in Romanian and Yiddish.
Overall, the social and cultural life of the town was very tumultuous and fruitful, much more than would be expected from an insignificant Moldavian shtetl.
18 I. Kara: History Studies. Selected Bibliography.
Since 1938, I. Kara (Itic Svart) published over 100 studies and history papers of variable value and extent written in Yiddish (Y), Romanian (R), English (E), Ivrit (Iv), Spanish (S), and German (G).
This bibliography includes the most important of them in regard to their conception, synthetic structuring, and the new data they reveal. All of the following titles are listed in English.
Volume or Brochure Studies
Published in Magazines and Anthologies
Note from KME
Chapter 6: Chronicle
Chapter 7: Economic Life
Chapter 8: Communal Life
Chapter 9: Private and Public Education
Chapter 11: Rabbinate
Chapter 12: Hasidism
20 Glossary of Terms
The following glossary was not part of Kara's work. It's an added feature of this English edition.
|a lui||Rom||Son of|
|Bani||Rom||Currency, plural of ban. 100 bani equals 1 leu.|
|Bereshit||Heb||In the beginning. The book of Genesis.|
|Braga||Rom||Fermented soft drink.|
|Dayan||Heb||Judge in a religious court|
|Divan||Rom||An assembly of the nobles of the country|
|El mulei rachamin||Heb||Prayer said for the deceased|
|Eretz Yisrael||Heb||The Land of Israel|
|Gabaim de Tzadikim||Heb||Treasurers of the righteous ones. Refers to chief assistants of Hasidic rabbis.|
|Galbeni||Rom||An old currency. Literally coins made of gold|
|Ghiter id||Yid||Literally a good Jew, i.e. a good person|
|Ghitn uvnt||Yid||Good evening|
|Hahami||Heb||A ritual slaughter. It's from the Hebrew word chachma, wisdom. (It may actually be a word used in old Romanian that came through Turkish???). Also called shochet.|
|Hakafot||Heb||The ritual of dancing around the Torah.|
|Hamantashen||Yid||Special pastries eaten on Purim, formed in the shape of Haman's hat.|
|Hasidic||Heb||Religious Jewish sect which emphasized spiritual values|
|Heder||Yid||Literally a room in Heb but in Yid used for elementary school.|
|Hekdesh||Heb||Sanctified property i.e. communal property, charity, etc.|
|Hidromel||Rom||A light alcoholic beverage made from honey|
|High Porte||Eng||The High Porte is a synonym of the government of the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman Porte, Sublime Porte, and High Porte are similar terms for the Turkish Babý Ali, the court of the sultan. When translated into English, the Turkish term Babi Ali means, literally, High Gate. Porte is French for Gate, therefore, the term High Porte is a bilingual combination of English High and French Porte that is equivalent to Babi Ali. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublime_Porte)|
|Kaddish||Heb||Prayer said for the deceased|
|Kobza||Rom||Type of lute.|
|Leu||Rom||The national currency of Romania (plural lei) One leu is subdivided into 100 bani (singular ban).|
|Lipoveans||Rom||Orignally refered to people of Russian origin, who settled in the region of the Danube River and the Black Sea. Later it was used to describe all those coming from Russia.|
|Machlokes||Heb||Long standing argument|
|Maot Chittim||Heb||Hebrew for wheat money. This is money given to the poor for their Passover matzah.|
|Melamed||Heb||An itinerant teacher (plural melamdim)|
|Minyan||Heb||A quorum of 10 Jews for prayer.|
|Mishna||Heb||A codified collection of Jewish Oral Law compiled circa 200 CE. Together with the Gemara it forms part of the Talmud.|
|Mozl tov||Heb||Congratulations, literally lucky constellation (mazel tov)|
|Oca||Rom||Measure of volume, equals 1.5 liters|
|Parale||Rom||Currency until 1968|
|Pericope||Latin/ Greek||An extract or selection from a book, especially a reading from a Scripture that forms part of a religious service. In a Jewish context it is the weekly Torah reading (Parsha).|
|Sales-sides||Heb||Literally third meal, used in reference to a meal eaten on Sabbath afternoon (Shalosh Seudos)|
|Heb||Literally his, mine, mine, his. A children's game|
|Shochet||Heb||A ritual slaughter.|
|Stetl||Yid||A Jewish market town in Eastern Europe|
|Stanjen||Rom||Measure of length equal to 6 feet|
|Sudit||Rom||A foreign citizen or native who enjoyed foreign protection while living on Romanian territory, as stipulated by the terms of the treaties signed by the Western powers and the Turkish Empire.|
|Tales||Heb||A fringed prayer shawl worn by men during religious services|
|Talmud||Heb||Compilation of the Jewish oral law, consists of the Mishna and Gemara|
|Talmud Torah||Heb||Study of Torah. Also refers to religious school.|
|Talmudist||One who is knowledgeable in the Talmud|
|Treif||Heb||Non kosher food|
|Tzadik||Heb||Righteous one, a moniker used for Hasidic leaders.|
|Vedre||Rom||Measurement tool used in Moldova in the past, equaling approximately 15.2 litres.|
|Yeshiva||Heb||A Talmudic academy|
21 Glossary of Places
The following glossary was not part of Kara's work. It's an added feature of this English edition. It appears in both PDF version available from KME and in HTML format at the JewishGen website.
|America||7, 8, 15.6, 17|
|Bahlui River||7, 8, 14, 15.3, 15.5, 15.7, 16.3|
|Bahluiet River||7, 15.7|
|Borseni in Neamt||16.14|
|Botosani||15.4, 16.14, 16.15|
|Botosani district||7, 17|
|Bucharest||7, 8, 15, 15.4, 15.7|
|Buhusi||7, 13, 15.2, 15.4|
|Carligatura county||7, 16.2|
|Cernauti||7, 15, 15.2, 15.4, 15.5, 16.2|
|Drancea in Iasi||16.14|
|Eretz Yisrael||7, 15. 15.4|
|Iasi||7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 15.2, 15.4, 15.5, 15.6, 15.7, 16.2,17|
|Maramures||7, 12, 15|
|Mihaileni (aka Vladeni)||7, 12|
|Moldova||7, 8, 15, 15.3, 15.5|
|Moldova, Republic of||15.4|
|Paris||7, 15.4, 17|
|Podu Iloaiei||7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 15.4, 15.7, 17|
|Podu Iloaiei borough||8|
|Podu Lelioaiei||7, 15.5|
|Popesti||7, 8, 16.4, 16.13, 16.14|
|Romania||7, 8, 15.1, 15.3, 15.4, 15.5, 15.6|
|Scobalteni||7, 8, 16.1, 16.8|
|Scobalteni estate||7, 11, 15.6|
|Stefanesti||8, 13, 15.2, 17|
|Targu Frumos||7, 8, 11, 12, 15.4|
|The United Principalities||7|
|Tirgu Frumos||16.13, 16.14, 16.15|
|Totoesti||16.4, 16.13, 16.14, 16.15|
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