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[Pages 451-452]

Synagogues and “Kloyzen”

by Ze'ev [Zew] Zohar

Translated by Myra Yael Ecker

Edited by Karen Leon

 

I. Synagogues

Some four–hundred synagogues and Torah–study schools were recorded in Lwów's community register [Pinkas], besides the many Minyanim of the “Rebbes” and “the Grandsons”, such as: Reb. Zyndel Neuhaus of Sambor, R' Beril of Stratyn, R' Leibisch Efrati of Strzelisk [Strzeliska Nowe] and the Admorim of Gliniany [Galina], Krotoszyn, Mikołów [Nikolai] etc.

Over many generations of splendour and grandeur the royal town of Lwów was an “important Jewish town,” with its hundred–thousand Jewish inhabitants, its rabbis, great scholars, Chassidim and its “opposers.” The Enlightened and the progressives, the common people, the craftsmen and those in trade, dedicated to Judaism and the Jewish people, its doctrine and its country – all of whom hard–working to maintain their homes and economic status, felt nonetheless obligated to engage in acts of charity and benevolence, providing assistance to others via the societies associated with the town's synagogues.

Through all the unbending decrees and the tortures over hundreds of years and their sufferings under the rule of Poland, Austria, and the New–Poland, the Jews found consolation in their faith in God and their yearning for redemption. Great Jewish scholars and leaders instilled pure faith and confidence in the hearts of the masses by teaching them the Torah and guiding them to virtue and charity.

The diaspora Jews assembled at the synagogues to pray to their creator and the Jewish prayers filled their hearts with hope and bolstered their desire to perpetuate the generations. Lwów's prominent rabbi, the great scholar Rabbi Józef Saul Natansohn, encouraged, and was lovingly engaged in establishing a large number of the town's synagogues. He steered the craftsmen, each trade individually, to establish for themselves Torah and prayer houses, benevolence and good deeds. An air of sanctity and modest life pervaded Lwów's Jewish street in those days.

The rest on Shabbat was absolute: no buyer nor seller and the shops were shut. The Shabbat candles shone in every house. Labourers and merchants sat peacefully. On the Sabbath morning a hush fell, the street–traffic came to a halt and Jews were seen walking slowly and relaxed to the synagogues. On the Sabbath afternoons, the singing of Psalms was heard at the Great Synagogue. Before the stars appeared in the sky, cantor R' Berl's animated and mellifluous voice erupted and the cantillation filled the hearts of the assembled. They answered him in praise and thanksgiving: “Unto the end, in hymns, a Psalm of a canticle: May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may he cause the light of his countenance to shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us; Selah.” It was customary at the synagogues for the congregation to recite the first canticle standing outside the locked doors of the synagogue, and once they ended the canticle “Bring to the Lord, O ye children of God,” the beadle or the cantor approached the locked door, knocked three times with the round copper knocker on the door, then the congregation entered the hall and began the canticle “Unto the end, in hymns.”

In this fashion our innocent and honest Jewish brethren passed their days at Lwów, in Synagogues and Torah–studies, and Kloyzes and the Rabbes' Minyanim, wrapped in sanctity.

I shall endeavour, herewith, to perpetuate the names of the synagogues.

  1. The Great Torah–study School outside the town, on Bożnicza Street. A Torah and prayer house where the town's scholars found their place. The building consisted of three floors: First floor – the Great Torah–study school; Second floor – women's section; Third floor – two small synagogues and an apartment for the beadles. On the First floor, opposite the entrance to the Torah–study, there was a small narrow room where, in his time, lived the great scholar Rabbi Jozef Teomim, author of Peri Megadim [Precious Fruit], a Maggid [religious, itinerant preacher] at Lwów who barely made an income. On the wall of his room was engraved “I set the Lord always in my sight.” His renowned artless awe was noted by the fact that: the author of Peri Megadim was appointed Av Beth–Din [Head of Rabbinical Court] and head of Yeshivah at Frankfurt an der Oder, for which purpose he ordered a new kapotah (black garment). Since he was engaged in the Torah and worked at the Torah–study school, till the late hours, he gave the Rebbetzin a sum of money to pay the tailor when he arrived. The great scholar returned home late at night, his wife had already gone to sleep and he noticed the new kapotah on the table. The great scholar worried
[Pages 453-454]
    that the tailor had not been paid, and that the Torah transgression “the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning,” had been committed in respect of the tailor. Out of respect he did not wish to wake the Rebbetzin, so he shut the door behind him and in the night's darkness he went looking for the tailor. When he found the house, he woke the tailor, and the latter who shook with concern, asked: “What is our Rabbi doing in my house at such a late hour of the night?” The great scholar calmed him and explained his concern. When he heard that the Rebbetzin had paid in full, the Rabbi's face lit up.

    This Torah–study attracted also the town's “Men of status” who sat and studied there. The building was a relic from the days when the Shulchan Aruch [abbreviated form of the Jewish ritual law] was practiced in its severest, “Ashkenazi style.” All the liturgical poems introduced in the Middle Ages were recited here in their unique melody; liturgical poems from the days of “Rabbeinu Tam” and the crusades; here they practiced the Ashmoret, a form of Tikun–chazot [midnight prayer] on Mondays and Thursdays.

    In later years the place unfortunately turned into a source of blasphemy. This house, where the Torah was studied for its own sake, also attracted in winter the poor, who came to warm themselves. Men of the “underworld” abused the place. Saying that they came to warm themselves, they hid and secreted “stolen goods” there instead, and the frequent searches undertaken revealed legally prohibited goods, which amounted to actual blasphemy.

