I. Historical evolution of the community of Roman
In his book, Professor S. Rivenzon mentions the famous and controversial megila (scroll of remembrance), found in the collection of Mr. M. Schwarzfeld, which narrates an episode that transpired at Roman in 1574, during the time of Ionaşcu Vodǎ Armeanul (Ion Vodǎ cel Cumplit). Famous experts in paleography who examined the document concluded that the megila was authentic. Jewish chroniclers, Mr. M. Schwarzfeld and later on Dr. M. A. Halevy, utilizing more adequate means of research and based on historical considerations deduced that it was an apocryphal masterpiece. Why would the author have chosen the city of Roman? Because Roman was one of the earliest cities inhabited by Jews in Moldova.
The first leader of a Jewish community in town was Leiba, the Staroste of the Jews (1790) one of the debtors of Squire Constantin Balş.
In general, the Jewish Community (kahal) was engaged in operating schools, hospital, cemetery and other Jewish institutions, also being the representatives of the community in its relationship with other ethnicities among whom they dwelt.
In Moldova, the community also was responsible to pay a levy on behalf of the Jews from that community. The leadership of the Jews of Roman was composed of 14 individuals who were involved in the running of the school, hospital, synagogues and cemetery.
They paid, in the times of Nicolae Suţu, a state tax of 60 (sixty) ducats, for 562 Jews; it is believed that it probably meant 562 heads of household.
Prior to N. Suţu, the amount paid as taxes by the Jewish community was unknown. This method of collective/communal payment (called cisla) was maintained till 1848, when a disposition of the rulers obligated all inhabitants to pay an individual levy. Yet, for Piatra Neamţ we have documentation of this collective taxation system in 1859. The community sustained the following positions: Rabbi, school teachers, hospital physician. The available documents reflect only a more recent listing of the officers of the Community of Roman, which functioned between 18701880, and was composed of: Lupu Davidovici, Ire Handman, Haim Jaller, Haim Gǎlǎţeanu, David Abram.
Documents from the end of the previous century show that because of the disorganization of the Community and the internal conflicts, the maintenance of the hospital suffered, the bath was not built, and help to needy families was inadequate.
The conflicts mentioned above arose between the students who wanted civil rights and assimilation on one side and the leadership of the community, conservative, opposed to assimilation, but not without arguments. The local authorities supported the community.
A statute of the local community was enacted in 1906. The Jewish Community of Roman consisted of Jews domiciled in Roman and the villages: Elisabeta Doamna, Carol I and CotuVames. The Roman Municipality supervised the administration of the community and controlled it from a financial point of view.
The Community operated the hospital, through the hospital committee, the school, through the school committee and its real estate through the committee of supervision of property: the bathhouse, the warehouse, the houses with adjoining land on Miron Cosatin Street and the land plots in Principatele Unite Street.
In March 1906, the city hall dissolved the existing board, establishing an interim one composed of the following gentlemen: Oisie Vigder, Isac Avram, Iosef Zingher, Zeilig Gelber, Moise Zisman, Leizer Kofler, Simon Hirsch, Iancu Grimberg and Mayer Rothenberg. On 21 January 1907 at the city hall, the election of the Jewish Community Board took place. From 800 voters 210 voted. Declared elected for three year terms with 109 votes were: Iohan Zissu, I. Edelstein, S. Kramer and Noel Bring.
As it was stated in a Jewish newspaper: In the last few decades, there seems to exist a great deal of apathy and incompetence. The administration founded on the basis of a defective statute, could embezzle funds raised with great sacrifices by members of the community for the building of a school, leaving deficits. This state of affairs lasted until May 1905, when several members called on City Hall, the Mayor being Dr. Riegler, asking for intervention under Article 50 for the organization of urban communities…
The 19071908 budget reflects that the main income of the Community originated from:
|Voluntary payments||lei 38,000|
Expenses rose to 49,207 lei from which:
|1 Rabbi, 7 ritual slaughterers)||9,903.60|
The committee was composed of:
|Pres. School Committee||M. Zussman|
In 1910, the new committee initiated a fundraiser for a new school, and began the construction of new additions to the Jewish school for boys, the hospital, the Home for the Aged and the central bathhouse. All the buildings belonging to the community were appraised at 200,000 lei.
In 1920 the new committee, aware of the lack of funds, decided to rent out the ritual slaughtering of poultry and cattle, hoping to raise approximately 200,000 lei to be used for the upkeep of schools and religious personnel.
Lack of funds was to continue even in 1926, when the committee met to settle the differences between the Sacra (the holy) Society and the Community.
On behalf of the Sacra Society participated: Iancu Gros, Bercu Zingher, Mauriciu Rosenberg, and Dr. Ioseph Wacher, and on behalf of the Community Attorney Arnold Cramer, Iulius Istein and Herman Enghelberg. The arbitrators were Attorney Maximilian Schor, Attorney Marcel Zingher, and Suchard Rivenzon. The Community demanded that the Sacra Society turn over its surplus funds to the Community, its budget thus becoming an item on the Community budget. The Society's representatives/attorneys felt that this proposal would infringe on its autonomy. The arbitrators reached a compromise: The Sacra Society will be administered by a committee composed of two Community members (legal members) and seven members elected by the Society. In the statute of 1926, the characteristics of the prior statute were kept, the sponsorship of the City Hall ceased and the Board of the Community was composed of 21 members divided into four sections: administrative, religious, cultural, welfare, and a committee (section) for the holy sites.
Each section was composed of five wardens, the administrative one of six. All committees constituted the Board of the Community. On 27 February, 1927 the slate advanced by the Community together with the Sacra Society was elected.
Administrative section: its mission being to maintain and oversee the communal institutions from an administrative point of view, to supervise the execution of the Board budget, exercising constant control over the income and expense and representing the Community in its relationships with other institutions, private or governmental.
Cultural section: its mission was to spread culture and encourage Jewish national sentiments and love of country among the population, and to supervise teaching and education in the boys and girls elementary schools and in the Community nursery schools.
Religious section: was charged with the care for the religious life of the Community, to instill Jewish religious values, to maintain and care for the religious institutions and traditions, and supervise the observation of rituals.
Welfare section: to maintain the hospital and communal bath; to maintain and administer pension funds and aid, and to promulgate the idea of monetary help in the heart of the Jewish population.
