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The History of the Jews of Stanislav {Cont.}



This school was to be supervised by two teachers and a principal (Oberlehrer). However, in reality, only one teacher worked there, Yankel Reinberg, whose salary was 200 Florin annually. After a while, Kupferfeld the nephew of Aharon Fridental, who ran the teacher's seminary in Lvov, also worked as a teacher. However he was forced to change his place of employment due to a complaint from Hertz Homberg. There were ten schools set up in the region of Stanislav. These were: in Tysmienica (the teacher was Hershel Shulman), Bohorodczany (Meir Shmelka), Tlumacz, Kolomyya, Jablonow, Kosow, Kuty (Yaakov Karpels), Obertin, Nadworna (Hershel Tubach), Mariampol, Monastzyrika (Yaakov Karmes)[28]. If this ordinance regarding schools was difficult, another ordinance was issued on February 17, 1788 that added to the difficulties. This ordinance made the army draft compulsory. Despite the support of the Lvov community that promised 15 Florin to each Jewish recruit, and despite the patriotic speeches of the rabbis and encouragement of the communal leaders, Jewish men did not present themselves for enlistment. Rather, they preferred to escape to Poland or to Wallachia-Moldavia. In Stanislav, the community withstood one additional measure: the declaration that it was appropriate to pay a fine of 150 ducats for each person drafted. However, none of this helped. In 1790, 1,060 Jews of Galicia were enlisted. Only Kaiser Leopold II agreed on August 26, 1790 to repeal the law of the draft in return for a payment of 30 guilder from each person required to be drafted, after the government became accustomed to the fact that the Jews did not want to enlist. This situation continued until 1804.

With regard to the tax situation during that time, all types of low characters arose on the scene who attempted to profit from the difficulties of their brethren. In Stanislav as well there was a man who attempted to offer various pieces of advice to the government to raise the yoke of taxes, with the aim of filling his own pockets. This man was Shlomo Kopler[29], who turned to the government in 1795 with a request to lease the tolerance tax and living tax (Domestikalsteuer). However the government rejected his request[30]. Kopler was the local lessee of the drink tax in Stanislav, and did not live in peace with the city council. In 1796, delegates of the city council turned to the government with a request to arrest him by the political leaders and to force him to discharge his debt of 3,665 Florin owed to the city council[31]. Already in 1795 he recommended to eliminate the tolerance tax, and replace it with a special tax for permission to light Sabbath candles[32]. He advised the government to give over to him, along with his partner Tovia Steinsberg, the tax of Eastern Galicia in return for lease fees of 194,409 Florin annually. Hertz Homberg, as an expert in Jewish matters, advised the government regarding this issue. As was later discovered, Kopler promised him a profit of 2% of the income for this recommendation.


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His recommendation was accepted by the government, and the candle tax was implemented starting from November 11, 1797. This began a new chapter in the oppression of the masses of Jewish people in Galicia. Shlomo Kopler and his associates excelled in their cruelty without bounds. The “Lichtfechter” became a symbol of pillage, theft, and cruelty. The Jews fought it bitterly until the revolution of 1848. Kopler did not satisfy himself with Galicia. On April 23, 1796, he attempted to lease these taxes as well in the new area of Poland that was annexed to Galicia in the third partition[33]. In September 1796, Shlomo Kopler, along with Ignace Kreter and other partners[34] already formed a business, a business that was engraved with the tears and blood of the Jews of Galicia.

Kopler had constant disputes with the members of the community of Stanislav, and it is no wonder that they complained about him to the authorities endless times. His manner during that time was to become mixed up in everything. There was no matter in which his hands were not involved. The pinnacle of the intrigue was in 1796. Then, the heads of the community approached the government with accusations against Kopler that he was involved with taking of bribes. That year, the rabbi of Stanislav and its environs, the head of the rabbinical court Reb Avraham Leibish Halevi Ish Horowitz was invited to the rabbinate of Pressburg. Kopler wanted that another rabbi be appointed if Rabbi Horowitz was to answer the call to Pressburg or were to leave Stanislav for a long period. He also desired that their dispute regarding the shochet – of which there were two candidates: Berel Gelber and another – should be decided in accordance with his wishes. However he did not succeed that time, for the government issued a directive that the choosing of a new rabbi should proceed in accordance with the set procedures, and that the matter of the shochet should be decided by a majority of votes in the community. Kopler was required to repay all of the expenditures that were illegally caused by him and also to discharge various debts whose payment had been pushed off numerous times. The government was required to request from the officials appointed over Jewish matters to fulfill their obligations, particularly with regard to the production of a list of tax payers by category, and they were also required to collect the taxes that had yet to be collected[35].

