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[Page 11]

Introduction

Translated by Dalya Danish

This book is meant to be an attempt to publish an image of the Jews of Kishinev in an era of almost 200 years. From the very beginning of this community, it was accorded a special place in the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. Although, in the literature about Diaspora communities, the place of Kishinev is almost missing. Information about the life of the community is very scattered and separated in the writings and personal memoirs of this period, which makes it difficult to concentrate the needed material to prepare a monograph about the Jews of Kishinev. This and more: an important and recognized section of the documents and materials about the Kishinev community never made it to modern Israel. In order to fill in knowledge about different periods, it was necessary to rely on the memories of living people near us in modern Israel. It added to the incompleteness of different chapters. With all this and without exaggeration, I will mention this is a first attempt to publish in a more comprehensive way, the life of Kishinev Jews in the different periods and the range of their variations. The major orientation of this book is to emphasize the character, essence and direction of this Jewry, and also to discover the principal connectors that bonded them strongly with other Jewry and their part in the general struggle for the survival of the Jewish nation. From this aspect – the union of Jewish Kishinev with Jewish life in the Diaspora and the appreciation of the place of every community.

At the end of the book, there is a long list of books and manuscripts which I scanned for the material in this book. The purpose was to assist interested parties in their perusal of the different chapters of the life of the Kishinev community. At this opportunity, it is my wish to give thanks to the management of the Zionist Archives, Beit Bialik, Beit Ahad Ha-am and the Shaarey Zion Library who made it possible and easier to review all the material that was in their purview about the life of the Jews of Kishinev. Also my thanks must go to several of my friends and acquaintainces from Kishinev who gave materials from their private collections and the favors extracted from them to review the final copy of this book.

Methinks that now – days of the rise of the modern state of Israel and ingathering of the exiles – we must perform the mitzvah of saving from destruction for world Jewry, the treasured collections of those communities that developed in them Jewish life which through many generations held devotedly and passionately onto the torch that lit the way for the community in the Diaspora, until the bells of salvation – accompanied by the sounds of suffering and grief – alerted the multitudes to the shores of the renewed homeland. Kishinev Jews held a large part of the nation's torch in their devotion, faith and struggle – I tried to give them a voice in this book.

Y.K. Nisan 5710

 

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