  1. Chassidim Schul. Chassidim outraged at the strict Ashkenazi customs practiced at the Great Torah–study school, constructed directly opposite it on the same street, a synagogue in the custom of the Chassidim and named it “Chassidim Schul.” For a long time prayers there followed the Sephardi style and the customs were those of the Chassidim. Over the years the two sides “cooled off” and the “Chassidim Schul” turned into a meeting place for simple Jews who altered the style of prayer by introducing the Ashkenazi style.
  2. “Kove'a Itim LeTorah [Time setter for Torah].” With encouragement from the great scholar Rabbi Józef Saul Natansohn, some prominent homeowners purchased a site on Szpitalna street corner Kazimierzowska Street, to erect a synagogue. Due to a lack of funds they sold two shops at the end of the building facing the street. The magnificent building had two floors: Floor 1 – a beautiful, large synagogue; Floor 2 – Torah–study school, a fine Sukkah and an apartment for the beadle. “A special aspect existed at this synagogue, not found at any other of Lwów's synagogues. The Holy Ark was not placed facing East, but facing South–East, and that was because the architect who constructed the synagogue had discovered, by calculation, that Eretz–Israel was due South–East. This took place in the days of the great scholar Rabbi Józef Saul Natansohn, and led to a great controversy with the desire to demolish the building straight away and to make changes, but nevertheless everything remained as built. The prayer at the synagogue followed the Ashkenazi style, and it served as a place of prayer for the masses and for the professionals. They appointed their particular Maggidei Shiur to teach them every morning and every evening, a chapter from the Mishnah, Eyn Jakuw and Shulchan Aruch – Orach Chaim, and an extra lesson of Talmud. At times they recounted tales from the Agada. In the Torah–study school upstairs, prayer followed the Sephardi style. Among the Maggidei Shiur one recalls R' Mendel Buber and R' Hersz Hammer. R' Natanel Lichter acted as their private assistant and as an outstanding Torah–reader who later became one of the town's renowned Mohels. His brother–in–law, R' Jakub, served as his deputy. Located at the centre of town, the building served among other, all benevolent public meetings of political parties, national foundations, preachers, Maggidim, and cantors. The lesson at the Torah–study school was followed by honouring their rabbi with an invitation to the –nearby– “wine cellar” of R' Mendel Weinstein, for “a glass of honey water” (mead). The synagogue managers in the latter years were: Szmelke Barach, Jesaja [Isaiah] Wirklich and Chaim Perlmutter.
  3. “Koryte Schul.” Named after the nearby Poltva [Pełtew] river, or Koryto [trough] in Polish, situated at the edge of town, the large magnificent synagogue termed “Zólkiewer Schrank [Zolkiew cupboard],” to which a certain legend was attached. Before his death, an heirless Jew donated a plot to erect a synagogue. This took place during the days of the Jesuits, and it was claimed that the Jew had donated the plot to build a synagogue as well as a church. The dispute ended in a court of law where it was concluded that it was impossible to construct both buildings on one site; that the plot would have to be sold at auction and the money divided between the two parties. The auction date was set for Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement], in full knowledge that the Jews would not attend on that day. Lewkowicz, a member of the family that had donated the Lewkowicz school, an assimilated and open–minded Jew, appeared specially on Yom Kippur with a cigar in his mouth to remain undetected. He took part in the sale and procured it. At dusk, before the Ne'illa prayer, the Jewish purchaser arrived at the synagogue within the town, approached Lwów's Rabbi, author of Jeschies Jacow [Yeshu'ot Ja'akov; Jacob's Salvations], and told him what he had done. The Rabbi shook his hand and told him that he had secured for himself a place in paradise. On that site was built the magnificent synagogue that for years was a prayer and teaching place for the Jews of the neighbourhood.
  4. Synagogue “Ma'or VeSzemesz [Light and Sun].” The donation of Mr. Czop, on Miodowa Street, was named after him “Czop Schul.” A wonderful building maintained by wealthy people of the neighbourhood who kept a special cantor and holy vessels.
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  1. Retirement Home Synagogue. Adjoining the old [Jewish] cemetery on Rappaporta Street. Its worshippers were largely from the retirement home, but also visitors to the cemetery and patients of the neighbouring hospital in memory of Lazarus [Elazar]. The building was a centre for charitable and benevolent undertakings.
  2. “Express” Synagogue on Źródlana Street. Built by prominent porters, particularly by Mordechai Weiser, one of the town's wealthy, renowned “Expressists.” They built the synagogue for the “Express” porters registered with the municipality, who used to gather near “The Deposit Bank.” Prominent homeowners living in the vicinity prayed here too. They were noted for their charity and good deeds, and built a large hall next to the synagogue where chuppot and weddings could be held for poor and orphaned brides unable to afford a suitable hall, and where the dignity of the wedding was ensured. They also established a Hachnasat Kala [Dowry] fund and they generously assisted orphans and poor brides. In the latter years a Yeshivah “Machzikei Lomdei Torah [Torah Scholars]” was also located there.
  3. “Orchei Shulchan veMan'imey Zimrah [Table Setters and Music Captivators]” Synagogue. At 1 Plac Teodora, a group of “servers” (waiters) and musical instrumentalists who earned their living from serving at weddings and Mitzvah celebrations in town, established this synagogue, they prayed together, studied [religious] lessons together and maintained mutual assistance. At the head of this synagogue stood the renowned “server” R' Joel Weitz.
  4. “Kizru lefi Chessed [Reap in Mercy]” Synagogue on Teodora Plac [Square]. A synagogue of labourers, small traders who kept trade kiosks and stalls. They banded together for the purpose of praying and for lessons in the Torah and for mutual help, to maintain good standards, especially just measure for the buyer, following the instruction of Rabbi Natansohn, who coined the synagogue's name, as said: “Let your sextary [be] equal and the bushel just; Do no unjust thing in judgment, in rule, in weight, or in measure” “Reap in mercy.”
  5. “Zovchei Zedek [Honourable Sacrificers]” Butchers Synagogue, incorporated within the Great Synagogue outside the town. Apart from prayer and lessons, its worshipers were known in town for their acts of charity.
  6. Big Tailors' Synagogue, incorporated within the Great Synagogue outside the town.
  7. Small Tailors' Synagogue, also incorporated within the Great Synagogue outside the town (there was also a Small Tailors' Synagogue within the town).
  8. “Marki'eh Pachim [Metal Beaters]” Synagogue on Bożnicza Street, for tinsmiths.
  9. “Melamdim [Torah Teachers] Schul” – Initially it was designated for all the children's instructors of religion, but later on for all Jews who distinguished themselves in their piety, and a religious instructor as well as a “Maggid” were appointed for them, and they concentrated on the Torah, prayer and good deeds.
  10. “Noseh Katef [Shoulder Bearers]” Synagogue, for actual porters, who after a hard day's work came in the evenings to study a chapter of the Mishnah and the weekly Torah portion with its Rashi interpretation, guided by a special “Rabbi”; they prepared themselves a cup of tea and listened to their rabbi's rabbinic literature.
  11. Shmoklerim [Lace–makers] Synagogue or “Szniek Schul” on Blacharska Street within the town, established by craftsmen who made this the meeting place of their Society, but after a while the place turned into a sacred place for homeowners and Chassidim dissatisfied with the rituals at the “Lubliner Kloyz” with its strict discipline. Here, the Sephardi–style prayer was introduced. The leaders of the synagogue included: R' Eliezer Drimer (died 1953 in Tel–Aviv) and his brother–in–law R' Abisz Roth. In 1921, when the Russians invaded Poland, he spent some months at Lwów. The Rabbi of Gliniany [Galina], the great scholar Rabbi Majer Schapira who at the time resided near the synagogue, gave there a daily lesson for six months, to a group of Agudas Jisroel youths, on Maimonides' Laws of the Temple.
  12. “Melechet Chanoch [Enoch's handicraft]” Synagogue, for the shoemakers, was named after the Midrash: “Chanoch–was a shoes sewer.” This synagogue was situated within the Great Synagogue outside the town. Maintaining their own synagogue, entitled the shoemakers also to attain “honorary roles,” such as collector of dues and second cantor; they also maintained Torah lessons and charitable activities.
  13. “Menakrim” [Meat trainers] Synagogue. Also housed inside the building of the Great Synagogue outside the town, was one of the much praised synagogues.
  14. “Bikur Cholim [Visiting the Infirm]” Synagogue. Besides prayer and lessons, the worshipers dedicated themselves primarily to the kindness of visiting the sick and helping them.
  15. “Chevrat Bnei Levaya [Society of the Attendants]” Synagogue. They too set for themselves a specific act of kindness, one which they kept to – the funerals of the town's dead. In time the society evolved into several branches of important work in the field.
  16. “Sifteh Ranenot [Words of Exultation]” Synagogue of the “Psalms” Society within the town. They concentrated particularly on daily reciting the Psalms, in addition to prayer and lessons.
  17. “Ahavat Re'im [Friendship]” Synagogue on Żółkiewska Street. Among the regular worshippers at a certain period, was R' Majer Gerszon with his Minyan, that was customarily late with his prayers.
[Pages 457-458]
  1. “Kloyz of R' Meszulam Zusia”, on Tkacka Street. R' Meszulam Zusia was a Maggid Mesharim [Preacher of Righteousness] at Lwów, who had a large number of followers and Chassidim; he died in (5615) 1854–5. One of the worshippers at his Bet Midrash [Torah–study], a Jewish man who had no sons, pleaded with R' Meszulam Zusia to bless him with a viable seed. The Tzadik acceded to his request and blessed him, and subsequently the man fathered a son. As a mark of gratitude, when the son grew up he built within the town another synagogue named after Rabbi Meszulam Zusia.
  2. Maggid Mesharim, R' Meszulam Zusia's second synagogue at Lwów was situated on Strzelecka Street according to the aforementioned.
  3. “Filip” Synagogue on Hermana Jakóba Street, a large synagogue donated by the philanthropist Józef–Filip, a Jewish scholar, member of Lwów's community council. The synagogue was situated on the site of his flour mills. The synagogue offered evening classes in Torah subjects, and a large library. Prayer was in the Sephardi style and Chassidim came to pray there. The president of the synagogue was Józef–Filip, and his deputy was Rabbi Menachem Hager (died at Tel–Aviv in 1954).
  4. Kloyz R' Eliezer Lubitscher, at 14 Rzeźnicka Street. Rabbi Eliezer was a grandson of the old Belz Admor and led a congregation of Chassidim. Some 150 worshippers attended the Kloyz. With the demise of R' Eliezer, the Chassidim installed his son–in–law, Rabbi Menachem Hager, on the seat of Admor (see 25). This Kloyz existed until 1915.
  5. “The Israeli Waiter” Waiters' Synagogue. A large and spacious synagogue for waiters at 1. Furmańska Street. In the evenings Torah lessons were also held there.
  6. “Jeszareh Lew [Upright in heart]” Synagogue on Rzeźnicka Street.
  7. “Agudas Jeszurim [Association of the Righteous]” Synagogue, on Rzeźnicka Street.
  8. “Tze'irim [Youth]” Synagogue situated on the upper floor of the Great Synagogue outside the town.
  9. The Old Synagogue within the new cemetery. A large and attractive building that also served as a place of prayer for the residents on Janowska Street and those in the vicinity of the cemetery.
  10. “Beis Lechem [House of Bread]” Synagogue of the bakers, on Starozakonna Street. It served as a place of prayer for many grandsons and scholars who influenced its members and organised lessons there. On the upper floor of the synagogue were housed infants' Torah teachers.
  11. “Raff” Synagogue at 11 Berka Joselowicza Street. R' Abraham Raff founded the synagogue, a beautiful, unique building that was named after him.
  12. “Barach” Synagogue on Piniński Street, a large magnificent building.
  13. “Gilod [Gilead; Gal–Ed; monument]” Synagogue on Królowej Jadwigi Street, near Gródecka, a large and magnificent synagogue with a special cantor. A place of prayer for the entire neighbourhood. The synagogue was constructed in 1905 as the private property for the industrialist and estates owner, Gall of Tarnopol, who was a delegate to the Austrian parliament during the years 1907–1918. After a time Gall converted to Christianity and he planned to sell the synagogue to Christians to use as a factory. In 1919, worshippers at the synagogue, headed by Wittlin, Marek Feierstein, Queller and Natan Weinreb – who was president of the synagogue (today at Tel–Aviv), paid the converted Gall for the synagogue, in full, and they served as part of the management until the end. The neighbourhood rabbi, Dayan Rabbi Mojzesz Ehrenpreis, was both the synagogue's rabbi and among its principal worshipers. Some 300 Jews prayed there and among the synagogue managers were Abraham Hirschfeld and Chaim Locker. Its serving cantors were Mojzesz Patrontasch, Leibisch Schorr, Kruszewski, Richter, Jakub Kusewicki, Idelson, the choir conductor –Izak Hillman and the preacher –Dr. Zew Waschitz.
  14. The Great Synagogue “Cori Gilod [Tzori Gil'ad; Gil'ad's Balm].” In 1922 a magnificent new building was erected on Króla Leszczynskiego Street, where hundreds of Jews prayed. The ethos of the synagogue was more “Orthodox” than that at the “Gilead” Synagogue. It was larger and served as a place of worship for the widely dispersed Jewish population of the wider surroundings. Dr. Weiser was the synagogue preacher.
  15. “Szowtej Szabat [Shovte Shabat; Those resting on the Sabbath]” Synagogue, on Bożnicza Street, opposite the Great Synagogue. The synagogue distinguished itself in particular by its acts of “hospitality.” Every Sabbath impoverished Jews rushed there for the Sabbath meals. The synagogue–worshippers went past the yards of the town's Jewish residents, calling out, “Good Shabbes, Jews” – the windows would open and they would hand food that was immediately brought to the synagogue in order to set the tables for the poor.
  16. “Szomrej Szabat [upholders of the Sabbath]” Synagogue for hairdressers on Berka Joselowicza Street, was established for the hairdressers to prevent them from desecrating the Sabbath.
  17. “Pe'er Migba'ot [Brimmed–hats' Grandeur]” on Słoneczna Street. A small hatters' synagogue.
  18. “Mecapim LeJeszua [Metzapim LeYeshua; Anticipating Salvation]” Synagogue for butchers on Słoneczna Street. Its worshippers – ordinary Jews who studied a chapter of Mishnayot and Ein–Yaakov, in addition to prayer and lessons. A class of the urban “Etz Chaim Yeshivah” was housed within the synagogue, where
[Pages 459-460]
    one of the best heads of Yeshivah, R' Pinkas Schwarz studied with his disciples.

