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Axes d'attaques égptiens fin mai - début juin 1948

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David Bedein, Bureau Chief Israel Resource News Agency

MIDDLE EAST RELATED HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS & TREATIES: BEFORE 1860 | 1860-1917 | 1918-1946 | 1947-1966 | 1967-1990 | 1991-9/11/2001 | Sep 11, 2001 - PRESENT | VARIOUS DATES



Jews in Zhytomyr

Zhytomyr apparently had few Jews at the time of the Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648), but by the time it became part of Russia in 1778, it had a large Jewish community, and was a center of the Hasidic movement. Jews formed nearly one-third of the 1861 population (13,299 in 40,564); thirty years later, they had somewhat outpaced the general growth of the city, with 24,062 Jews in a total population of 69,785. By 1891 there were three large synagogues and 46 smaller batte midrash. The proportion of Jews was much lower in the surrounding district of Zhytomyr than in the city itself; at the turn of the century (circa 1900) there were 22,636 Jews in a total population of 281,378.

In Imperial Russia, Zhytomyr held the same status as the official Jewish center of southern part of the Pale of Settlement as Vilnius held in the north. The printing of Hebrew books was permitted only in these two cities during the monopoly of Hebrew printing from 1845 to 1862, and both were chosen as the seats of the two rabbinical schools which were established by the government in 1848 in pursuance of its plans to force secular education on the Jews of Russia in accordance with the program of the Teutonized Russian Haskalah movement. The rabbinical school of Zhytomyr was considered the more Jewish, or rather the less Russianized, of the two (Ha-Meliẓ, 1868, No. 40, cited in Jewish Encyclopedia). Its first head master was Jacob Eichenbaum, who was succeeded by Hayyim Selig Slonimski in 1862. The latter remained at the head of the school until it was closed (together with the one at Vilnius) in 1873 because of its failure to provide rabbis with a secular education who should be acceptable to the Jewish communities. Suchastover, Gottlober, Lerner, and Zweifel were among the best-known teachers of the rabbinical school at Zhytomyr, while Abraham Goldfaden, Salomon Mandelkern, and Abraham Jacob Paperna were among the students who later became famous in the Jewish world.

The teachers' institutes which were substituted for the rabbinical schools were, in the words of the Jewish Encyclopedia "scarcely more satisfactory" (The JE refers to the teachers' institute at Zhytomyr as "probably the worst-managed Jewish institution in Russia of which there is any record", citing Prelooker, Under the Czar and Queen Victoria, pp. 8–21, London, 1895). It was closed in 1885, succeeded by a Talmud Torah, a "government school" for boys, a girls' school, and several private schools for both sexes that the JE describes as "admirable", with comparable praise for other Jewish institutions of Zhytomyr circa 1900.

While "never a center of rabbinical learning" (JE) Zhytomyr boasted a few rabbis of some note: Rabbi Wolf (died 1800), author of the Or ha-Meïr (Koretz, 1795), a pupil of Bär of Meseritz and one of the leaders of early Hasidism, and Abraham Bär Mavruch, rosh bet din or acting rabbi of Zhytomyr in the first half of the nineteenth century and author of the Bat 'Ayin (Zhytomyr, 1850).

The Jewish community of Zhytomyr suffered pogroms: 1) on May 7–8, 1905, when the section of the city known as "Podol" was devastated, 20 were killed within the city, 10 young Jewish neighbors were killed when they came to defend, and the Christian student Nicholas Blinov, also attempting to defend, likewise lost his life; on January 7–10, 1919; 3) and beginning on March 22, 1919, when, according to witnesses, the 317 deaths were a lesser number, due to both Christian sheltering efforts and the return of the Bolshevik troops within a few days.[1]

The Jewish community of the region was largely destroyed in the Holocaust. In the four months beginning with Himmler's 25 July 1942 orders, "all of Ukraine's shtetls and ghettos lay in ruins; tens of thousands of Jewish men, women, and children were brutally murdered by stationary and mobile SS-police units and indigenous auxiliaries."[2]

Today, the Zhytomyr Jewish community numbers about 5000. The community is a part of the "Union of Jewish Communities in Ukraine" and the city and district's rabbinate Rabbi Shlomo Vilhelm serves as rabbi, who came to the city as a Chabad emissary in 1994. Other Jewish institutions are also active in the city, such as the Joint and its humanitarian branch "Chesed" and the Jewish Agency.

The community has an ancient synagogue in the city center which has a mikveh. Chabad operates in the city various educational institutions which have residence in a village next to the city.


  1. Elias Heifetz, The slaughter of the Jews in the Ukraine in 1919, 1921, Thomas Selzter New York, pp. 25-40. [1] accessed October 28, 2009
  2. Lower, 2005, introduction.

References and footnotes

  • 12px Эта статья содержит текст из опубликованной в наше время на общедоступном сайте  Herman Rosenthal and Peter Wiernik (1901–1906). «Zhitomir (Jitomir)». Jewish Encyclopedia.  
  • Wendy Lower, Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine, 2005, University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2960-9. Introduction (online) accessed 19 July 2006.

  • The terrorist identity: explaining the terrorist threat

By Michael P. Arena, Bruce A. Arrigo p.84 http://books.google.co.il/books?id=Rv5kAnKsAKsC&pg=PA84&dq=Britain+and+Palestine+al-qassam+terror&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nOodT8jgAcaaOtnEwbAO&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBjgK#v=onepage&q&f=false

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  • War, peace and terror in the Middle East

By Raphael Israeli http://books.google.co.il/books?id=I4B11CFdP-oC&pg=PA7&dq=Britain+and+Palestine+al-qassam+terror&hl=en&sa=X&ei=LukdT47AJYWA4gTVruDWDQ&ved=0CGIQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

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