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[Column 549]

Yiddish Section

For the Jewish Population
in Dubno and the Surroundings

Translated by Pamela Russ

Dubno Life [name of newspaper]
25 Groshen [price of newspaper]

Impartial, social, and financial magazine

Sunday, March 1929

With great pleasure, we state the fact that in Dubno, a newspaper has begun its publication, known as “Dubno Life,” dedicated to the social and cultural figures in our city and in the surrounding areas.

The day that the first issue of our publication appears should be marked in the history of Dubno because as it is known, this is the first Yiddish newspaper in the existence of our city.

We cannot explain in these few lines the obstacles we encountered en route of publishing our newspaper.

Everyone knows that publishing a newspaper in general, and in our Dubno in particular, is tied up with great challenges, but in order to permanently enlighten the life of Dubno and the surroundings and all its regions, we did not stop, no matter how hard the challenge, and so now we are standing at an auspicious point, and the newspaper has seen its publication.

It could be that there will be those who will not value the great worth of our labor of putting out a publication. They will explain, upset, that our newspaper is a product in the hands of a particular party or social institution. Therefore, we state strongly that this newspaper is an impartial publication that will be careful to share all Jewish interests of Dubno and its surrounding areas.

We will address all difficult questions, giving everyone equal opportunity to express himself in the columns of our newspaper.

We are certain that the publication of our newspaper will find its proper resonance among the broad Jewish masses and everyone will, as much as possible, support us both morally and materially.

The editor of “Dubno Life”
March 1929

[Column 577]

From the Pinkas [Record Book]
of the Dubno Community

Translated by Pamela Russ

“Everything depends on luck, even a Torah scroll in its palace [or place]” – is what our sages said. And fate deemed it that even before the Nazi storm spread wildly across Europe the Jews of Dubno had decided to send valuable remains from the past to Jerusalem – notes and protocols of 250 years back, the Pinkas [record book] of the Dubno Community.

In his sefer [religious book] “Dubno Rabbosai” [“Rabbis of Dubno”] Kh.Z. Margolios, the Kazianer Rav in Dubno, tells that in the nineties of the previous century he had the “Pinkas” of the times of the Maggid Reb Yakov Krantz, and there the decision was written to raise his salary two zlotys a week. This Pinkas, along with other Pinkases and notes, were burned in the terrible fire in the year 1895, when one third of the houses in the city were destroyed in flames.

It was not only the great fire that destroyed the Pinkases. The Pinkas of the Khevra Kadisha [Jewish Burial Society] that existed in Dubno until mid-19th century and contained the “decrees [decisions] and traditions of the Burial Society, and also the order of the festive meals that they had during important times, and notes of the memories of the events that happened in the town” – were removed by the powers of authority

[Column 578]

as a result of a bitter argument that broke out in 1850 in the Khevra Kadisha. The Pinkas was not returned to the Khevra Kadisha, and about that Kh.Z. Margolios writes: “In the nineties (40 years after the outbreak of the argument), I asked the procurator [official] why did he not give back the Pinkas of the Society – he answered me, “The Pinkas got burned, which shows that it was certainly not worth anything.” But one volume of the old Yiddish archive of Dubno – Pinkas Dubno – which was transferred to the national library in Jerusalem in the year 1937, contains much authentic and original material. This is a book of 177 (354) large pages in an old leather binding.

In the “Pinkas of the Dubno Community” there is no chronological order in accordance with the number of handwritten pages, which shows that those who wrote of the happenings, did not do so according to the historical criteria, but just wrote of the events haphazardly, and in the best case – only according to the years, which created confusion for a large number of researchers and scholars who quoted the Pinkas.

[Column 579]

Nonetheless, the “Pinkas of the Dubno Community” is an invaluable treasure of socio-historical material.

The Pinkas opens with an unsigned notice of the year 1716, in which the heads of the Society went to a meeting to enforce declarations upon which “the world would stand.” But time did not permit reaching the conclusion of these issues for many reasons, and now it was impossible since it was buzzing as in a beehive” [too much dissention]. “In that year, there was a trial of two women from Vitebsk and Mielec. They had converted and were sentenced to be burned at the stake. The sentence was carried out.”

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Jews of Dubno did not use any family names and acknowledged themselves only with their first names, titles, function (or offices) and their patronyms. In the “Pinkas of the Dubno Community” there are almost no family names until the year 1831, even when Russian authorities demanded it in the year 1813.

On pages 171 and 71 of the Pinkas, for the first time there is a long list of names with Jewish family names, about giving over silver dishes and gold dishes to “our teacher and Torah student Mr. Shimon son of Yeshaye, may his memory be blessed in the Next World.” The protocol was signed on a Wednesday, on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar in the year 5591 (1831):

The so-called Yoresh Boskis, the young Ziskind Optik, the young Avrohom son of Reb Meyer Pinkhas Khovkin, Yisroel Hirsh Boskis, Shmuel Eisenhart, Zalman Parnes, Refoel son of Mendel Roplowycz, Berish Fajerstajn, Klonymus Kalman son of Dovid Marszolkowycz, Yisroel son of Zalman Parnes, Yosef Manilsohn.

