In addition, Dawid Erlich submitted a financial statement supposedly drawn up by his father that listed all the expenses of the funeral and burial of Jakub Rajchman. This document proved that Hendel used all the money that he received to cover the incurred expenses. The officer received all the documents and stayed the execution until further clarification.
Only in August of 1856 did the mayor of Bedzin reply to the executive officer that Hendel Erlich had properly used the money that he received in accordance with the instructions of Wenzel. We do not know what ensued in this matter. In all probability, the execution was stayed with the amnesty granted by Tsar Alexander II upon his coronation.
When the Rabbi of Bedzin, Rabbi Langfus died, the community did not intent to appoint another rabbi for lack of means. It asked the authority to permit the appointment of the dayan, Dawid Szlezinger, as the temporary spiritual leader of the community.
The Governor of Radom refused to grant the request and insisted the community select a rabbi within a short period of time. In 1865 the community submitted the name of Rabbi Majer Englard from Szczekociny, who stayed for some time in Bedzin. The Rabbi had returned to his city to tend to all his business, when he suddenly died.
The community then submitted the name of Itchele Kimelman from Pietrikow for the post of Rabbi of Bedzin. The nomination was approved in 1866, and he became Rabbi with an annual salary of 360 rubles, a free apartment, and other sources of income.
During the Rabbi's tenure, the following people were selected as trustees of the Jewish community in Bedzin: Eliezer Rincki, Mordechai Plesner, Moszl Herman, and Berisz Sztatler.
The city developed rapidly due to the increased coal and steel production that
resulted in many jobs and overall economic prosperity in the area. The
population grew rapidly and reached 24,000 people in 1897, including 11,000
Jews, the latter representing about 45% of the population. Rabbi Kimelman died
on June 30th 1893. As a temporary Rabbi, the community selected Jehoszua Telner.
|The exit door of the synagogue
The work of the metal-plastic artist, Chaim Hanft
During his tenure as Rabbi, the following trustees were selected: Berisz Szatler, Ruben Liwer, Jehoszua Lajb Wajgart, Avremele Tropauer, and Jehoszua Rotner.
Rabbi Graubart was considered one of the more prominent Rabbis in Poland. His name was known beyond the borders of Poland. He was also well known in the Hassidic world and was well versed in Halacha. His answers to theological questions are recorded in the book that he wrote, entitled "Divrei Issachar" [words of Issachar].
Rabbi Graubart was also very influential in communal affairs and his name was frequently mentioned at various social functions or rabbinical assemblies. Frequently, he sponsored and headed rabbinical meetings, such as the meeting of Piotrikow in 1909 and the one in Warsaw in 1910. He participated at the rabbinical conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia, that was convoked by the Jews who hated Russian prime minister Stolpin, and wanted to modernize Jewish life in Russia. Rabbi Graubart was one of the five Polish Rabbis to actively participate in the discussions of the conference. He also presided at some of the sessions of the various committees. It is interesting to note his attitude to worldly matters. He insisted that Rabbis must have some worldly knowledge. Pleas were made, especially from Ger (The Rabbi of Ger) that he should modify his position. Even telegrams were sent to him, urging him to vote against such views. But Rabbi Graubart stood his ground and insisted that a Rabbi should know the language of the area in order to defend his religion and his people without the need of a translator.
Rabbi Graubart was not a fanatical person, in spite of his rabbinical knowledge and authority. He was an intelligent person and presented himself very well. He was at ease with people, and became very popular with the masses. Jews and Christians felt at ease with him, and frequently he heard many legal cases involving people of both religions. He helped to create the following philanthropic and religious institutions: "Linat Holim" [sleeping accommodation], "Linat Hatzedek" [general help], "Malbish Arumim" [clothing for the poor], "Hevra Eruvin" [enclosure for Shabbat], etc.
Rabbi Graubart died in Wroclaw on December 12th 1913. He was buried in Bedzin, and a memorial structure was erected above his tomb.
On December 30th 1913, elections took place for a rabbi in Bedzin. There were two candidates: Rabbi Yekutiel Zalman Graubart, son of the deceased Rabbi, and the Rabbi of Wyszogrod, Rabbi Bornsztajn, who was supported by the Sochaczower Hassidim. 707 voters out of 1062 eligible voters partook in the election. Rabbi Graubart received 478 votes and Rabbi Bornsztajn 229. Thus, Rabbi Graubart was elected Rabbi. But somebody contested the election by stating that the Rabbi was a minor. The Governor of Piotrikow annulled the vote, and scheduled new elections for June 20th 1914.
The new elections were held on schedule. But another candidate joined the race for Rabbi of Bedzin, namely, the dayan of Mondzew, Englard.
Rabbi Yekutiel Zalman Graubart again received the largest number of votes and
was elected Rabbi of Bedzin. He remained Rabbi until 1920 when he left for the
USA, where he became Rabbi in Brooklyn.
|Fragment of the wall painting of
Szmul Cygler in the synagogue of Bedzin
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