  1. “Chevra–Kadisha [Holy Society – or funeral Soc.]” Synagogue on Sieniawska Street, was situated at the home of the rich and devout R' Szmuel Kalisz, who offered his home to the Yeshivah “Etz Chaim.” The Yeshivah's classroom was at the synagogue where teaching was by the most dedicated head of Yeshivah, Rabbi Izrael Zipper. The synagogue was founded by members of “Chevra Kadisha.” Over time, however, once the Society moved to a designated office, the synagogue was used by the neighbouring residents.
  2. “Likuteh Shemot [Compilation of Names]” Synagogue, at 5 Furmańska Street, where in addition to prayer and Torah study they also collected “Names” (pages and torn sacred books), prayer–books and Pentateuchs that were brought from every part of the town. The worshippers placed special boxes at many synagogues to collect the “Names” which they later transferred to their synagogue. Twice a year they held a special ceremony to bury the Names at Lwów's old cemetery. The synagogue was first located on Kazimierzowska Street in an old shack that was destroyed, and was later replaced by the large Poltorak building.
  3. “Kulikower Kloyz” on Starotandetna Street. A small synagogue where young men had daily Torah lessons. The 12–13 year–old boys had a wide knowledge of the Gmara and the annotations to the Talmud, and they studied with a Torah instructor. The pupils included the poet Uri–Hirsch [Tzvi] Grünberg. The founders of the Kloyz are not known, nor after whom it was named. It appears that one of the Admorim who resided at Kulików had Chassidim at Lwów and they were the founders.
  4. “Choresz Etzim [Grove]” Synagogue, on 55 Żródlana Street, was a synagogue of simple carpenters who prayed and had regular lessons.
  5. The Great Synagogue outside the town.
  6. The Great Synagogue inside the town.[1]
  7. “Oskim BeMelechet HaKodesz [Engaged in Sacred Work]” Synagogue, at 12 Bożnicza Street. Established by a group of print workers, setters, and binders of sacred books, led by R' Jossel Schwabel, an ardent Jewish scholar, devout and modest, the author of the book Jad Josef, brother of R' Icckel Zolkower. R' Jossel who led his flock, died young. His work was subsequently kept up by another great Jewish scholar, the synagogue manager, R' Icckel, who continued for the rest of his life. The synagogue served small traders who attended the lessons and the talks by R' Icckel.
  8. “Yig'al Yaakov Yi'smach Israel [Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad]” Synagogue, in the middle of Żółkiewska Street, a prayer house designated for passersby and for a section of the community residing in the vicinity.
  9. The Great Synagogue at Zniesienie, a Lwów suburb that was a kind of community all its own, with its own slaughterer, rabbinical judge, cantor and also a separate cemetery. The Jewish community at the edge of town expanded and developed during WWI, when refugees arrived there and found cheap accommodation and means of income. The suburb's residents excelled in their hospitality and helped refugees settle. The synagogue managers were Lazar Rotter, Turnscher, Szalom–Wolf Vogel, Izrael Sobel, Berl Löb, the cantor was R' Rachmiel Schächter.
  10. Kloyz Zniesienie. Near the Great Synagogue there was a Chassidim Kloyz where hundreds of Jews prayed. The Kloyz was not dedicated to Chassidim who followed a single Rabbi, but rather a “joint kloyz” for every type of Chassidim: Belz, Husiatyn, Czortków [Chortkov], Sącz [Sanz] etc. The Kloyz's worshippers espoused Jewish unity and lived in brotherhood and companionship with never a cross word between them. From time to time there were indeed some stormy discussions, but never in division, rather in debate of logical argument among scholars locking horns over the practice of the Mishnah [religious doctrine] and Jewish law. Daily before dawn, throughout the year, summer and winter, one could find at the Kloyz Jewish businessmen studying a lesson be it of Gmarah or Mishnah, before their morning prayer. Scores of young men sat day and night at the Kloyz and regularly attended lessons and became exalted in the Torah, one of them, Rabbi Mojzesz Katz, later became a Dayan in town. Among the homeowners there were also exalted learners, such as: R' Fischel Lojar, Samuel Landau and Rabbi Cwi Rosenfeld, who was a rabbinical judge at Zniesienie. Among the kloyz managers was the renowned Mojzesz Löw, owner of a mead (honey–water) manufacture, R' Neta–Jonah Teomim, R' Zew–Wolf Neubauer (now at Bnei–Brak), all of them strove to expand and enhance the local community–life, they created a Mikveh [ritual cleansing pool] and built a children's Torah school etc. Best remembered was the manager and Torah reader at the synagogue, R' Matityah Weintraub who, while bringing people together, he was strict in the extreme towards women, and did not let them cross the threshold of the Kloyz.
  11. Bet HaMidrash HaGadol [The Great Torah–study School] of Zniesienie, was built by Hugo Ulrich in 1913.
  12. Bet HaMidrash HaChadash [The New Torah–study School] of Zniesienie. The manager of the Torah study was Michał Steiger.
  13. Craftsmen's Synagogue, Zniesienie. The synagogue served a group of craftsmen not only for prayer and lessons, but also for meetings and charitable activities.
  14. Spadkes [Hatters]” Synagogue. In the mansion at 11–12
[Pages 461-462]
    Gołuchowski Square, the “Craftsmen's Association” of Spadkes [fabric head wraps] and Shtraimlech [rabbis' fur hats] established a prayer house in the first half of the 19th century. The synagogue served also residents from the vicinity [Breite Gasse] including: R' Iszaja–Becalel Menkes who for years represented the Charedim in the association “Szomer Izrael” (the father of Dr. Bertold Merwin, among the leading assimilators and among the editors of the weekly Jedność who later converted to Christianity); and also the grandfather and the father of Prof. Dr. Majer Bałaban. At the start of the 20th century the hat–merchant Mojzesz Reiss purchased the two buildings (No.s 11–12), where he built two large halls, one he gave to the “Spadkes” and the second to the Zydaczów Chassidim who maintained their Kloyz there.