However, Kopler was not quiet. He plotted to bring new tribulations to his fellow Jews. He offered new recommendations to re-establish the tolerance tax, and he traveled to Vienna for this purpose[36]. Before long, in 1798, new intrigues broke out in the community of Stanislav. A large number of residents issued complaints against the lessees of kosher meat and the lessees of the candle tax. The lessees of kosher meat were liquidated in February by the regional government[37]. However, with regards to the complaint against the lessees of the candle tax, who collected the tax in an inappropriate manner, the government answered that they would demand of the supervisors of the candle tax – Shlomo Kopler, Krater and their partners – that they provide proper receipts from that time and on[38]. These disturbances became a daily issue during that time in all communities of Galicia. This is one of the gloomiest chapters in the history of the Jews of Galicia until the middle of the 19th century.

The tax burden grew year by year, and oppressed the Jews of Stanislav to such a degree that their representatives decided in 1811 to turn to the cabinet in Vienna with a request to discharge the debt that had accumulated from the meat and Sabbath candle taxes with government promissory notes[39], for they were not able to discharge it with ready cash at one time.


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That year, they enumerated in Stanislav and its region 2,984 Jewish families consisting of 13,673 souls, of whom 6,780 were men and 6,703 were women[40]. Aside from these, there were 28 Karaite[8*] families in the Stanislav region: 26 families in Halicz (55 men and 64 women) and in Dobowcza 2 families (2 men and 3 women). In Stanislav itself that year there lived 667 Jewish families consisting of 3,392 souls, including 1,966 men and 1,426 women. The economic situation at that time was very difficult. Indeed certain segments of the Jewish population earned a livelihood and established a firm economic base, however most of the population lived under difficult conditions and suffered from the lack of the necessary means to sustain their small businesses. To deal with the difficult situation of the poor people, in 1818 Rabbi Eliahu the son of Shlomo of Bursztyn the preacher, who lived at that time in Stanislav, began to establish “charitable organizations for granting of loans and providing for guests”. He did not satisfy himself with his own community, but he also visited other cities and towns and arranged collections to set up such institutions, which were set up in a cooperative basis. Rabbi Aryeh Leibish Horowitz fully understood this idea, and he issued a letter of approbation, in the following language: “Indeed, the proper way has always been for the rich to offer assistance[9*]; indeed it was always his manner to set up charitable organizations for the benefit of the poor in every city and town. The hand of G-d was with Eliahu the elder Rabbanite[10*] the bearer of this letter. Whoever has the means should contribute to the fund, and collect to help the Jewish people, and give with a generous hand to the community. His mouth is upright, and he does not tire until he finds the strength to actualize this for the merit of the many and set up such groups. The man Eliahu came to us, he does not rest and keep his peace until he collects the sum of 600 Reinish. Whoever is close to this idea in any place should come and plant figs, so they may eat of the fruit. A distribution will be given to those who lack. Etc. Anyone who does this fulfills a mitzvah, so that people will be able to provide for their families. I bless him that he should be satisfied in his house, and that his heart should be strengthened, so that he does not return from the work that G-d inspired in his heart. By law, he should be able to obtain his reward in this world and the World to Come, and anyone who assists him will be blessed with great blessing. I speak with honor toward this endeavor”[41].

Rabbi Eliahu of Bursztyn set up the first group with the sum of 500 Florin that he collected from the people of the city. In a meeting regarding this matter, he spoke about the need to found a charitable organization. In the charter of the organization it was stated explicitly that the money must only be used for the needs of the poor, and not for any other charity, not even for the providing for poor brides or the redemption of captives. The organization issued interest free loans of the sum of 50 or 100 Guilder in exchange for security or for documents. These were to be paid back with bi-weekly payments for the duration of one year.


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Poor people who were not able to give a security were issued loans of up to 3 Florin if two communal members served as guarantors. After they paid back the loans, they were issued credit for up to 18 Florin.

This organization was one of the first of its kind in Galicia. Its founder, equipped with approbations from great rabbis, visited the cities of Voynilov, Sienawa, Przemysl, Lezajsk, Rudniki, Dolina, Bolshovtzy, Zhidachov, Jar, Tysmienica, Rzeszow, Dobromil, Bobrka, Tyczyn, Dynow, etc. and preached to communal gatherings about the idea of founding charitable organizations with the aim of improving the economic situation of the Jewish masses. He himself collected the sums of money from the wealthy people in the cities, and established the charitable funds.



C.