The Community budget was based on the following income sources:
Subsidies from regional and local governments
Revenue from Matzah sales at Passover
Revenue from ritual slaughter of poultry and meat
Income from hospital, schools and baths
Revenue from funeral services and tombstones
Revenues from births and weddings.
In 1936 the Community owned the following institutions: the school for boys with 200 students, the school for girls with 160 students, the kindergarten with 50 children, the hospital providing mostly free services to the Jewish population but also to non Jews, the only bath of the city and the cemetery. It sustained a school dining hall and a home for seniors.
In 1940, with the occasion of Passover, a military canteen was organized where 250 soldiers and displaced Jews were served meals twice a day, lunch and supper.
In June 1941, the permanent commission of the Community Board formed a committee for the resettlement of refugees, composed of: Uşer Beram, Avram Ghertner, Meer Iosub and A. Bayer. Another committee was responsible for the community work: Attorney Arnold Cramer, Rabbi Mendel Frankel and B. Friedman. The committee led by Simon Kisler was responsible for the organization and operation of a canteen to feed the needy.
Delegated with the duty to raise funds for the benefit of evacuees were: Rabbi M. Frankel, Iulius Vigder, Leon Vigder, Leon Grunberg and Lazaar Blecher. Certain publications describe the activities of smaller communities within the former Roman region. In 1932, the Jewish Community of Bǎceşti Roman became a judicial entity and its interim Board was composed of Hascal Haimovici president, S. Sufrin, B. Moscovici, Lazar Kern, B. Grunberg and S. Lazar members. In 1937, the village of Bǎceşti had a Hebrew school, and a bath maintained by the Community. The president at that time was H. Haimovici and Secretary L. Herscovici.
II: Community Institutions and Concerns
a. Synagogues and the religious personnel
It is believed that a wooden synagogue existed in Roman at the beginning of the 15th century, on the same lot where the Main Synagogue was standing later (in the 20th century). The Great Synagogue was built in 1830 replacing the old synagogue, which burned down in the same year, on the same plot. After its erection, in 1837, the Episcopal Office of Roman sent a petition to Prince Mihail Vodǎ Sturza, requesting its demolition for being built too close to the Church of St. Nicolae, since the noisy prayers of the Jews were disturbing the tranquility of the Christians in that church. The prince paid no attention to that petition and in 1844 the Episcopal Office sent a new one. Prince Mihail Sturza issued a princely charter,
deciding that: „Regarding the number and the location of the synagogues it was clarified that the council considers those synagogues as being deliberately built for the collective worship of the Jews, with the permission of the government. As for the future, the Department shall not allow to build synagogues for the collective worship of the Jews without informing the government and without them being at a distance of about 150 stânjeni [aprox. 150 fathoms or 300 meters, RS] on all sides from the churches”. On July 18th, 1844 the „Jewish synagogues” requested the authorization for building a synagogue, without mentioning the distance [from the adjacent church(es), RS]. However, on August 4th, the Prince decides to demolish the synagogues located near churches and to limit the number of synagogues to be erected. To resolve these contradictory decisions, the Prince issues a concluding charter, deciding that the four synagogues in the vicinity of the Church of St. Neculai will remain in their locations for good, and that for the future care should be taken that such things will not occur.
Now this Great Synagogue remained definitevely on the spot it was erected; in 1952 it was surrounded by a wooden fence. Close to the Moldova river, was standing the „Bait Rishon Bet Hamidrash”, founded in 1825 by Sevech Lipscan, a Jew from Roman, member of the „Kasever Chasidim” sect.
A third synagogue, behind the Big Street, was Lipscani (Leipzigher) Synagogue, built in 1835 on the ruins of the dwelling of Rabbi Iancu Beresh. A fourth synagogue was built by Berl Galbeners, in 1852, the fifth was „Bet Hamidrash”, founded by Zalman, a sixth was erected in 1865, on the spot of an old synagogue that „belonged to a famous Magid”. A seventh synagogue was built by
Avram the watchmaker and David Moise, in 1866. The eighth was the synagogue of reb Iosif Galant, behind the Big Street. The ninth was founded by the brothers Kalman Avram and Kalman Nuhem, in 1870. The thenth was that of Rabbi Isacsohn, built in 1865. The eleventh was that of Hersh Beir, built in 1870. The twelveth was of the „Bootmakers”, built in the same year. The thirteenth was named „Alt ven Bet Hmidrash”, and was built in 1876, near th Big Street [Strada Mare]. The fourteenth was built by Strul Herman in 1881, the fifteenth by Moise Zimand on Sucedava Str. and the sixteenth was the synagogue of Chaim melamed.
It was proved by tradition that a heider, for the instruction of children from the age of six up, was to be found by each synagogue. The Pinkas [register, RS] „TalmudTora”, found at the „Dr. Iuliu Barasch” Historical Society, proves the existence, in 1817, of a „TalmudTora”, an instructional institution, more advanced than the heider.
In 1910, the synagogue „Bais Sein”, on Adrian Str., was built to replace the one ruined.. It will later be named „Spiwak”.
From archive documents we learn of the situation of the synagogues and of the religious personnel in 1938.
Synagogue „Rabi Lewi” founded in 1856 (seems to be the eighth synagogue quoted by S. Wecsler), had 72 worshipers and did not have a statute. The synagogue committee included Solomon Beram and Iosef H. Bentzin. The decisions of the comitee were valid for the members. The property of the synagogue was comprised of: the building, evaluated at 300,000 lei, holy scrolls and religious books, valued at 200,000 lei.
The budget for the last year (1937) was 50,000 lei. The Rabbi was Israel Friedman, the administrator was Strul Leib Jung, paid 600 lei per month (born in Maramureş).
Synagogue „Michel Leizerovici” founded in 18781880, the initial residence was in the cattle detour way, then in 17 Panaite Donici Str. It had 47 worshipers who were heads of households with a total of aproximately 100 souls. Statutes: the traditional ones.
The council included Iosub Leizerovici, Haim Staermen, Iancu Leizerovici and Iosub Staerman. Its property was comprised of the building, two holy scrolls and 20 old religious books. The budget for the current year was 11,000 lei. The religious personnel included: cantor Iancu Fishel, born in Darabani (Dorohoi), in 1861, and recruited in 1882 in the town of Dorohoi.