  1. Rabbi Bezalel Maggid Kloyz, on Objazdowa Street. Rabbi Bezalel Maggid was the son the renowned great scholar Rabbi Naftali HaKohen [Katz] of Poznan, author of “Semichat Chachamim [Ordination of Sages]” (Frankfurt a/M; 5464; 1703–1704). The year the Kloyz was founded is not known, and its worshippers were Chassidim who lived in the Zamarstynów–Żółkiewska neighbourhood and were followers of diverse Rebbes. Many of the Husiatyn Chassidim worshiped at the Kloyz, which also served as a Torah study for young Lwów Chassidim. During the Kidush receptions on every Shabbath they recounted tales on Tzadikim and biblical exegesis and engaged in song, music and dance. Among its managers are known: Aron Lutwak, the father of the rabbinical judge Rabbi Mordechai Zew Lutwak, and also Mojzesz Simon.
  2. “The Sea Sails” Synagogue, on Lwia Street, was named after the owner of “The Sea Sails.” Its worshippers were Jewish students and homeowners from the neighbourhood.
  3. Kloyz Rabbi Jossele, a disciple of the “Seer of Lublin,” on Lwia Street. A place of prayer for Chassidim and businessmen, and also a place of study for youths.
  4. Great Synagogue, on Bogdanowska Street.
  5. The Orphanage Synagogue, on Janowska Street, where apart from the orphans, residents from the neighbourhood also prayed.
  6. The Great Synagogue, known as “Sykstuska Schul” on Szajnochy street [Sykstuska's side–St.]. It was founded in the 1840s by the wealthy, respected and philanthropic Jew, R' Salomon Pelz, at the same time as the “Temple” was built on Żółkiewska Street. The reason for founding the synagogue on Sykstuska Street, apart from creating a prayer–house for the residents in the neighbourhood, was to provide the Ashkenazi [German speaking] homeowners within the town with a counterbalance to the “Temple.” Until the First World War in 1914, the offsprings of R' Salomon Pelz prayed there.

    The principal manager of the synagogue was one of the Mund brothers on Sykstuska Street. Among those who prayed there were the town's prominent and wealthy, such as Rabbi Schmelke Horowitz, the community leader and others. The community rabbi, Rabbi Leib Braude, and the head of the Beth–Din, the great scholar Rabbi Meszulam Salat, were among its worshippers for a certain period.

    In addition to the daily prayers, Torah lessons by Maggideh Shiur [Torah lecturers] were daily delivered to groups at the synagogue. On Friday nights in winter, and on summer evenings, they studied a Midrash [interpretation] of the week's Torah portion. The last Maggid Shiur was Jakle Grill. Latterly amendments were introduced at the synagogue, that many considered to be a departure from the tradition for which the synagogue had been constructed. Rabbi Dr. Dawid Kahane preached at the synagogue till 1939.

  7. The Great Bet Midrash [Torah study school] on Boimów Street within the town. At the time, Lwów's dignitaries, Torah–sages and its rabbis prayed there. It was the centre for learners and eminent scholars. Young men studied there day and night. One of the great libraries of Torah literature was housed there, together with the library of the great scholar Józef Saul Natansohn, including his hand–written sheets of elucidation.
  8. Turei Zahaw [Golden columns] Synagogue. One of the places consecrated for generations, about which much is said in this book. In this hallowed place prayed, sat and taught the author of Turei Zahaw, after which the synagogue was named. Built in 1582, and considered even by the government as a treasured museum. Its building – a magnificent work of art, was registered as an arts national–property. Here, every detail of the Ashkenazi style was followed to the letter, in the tradition of Turei Zahaw. As known, the author of Turei Zahaw [Dawid HaLevy] was the son–in–law of the renowned great scholar [Joel ben Samuel Sirkis], the author of Bayit Chadash who lived at Krakow. One Shabbat, the author of Turei Zahaw visited Krakow and stayed with Joel ben Samuel Sirkis. On Friday before sunset, Rabbi Dawid HaLevy handed his purse to his father–in–law for safekeeping till the end of the Sabbath. As a result, Bayit Chadash abstained from speaking with his son–in–law for several days. Later, Turei Zahaw asked Bayit Chadash about what and how he had saddened him. Bayit Chadash responded that a rabbi who had money in his pocket seemed suspect in his eyes, and as a result he was saddened and was unable to talk with him. The author of Turei Zahaw apologised to his father–in–law, saying that he had received the money from prominent house–owners who implored him to have his eyes treated. Only then did Bayit Chadash rest.
  9. Agudat Benjamin [Benjamin's Association] Synagogue on Łyczakowska Street, close to the town's periphery. Founded in (5664) 1903–4 by R' Benjamin Weinitz and his wife Breindel. R' Benjamin Weinitz was an imperial supplier (Kaiserlicher–lieferant) of gravel and stones for roads, with a profitable and respectable income. An affluent Jew who was a Żydaczów [Zhydachiv] Chassid, he built himself a house at the edge of town and in his garden he created a synagogue
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    where some ten Minyanim prayed, where Torah lessons were held and charitable activities were undertaken. The prayer was in the Sephardi style and Jahr–zeit [annual memorial] of Tzadikim was celebrated communally with meals and song [Melave Malka] etc. Adjacent to the synagogue were two large rooms, one for men and one for women, offering hospitality to the poor who came to visit their sick relatives at the state hospital on Łyczakowska Street. Breindel Weinitz saw to the visitors, and offered them a hot meal in addition to providing Kosher food for the hospital patients. On top of the synagogue, the visitors constructed a large Sukkah that served as the women's section of the synagogue. R' Berl Toper was the synagogue's cantor.

    In 1914, with the invasion of the Russians and Lwów's first pogrom, the rampagers entered his garden and killed 11 Jews from Winniki near Lwów, destroyed and burnt down the synagogue and the visitors' hospitality quarters. R' Benjamin Weinitz managed to save his family and flee into town, to his son Majer Weinitz–Karmi (now in Tel–Aviv). The Żydachów Chassid, R' Majer Weinitz–Karmi, changed his name still at Lwów, and migrated with his family to Eretz Israel. His sons are maklers for the “Histadrut HaOvdim HaKlallit.”

  1. Achi'ezer Synagogue for the Płoskirów [now, Khmelnitskyi] people, in the Weissman Passage. It was founded when some 300 families arrived from Płoskirów during the year 1920–1921. With the demise of their rabbi, Rabbi Izrael Sandruf, they maintained the family and appointed, as rabbi and preacher, his youngest son Rabbi Sanhedrai (now manager of Ezrat Torah at Tel–Aviv). Rabbi Sanhedrai conducted lectures and lessons in Torah and Jewish studies. The synagogue managers headed by Lissoboder, Grünstein and Betlin, were particularly engaged in the rehabilitation and settling of the refugee–families and assisted them in their immigration to Eretz Israel, USA etc.
***

Most of Lwów's synagogues were founded by Rabbi Józef Saul Natansohn. The smaller synagogues were situated on the upper floors of the Great Synagogue within the town and of the Great Synagogue outside the town, and in the large Torah Study schools. They were established as mentioned in the writings of our Sages (Tractate Sukkot, folio 51) “One who did not see the deyofloston [great synagogue] of Alexandria in Egypt never saw the glory of Israel. etc.” “And they [members of the various crafts] would not sit mingled. Rather, the goldsmiths would sit among themselves, and the silversmiths among themselves, and the blacksmiths among themselves, etc.”

Lwów's great rabbis and leaders followed the same practice. All the craftsmen established their synagogues according to their trades: goldsmiths and blacksmiths, butchers and tinsmiths and so on. The common people longed to pray, lead the prayer and listen to a lesson out of Eyn Jakuw and a chapter from Mishnayot, or to study a section of the Torah with Rashi interpretation, seasoned with Agada or Talmudic legends etc., on Friday evenings.

Every synagogue had a special Shabbat assigned to it: The Shabbat of the Lech Lecha Torah portion, was the Shabbat of the tailors and the shoemakers, since it says in this portion “From a thread even to a shoelatchet”; the portion Mishpatim was the Shabbat of the Bikur Cholim Society, for it says “and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed”; the portion VeShalach was that of the Bnei–Levaya [Funeral] Society, on account of the phrase “And Moses took Josef's bones with him”; etc.

 

II. Kloyzes
  1. Kloyz Lublin. In 1811, during the lifetime of the Admor Rabbi Jakub Izak Horowitz, the “Seer of Lublin,” the “Lubliner Kloyz” was established on the second floor of the Great Bet Midrash [Torah study school] within the town, on Boimów Street, by the Lublin Chassidim among whom was the brother–in–law of the “Seer,” the affluent Chassid and scholar, R' Arie–Leib Mimeles.