With regard to the internal life of the community of Stanislav, no great changes took lace during the time of the Austrian conquest at the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th century. Of course, a large part of the government activities regarding the Jews consisted of overseeing the communities. During this period the government was interested that the heads of the communities should be people who are faithfully disposed to the government, therefore they became involved in every minute detail. From among the rabbis who served on the rabbinical chair, we are aware of:

a)   Rabbi Yosef the son of Menashe, who died in Stanislav in the year 5459 (1699)[42].
     
b)   Rabbi Aryeh Leibish the son of Mordechai Auerbach, the uncle and rabbi of Rabbi Meir Margolis, was accepted as a rabbi in Stanislav in the year 1740, served there in the rabbinate until 1750, and died in Stanislav.
     
c)   Rabbi Levi the son of Shlomo Ashkenazi (1680-1752) fro Zalukva, the author of the books “Beit Halevi” (essays on various Talmudic tractates, Zalukva, 1732) and “Ateret Shlomo” (Zalukva 1735). He died in Stanislav in the year 1752[43].
     
d)   Rabbi Dov Berish the son of Rabbi Yaakov Avraham of Kovel (the son-in-law of Rabbi Menachem Manis Ish Horowitz, the head of the rabbinical court of Zmigrod and later Lvov). He was the rabbi in Stanislav during the fateful days of Polish Jewry as it struggled against Sabbataism and Frankism[11*]. It seems that even before he was chosen as the rabbi of the community, he played an active role in its communal life. He was elected as one of the communal trustees in 1743. “We gave honor to the Rabbanite leader Rabbi Dov the son of Rabbi Yaakov Avraham, etc., by getting him involved in every great matter[44]”.


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In the interim, he was also chosen as a regional leader. In this office, we find his signature in a certificate from the Council of Four Lands during a meeting in Konstantyn on Rosh Chodesh Av 5516 (1756), as follows: “The small one[12*] Dov Berish of Koveli who dwells in the community of Stanislav and it region.” This meeting was regarding the printer Mazolcbach who transgressed the words of the scholars of the generation by publishing an edition of the Six Orders[13*], thereby encroaching on the rights of the printers in Amsterdam[45]. He also signed the decision of the Council of Four Lands “regarding the community of Kaczienec, that it should belong to our community of Pinczow”. He was chosen to be the rabbi of the community of Stanislav, apparently in 1752, after the death of Rabbi Levi the son of Shlomo Ashkenazi.

The aptitude of Rabbi Dov Berish as a scholar was recognized by the leading rabbis of his generation, and therefore it was no wonder that he was appointed as a member of the delegation of rabbis who participated in the historic debate with the Frankists at the leadership meeting in Lvov from July 17 – September 10 1759. He did not participate from the beginning of the debate, but rather joined the delegation of rabbis on July 20, after Rabbi David Pinchas of Bohorodczany (Brotchin) was forced to vacate his place due to a dispute between himself and the priest who was chairing the debate. Rabbi Dov Berish took his place, and he played a very active role in the debate. He excelled in the sharpness of his answers to the erudite questions of the Catholic priests and the delegate of the Frankists Pesach Leib Krisa, especially in the debate of July 23 1759 regarding Messianism[46].

Rabbi Dov Berish participated in efforts on behalf of the community even after the debate. He was the head of the communal delegation that gathered together, as has already been mentioned, on June 28, 1761 before the Archbishop Szierakowski on June 12, 1745[14*] regarding the synagogue. Rabbi Dov Berish died on the 12th of Tevet 5524 (1764)[47].


e)   The Rabbi and Gaon Reb Avraham, who was descended from the Gaon Rabbi Yitzchak the Great, the head of the rabbinical court of Poznan.
     
f)   In 1770, Rabbi Yoel Katz, the head of the rabbinical court of Ottynia was accepted as rabbi, however he drowned in a river as he was entering Stanislav.
     
g)   After him, Rabbi Yehuda Zelka was accepted. He is the author of the book “Revid Hazahav” on Yoreh Deah until the end of the laws of salting[16*] (Lvov, 5561, 1801). He left the rabbinate in 1784, and in his place came:
     
h)   Rabbi Aryeh Leibish the son of Rabbi Eliezer Halevi Ish Horowitz the head of the rabbinical court of Dzialoszyce, and the grandson of Rabbi Yitzchak Hamburger. Reb Aryeh Leibish was accepted as rabbi in 1784, and served as the rabbi of Stanislav until his death in 1844.