Synagogue Feder and Kalman founded in 1868 (probably the nineth synagogue counted by S. Wecsler), had 100 worshipers. The council included: Sabo Solomon, Carol Nusen, Moise Eisenstein, Isac Farmagiu and Iancu Alter. Its property comprised the building, religious books, candlesticks and three holy scrolls. Its budget for that year was 5,000 lei and it had no religious personnel.
Synagogue „Zalmina” founded 80 to 90 years back (probably the one founded by Zalman, according to S. Wecsler), had over 200 worshipers and no statute.
Its council members were: Carol Grunberg, S. Aizic, D. Kessler, S. Segal, I. Lustgarten, D. Laufer, A. Isac, David H. Avram and Lupu Schweitzer.
Its property included the building, valued at 300,000 lei. The budget for the current year was 20,000 lei. The personnel was Rabbi Bercu Schweitzer, who held the certificate of graduation in Jewish studies issued by Rabbi Haim Schor of Bucharest, in 1920, and was a Romanian citizen.
Synagogue „Bait Hadash” founded in 1860 (probably the sixth of those counted by S. Wecsler), was located at 2 Vlad Ţepeş, bought back and transformed in 1880. It had 110 worshipers and a statute of its own voted in 1936. The steering committee was made of: Michel Bruckmayer, Mauriciu Rosenberg, Ghidale Hershcovici, Solomon Vaiser and Moise Schechter.
Its property included the building, furniture, scrolls and the library. The annual budget was 34,028 lei. The religious personnel were cantor Zigmund Wolfsohn, born in Botoşani in 1874, a Romanian citizen and hired by the synagogue in 1904. Quotes from the synagogue statutes:
Article 3 The Scope
Article 8. All worshipers must contribute to the maintenance of the Society with fixed annual contributions.
Synagogue „Bais Iacob” of 10 Vlad Ţepeş St.
The statute of Synagogue „Bais Iacov” (of the „Bootmakers”) was voted on May 15th, 1938 in the presence of honorables: Samoil Schufer, Moritz Cofler, Marcu Kirerman, Avram Hershcovici, Haim Schwartz, Alter David, Leiba David, Meer Leib, Flitman Iţic Bernfeld, Isac Schor, Marcu Zlociver, presided by Mr. Samoil Schufer. Also present were worshipers Milu Flitman, Sender Burdujanu, Iosif Schifer, David A. Leiba, Gersen Burdujanu, Moritz Fischer, Buium Marcu, Pincu Kaufman, Soil Marcu, Iosef Goldstein, Hersh Bârlǎdeanu, and Sender Groper. The content is similar to the one of the previous synagogue.
Rabbi was Meer Isacsohn.
Synagogue „Kol Israel Haverim”
Rabin in 1938 was Froim Weisbuch, born in 1902 and hired in 1927. He complied with the recruitment law, graduated in Theological Studies in 1929.
In old documents the Synagogue „Bait Hadash” is also named „Moshke” and synagogue „Bais Iacov” (of the Bootmakers). On the other hand, new denominations appear, which can hardly be identified: Synagogue Leipzigher is the one mentioned by S.Wecsler as „Lipscanilor”, the synagogue founded by Moise Zimand is later called KeilerIacob. Synagogues „Kalman Leizer”, „Rintzler”, „Branishteanu” "Gherşin” and „Spiwak” cannot be identified, at least up to now.
Synagogues that once existed in the former county of Roman were:
In Tzefat he founded a carpet workshop. He traveled to London to resolve a dispute. Between 1839 and 1907 office in Roman was held by Rabbi David Isacsohn, of Reb Premishlaner's family. The Isacsohn family produced many generations of Rabbis; Iacov Isacsohn, Meer Isacsohn, Itzic Isacsohn.
In 1843, Rabbi Isaia Avraham Ben Israel, author of the book Gheulas Israel (The Liberation of Israel), died, and in 1857 died Rabbi Froim Iosef Galant. Other documents mention the Tzadik (righteous) David from Roman, the father in law of the Piatra Neamţ Rabbi, Haim Loebel, Rabbi and shokhet Segal Coppel, born in 1890 at Tupilaţi Roman who held office at Bâra Roman, Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Bǎceşti, father of Rabbi Yehezkel Mark, also born in Bǎceşti on January 19th, 1928; he graduated from the Yeshiva "Bet Aharon” from Iaşi and is married to Sara Isacsohn, relative of the Rabbis Isacsohn. The Archives also mention Rabbis Rubin Lipa, Iosub Isacsohn, Solomon Isacsohn and the last Great Rabbi Mendel Frankel, who left a monographic manuscript on the Roman Community.
The documents also mention the shokhets: Schachter Zalman, Leivendman Heindl, Katz Riven, and cantors Kivilevici Marcu, Wolfsohn Zigmund, Strul Leiba.
The Old Cemetery
In the year 1825, the Christian inhabitants of the town, at the direction of the bishop, complained to the prince Ioan Sandu Sturza, demanding the demolition of the cemetery, since it was located in the middle of the town.
The prince conducted an investigation, which found the complaint unjustified, and published the following decree in order to finish the conflict:
We, prince Ioan Sturza, by the grace of God, ruler of the country of Moldova.
Following the complaint of the inhabitants of the town of Roman, against the community of the Jews in the town, about the graves that they have for burying the dead, that they are located in the middle of town, and thus annoy gravely the town: questioning the people at the place of the events, we found that the place was used for a long period, from the time the area was not inhabited and not located near a populated area but on a free plot of land; and even now, it is not near the center of the town, but in a suburb far from the town, where it does not disturb anyone. Since the place was used for a long time, and when it was established, it was on free area, we do not find the Jewish community guilty, and we decide that the cemetery will remain in its place, since we don't see that it causes annoyance. On these, this charter is issued by us, the Prince.
1829, the 25th day, number 66.
Despite this decree, the conflict continued. In 1846, following several complaints, the Jewish community of Roman was forced to buy a new place for a cemetery at Râioasa, and close the old one. In 1849, the conflict became even more severe. The mayor Fundǎcescu, did not recognize the old cemetery as belonging to the Jews, and commanded to enclose it by a stone fence and plant 200 trees in the area.