Separate declarations for modest dress and jewellery were implemented in the year 5507 (1747), when August III was ruler. According to the estimated accounting for determining the taxes, there were 170 Jewish “homes” with 1923 souls. These declarations were presented in the book on pages 93 and 71. They begin with an introduction that describes the times as a time of “great difficulty for Yakov” [for the Jews]:

[Column 580]

Yakov is now in a difficult time. A tragedy is approaching. As blind people, we are tapping our way through darkness. We are becoming weaker and as sheep to the slaughter – always being led. You have made it – that nations should resent me. Oh God, You have left us in the desert ownerless [belonging nowhere]. It would be worth it to throw off the jewellery and put on sacks, pour ash on our heads in memory of the murdered nation of martyrs. We have therefore opened our eyes and have tried to pass a decree for the Jews of our town that they should not be objects of envy or mockery among the nations, in whose power we are living through this bitter exile.

And we elected ones – the leaders, community leaders, the old and the new, along with the exceptional individuals, where not even one of the abovementioned was absent, all consented and took upon themselves, as did their children, everything that was decided.

  1. The daughters of our city are forbidden to wear any satin dresses on weekdays. Only the vests, bodices, and short jackets can be made of satin and old partur,* but in general not decorated with gold or silver.
  2. During the week, not to wear any decorations, fox fur, or any other furs of foxes. Only on the Shabbath clothing are you allowed to wear this, at the bottom of your coats, as well as the abovementioned furs, which are already being worn on weekday clothing. But from today onwards, it is not permitted to make yourself new fox fur coats unless it will not be worth more than four gold coins, or in such a way that these kinds of fur on the coat from head to toe and on the bottom should be valued as much as the outer clothing, but not more than four gold coins, approximately.
  3. The Shabbath and holiday clothing which you order as new, is permitted to make simply, without gold or silver ornaments; but it is forbidden to make new dreit,* damask, partur,* satin and velvet. Only the person who already has
[Column 581]
clothing of dreit,* damask is permitted to wear them on Shabbath and the holidays, but they should not be decorated with any gold or silver. And satin, silk, and partur,* even old, are forbidden on Shabbath and the holidays. Also, vests and jackets and bodices are permitted, even decorated ones. On Shabbath and on the holidays, and during the week at a festive meal of a circumcision or wedding, it is permitted to wear a dress of Shabbath or holidays, as mentioned earlier.
  1. It is not permitted to wear just any type of jewellery, gold and pearls and fine stones, include here the headscarf, into which there should be no additions [decorations] placed, even fake ones, and it should not be worth more than five gold coins. An earring with a ruby is permitted, without anything dangling, even pearls are not permitted. Corals are permitted, but there should not be any jewellery shtik* hanging, even fake ones.
  2. The unmarried girls are permitted to wear anything, and the abovementioned decrees do not apply to them until after their wedding. This is what the jewellery of the unmarried girl should be: a chain with a value of not more than 15 gold coins, [czerwony]; a baitchel *of pearls with a shtik,* and a konik.* Nothing more. Also, earrings with a shtik* are permitted, and those who do not have a chain should wear four pearls with five strings. Not more. And all this is for yom tov [the holidays] and for Shabbath and also for a wedding. During the week, the rules of jewellery apply to the other women too.
  3. During the week, the people will not wear any satin clothing, and also it is forbidden to make new clothes for the schlek.* It is also forbidden to make new satin clothing, except for those who already have some. Only for a festive meal of a circumcision or wedding, or in honor of guest, then she can wear satin and new fur on the schlek.*
[Column 582]
  1. The one who already has satin clothes or dreit* can wear the headdress on yom tov, or on Shabbath. Gabardine is completely forbidden.
  2. No homemaker is permitted to send shalach manos [gifts/foods for Purim] to anyone in the world in a silver dish, and also not to bring the esrog [citron for Sukkos] to the synagogue in a silver holder.
  3. All these declarations apply to all the residents of our city, excluding our esteemed Rav, his wife, and their children.
  4. For a celebration of a circumcision there cannot be more than eight people, excluding the mohel [rabbi who performs circumcision], kvater [person who carries in the baby before the ceremony], the sandek [person who holds the baby during the circumcision], and the person who recites the blessings.


An acknowledgment and thanks for the help for several communities in Wolyn [Volhynia] to the community in Dubno during the days of the “burning fire” when there was a pogrom against the Jews run by the Ukrainian Haidamkas [comprised mostly of local free Cossacks, peasants, and rebels], who rose up against the Polish aristocracy – writes the author in the year 5512 (1752) on pages 59, 72:

We will always remember your charity and we will mark those communities who committed to help out of the goodness of their hearts, and sent [provisions] to our community, after the “burning fire” that was here on the 12th of Elul, 5512.

The community of Konstantin – 400 gildens to the gabbaim [plural of gabbai] to distribute to the poor.

The community of Olik – six gold coins [czerwony] in cash to dispense among the poor right away; they also sent wagons filled with corn, bread, meat, and dishes.

The community of Kreminiec – five gold coins [czerwony] to distribute among the poor immediately.

The community of Ostry sent a wagon of bread and foods.

The community of Braude – sent thirty-five gold coins [czerwony] to distribute among the poor …

Note: An asterisk (*) following an italicized word refers to the untranslated italicized word that precedes it. Each of these words was left in its original Yiddish, since the translator could not find the meaning of the word. However, since the context is clear, one can deduce that each of these words refers to a type of material or ornament related to female clothing.


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