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With him commenced the dynasty of rabbis who occupied the rabbinical seat of this community until 1939 – a situation which was not found in any other community[48]. Reb Aryeh Leibish, who was one of the Gaonim of his generation, maintained a correspondence in matters of Jewish law with the greats of his generation, such as the Rabbi and Gaon Reb Yaakov Meshulam Orenstein the rabbi of Lvov, Rabbi Efraim Zalman Margolis of Brody, and Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kara of Buchach the author of the “Neta Shaashuim” response book. During his tenure, he exerted his influence on the community and did not permit Hassidism to take root. Hassidism previously had not found a fruitful ground there. Even though according to the opinion of Reb Nachman Kruchmal, Hassidism only flourished in Galicia in the small towns and villages of the Jews of the Carpathians, we cannot deny that in many cities, including Stanislav and its region, Hassidic groups arose among the masses. These did not escape the eyes of the Austrian police, who saw revolutionary activity in every movement. This was especially so after the Austrian authorities began to follow after the Rebbes, with the encouragement of the Maskilim, in particular the group from Tarnopol led by Yosef Perel. In 1826, we find that Reb Mordechai of Janow, who lived at the time in Tysmienica, had Hassidim also in Stanislav. Suspicions caught up with him when the ruler of the Stanislav region made note in his accounting of February 16, 1826 that the Rebbe “Markus Janower” (Mordechai of Janow) was not found in Tysmienica, and books of Hassidism were not found during the searches[49]. However, as time went on, Hassidism slowly made inroads in the homes of the Jews of Stanislav, and succeeded also in gaining souls from the family of the rabbi. The Hassidim of Zhidachov and Rusily succeeded in particular there.

Rabbi Aryeh Leibish was generally a tolerant man, and he did not oppose the groups of Maskilim that began to appear in the 1820s and start activities among the youth, with the influence of the centers of the Galician Haskalah in Brody and Tarnopol. During his rabbinate, Stanislav, which was a small community dependent on the community of Tysmienica, became a major community and developed as one of the largest communities in Galicia. During his time, great scholars and rabbis lived in Stanislav. He left behind many manuscripts which were printed only many years after his death, such as “Pnei Aryeh” (Przemysl 1876), and the “Responsa of Pnei Aryeh” (Muncacz 1900)[50].


i)   The Rabbi and Gaon Reb Avraham, who was descended from the Gaon Rabbi After him, in 1845, his third son Rabbi Meshulam Yissachar was appointed as the rabbi of Stanislav. Between 1827 and 1842 he served as the rabbi in Dzialoszyce, and in 1843 as the rabbi in Tysmienica. He ascended to the rabbinate in Stanislav in 1845, and became one of the greatest rabbis of his generation. He was among those rabbis who opposed Hassidism, especially the rabbinical courts that began in that era to become involved in politics and influenced their Hassidism to set political groups[51]. This stand of his came to the fore particularly in the great congress of rabbis that convened in Lvov in 1885.


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There, he came out strongly against the politicization of the Belz court and of “Machzikei Hadas”, and especially strongly against the joint activity with the authorities in internal communal matters. When it was suggested in this congress to adapt the statutes in German, he spoke for presenting the book of statues in Hebrew. After serving for 42 years as the rabbi in Stanislav, he died at the age of 84 in 1887. He authored the three volume book “Bar Livai”.


j)   His heir on the seat of the rabbinate was his son Rabbi Yitzchak Levi, who served in the rabbinate from 1888 to 1904, and was one of the best preachers of his day. He was also a fan of Zionism, and due to his liberal attitudes, he agreed to lay the cornerstone of the Synagogue of the Enlightened Ones. He himself came to the stone laying ceremony.
     
k)   After him, his only son Rabbi Aryeh Leibish was chosen. He was born in 1847 and was the rabbi of Dzialoszyce during his youth. After living for several years in Seret Bukovina, he was appointed the rabbi of Stryj. After the death of his father in 1904, he was invited to inherit his seat. He had Hassidic inclinations, and was one of the supporters of the Rabbi of Chortkov. He founded a Yeshiva in Stanislav, which became well-known as time went on. The renowned scholar Rabbi Yekutiel Kamelhar stood at is helm. He also had a notable fondness for Zionism, and was one of the few Orthodox rabbis of Galicia who eulogized Dr. Herzl. He died in 1909.
     
l)   Since his two sons did not want to join the rabbinate, after a bitter election struggle between two descendents of the Horowitz family, the grandson of Rabbi Meshulam Yissachar[52], Rabbi David Halevi, was appointed. He occupied the rabbinical seat from 1909 to 1934.
     
m)   Rabbi Moshe succeeded him. He was called from Vienna to come to Stanislav to accept the rabbinate. He was the final rabbi of the community. He was murdered during the time of the Nazi rule.




D.

The era in the history of the Jews of Galicia prior to the Austrian Revolution in 1848 was marked by difficult struggles between the Orthodox and Hassidim on one side, and the Maskilim on the other side.