In 1870, a priest, Vasile Brǎescu, bought several houses in the neighborhood of the old cemetery, and did not like the cemetery proximity. With the help of his son, Constantin Brǎescu, the governor of the Galaţi County, and the mayor Fundǎcescu, they asked the ministry to demolish the cemetery, claiming that cows graze inside it, and also that a tavern is operating, disturbing the peace of the neighborhood.
On 19 Apr 1872, at 3 AM, a group of soldiers and firefighters, led by the mayor Fundǎcescu, destroyed the graves, uprooted the trees, and the next day the Jews found the cemetery ruined, and crosses stuck in the place of the graves. The Jews complained to the Ministry of the Interior, who dissolved the city council, and removed Fundǎcescu from his job. He became blind and died in misery. On the place of the cemetery they build the RomanVodǎ highschool.
In memory of these unfortunate events, an inscription is found in the new cemetery: On the day of 31 April 1872, against the laws of the Romanian country, paragraph 21 of the Constitution, the Old Jewish Cemetery was destroyed, after almost 300 years of existence.
The fence, the service buildings and the tombstones were desecrated and shattered, the bones were exhumed, and 2000 trees planted by us, the Israelites, were uprooted. The community has collected 270 sacks of bones and buried them in this cemetery for eternal remembrance.
After the destruction of the cemetery, several funeral inscriptions were published. We read: The Rabbi from Bozieni, my eyes shed tears for the great eagle with big wings.
‘The dead who were pious are considered alive.’ May the soul of Efraim Fişel be bound in the bond of life. May the memory of Efraim Fişel, the son of Israel, deceased on19 Elul (24 Oct 1871) be blessed. May his soul rest in paradise. In Memory of the Rabbi and preacher, Beer, son of the late Paisech (may his memory be blessed), deceased on 3 Tevet year 5584 (23 Nov 1831). On the right side of the monument, the following inscription is found: Merciful Father in Heaven, remember the dead, shed Your light on the soul of the great rabbi Dov Beer the preacher, son of Peisech; shed light on the souls of all our forefathers, whose bones from the old cemetery are buried here; may they rest in peace for eternal remembrance, may their souls raise to paradise. Amen!
The new cemetery
In 1846 the community has established a new cemetery. Here is the document of purchase of the land:
The commission for collecting money of the town Roman, for purchasing an estate, in exchange with the holy bishopric:
On 28 July 1846, the leaders of the Jewish nation have paid 45 (fortyfive) Lei for a plot of land of 30 prajini (a measuring unit of land) with a small house nearby, 223225 in the Economic Register of 1818, according to the decision of the assembly of the Town Council and affirmed by the Journal of 14 December 1844, the possession of the said site
to be reaffirmed once every 20 years.
To confirm the above, the Signatures:
The site being insufficient, the community purchased in 1849 another 200 prajini, near the place bought in 1846, with the condition of paying for the leasing 20 years in advance. These two places make up the new cemetery. The purchase act is as following:
The committee for collecting money of the town Roman, for purchasing an estate, in agreement with the holy bishopric, 29 May 1949:
The sum of 600 [six hundred) Lei was paid by the Jewish community of this town, for 200 prǎjinni, for the burial of their deceased, located in the periphery of the town in the rural area, in accordance with the decision of the Municipal Assembly on 14 December 1844 about the lease of the site, to be reviewed every 20 years.
Confirmed by the signatures of the members and the seal of the Committee:
Signed: Gedeon Erromonach, Ion Petrovici Caminar, Ion Neamtu Postelnic.
The Pinkas (Register) of the Hevra Kadisha [Jewish Burial Society] of Roman (1794)
In the old times the offices of the Hevra Kadisha [Burial Society, lit. sacred society] were situated on the premises of the community, which managed not only the cemetery, but also other community institutions, and collected taxes as well. The community was taking care of the public bathhouse, the poor, the widows, the orphans and the sick.
The register thus contains also the rights and duties of the members of the congregation. The introduction contains also moral concepts.
The Pinkas records the changes in the religious personnel, leaders, service people, şamaşim [synagogue attendants]. Among the first signatures we note: Meir David of Roman, Hilel Meir of Roman, Haim son of Haim of Roman. The addition of Roman emphasizes that those people were born in the town, as we continue to read signatures without such an addition, Moşe son of David, Tivi son of the late Iţhak, David Aharon son of şelomo.
Some of the people's names are prefixed by the title Rabbi. This title is used as an honorific, and does not mean that the person was a Rabbi.
In the 19th century, people adopted family names. We find signatures of Haim Moshe Katz, Zeev Wolf Davidovitz, Aizic ben David Zilberman. Some names are of Russian origin, some of Austrian. The service people have signed their names following the importance of their job: şelomo Iehuda, şameş gadol (chief attendant). On page 25 we find the following inscription, written in print letters: For remembrance, that the members of the Sacra Society have committed themselves before the famous and enlightened Rabbi of Iaşi, the capital, to donate to the Hevra Kadisha each year two tallers.
The Hevra Kadisha was founded in Roman, in 1794. From the notes in the register we believe that it was founded even before. The first notes do not follow any chronological order. The first one is from 1784, the second from 1785, the third from 1786, but the fourth is from 1774, followed by 1775, 1782, 1784, etc.
In the register, we find a note in Hebrew, from 1867, about the attempt of the mayor Mihai Fundǎcescu, to destroy the cemetery unsuccessful then, but realized in 1872. At that time the mausoleum above the Rabbi's grave was destroyed, as well as the hut where the guard Avraham Chetraru has lived (probably chetraru was his occupation stoneworker). The community, led by Rabbi David Iţhak, hired people to exhume the bodies, filling up 300 sacks, and burying them in the new cemetery.
Until the 80s of the 19th century, the notes in the Register used only Hebrew. From 1880, nonHebrew expressions appear. The dates are not noted using the Jewish calendar any more. A mixture of Hebrew and Romanian is frequently used as in The President Mr. Katz proposed to resign (some of the words in Hebrew, others in Romanian). In 1889, the Jewish leader Aba Abram, sold the Register to the Historical Society Iuliu Barasch.
c. The Bathhouse. Insuring the Kosher Food Supply
The bathhouse existed since the beginning of the XIX century; in 1835 it was destroyed. In 1865, the City Hall asked the Community to repair the bathhouse and install drainage. In 1892, the Community Committee purchased for the local Jewish needs a bath (building and infrastructure) worth 95,000.00 lei. This purchase was accomplished through special contributions and efforts of Meer Heller and David Lustgarten, the President of the community, and the Secretary Isidor Schimschen.