    With the demise of the “Seer,” the number of the Lublin Chassidim at Lwów diminished, but the Kloyz remained a respected place in town.

    Among the principal worshipers were Chassidim sages and authors, and businessmen: Rabbi Iccke Ettinger, R' Herzl Rappaport and his son R' Mojzesz Rappaport, R' Jakub Babad the son of the Rabbi of Kalisz – all members of the Beth–Din under the great scholar R' Aleksander Heilpern, including R' Berisch Modlinger, the renowned, affluent R' Hersz Rokach, R' Abraham Anschel head of the Beth–Din of Tomaszów, a disciple of Rabbi Józef Saul Natansohn, the renowned philanthropist R' Alter Chassid, R' Simche Rappoport, Rabbi Szymon Klüger and R' Mojzesz Piepes (who was the Kloyz manager for some 40 years), as well as R' Szmelke de Horowitz, leader of Lwów's community.

    After WWI, the place became a branch of the “Belz Chassidim” within the town. Latterly, the Kloyz leader was Rabbi Abraham–Juda Alter, a descendant of the author of Turei Zahaw. Although he himself followed the Ashkenazi style, his sons found their way to the Belz Chassidic sect, especially his son Rabbi Mojzesz–Elchanan Alter who was a rabbinical judge, and also the rabbinical judge Rabbi Anschel Schreiber.

    Among the Kloyz leaders were also Pinkas Klüger, manager of the Great Bet Midrash outside the town, Rabbi Aron Fisch and the philanthropist R' Abraham Penzer.

    Among the worshippers at Kloyz Lublin was also Rabbi Józef Saul Natansohn, as was a group of Sieniawa, Ropczyce and Stratyn Chassidim. The Kloyz was practically the only prayer house within the town, where prayers were in the Sephardi style. On every Shemini–

[Pages 465-466]
    Atzeret, the managers of all the synagogues within the town arrived wearing “Top hats,” to participate in the Chassidim's “Hakafot.”

    Lwów's rabbi, the “Lithuanian” Rabbi Arie–Leib Braude, who followed the Ashkenazi prayer style and worshiped at the Turei Zahaw Synagogue, honoured the “Lubliner Kloyz” with visits, and on the eve of Yom Kippur he used to pray there Kol Nidrei.

    Once the “Lublin Kloyz” had turned into the bastion of the Belz Chassidim, Rabbi Abraham–Juda Alter introduced strict discipline. These were Jews who held a consistently unyielding radical stance.

  1. Kloyz Asiri [10th]. Adjacent to the “Lublin Kloyz” on the second floor of the Great Bet Midrash on Boimoów Street, was found the “Tenth Kloyz,” be it a Kloyz or just an ordinary synagogue. It too was one of the town's oldest. There are no clear records of its founder nor of the year in which it was founded.

    The Kloyz's purpose: A particular Minyan made up of ten Jews most of whom were Torah scholars and intensely God–fearing, who set for themselves a fast every tenth day, said Slichot and special liturgical poetry, lit a wax candle and exercised self–denial. They were exceptionally God–fearing and always acted modestly, inconspicuously “the Tenth shall be Holy.”

    Among the Kloyz worshippers and leaders was R' Jozef Stand, the father of Adolf Stand, one of the most distinguished and wealthy in town.

    In latter years the custom was maintained by ordinary Jews, and among the worshipers were also elderly Jews with trimmed beards, a group of Maskilim, who studied the Torah with interpretation by Ibn–Ezra, grammar and “exegesis,” a kind of “competition” and also “to spite” the neighbouring Chassidim.

  2. Strelisk Kloyz. Around (5585) 1824–5, the Chassidim of Strelisk [Strzeliska Nowe] established the Kloyz on Starozakonna Street, in a small dilapidated house, in the style of Poland's “Przysucha”, abandoned and shabby. Inside the house, however, inside the Kloyz, prevailed an air of brotherly love, inner happiness and exalted joy of life – as in “Divine spirit is among them.”

    Their rabbi, Rabbi Uri of Strelisk [Strzeliska], the “Seraph, [Angel]” a disciple of R' Salomon Karlinger, taught them a deep love for all Jews, a heartfelt joy, a venerable devotion to the Creator and content in moderation or even in actual poverty, and a true piety.

    They were among the earliest Chassidim at Lwów who excelled in the ways of Chassidism, in wit and endless enthusiasm. Most of them were paupers, nevertheless they were always full of joy. In the early days they suffered much from their opposers, but they never responded to any persecutions, with the exception of one, when the Admor of Strelisk was personally summoned by the State investigator. After spending several hours with him in a closed room, the investigator turned –as the Chassidim tell it– into a great admirer of the Strelisk Rabbi.

    The Kloyz leaders were the “Seraph's” remaining Chassidim, Rabbi Uri of Strelisk, and later, of his successor, the Admor Rabbi Juda Cwi [Tzvi] of Stratyn, a quintessential disciple of the “Seraph,” Rabbi Wolff Schönblum, who headed the Kloyz up to the construction of his own Torah Study school on Sykstuska [Street].

    With the demise of the Admor Rabbi Juda–Cwi of Stratyn, the Strelisk Chassidism declined markedly and its veteran Chassidim went in search of a new rabbi.

    Latterly, the Kloyz leaders included: Samuel Riss, Michael Kitower and Jakob–Meszulam Nick.

    When the last of the veteran Strelisk Chassidim, Rabbi Berl Stratyner, the son–in–law of Rabbi Juda–Cwi of Stratyn arrived at Lwów, he gathered at his home and at his Torah Study school the remaining Stratyn–Strelisk Chassidim, and the Kloyz remained a prayer–house for the residents of the neighbourhood and for visitors. Latterly, the building disintegrated with age. Among the followers of Rabbi Berl of Stratyn were the remaining Chassidim, such as: Saul Grünberg (the owner of Lwów's renowned Kosher restaurant), Samuel Birnfeld, Samuel Krausz, Mojzesz Puder, Kalman Ehrenpreis, Juda Parnas and others.

    The son of Rabbi Juda and grandson of Rabbi Berl of Stratyn, Rabbi Samuel Seinwel, published the Charedi monthly Jiwne for several years. Rabbi Uri of Strelisk's second grandson, Rabbi Leibisch Strelisker, moved to Lwów and established his own Minyan.

  3. Belz Chadaszim [New] Kloyz. The Chadaszim synagogue was founded in (5616) 1855–56 by the well to do Jakob Glanzer [reb. Jankiel Jancer], one of R' Izak Iccik of Zydaczów's Chassidim. The title Chadaszim was coined by the Rabbi of Zydaczów after the verse “They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3; 23). At first, the worshippers were not exclusively Chassidim but included home–owners who had abandoned the synagogues where prayer was in the Ashkenazi style, and transferred to the Chadaszim synagogue because a larger number of the Maskilim wished their sons to be educated in the spirit of the tradition. In time, the Kloyz and the synagogue turned into a bastion of strength for the “Belz Chassidim” whose practice followed the renowned Belz discipline. The Belz–Chassimdim's onslaught started with a dispute over the style of “liturgical poems.” At the Chadaszim synagogue it was the custom to say the poems in the style of Zydaczów. The Belz Chassidim objected to this and introduced their own style. As they
[Pages 467-468]
    formed the majority among the worshippers, they forcefully overcame the Zydaczów Chassidim and R' Jakob Glanzer, and took over the synagogue.

    All of Lwów's large synagogues were entered at the land registry either as the property of, or under the guardianship of Lwów's Jewish community, apart from the Chadaszim synagogue for which R' Jakob Glanzer had paid the community a very large sum to ensure its freedom from all external influence. As at the time the community was led by the Enlightened, he aimed to prevent any secular influence. The Chadaszim Kloyz was registered in the name of three appointed guardians, with the proviso that on the demise of one of them, the two remaining would appoint a third guardian in his place, and in this manner the access or intervention by any company or institution would be prevented.

    When the number of the Belz Chassidim rose to form the majority of the worshippers, they wanted to establish a study place inside the synagogue, but the sanctity of the synagogue made them build adjacent to it a spacious kloyz that was inaugurated by Rabbi Jozue of Belz and was known as the Chadaszim Kloyz or Belzer Kloyz. The Kloyz was always bustling with worshippers and Torah students, Yeshivah students, Chassidim and ordinary home–owners.

    Every scholar who came to town held a sermon at the Chadaszim. Every renowned rabbi who came to town set his “bench” at the Chadaszim Kloyz thus turning the place into a significant centre for the town and the surroundings.

