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“Piatra Neamt”
Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities:
Romania, volume 1

Rabbis and Synagogues:

The first rabbi of the Kehilla probably was Rabbi Yechiel Michal ben Yosef (died 1775), who maintained the Pinkas of the Chevra Kadisha. In addition to the rabbis of the Kehilla, there were also separate rabbis in the synagogues.

Until 1851 the synagogues were under the authority of the Chevra Kadisha. From then on they were under the authority of the Kehilla.

The Great Synagogue was originally built of stone, but with time it collapsed; and in 1766 Prince Grigori Alexandru Ghica permitted its rebuilding in wood,. Since it was built on land which belonged to the nearby church; rent had to be paid, and the church often increased the rent. This was the cause of friction and lengthy litigation, until in the year 1873 the Supreme Court of Appeals in Iasi rendered the verdict that the Kehilla should buy the synagogue building and pay for it in cash. Even though the synagogue belonged to the entire community, there were differences in privileges. The craftsmen prayed in the” Ezra” (?Ezrat Nashim - Womens' Section), while the merchants prayed in the main hall.

rom1_00210b.gif [31 KB] - Protest by a group of assimilationist youth
Protest by a group of assimilationist youth
against formation of the Kehilla – 1880

Bottom of the right column on p. 210

 

rom1_00210a.gif [12 KB] - List of Candidates for Election to the Kehilla
List of Candidates for Election to the Kehilla in 1914 for a Term of Three Years (from the general archives of the history of the Jewish nation):

Michel Juster, Honorary President
1. Sol Drimmer
2. David Stambler
3. D. R. Daniel
4. M. Eizicovici
5. M. Buchhalter
6. Smiel I. Katz
7. Osc. Helman
8. Jos. Weinrauch
9. Aron Chelbert
10. Jancu Alter
11. Lupu Lupovici
12. I. Kopel Katz
13. Josub Hersh Katz
14. Meir Schwartz

 

Besides the Great Synagogue there were 16 other Jewish houses of prayer in Piatra Neamt, including: the Bet Midrash ( House of Study) of the Tailors, where a Pinkas from 1827 was found (in 1926 a new building was constructed for them). The Great Bet Hamidrash was established in 1831 in a wooden building. In 1848 it burned down, but when reconstruction was begun a nearby church objected, and it was necessary to receive a special permit from the office of the Prince. In 1859 it was destroyed by the municipality, and services were conducted in private homes and in the school of the Kehilla. This Bet Midrash was also the home of “Chevrat Tehillim” which was organized in 1873. (?) The Bet Hamidrash of the Peddlers, which was made of wood in 1839, was destroyed in 1897 by the municipality because it was considered unsafe. It was rebuilt within a year. But in 1904 it burned down again and was rebuilt in 1906. This Bet Midrash housed a large library. Another Bet Midrash (“Kleizle”) was established in 1842 in a private house, and in 1887 a separate building was constructed for it. In its library were found many antique Hebrew books. The Bet Midrash of Chabad was built in 1844, and it too contained a religious library . Other synagogues were those of the craftsmen, the shoemakers, the furriers, etc. There were also small synagogues, each with some 100 seats. In 1895 a Bet Midrash of the craftsmen, called “Shevet Achim”, was erected; and in 1903 the Bet Midrash of the Worker's Union (the “real Shevet Achim”) was built. All these synagogues contained libraries.

rom1_00211a.gif [23 KB] - Document of 1813
Document of 1813, witnessing the sale “for eternity”
of two seats in the synagogue to a couple.
(from the book by Y. Kaufman)

Top right column of p. 211

 

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