The bathhouse was modernized in 1912; it was located in the center of the Jewish settlement in Roman. In the courtyard it had three tanks of 15 meters deep. These tanks were supplying the ritual baths with natural fountain water. The bathouse was fitted with bath tubs, 1st and 2nd class, with two ritual pools and a steam bath.
In 1924, the Jews of Bozieni requested an authorization for the construction of an organized bath, from their own resources.
The Community Board built on the site of the central bath a warehouse for matzot [special Passover bread]. The profit therefrom was to be donated to the poor. M. Silberman donated a machine to fabricate the matzot.
d. Social welfare and health
Charity was practiced by Jews for a long time and in various forms, individually or on an organized level, to help other Jews as well as non Jews. In 1844, two Jews from Roman, Iţic Nadler and Avram Faibiş donated the sums of 700 and 600 lei respectively for the fire victims from Huşi and Iaşi.
Between the years 18621864, Luca Moise, a shoemaker born in Roman, bequeathed his property to the hospital, school and Jewish community from Ploeşti. In this period, Dr. David Reitman donated a certain amount of money to the Home for the aged Elena Doamna.
In 1877, the pharmacist from Roman, Max Frankel made a donation to the Roman school. In 1887 and 1906 respectively, the Roman Jews donated various sums of money to the fire victims of Roman and Botoşani. Philanthropy appears in Roman in an organized form in 1812, in the form of the Bikkur Cholim Society (helping the sick, lit. visiting the sick).
Also mentioned is the Society of Welfare Ghemilath Hasadim [loanwithoutinterest fund]. On the site of the old hekdeş [poor house] in 1900 they founded the Home for the Aged, subsidized during the interwar years by the local authorities. It is mentioned in the Romanian Encyclopedia, vol. II, 1938.
In the same year, a communal kitchen for feeding the poor was established and in 1941 a canteen for everyone.
Each edition of bylaws of the Community provided for these duties; in the last two, from 1926 and 1935, there are special provisions for social assistance. Between 1941 and 1944, these became very important, due to the general poverty of the Jewish population.
Although with certain exceptions, Jews were received without difficulty in public hospitals, but due to the lack of kosher food, they built their own. The Jewish hospital of Roman dates back to 1811. Before that there was an institution that hosted poor Jews in transit, where medical services were also provided. It was located near the old cemetery and was still in existence in 1870. In 1836 the hospital was functioning, marked as lot number 513 on the map of the town of Roman. The building was located between the Jewish schools and the bathhouse. In 1853, with the occasion of taking by the community the exclusive right to bake bread and pretzels, the hospital is again mentioned; from the net income, the Community hoped to be able to build new buildings for the bath and hospital, the existent ones being totally dilapidated.
Unable to build a memorable new hospital at that time, on the front of the bathhouse a slab with the following inscription was mounted: Our voice is loud among the Jews: take note and be forewarned that our decision will never change, because the majority of the congregants of the town voted and confirmed, under the weight of their oath and threat of excommunication, that the income from the bath will serve exclusively for the maintenance of the sick in the hospital and will not be changed for ever! Year 1856. The new hospital was established in 1879, near the communal bath, led by Dr. Eliad and the pharmacist Max Frenkel, having 10 beds. The Community also began to maintain the sick in their own homes. In 1879, poor sick who could not be accommodated in the hospital, stayed home where they were visited by a physician and received medications gratis furnished by the pharmacist Max Frenkel, with a 25% discount on taxes. In 1882, the hospital was renovated and the furnishings improved. They raised the roof and built a balcony with windows, and the entire building became more prominent in appearance. The first physician employed by the hospital was Dr. Adolf Elias. On 25 July 1885, the Community designated a committee charged with the hospital administration, to renovate and refurbish. The committee consisted of: Moise Schiffer, Isac Avram and Abram Mark, The hospital had six beds for men, and four for women. It was led by Dr. Leo Robener who would later be decorated by the emperor of Austria with the Order Franz Josef, and the title of cavalier. The Jewish hospital, the committee's president being Max Schiffer, progressed steadily, from the ruins that it was,
to become a pleasant home for the sick, well furnished, new beds, with two covers, one for summer, one for winter, and two pillows each.
In the old hospital, the sick were attended, from 1816, by two medics, Anbele and Samoil, whose homes bordered the hospital. After 1853, they were joined by the surgeon, David Reitman, with a degree from Pesta dated 1840. In 1864 he became doctor at the Precista Hospital in town, since 1866 a private doctor in Roman and between 1850 and 1857 a physician in the Jewish Hospital. Another doctor in the Jewish Hospital was Dr. Morris Frei, deceased in 1882.
A physician whom I mentioned already was Dr. Leo Rabener, who came from Vienna in 1885. He was a learned man, a good practitioner, knowledgeable in ophthalmology and dentistry. He elevated the prestige of the institution, which made significant advancements. Due to lack of physicians in the county, he was recruited to work as a regional doctor, assigned in 1891 to the Siretul de Sus region, with residence in Bâra, then to Plǎşile Unite [United Regions] with residence at Dulceşti. In 1912, after helping inaugurate the new building, he left the town and settled in Cernǎuţi. Rabener was followed by Dr. Leon Henic, a distinguished figure of the Roman medical profession, then Max Ghinsberg. Also employed were assistant surgeons Avram Ghelber, and in 1904 Iancu Lazarovici.
The Roman Jews were treated, in the hospital or clinic, also by Dr. Scrob, of whom, however, there were complaints. In 1885, M. Gross, a dentist from Galaţi, settled in Roman, on Stefan the Great Street, in Mr. Roiu's houses.