    The Kloyz was led by R' Hersz Brazer (Zorn), a veteran Chassid who followed the Belz customs to the letter; Rabbi Muses Wolf Mesuse, author of Chidusze RaMaZ (Lwów 1935), who was blind towards the end of his life; Naftali Hersz Rappoport; Mordche Pelz, a friend of the Belz Admor, who managed the Belzer coterie in town; R' Febus Ebner, editor of the newspaper Kol Machsike HaDas, and his son, R' Jozef; Jozue Heller, a Chassidic Yeshivah student who was influential with the youth; and the businessman Mojzesz Lustig.

    When the community board accepted Rabbi Leib Braude as Rabbi and head of Yeshivah, the Belzer Chassidim objected to him, unequivocally, because his sons “do not follow the righteous path.”

    On the Sabbath following the session that decided to appoint Rabbi Leib Braude, a heated meeting took place at the Synagogue followed by a demonstrative procession to the home of the community leader, Dr. Emil Byk, led by a delegation vigorously protesting against the election of the rabbi. After weeks of dispute and struggle to no avail, the Belz Chassidim appointed as rabbi the great scholar Rabbi Mojzesz son of Rabbi Zalman Perles [BRZ”P] Rappoport from Lezajsk, in opposition to the majority who chose Rabbi Leib Braude. The first difference of opinion between the two Rabbis regarded the issue of Eruv [wires that signify the physical boundary of an urban space within which the Orthodox can carry items on the Sabbath & Holidays] within the town; whereas Rabbi Leib Braude ruled that it was permissible to carry [items] throughout the town, Rabbi BRZ”P, on the other hand, forbade carrying generally. The Kloyz–Belz Chassidim forbade conflict over anything novel – “novel is forbidden from the Torah.” As zealots and extremists they conducted a fight to the death against any organisation, and any Zionist organisation in particular. For years they sided with Lwów's assimilated and supported the State's policies. Any Jew entering the Kloyz in an ironed white collar was instantly removed from their company. Any garment that was even slightly modern, was strictly forbidden. A tie was on a par with – “Not to be seen nor to be found.” It was forbidden to use electricity or gas at the Kloyz and the Synagogue, on the grounds that the electric installation also passed through Christian churches, [to distinguish holy from profane]. The tougher the strictness – the greater the excellence.

    The Belz Chassidim did not restrict their resoluteness to themselves alone, but instead tried to impose it on others too. The Belz Admor, Rabbi Issachar–Dov Rokach, of blessed memory, who was a great scholar, great in the Torah and in the fear of God, bore his presidency with esteem and was unwavering in his thought and action. Under him, the Belz Chassidism expanded to number thousands and tens of thousands. He led his Chassidim not only in Chassidism but also in strategy. The Belz Chassidim headed all public activities at Lwów. In the Austrian parliamentary elections the Belz Chassidim contributed much to the success of the government party, and defeated the Jewish list. The Belz strategy was to do anything at all except for joining the Zionist cause. They dedicated their entire beings to that end, which was followed by the masses of Chassidim.

    As previously said, the Blez– Chadaszim–Kloyz was a meeting place for all their activities. In the early years, summer 1878, a gathering was held there of rabbis against the “communities' conference,” at which it was decided to establish the organisation Machsike HaDas and they also started to publish the weekly Machsike HaDas [Zeitung für das wahre Orthodoxische Judenthum] as well as Kol Machsike HaDas, edited by Mendel Margoszes, one of the leading Belz Chassidim (the father of [Samuel] Margoshes, the editor of the [Yiddishes] Tageblatt, New York). At the instigation of the Belz–Chassidim's leaders, the organisation Machsike HaDas waged a bitter war against every innovation in Jewish life.

    Rabbi Tzvi [Cwi Hersz] Ornstein of Lwów and a number of other rabbis did not join Machsike HaDas. Lwów's Chadaszim Kloyz was chosen as the Machsike HaDas operation centre, and the Belz Chassidim resorted to any means in their fight.

  1. Chabad–Breslau Kloyz, at No. 4 Pełtewna street, not far from the bustling fishmarket at the heart of the Jewish Quarter and behind the Chadaszim synagogue,
[Pages 469-470]
    the Chassidim's deep devotional song and dance were heard at midday – verses from Psalms, liturgical song and praises. Such was the Torah–Study school of R' Icikel Zolkower, known as Kloyz “Chabad–Breslau”

    For Jews who crossed the Russian–Galician border on their way to prostrate themselves on the grave of the rabbi, Rabbi Nachman of Breslau [Wrocław], at Uman [Humań], Lwów was a principal junction, and their hostelry was the home of R' Icikel of Żólkiew, where they prepared themselves for the trip and where they returned.

    This was the sole Galician Kloyz where hardly any of the Lyubavitsh or Breslau Chassidim could be found, and so their gatherings at the Torah–study school of R' Icikel Zolkower was an interesting event.

    R' Izak Schwebel, known as R' Icikel Zolkower, was an exceptional man, an entrepreneur and thinker, knowledgeable in the teaching of the revealed and the occult. He was born at Żólkiew in 1840, into a family of religious scholars descended from the family of the Baal Shem Tov. Little is known of his method of study. As a young man he crossed the Russian border, travelled to Kopys and for three years studied Torah and Chassidism with the Admor R' [Menachem] Mendel of Lyubavitsh [Lubawicze] the author of [the responsa] Tzemach Tzedek [Righteous Sprout], excelled in the Torah and was one of his favoured pupil. Having received as a mark of affection from the author of Tzemach Tzedek some of his own manuscripts and many other books, R' Icikel returned home. He got the manuscripts and the books across the Russian border, a precarious undertaking fraught with difficulty and mortal danger.

    R' Icikel spent his days in Torah study and work, repeating to himself and his friends the saying: this world is but a corridor to the next, therefore man needs to reflect on his deeds and prepare himself for entering the living–room.

    At his Torah study school he held sermons on every Sabbath, Holy Day and festivity. On memorial days to Admorim and to Chabad, he preached and studied chapters from Tanya [basic text of Chabad philosophy] and Chabad Chassidism, paying heed to affairs between man and man. He helped every man, be he Charedi or secular, Gentile or Jew, rich or poor. He did not look at the face of a woman, not even the faces of his granddaughters, yet he did help women, and once when walking down the street a woman laden with baskets fell on the ice, he immediately turned to help her.

    When at Żólkiew as a young man, he met Rabbi Natan, the faithful disciple of Rabbi Nachman, who disseminated his teaching and came to Żólkiew to print Likute Halachot, Etz Chajim Yoré–De'a together with MoHaRaN's [Rabbi Nachman] anthology, and it was there that he encountered him [Rabbi Natan]. The Breslau chassid, R' Izrael Halpern of Tarnopol, also resided at Lwów for a long period and printed the books of Rabbi Nachman of Breslau. He frequented R' Icikel's home, befriended him and turned into an ardent admirer of the Chabad doctrine. He died at Lwów in the month of Adar (5686) 1925. With his demise the honour of the Kloyz waned and the singing of the travellers to Uman ceased.

    In his will, R' Icikel instructed to move all his books and manuscripts to the central library of the Lyubavitsh Yeshivah at Warsaw, and to consult the great Chassidim whether his own writings deserved to be published… and were they to consent, then they were to publish his books, and furthermore they were to deliver the late Tzemach Tzedek's manuscripts to the Lyubavitsh Rabbi, because he was their beneficiary.

    He was unsuccessful in having his books published. Apparently there was no one to deal with it. And thus his books together with the Yeshivah's library were lost during the Second World War.

    His yearning for Eretz Israel ran deep. He regretted his entire life not being able to travel to the Holyland. In 1918 he made preparations to travel to Eretz Israel, but his migration was unsuccessful.

  1. Żydaczów Kloyz. The synagogue “Zichron Yitzchak [Isaac's Memorial],” named after the late Admor of Żydaczów, Rabbi Izaak Izik of blessed memory, was inside the home of the community elder R' Mojzesz Reiss in Gołuchowski Sq. There is no information of the date it was established, but it was probably during the years (5640–5650) 1879–1889, by Jakob Glanzer.

    Lwów's veteran Chassidim congregated at the Żydaczów Kloyz; dedicated great scholars, Kabbalists distinguished by their piety and acuity, of noble spirit and refined soul. They followed a distinct intellectual line of enquiry into the Torah. Study was pursued there continuously, day and night. The outstanding and privileged young men studied there, be it singly or in groups. The lessons for mature young men were conducted by the Chassid and confirmed great scholar, R' Dawid Kulikower. The Kloyz held set nighttime lessons in the Talmud, Eyn Jakuw, Midrash and research books for permanent learners. The lesson Maggidim were Jews who worked hard all day and at dusk and on the Sabbath were in the habit of delivering lessons, including: the elderly R' Szmuel “cake Jew” with his passionate words and explanation, and R' Abraham Lewand with his pleasant speech.