The center of activity of the Maskilim was in the two centers of the Haskalah in Galicia, Brody and Tarnopol, which was nicknamed “The Athens of Galicia”. Despite the difficult battle between the Misnagdim and the Maskilim, Hassidism, with its Tzadikim and Rebbes, began to make inroads during this era, and to strengthen itself in many communities. It is no wonder that the heads of the Haskalah, Yosef Perel, Ranak, Shir [17*], and Yitzchak Erter fought with all sorts of literary ammunition and intercessions to the government in order to save Galicia from the influence of the courts of the Tzadikim.

Hassidism had not yet succeeded in striking roots in Stanislav, since its rabbi, Rabbi Aryeh Leibish Horowitz was numbered among its chief opponents.


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However, slowly, the Haskalah began to spread there, even though it did not generate any famous personalities. The Maskilim of Tysmienica had a great influence upon the Maskilim of Stanislav. Strong bonds were formed between them. However, in Stanislav there was not a strong Haskalah movement as there was in Brody, Tarnopol and Lvov.

From the information that has reached us from those years, it is clear that the Jewish population, even its upper classes who maintained contacts outside the land due to their business endeavors, was not enthusiastic about the mottoes of the Haskalah, and did not hasten to promote its development and spread by founding schools, halls, or literary activities, as happened in Brody, Tarnopol, or even Bolekhov and Jaroslaw. The role of Stanislav was not recognizable in the battle for the spread of general culture that took place in many communities during those years. It was almost as if there was no conflict between the Orthodox and the supporters of the Haskalah. Furthermore, the extremist views of the majority of Maskilim, who desired to modify the religion and to change the way of Jewish life, could not be found in the circles of the Maskilim of Stanislav. As well, there were no attempts to separate from the synagogues and houses of prayer and to build a progressive synagogue with German speaking preachers, as happened in Tarnopol in 1820 and even in Lvov in 1846. It is clear that the strong influence of Rabbi Horowitz was sufficient to prevent any such attempt. From among the Maskilim of Stanislav, there arose no writer who was so brazen as to raise his voice against belief in vanity and religious extremism, such as Shlomo Rubin of Bolekhov. Not one of them called out to oppress Hassidism, as did Rabbi Deutsch, the rabbi of the Sambor region. The battle between the two extremes – which showered down with such serious strength to the point of general and social bans of excommunication, incitement of the masses, and slander to the authorities, such as happened in Lvov, Brody and Tarnopol (1815) – was an unknown chapter in the history of the Jews of Stanislav.

Not the same was the situation with regards to the economic development of the city. In this area, Yoel Halpern, one of the greatest merchants, was especially prominent during the 1830s. He also played an active role in communal life. He established organizations and social institutions. In 1837, he left a large bequest in his will (the income from two houses) for communal affairs, such as the providing for brides, the feeding of the sick and poor in the hospital, the maintenance of the study of religion, the support of poor army recruits who were not able to find replacements, the distribution of meat to the poor on the holidays of Passover and Sukkos, and many other benefits for the poor of the city (for the text of the will, see the sources). His fortune was left to his son Avraham and his daughter Roza, who was married to the wealthy man Rabbi Alexander Horowitz, who was already known as a sharp opponent of Hassidism.

Avraham Halpern was an enterprising merchant, who contributed greatly to the development of the city. He owned the monopoly for the salt trade in all of Galicia, and was one of the organizers of trade between east and west Europe. The salt trade with Russia was also centered in his control. He imported various silk items in return for the salt, which he then sent to Western Europe. He maintained large warehouses in Vienna for that purpose. Obviously he also owned mills and estates. He established his own bank in order to arrange the financial affairs of his multi-faceted businesses. He made a large investment in the improvement of the city by setting up modern buildings, including a theater and a hall for social and communal events.


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It is no wonder that he stood at the helm of the community. Despite his orthodoxy, he supported the spread of Haskalah, by providing stipends for young Jews who studied in university. He attempted to assist in any progressive endeavor. His son-in-law Reb Alexander Horowitz, who maintained strong contacts with the Maskilim of his generation, supported these activities. Avraham Halpern, aside from concerning himself with the maintenance and growth of his estate that he inherited from his father, himself also expanded the social institutions by founding an orphanage, a soup kitchen and a bathhouse. He expanded the hospital that was founded by his father. Due to his prominent personality and industriousness, he also contributed toward the development of the community. With him began the rule of his family and the Horowitz family that lasted for decades. It reached the point that there were years when the communal elections – such as in the year 1887 – that the Halpern faction had a complete victory, and out of 18 members of the communal council, there were 3 Halpern brothers (Hirsch, Yoel, and Lipa, all sons of Avraham), 5 Horowitz family members, 2 relatives of the Horowitz family, and 1 son-in-law of the Horowitz family.