In his dental clinic one could have dentures sustained only through air pressure, according to the most modern techniques. Dr. V. Gomoiu also mentions the dentist Josef Loefler, at the end of the previous century. In 1880 and 1892, the hospital had 10 beds, in 1908 12 beds. In 1933 the upkeep of the hospital cost the community 169,000.00 lei annually. The hospital was directed by Dr. A. Wechsler and Dr. T. Wachtel and provided care to 5,500 citizens annually; 178 of them were hospitalized. The hospital also provided free medicines. In 1941, 10 rooms of the hospital were taken over by the authorities, 4 rooms left with almost non existent activity. During the war, Jewish doctors who had remained in Roman organized for the Jewish sick a hospital in the houses of the Negruzi Palace. It was named Spitalul Orǎşenesc, [the town hospital], in reality being a mere quarantine, poorly maintained due to the well known shortages. It was managed by Dr. Benţin Hascal, helped by a group of doctors and pharmacists.
After the war, the Jewish Hospital had to be reorganized and refurbished, having been disowned of all of medical instruments and furnishings. Dr. B. Leizer and Attorney Bayer went to Bucharest to intervene with the wellconnected Ţipra Lupu in the name of the town community.
Covering the period 19421944, the lists show 24 doctors, 4 dentists and 19 dental assistants. One more word to remember those who were deported to Transnistria: Dr. Bozianu Iosub, Dr. Dulberger Marcel, Dr. Ghertner Iancu and Dr. Iosepovici Maer (Secretary General of the Jewish Community from SavraniBalta Colony).
In 1940, Dr. Rǎmureanu Aurel who functioned in StrungaRoman was also available and was recruited to the detachment of m.o. Floreşti.
After the war, the Precisa Hospital was reopened and attending were among others, Dr. Benţin Hascal, Dr. Cahane Leizer, Dr. Velt Levi, and Dr. Dulberger Marcel. As a point of information, we mention the interest of some Jewish medical students in Romanian popular medicine in the former Roman county: Juster A. Jean (Pǎnceşti Roman), Mintzer Bercu, Mantel Hirsch, Berman Iosif, Leon Sachs, Hirsch M., Smilovici Zalman, Burǎch Avram, Mathias Avram, Wisner Leon. Dr. Mauriciu Blumenthal (18951955) was born in Roman, later to become member of the faculty at the Dermatology Clinic of Bucharest.
At the beginning of the XIX century, there were in Roman shopkeepers of poisonous substances (medical drugs), such as Mr. Strul from the stories of the writer Ion Creangǎ; in 1832, are mentioned Herşcu, in 1838, the Jew Baroh son of Calman, dealer in medicinal drugs. In 1852 an inspection of the poisonous drugs held by Solomon Rentler found them to be in order.
A controversial figure was Iosef Bredmeier, originally from Germany, so that in fact his correct name would be Wredemayer. He worked between 1844 and 1845 in Galaţi; in 1846 he worked in Roman and between 1850 and1855 in Tîrgul Neamt; he had a degree from the University of Vienna and according to the archives he was Jewish.
Since 1876, in Roman operated the pharmacist Max Fankel, born in Iaşi in 1845, married Babette (born 1858); their son Alexandru was born in Roman in 1879. Max Frankel graduated from the faculty of pharmacy at the University LudwigMaximilian in Munich, in 1874.
In 1879, his lease on the pharmacy was extended for a five year term, on the following conditions:
During WWI there functioned in Roman the Military Hospital No. 242, where working as a pharmacist's aide was H. Coniver, the medical student and brother of the pharmacist Lupu Coniver. The student was handing out basic medicines and band aids, from the stock. Surgeon's assistant Iancu Velt, researchers Aaron Stangel and Bubi Schmautz also worked in this hospital, since the physicians Leon Henic and Max Ginsberg were recruited to the army.
In the appendices we find the names of 15 Jewish pharmacists of Roman, working between 1942 and1944. Among them we note Flexer Lipa and Brucmaer Zalman, who graduated from the Biochemistry Faculty and Weintraub Ozias, doctor in pharmacy sciences from the University of Turin.
We have certain information about the pharmacist Iosepovici Şloim, graduate of the University of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Bucharest in 1928. He was born in Roman in 1902, his father Moise Iosepovici, was a carriage painter. He completed the elementary school and high school in his native city. His brother, Dr. Maer Iosipovici, was deported to Transnistria, he maintained connection with him through a variety of clandestine couriers, through whom he would send to the detainees clothing, food and money, risking his own life.
Dr. Pharmacist Vasile Lipan offers us information about other pharmacists in town: Horovitz Iosef, graduate of the Pharmacy Faculty at the Iaşi University. In 1927 he bought the Minerva pharmacy. Rabinovici Ghizela (born 1888) obtained the pharmacy concession at Bozieni, etc.
e. Jewish Schools in Roman
The educational system of the Romanian Jews consisted of the BetHamidrash and the heider. There used to be many hadarim in Roman; from about 1870 to about 1880 there were more than 20, of which some continued to exist up to the present days, when both the Community Jewish School and the attendance of Jewish children at state schools blew a finishing stroke to the heider, so beautifully brought up by Bialik.
By the third decade of the 20th century, about four hadarim still functioned in the city, of which that of the elderly Bloch and the one of Mrs. Rivenzon can be mentioned.
A higher school than the heider, the Talmud Tora, existed in Roman which, situated on the bank of the Moldova River was supposed to be in existence for about three centuries, namely founded in about 1680.
That situation continued up to 1859, when Minister Cantacuzino summoned the Roman Community leaders to Iaşi, inviting them to found a modern Jewish School in Roman. The Community President, Aba Abram, tried to establish the school, but failed and the TalmudTora continued to exist until 1868, headed by Adolf Gross, with three teachers for Romanian, Hebrew and German. The Mayor of Roman, V. Agarici, insisted in 1865 on building a synagogue and a modern school; as long as he served as mayor he had the best sentiments for Jews (sentiments inherited by his descendant Mrs. Viorica Agarici). The Town Hall insisted and in 1866 proposed a lot for the school building. On November 17th 1866, the Community, represented by Avram Cramer, Aba Abram and Itic ben Marcu, acquired from Vasile Makarovici and David Litenschi the inn and the lot with the cellar, named „Hanul Mungiului”, for the price of 750 gold coins, with a down payment of 120 gold coins, the rest to be payed in further installments.