    The great scholar Rabbi Uri–Wolf Salat, leader of Lwów's Beth–Din, was among the first ten men at the Kloyz who prayed in the Żydaczów style. R' Zisza Stand, R' Michael Preminger and R' Szmaja Halpern, infused vitality and enthusiasm into the prayers that they led. And when the upright, great learned Jew R' Lipa–Menle Kunst stood up to pray, those around him were all excited. The prayers of the Żydaczów Chassidim pierced hearts in their innocence and ‪affability‬ – among them R' Mojzesz Hibl, R' Feiwel Rosner, R' Mojzesz

[Pages 471-472]
    Sokolower, R' Aron Mojzesz Kawa, R' Abszalom, R' Jankiel Goldberg, the holy and pure R' Tewel Lewand, R' Chaim Leib Paps and R' Judele Kimel, the modest R' Mojzesz Wolf and R' Jossele Kurz, the great scholar and author R' Hersz Philipp, the gentle R' Szulim Halpern, R' Pinkas Lewer and R' Judel Atlas, R' Samuel Leib Landau and his son R' Nachman, the noble and modest R' Szulim Eybeschütz, the zealots R' Mendel Schwarzwald and R' Izak Brendler, the progressives, so to speak, R' Jozef Klarberg and R' Chaim Moses Schreiber [Sofer]. R' Mardochaj Liskowter studied a lesson with the best students, the sharp and knowledgeable R' Gerschon Heiselbach, the researcher and philosopher R' Lipa Gerschon, and R' Mardochaj Baumel may he live, rabbi at New–York, and the author and historian Dr. Hilel Seidmann. A true Judaism of pure faith, kindness to others, pure prayer and Jewish study, with yearning for salvation and life's poetry that suddenly came to a halt. Żydaczów Kloyz gathered the best of Lwów's Chassidic intelligentsia, where lessons were guided and studied by the sage, the great scholar R' Reuben Margulies, who lives among us at Tel–Aviv, whose prominent personality stood out within this company.

    Torah and greatness, Chassidism and Kabbalah, research and science, kindness and charity –Chassidic Torah education and respect– such was Lwów's Żydaczów Kloyz.

  1. Stepaner Kloyz at 5 Furmańska Street. According to tradition, the Kloyz was founded by the Maggid of Stepań, a disciple of the Maggid of Międzybóż [Medzhybizh], during his stay at Lwów on his way to Brody after his battle with the “opposers.”

    There is no data about the early days of the Kloyz that was situated inside the large courtyard of the wealthy Chassid R' Lazar Gutwirth's house. The Kloyz building remained in his courtyard and underwent repairs and in the large hall the walls were covered in books up to the ceiling. The Kloyz bustled with worshippers from daybreak till noon and was always filled to capacity. Chassidim from every “Court [Rebbe's circle]” gathered at the Kloyz. The town's dignitaries prayed there regularly, including R' Herzle Rappoport, member of Lwów's Rabbinical law–court. Among the Kloyz's grandees and managers were the philanthropist R' Jona Rosenfeld, Izrael Liberman, Lazar Gottlieb, Majer Schein, Szmuel–Jossel Mohel (Harth), Mojzesz Alster. Until his demise R' Mendele the Admor of Olesko [Alesk] worshipped regularly at the Kloyz.

    The Kloyz members excelled in acts of charity and kindness, and did much during the First World War to best assist Galician and Russian refugees. The principal motivator was R' Meszulam Altstater and his circle of friends.

    The Stepań Kloyz was a meeting place for the Admorim who came to Lwów. They set up their “tables” there for hundreds and thousands of Chassidim.

    Among the managers were: R' Hersch Schrenzel, Schmelke Barach, Samuel Kraus, Judel Frensler and Mojzesz Puder.

  2. Sykstuska Kloyz. One of Lwów's magnificent and ancient buildings was the Sykstusta synagogue on Szajnochy Street – a payer house for the aristocracy residing in the area: the wealthy, titleholders, community–leaders, “the town” and scholars; among them the distinguished families Landau and Sussmann. Inside the courtyard stood the Torah Study school for the distinguished learners, such as: R' Schmelke Rokach, Schmelke Horowitz the community president, R' Leibisch Wahl a community–leader, his brother Isser Wahl, the esteemed businessman R' Wolf Kahane, son–in–law of R' Jossele Popers of Brody, Rabbi Jakub Wittels president of HaMizrachi and later president of Eastern Galicia's Agudas Jisroel and more.

    Around (5603) 1843, the Kloyz was established with the assistance of the philanthropist R' Aleksander Zisza Pfau, in honour of, and with the generosity of R' Benjamin Zev (Wolf) Schönblum, the firm disciple of the righteous “Seraph” Rabbi Uri of Strelisk and his son Samuel, author of Shlosha S'farim Niftachim [Three books are being opened]. The Kloyz was the centre for the “learners” with some of the Strelisk, Czortków and Zydaczów Chassidim who lived in the vicinity and young, perpetual learners arrived the entire week. Among the Kloyz leaders and worshippers were R' Wolf and his son R' Samuel, R' Icche–Majer Ettinger (who was later elected head of Yeshivah at Lwów), Mardochaj BRZ”P –Rappoport, family Weksler, Noah and Saul Pfirna, Nachum Borstein (who was appointed head of Yeshivah at Chodorów and at Bursztyn). By and by the Kloyz's glory waned so that in the years before the war it was quite unnoticeable. New life breathed through the building of the Sykstuska Synagogue that was oriented towards emulating the “Temple” to some extent.

  3. Sasów–Pomorzany Kloyz. At the outbreak of WWI in 1914, hordes of people from Galicia's small towns fled to the towns, and those who had not succeeded in reaching Vienna, Prague or Hungary, arrived at Lwów. Among the refugees who came to Lwów was the Admor R' Szlome of Sasów with his large family: sons and daughters, sons–in–law, grandchildren and great–grandchildren. He resided in the house of Landau, one of his Chassidim, on Kotlarska Street.

    A few years later the old rabbi died at Lwów and his dynasty, his sons and sons–in–law, dispersed and joined several [Chassidic] “courts.” These included one of his sons–in–law, the Admor R' Szalom Taub, head of Yeshivah of the holy community of Pomorzany [Pomoriany] near Sasów [Sasiv], who had joined his father–in–law in the move to Lwów at the beginning of the war. At his apartment

[Pages 473-474]
    on Legionów Street opposite the Polish Opera, the Kloyz was immediately established.

    Rabbi Szalom Taub was noted for his pleasant voice and as a talented composer. A great many people came to hear him pray and his wonderful songs that he sang backed by his son–in–law R' Jankele and his son R' Judel, who subsequently replaced him at the rabbinate of Pomoriany. R' Szalom Taub managed “tables” that were attended by all sorts of Chassidim, especially by young men who came to listen to his teaching and renditions. Jewish cantors, artists and “theatre stars” also came to hear him sing.

    In the years before the second World War, the Rabbi moved to Sasów and replaced his father–in–law as ritual judge and Admor of Sasów.

  1. “Kloyz Czortków” was established on Berka Joselowicza Street in 1910. After the outbreak of the war in 1914, the Czortków refugees and a group of Chassidim who were at Lwów, moved the “Kloyz Czortków” to a spacious apartment on Szpitalna Street, opposite the Jewish hospital. Hundreds of Czortków Chassidim occupied a very prominent place in town. The Kloyz acted as a magnet for the Charedi youth. Regular Torah lessons were held there and it was a centre for Charedi traders and especially for Agudas Jisroel. The best of the Kloyz's youth became leaders of the Young Agudas Jisroel in Galicia and Poland, as: Cwi [Zvi] Hirschorn (Chairman of the union of Poland's Young Agudas Jisroel, and later rabbi at Jaworzno and at Biała Podlaska), R' Szlome Schikler (rabbinical judge at Kalisz), Rabbi Winkler, R' Mojzesz Hirszsprung (member of Lwów's community management board), Bracy Horn, Alter Lipa and others.

    The Czortków Chassidim at Lwów were on a permanent war footing with the Belz Chassidim. It was a silent war between the methods of Belz and Czortków. The fight of the Belz Chassidim was very loud and full of “boycotts” against any innovation, since “New is prohibited by the Torah,” indeed, the Czortków Kloyz members took all precautions to prevent blasphemy by following the instructions of the Czortków Admor, who resided at Vienna during the war, and whom they consulted by mail or via special messengers. This distressed the Belz Chassidim who were unable to come to terms with the style of “war” of the Czortków Chassidim, whose politeness and moderation was polar opposite to their own style.

