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[Page 73-74]

Religious Jewry

by Faiwel Freund

Translated by Max Lipszyc

Religious Jewry in Zloczew was represented by a large number of religious people. Old and young lived an observant lifestyle full of piety and faith, prayer and study, according to the different ways of life and religious habits. Some of the religious Jews, such as the merchants and artisans, concentrated their activities such as prayer, study and festivities in the synagogue and study hall, which were situated in the Jewish quarter in the center of town.

BH (With the help of G-d) Board of Directors of the kibbutz
named after Rabbi Shpiro ZTS”L (May his memory be for a blessing).

He was Rabbi of Gostinin. The picture was taken on the occasion of the
departure of the leader of the group, on the 14th? (or perhaps a name, not clear)

 

In addition, there were the Hassidic Shtiblech - small prayer houses - with their regular attendees. The Shtibel of the Alexander Hassidic court had between three and four minyanim and was quite well-known among the local religious Jewry. They had their particular version of prayer, the Alexander way, of preparing for festivals and participating in happy events. The Amshonover Hassidim also had their own Shtibel. It was not as large as the Alexander one, but it nevertheless counted regularly about two minyanim.

A third Shtibel was the one of the Ger Hassidim. Some of those Hassidim used to travel for the Jewish holidays, and especially on the High Holidays, to the town of Ger to visit the Rabbi and participate in prayers there. There was great enthusiasm when the Rabbi of Ger came to visit Zloczew. Revival and enthusiasm then reached their peak.

Social Activities

If one wants to describe the reality of religious Jewry in Zloczew comprehensively, we have also to stress the political and social activities. The religious Jews were mostly represented within the various branches of the Agudat Israel movement. One may state without a doubt that most of the Jews were part of the Agudat Israel, as the Ger Shtibel where they used to convene counted about ten minyanim, thus, over a hundred members. The Agudat Israel had also a women's department, Bnot Agudat Israel, which was attended by women who were close in spirit to the world view of the accepted religious lifestyle.

There was also the Beth Ya'akov or girl's synagogue. Special branches of that movement were the Po'alei Agudat Israel with about 15 members and the Tse'irei Agudat Israel with between 40 - 50 members. This youth movement of the Aguda was amongst the most effective and most socially active. It carried out broad, extended and constructive social action work, especially as regards Jewish national revival. They took an important part in the realization of Zionism. Some of the members were sent on hachshara - agricultural farms - in order to prepare for Aliyah to Eretz Israel. They opened an important library and organized literary lectures attended by prominent leaders of the Aguda movement in the country. Part of the youth that participated in these hachshara activities later made Aliyah to Eretz Israel.

All Was Destroyed

With the outbreak of WWII and the marching in of the Nazi troops into Zloczew, religious institutions and artifacts, such as synagogues and Torah scrolls, became the first victims of the brutal hand of the bestial enemy. He annihilated, burned and destroyed everything on his way. There remained no trace of the beautiful, colorful and intimate religious life of the little town, as happened in other cities and little towns in the area. Everywhere the hateful enemy set foot, life was cut down forever. Only memories remain.

Yizkor Elokim

Remember, Oh Lord
The souls of the martyrs of Zloczew, pure and holy,
men, women and children that were murdered and butchered
by the Nazis, may their name be erased, and who perished sanctifying G-d.
Their memory will never be erased from our hearts.

May G-d revenge their blood!

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