The school began to function in 1867, headed by Alfred Ravici, with a teaching staff composed of: Zeilig Şor, Defin, Israel Moise Steinholtz, Samuel Lam, Moise Landman and Vulcu Cucu.
Yet, in 1872, the lawyer Gh. Hotineanu, son in law and proxy for Vasile Maharovici, filed a motion for annulling the contract for the purchase of „Hanul Mangiului” on the pretext that the remaining installments for the purchase were not made in time. In 1873, the court decided that… „Considering that of the parties to the contract, the buyers are of Jewish nationality… the presented document is declared null and void by law”. A complete restitution was ordered, without taking into account the money already paid by the Jews; to that day the Community had already paid 555 gold coins. The Jews addressed the Justice Ministry and the US consul, B. Peixoto, but to no avail.
In 1879, a committee composed of Haim Gălă?anu, Manase Zilberman, Pincu ben Leiba and DR. D. Lustgarten began the struggle again. They bought, in 1880, for 280 gold coins, the houses and the lot on Mohoreni St. and located the TalmudTora there. The school had a teaching staff composed of Moses Schwartz, Volf Mantel, Itic Orenstein. The curriculum was close to that of the state primary education, but the study of Hebrew was given priority. In 1893, by the amendment to the education law introduced by A. C. Cuza and supported by A. Delimarcu, the deputy from Roman, the Jewish children were excluded from the state primary schools. As of November 1st, 1893, a primary superior school, named „The IsraeliteRomanian School” and supported by the Community was founded in Roman. N. Bellu was appointed principal. At the inauguration, speeches were made by I. Schimshen, on behalf of the local community committee, by principal N. Bellu, Dr. Miron and I. Catz.
They stressed the importance of the institution. Donations were made for the poor students of the school.
The school had three classes with eight teachers: three teachers of the Romanian language, two teachers of the German language and three who taught Talmud. Prof. A. S. Rapaport published, in Hebrew, an account of the first five years of school activity. The teachers hired for teaching Hebrew were: A. S. Rapaport, professor and publicist, the mentor of many generations of Jewish children, I. Moscovici, M. Valter, I. Orenstein, M. Schwartz and S. Feier, and those hired for teching Romanian were: M. Rămureanu and Bejenaru.
In the following year, the committee, with the help of the president of the Community, hired I. Goldenthal as principal, but as the laws permitted only a Christian principal, they hired, in 1896, Grădinaru E. for that position. He officiated as principal till 1899. By hiring him, the definitive authorization for the school was obtained in October 1896.
In the same year, Avram Suchar was hired as Hebrew teacher. At the end of the 19th century, the school was divided into two sections: one with 4 classes in the Mavrichi house on Tipografiei St. and the other with the same number of classes in the Holtzman house. In 1898, thanks to the efforts of M. Stein, the school moved to the old Post Office building, which later housed the girls' school, the kindergarten and the school's canteen. Under the direction of Naum Paraschiv (18991908) the following have taught the Romanian language subjects, each for two years: Carp, Friedman, Zagar, Fruchtman, Aroneanu, Crighel and Rosner. A special element was the teacher A. S. Segal, who relocated from the school in Roman to the sefardi school in Bucharest.
With the help of the committee, following Astruc's visit, and with the assistance of enlightened and decisive figures as Dr. Henic and Iancu Gross, the teachers' twomonths vacation was introduced. The number of the children [attending the school, RS] increased to 225 in 1904 and to 270 pupils in 1905.
The girls' school and the fourth grade opened for the school year of 19011902. Ms. Leibovici and Ms. Ackerman continued to hold the directing positions.
According to the I.C.A. report for 1903, regarding the situation of the schools in Romania, functioning in Roman were:
In the school year 19071908, the boys' school had 226 pupils, while the girls' school had 179 pupils. During the period of December 1st 1907 to March 31st 1908, the community allocated the sum of 16,293 lei to the schools.
In 1879, when the TalmudTora was reorganized, an institution which distributed food and clothing to the poor children was founded. During 25 years it functioned as a private initiative. In 1903, the foundations for the „School Canteen” Society were laid, its first steering committee being composed of: Simon Mark, Noel Bring, Nathan Bandel, Z. Baier,
Michel Şapira and Itic Mark. This committee also established the definitive rules for helping the poor pupils. The first funds were obtained from the donations of Baron Hirsch, a French Jewish philanthropist.
The balance sheet of this society for the period of October 1st, 1904 to July 1st, 1905 shows that food was provided for 63 boys and 20 girls, pupils of the Community Schools. During 115 days, 9,409 portions of food were served. In addition, clothing was supplied to all pupils. In 1907, the society collected 935 lei through donation lists, with which it clothed 50 boys and 20 girls, pupils of the Hebrew schools. It also received, as in other years, a donation of a measure of wood and 10 lei from Mrs. Maria L. BogdanGădin?i. In the following years the „School Canteen,” presided by Mr. Iosef Neulicht, also distributed clothes and boots to the poor pupils.
After WWI, the „School Canteen” had a suitable location in the girls' school building, with a fully furnished mess hall, a complete set of kitchenware and a daily supply of two dishes of hot food to the children. At the beginning of each school year, 40 of them were dressed with coats and fur caps. The poor children were also offered free books and writing materials and at the deserving among them were given awards at the end of the year.
On June 21st 1909, the foundation stone for the new building of the local Hebrew school was laid. To the raising of funds contributed: Iancu Avram, A. Kalmanowitz, Noel Bring, M. Zissman, Iancu Grunberg, M. Frost, Iosef Weiss, Moise Stein and Avram Laver.
A large public participated in the ceremony of laying the foundation stone, including the County Prefect, A. Delimarcu.
This was the text of the inscription:
„With the help of God,
The Israelite Community of Roman has built with its own means, during the years 19091910, the HebrewRomanian Primary School for Boys, founded in 1868. The construction took place during the glorious reign of Their Royal Majesties, King Carol I and Queen Elisabeta, heirs to the thone being Their Royal Highnesses, Prince Ferdinand and Princess Maria. The construction committee was composed of the gentlemen Iancu Avram, Moise Forst, Iosef Weiss, Avram Laver, Moise Stein, Altăr Calmaovici, Noel Bring, Moise Zusman and Iancu Grunberg, which collected the donations specified below:
The memorial document was signed by the school building committee and by all those present. The great fighter for Jewish causes, Iancu Avram, former president of the I.O.B.B. „Progresul” lodge, delivered a speech. Telegrams of homage were sent to King Carol I and to the Ministry of Public Education. Here is their response:
„From the bottom of my heart I wish that this school will become a true center of the Romanian culture and feelings. Your deeds and the devotion you showed to the fulfillment of the task you took upon yourselves, deserves all the praise from righteous men and from all those who think and feel Romanian” (Minister V. Gh. Mortun).