Only a small group in the city was enthused by the mottoes of the Haskalah. They went out against orthodoxy and, attempted in 1847 to establish a school that was run in accordance with the winds of the times. They succeeded in founding this institution under very difficult conditions, but they were forced to liquidate it after a few years due to the lack of funds needed for its maintenance. There was in Stanislav a group of Maskilim who attempted to fill the role of teachers by providing private lessons in accordance with the spirit of the times. Three years prior to the “Spring of the Nations” in Austria, a Jewish club was established here called “Verein für literarisch politischen Fortschritt der Israeliten”, which attracted the Jewish intelligentsia. It was headed by Avraham Halpern, Leon Zaks and Kristiampoler. When the Jews of Galicia felt that the Hapsburg monarchy was preparing to enact changes in the spirit of liberalism, they began to concern themselves with improving their political situation, and interceded with the government to abolish the special Jewish taxes; the community of Stanislav also joined this political activity. In 1847, the community of Stanislav sent a letter of request to Kaiser Ferdinand I to abolish the Sabbath candle tax. The writer described with emotional words the plight of the poor who were not able to pay this tax: “on more than one occasion, a poor person whose skin is being flayed without mercy, is required to spend his Sabbath in darkness, with tears, deep agony and also hunger, for he lacks sufficient money to spend the coins, designated to provide dinner for his family, to the lessee for a permit to light Sabbath candles, coins that he would have had to raise by begging. He would often have to collect coins to satisfy the appetite of the lessee of the taxes and prevent the seizure of his straw mattress and pillows. In the region of Stanislav, which has a Jewish population of 26,759 people, they pay a candle tax of 31,000 Florin, and each Jew, whether or not he has a family, is required to give over approximately 9 Florin annually to the lessee of the tax. This sum does not include the payments for candles for weddings, Chanukah candles, memorial lights, Yom Kippur lights, etc. In this manner, the lessee of the Stanislav region takes in three times the amount mentioned above, in accordance with the number of souls. The result – as in all of Galicia – is that the community enriches the lessees of the tax with its lifeblood.


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This is a yoke that is not found in Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and Italy, but only in Galicia[53]”.

None of these intercessions bore fruit. Even with the revolution of March 13, 1848, which brought freedom the nations under Austria, the situation of the Jews, whose spokesmen were demanding equal rights, did not change all at once. The Jews were given the active and passive right to vote on April 18, 1848. The constitution of April 25 granted freedom of religion and conscience (paragraph 17) and freedom of Jewish religious worship (paragraph 31), but did not solve all of the problems associated with legal and civic restrictions upon the Jews. These issues were pushed off until the meeting of parliament.

Strong political activity began in Galicia. The Jewish spokesmen presented memos and petitions to the Galician Sejm that was called on April 28, 1848 but never met. Four Jews were chosen to this Sejm: From Lvov Rachmiel Mizes and Nathan Sokol, from Brody: Meir Kalir, and from Kolomyya Dr. Rosenhak. The rabbi from Lvov, Dr. Avraham Cohen was included during the height of his tenure. In lieu of this Sejm, a national council was established. The Jewish representatives were Dr. Alexander Menkes, Avraham Mizes, and Meir Minc. In order to weaken the activities of the national council, the governor of Galicia Count (Graf) Stadion established an advisory council, which included Rabbi Dr. Avraham Cohen and Rachmiel Mizes. In the interim, a movement began in all the cities of Galicia to support the slogans of the Vienna revolution. Regiments of the civilian guard were established, including Jewish divisions. The Jews were the majority of the guard in Stanislav. Therefore, Avraham Halpern established an independent Jewish division, headed by the Jewish captain Leon Zaks.

The first secretary of the Jewish club Dr. Hirschman lectured in the synagogue on the occasion of the revolution and the coronation of Kaiser Franz Josef I. This was a festive lecture[54] with a centralist slant, that inspired the Pole Bohdan Zhenzianowskito turn to the Jews in a poem that requested them to join the Poles, for the difference in religion will not stand as an obstacle along the path, and the Jew will be a brother of the Pole, and this brotherhood will sweeten the bitterness of the past, for the God whose realm was spread over the Land of Israel also rules over the two nations – the Jews and the Poles – who suffered together. Therefore, they are required, once freedom arrives, to unite in order to found a free Poland. The Polish newspaper “Dziennik Stanislavski”, which was founded in those days, also wrote in that spirit. However, only very small portion of the Jewish intelligentsia supported the nationalistic Polish movement; those educated in the Haskalah and the upper class householders only placed their trust in Vienna and supported the centralist direction. Therefore, they tended towards the German language and culture.