    “Belz” opposed the creation of Israel, while “Czortków” was involved in settling Eretz Israel and in its construction. This formed the basis for a silent and passionate war. Lwów's Czortków Chassidim supported Galicia's first pioneers' training–farms for the religious youth, while the Belz adherents opposed them. The Czortków Chassidim decided to disregard the provocation in silence and continue in their own way.

    Chassidic celebrations at Kloyz–Czortków were noted for their inner joy. The Rabbi of Czortków's talks on the Sabbath, Holidays and on students' breaks – repeated and taught over a glass of “LeChaim [wine]” according to tradition; at Mitzva meal, or Third–meal on the Sabbath, instructive tales were told, of R' Izrael of Ruzhyn and of the first Admor of the House of Czortków, and about R' Izrael's leadership at Lwów and details of his life at Vienna. In 1923, on his way to Czortków, Rabbi Izrael arrived at Lwów for the first time after the World War. Thousands of his Chassidim and admirers flocked to Galicia from all corners of Poland to welcome their Rabbi, and formed a huge manifestation. The aged, gentle and noble Rabbi made an impression on all who saw him. On Legionów Street, in the large hall of the factory belonging to his Chassid R' Mojzesz Gryffel, his Chassidim assembled and approached him, one by one, with notes (Kvitels [small messages]) in their hands, to relate to him their joy and troubles. He received them with love and delight, read and studied every detail, and asked and replied and blessed every single one. Later, the Rabbi received representatives of the town's different organisations: The Zionist Federation, HaMizrachi, HaAgudah, the community's management etc. On his departure from Lwów he was accompanied by crowds in an impressive farewell ceremony.

  2. “Kloyz Husiatyn.” A group of Chassidim, old men and yeshivah students devoted to their rabbi, Rabbi Izrael son of Mardochaj–Feibisch of Husiatyn, established in 1910 the Kloyz at 11 Pełtewna street. With the outbreak of the First World War the Rabbi of Husiatyn was obliged to leave his magnificent hall and court and he moved to Vienna. Many of his Chassidim came to Lwów. The Kloyz on Pełtewna Street was too small to contain them all, and the accommodations were also far, and so a new Kloyz was established at 3 Kotlarska Street.

    In 1938, R' Nachum Munia, the son–in–law of the Admor of Husiatyn settled at Lwów and assembled Galicia's Husiatyn Chassidim. The Admor of Husiatyn, as known, lived in Vienna till his migration to Eretz Israel in 1939.

    Among the the founders and heads of Kloyzes were: Rabbi Mendel Laszczower of Leypun, Mojzesz Laszczower, Feivel Polturak, Samuel Liebling, Abraham Zamora, Eli Polturak, and the very last, the elderly R' Izrael Brikenstein who passed away last year at Tel–Aviv.

  3. “Kloyz Komárno [Komárom]” In (5673) 1913 the Kloyz of the Komárno Chassidim was established at Lwów on Alembeków Street. A multitude of Komárno Chassidim and also righteous women travelled to see Rabbi Jakob Mojzesz Safrin to “achieve salvation.” Chassidism spread among the artless and the believing masses.
[Pages 475-476]
    The Admor of Komárno, with pedigree and handsome appearance he bore his presidency with esteem and had the reputation of a Tzadik. In 1914, the Rabbi of Komárno arrived at Lwów and was received with enthusiasm. During his stay a Torah Book was written in his honour, and the Kloyz moved to 28 Słoneczna Street. With the outbreak of war, it moved to his house at 37 Kazimierzowska Street and was followed there by men and women who came to his open house. After his demise the seat of Admor was occupied by his son, and later by his grandson. Until the Holocaust the Kloyz remained a Chassidic house for the residents in the neighbourhood who prayed there. Among the early founders of the Kloyz were: Izrael Lubin Frankfurter (who moved to Paris after the demise of the Admor Rabbi Jakob Mojzesz, where he led his own flock); Mardochaj Deutscher one of the Rabbi's confidants; Rabbi Kalman Ehrenpreis and Jona Löb.

  1. “Kloyz Alesk [Olesko]” was established in 1913, on Rzeźnicka Street, at the home of Rabbi Arie Leib Braude. The Kloyz had no distinguishing aspects and its Chassidim did not frequent it much either, because the Admor of Olesko who all the years resided at Lwów, had his Torah study school at his home on Legionów Street. The Chassidim attended his Torah Study school every Sabbath. The Kloyz, as mentioned, was quite unnoticed in town. The worshippers who attended it were the residents of the neighbourhood and visitors to the hotel and restaurant of Saul Grünberg, in an adjoining building of the same courtyard. Rabbi Leib Braude also prayed there, daily.

    Rabbi Mojzesz–Dawid Aszkenazi, the grandson of the Admor Rabbi Izak of Olesko, also assembled part of the Olesko Chassidim at his Torah study school on Furmańska Street, and they did not attend the Kloyz. Rabbi Mojzesz–Dawid left Lwów at the start of the First World War and settled at Grosswardein [Oradea] (Transylvania).

  2. “Kloyz Boyan [Boiany].” In 1917, during WWI, the Admor Rabbi Abraham Jakob son of Rabbi Izak of Boyan arrived at Lwów as a war asylum–seeker and settled at 29 Legionów Street. The Boyan Chassidim, headed by Szalom Wallach, Icche–Majer and Abraham–Jozef Münzer, established the “Boyan Chassidim's Kloyz” adjacent to the apartment of the Rabbi who gathered amongst his worshippers and visiting Chassidim from the houses of Ruzhyn, Czortkov, Husiatyn, Sadigura, Vizhnitz, Kosov etc. Among the Kloyz leaders was Majer Gerszon, one of the biggest merchants in town, a philanthropist who kept an open house. Some twenty men regularly sat at his table as “guests.” A regular Minyan was held at his home, attended by Jews who prayed with him till the late hours.

    Kloyz Boyan constituted a meeting–house for Chassidim. Crowds flocked to the Rabbi's “tables” to listen to his teachings and to the singing of the renowned Boyan renditions by the Gur–Arie Hornstein family, and other Chassidic musicians. The Boyan Rabbi's demeanour excelled in modesty. He showed interest in everyone who turned to him. He instructed his colleagues to involve themselves in the town's and the national public endeavour. Prominent among his Chassidim were: Chanoch Aszkenazi, under whose initiative the “Boycott Committee” against the black market was established after the War and the Lwów Riots, and it was he who saved the Jewish masses from actual hunger at the time. He himself was a very firm “Boycott Rabbi,” was a member of the community board and a leading member of Agudas Jisroel, he also served as manager of the centre for Eretz–Israel issues under Agudas Jisroel in Galicia; R' Cwi Elster, Benjamin Schreiber, Juda–Hersz Wittmann, Mojzesz Zwik. The Rabbi instructed them in particular to engage in charity, and he himself set them an example. The Rabbi of Boyan was an ardent admirer of Eretz Israel, and he guided his Chassidim along this path. He was filled with much joy over every emigrant heading there, among whom was Rabbi Szmuel–Cwi Weiss, an active member of Lwów's HaMizrachi, and Abraham–Jozef Münzer who later, at his own expense, invited the Rabbi to come to Israel for the housewarming of his home at Tel–Aviv. In 1932, the Admor of Boyan visited the Holy Land and cantor R' Jossele Rosenblatt heartened his reception with ritual songs.

*

Until the First World War, except for the assimilated [Jews], Lwów was distinguished for its traditional way of life. The synagogues also served as “Cheders” and as Torah study schools where thousands of young children were taught the Torah by Torah teachers, who never stopped quoting the Torah and who formed a screen against the assimilation that started to take giant strides in this town.

The synagogues also served as dormitories for Mettibtot [colleges] and Yeshivahs managed by their rabbis, heads of Jewish colleges, who conducted the classes there. The great scholar, the sage, described the town of Lwów in this way: “The great and magnificent town, full of sages and authors and deputies. It is the source of wisdom and the spring of knowledge the cornerstone of the Faith.” And the great scholar our teacher Rabbi Petachiah Lida, head and leader of the holy community of Lwów, asserted: “And this is what they will say of this town of perfect beauty, joy of everyone, full of sages and writers, great in the Torah and in good deeds, in justice and charity, and their honour lit up the land.”

May the list of synagogues, those mentioned and those left out, be a sacred–memorial to Lwów's crowning Judaism and eternal memory to its Greats and to its honest and innocent masses who gave their souls for the sanctification of God.


Note: All notes in square brackets [ ] were made by the translator

[The spelling of a large number of individuals' names in this chapter could not be verified in other sources and are spelt as closely as possible to the author's spelling.]

Original footnote:

  1. see Article by Z Karl. Return

 

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