The works conducted by entrepreneur Michel Bruckmaier made fast advance, so that in October 1910 the school opened with new furniture and new didactic material, with a turnout of 226 pupils, under the management of Iosef Neulicht. The building became the property of the Community in 1908, later becoming the venue of the girls' school. Between 1909 and 1916 the following functioned here: Fany Schapira, Bandel, M. Hainsohn, Wechselberg, Leibovici, Lazăr Rapaport, Iosef Neulicht, Frederica Wagschel, and for the Hebrew language, after the teacher Avram Suchăr left for Bucharest, Lozner, I. Naiman, Moses Schwartz, Samuel Lamm and Fişel Boch. The activity of teacher Ruca Axelrad must be especially mentioned. The continuity was assured for the Hebrew language by the late Rapaport and for the Romanian language by Suchard Rivenzon, hired in 1908, who served one year at the „Cultura” school in Iaşi, after his graduation from the Teachers' Training School in Paris. After the mobilization [for WWI, RS] was declared, the school was evacuated and fitted out as a hospital and the children were relocated to synagogues, where classes were organized, under the guidance of A. S. Rapaport and I. Naiman. After the war, the school reopened, having S. Rivenzon as principal with the teaching staff composed of Iancu Reiza, Tudic for the Romanian language and also Rapaport, I. Naiman, Fişel Boch and Moses Schwartz. Later teaching Romanian were: P. Cocea, C. Muraru, C. Pippă, Gh. Ghiorghiasa, Ernani Cristea, Gh. Uscatu and V. Mancaş. In the school committees of the postwar period the following took part: Iancu Gross, Arthur Schor, then the gentlemen Avram Laver, Itic Grunberg, Isak Mark who presided up to 1921, then Heinrich Haimovici and Moisă Rosenberg.
In 1920, the documents in the archive mention the existence of the following Jewish schools in Roman: The HebrewRomanian School for Boys, The HebrewRomanian School for Girls and The HebrewRomanian Commercial School.
Some of the city's notable intellectuals were members of the school committees: Lawyer Maximilian Schor, Att. Arnold Cramer, Dr. M. Helfont, Dr. M. Ghinsberg, Dr. I. Wacher and Pharmacist I. Horowitz.
In September 1924, the Moldova Jewish Teaching Staff held its meeting in Roman. The committee was reconstituted: President Suchard Rivenzon, Secretary A. Band school inspector. The new primary education law regarding the Jewish teaching staff was debated.
From 1925 on the following also participated in the school committees: H. Gelber, Leopold Haimovici, the teacher N. Konig, Carol Grunberg, Dr. Iosef, Lupu Schmeltzer, Att. I. Schwartz, Pincu Caufman and H. Grunberg.
In 1927 the permission to advertise was granted to the HebrewRomanian School. It was the first Jewish school in Moldova to receive that permission.
Donations and Legacies
Teaching Staff for the year 19321933
shows the principal is working hard to raise the standards of the school to the level it deserves (Aron Barid) and The pupils of the school have a thorough preparation due to the auxiliary staff, that completes, increases and clarifies the facts that were taught. The library of the school was founded by Mr. Rivenzon (P. Gheorghiasa).
Suchard Rivenzon: A former pupil of the JewishRomanian school in Roman (18961900), teacher from the year 1909, and principal from 1916. His extracurricular activity includes: the author of the work What is education, prized by the association of the higher education graduates Unirea, speaker at various cultural associations, collaborator at newspapers, as well as professional and general periodicals. Member of various cultural and philanthropic associations, past senator. Was awarded distinctions: Multumiri Ministeriale (Ministerial Thanks 1929), Avbntul Ţǎrii (Country Enthusiasm 1913), Crucea Comemorativǎ (Commemorative Cross 19161918), Victoria1918 (Victory), Coroana Rombniei (Romanian Crown 1922).
The book by S. Rivenzon, that I have consulted, was part of the Rosenberg Library, then belonged to the pharmacist I. Caufman Roman, then to dr. E. Cozǎrǎscu.
Iosef Neuman, (remark by Dr. E. Cozǎrǎscu) teacher at the IsraeliteRomanian school in Roman, died on 7 Nov 1944, hit by a military car. Taken to the local hospital, has passed away after several hours.
In 1933, the boys' school had 211 pupils (Principal S. Rivenzon), and the girls' one had 136 pupils (Principal Clara Segal). For each of those schools, the community has spent 235000 lei that year.
Following is a list of Hebrew manuals that belonged to the school:
In 1940, the boys' school was requisitioned, and the studies continued in the girls' school. All Jewish teachers and pupils have been expelled from the Romanian schools. For example, we shall mention the teachers Abraham Hollingher and Iacob Konig.
In Roman, in the years 1940 1944, two elementary schools operated (one for boys, one for girls), 12 high schools, and a kindergarten.
1940 4 schools; one kindergarten, two elementary schools, one high school, teaching staff 27, pupils 582, kindergarten 50, elementary 440, high school 92.
1941 4 schools; teaching staff 42, pupils 627, kindergarten 55, elementary 435 (161 girls), high school 137.
1942 Five schools; one kindergarten, two elementary, two high schools, teaching staff 44, pupils 690, kindergarten 55, elementary 470, high school 160.
1943 Five schools as above, pupils 659, kindergarten 50, elementary 440, high school 165.
In October 1942, the schools were based in the following locations:
The teaching staff:
At the boys' school:
Administrative and auxiliary staff:
Secretary: Ghertner Avram, licentiate in law.
Deputy Secretary: Horovitz Nadia, high school graduate.
Education Supervisor: Krakauer Charlotte, high school graduate.
Master of crafts: Vigder I. Vigder.
Beniş Carol, member of the law and philosophy teaching staff, was deported to Transnistria, before the school begun.
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