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At the time of elections to the Austrian parliament, the Jews of Stanislav, who were the majority, elected a Jewish representative who was one of their own. This was not like the Jews of Brody who elected the rabbi from Vienna Noach Manheimer in order to demonstrate their German-ness and their leanings toward the Jews of the west – a situation that elicited a sharp reaction from the Poles and also from a segment of the Jewish population of Brody. However, voices were heard from among the Jewish intelligentsia in Stanislav who were in favor of going after the Poles. They recommended voting for a Christian candidate, however due to disputes among the Citizen's Party and various intrigues, and also due to the sharp opposition of the Orthodox for any non-Jewish candidate[55], the intelligentsia had no other option other than to compromise with the Orthodox and to support the candidacy of Avraham Halpern, about whom we have already mentioned that his Orthodoxy did not prevent him from understanding the desires of the progressives and Maskilim. The Christians became angry and stormy, but since there were only 15 Christian electors for the first ballot as opposed to 27 Jews, the election was decided in favor of Avraham Halpern, who was elected as the representative to parliament with all of the Jewish votes. The Poles, who fumed prior to the elections, doubled in their wrath after the elections and did not cease to declare that the election of Halpern was not in accordance with the law. A group of them founded a club that presented a complaint against the elections to Vienna, and even issued a declaration to all the Christians in Stanislav suggesting that they cut of all contact with the Jews, and not purchase anything from them[56]. All of these efforts were intended to force Avraham Halpern to resign from his office, but he did not listen to them. Just the opposite, on June 18, he traveled to Vienna to participate in the sitting of parliament. However, he took ill along the way and asked the leadership of parliament to grant him an extended leave, for he was not able to be present in parliament either in Vienna or Kremsier. He did not forego his mandate despite his illness; however in December 1848, when he requested an extension of his leave, the parliament refused, and informed him that his mandate had expired. His dismissal from parliament came about due to the intrigues of the Polish representatives who were not satisfied with his election, because he was considered by them to be a Schwarzgelber, that is to say yellow-black (named for the colors of the Austrian flag), meaning a supporter of the government. The recommendation to dismiss him came from the Polish representative Antoniwicz, who turned with this matter to the president of the Polish parliament Franciszek Smolka. He was the one who exerted pressure to deny an extension of Avraham Halpern's leave, with the intention of removing him from parliament. After Halpern's period expired, Smolka turned to the Interior Ministry with a request to declare new elections for Stanislav[57].

The constitution of April 1848 did not bring the hoped for change in rights for the Jews, and did not solve the Jewish question, as the spokesmen for the Jewish intelligentsia had hoped it would. Jewish matters were indeed organized, but in a different manner in each state of the crown. The Jews of Galicia were interested in the repeal of the two taxes that were difficult and repugnant to them: the kosher meat tax dating from September 17, 1784, and the candle tax dating from November 11, 1794.


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Text Footnotes:
  1. In total, 162 schools operated in Galicia at that time, and the total salary of the teachers was 20,250 Florin (Status Salariorum ex October 1790). Return
  2. He originated in Stanislav and not from Lvov, as was related by Meir Balaban. Return
  3. The archives of the Ministry of the Interior in Vienna, Protocollum ex anno 1795 No 57 ddo 12. IX. Return
  4. The aforementioned archive. Prot No 72 ddo 18 II 1796. Return
  5. The aforementioned archive. Prot No. 34 ddo 19 XII 1795. Return
  6. The aforementioned archive. Prot. No. 46 ddo 23. IV 1796. Return
  7. The aforementioned archive. Prot No. 77 ddo 30. IX 1796. Return
  8. The aforementioned archive. Prot. No 81 ddo 17. VIII 1796. Return
  9. The aforementioned archive. Prot No. 91 ddo 23. VIII 1796. Return
  10. The aforementioned archive. Prot. Ostgalizien No. 88 ddo 22 II 1798. Return
  11. The aforementioned archive. Prot. No. 122 ddo 3. III 1798. Return
  12. The government archives in Vienna (Staatsarchiv), 11060/1455 203 ex Julio 1811. Return
  13. The archives of the Interior Ministry in Vienna. Carton 2582 (1811-1818) Summarium über Stand der galizischen JudenfamilienReturn
  14. L. Streit: Charitable World in Stanislav About 120 Years ago in “Folkshilf”, Warsaw, 1937, volumes 1-2, page 11. Return
  15. Avraham Mendel Mohr: Pathways of the World, Lvov 1865, part III, page 161. Return
  16. From Shem Hagedolim (The Names of the Greats) by Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai, Warsaw, 1876, part 2, page 13. This is the inscription on his grave:
    Here is buried
    The famous and great rabbi
    On him is said, he lived piously
    Lived modestly, Our Rabbi Levi
    The son of Rabbi Shlomo
    The author of the book Beit Halevi

    (missing) the Ateret Shlomo
    Died on Thursday
    (missing) Elul 5512

    May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life. Return
  17. The ledgers of the Chevra Kaddisha, brought down in the work of Reuven Fahen: The History of the Debate with the Frankists in the East and West”, Jerusalem, Volume V, page 265. Return
  18. Yisrael Halpern: Ledgers of the Council of Four Lands, Jerusalem 5705, page 404, certificate of 738, page 513 certificate 991. Return
  19. David Ber Bolichover, Words of Wisdom, published by Dr. A. Y. Breuer in “Hashelach”, volume 38; Dr. Meir Balaban, History of the Frankist Movement, Tel Aviv, 5695 (1935), pages 234-240, 209-311. Return
  20. The inscription on his grave is as follows: “12 Tevet 5524 / his voice was requested in the heavenly court / he went upon / the four corners / of the land, the land / quaked during the day / the sun set at none / a great prince fell / Our teacher and rabbi – The rabbi, the light of the exile, [15*] / Dov Ber of blessed memory / the son of our teacher Yaakov Avraham / may his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life (published in the above mentioned work of Reuven Fahen in “East and West”, Volume V, page 265. In the census that took place in 1765, Rabbi Aharon Wigodorowicz (the son of Avigdor) was mentioned as the rabbi of Stanislav. Dr. Majer Balaban: Aspis Zydow I Karaitow Ziemr Halickiej. Krakow 1909 s. 4. Apparently he was not the rabbi but rather a judge; we cannot identify him in the material that we have available. Return
  21. See document V. Return
  22. Dr. Rafael Mahler: The Struggle between the Haskalah and Hassidism in Galicia, New York, 1942, page 121. Return
  23. Tzvi Halevi Horowitz: Writings of Gaonim, Piotrikow, 1928, pages 82-96. Return
  24. The Misnagdim in Stanislav would come to the new Beis Midrash that was founded by the well-known scholar and benefactor Alexander Horowitz, who opposed strongly and hated Hassidism in its essence. See the memoirs of Dr. Shimon Bernfeld in “Reshimot”, volume IV, page 154. Return
  25. See the genealogical table, document V. Return
  26. The archives of the governors of Lvov: Fasz 11, Juden allgemeine Sachen Nr. 48,122 J: 1,848. Return
  27. Eintrachtsklänge – Programm der bei Gelegenheit des Regierungsantrittes Sr. Majestät des Kaisers Franz Josef I von der isr. Gemeinde in Stanislau in der Synagogue am 28. Dezember 1848 abgehaltenen Feierlichkeit. Stanislav 1849. Return
  28. Busch-Letteris: Österreichisches Centralblatt für Glaubensfreiheit, Cultur und Literatur der Juden. Wien 1848 Nr. 14. Return
  29. Centralblatt 1848 Nr. 26. Return
  30. Widman: Franciszek Smolka, jego zawod I zycie publiczne od 1810 do 1849. Lwow 1886, str 706; Stanislaw Smolka: Dziennik Franciszka Smolki 1848-1849 w listach do zony. Krakow 1913; letter from December 25, 1848, page 71. Return





Translator's Footnotes:
[8*]   The Karaites are a small break-off sect of Judaism that do not believe in the authority of the Talmud. Return
[9*]   This last phrase was highly poetic in the original. I paraphrased it here. I paraphrased several sections of the rest of the letter as well. Return
[10*]   Rabbinate here means the opposite of Karaite. Return
[11*]   Shabbatai Tzvi and Jacob Frank were two false Messiahs of the 17th century. The years of their lives and the period following were a time of great turmoil for Jewry. Return
[12*]   A term of modesty used by a person in describing himself. Return
[13*]   A reference to an edition of the Mishnah or Talmud, both of which have Six Orders (i.e. sections). Return
[14*]   The two dates here seem to be redundant. Comparing with the previous citation of this incident, the first date is apparently correct. Return
[15*]   Other laudatory abbreviations appear here which I cannot make out. Return
[16*]   Yoreh Deah is one of the four sections of the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch), which deals with, among other things, the laws of Kashruth. The laws of salting would be the laws of how meat must be salted in order to draw out the blood before it is rendered usable by Jewish law. Return
[17*]   The latter two being acronyms. Return



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