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PLOCK (PLOTZK):

Government in Russian Poland, with a Jewish population (1897) of 50,473 (in a total population of 553,094), which is the smallest Jewish population of any government in the Pale of Settlement.

The most important of the district towns in the government of Plock are:

Mlawa, which has 5,123 Jews in a total population of 11,211 (1897). R. Jehiel Michael Sagalovich (born 1862) became the rabbi of the community in 1894.

Plock, the capital of the government, which had only about 6,000 inhabitants in 1816 (when it came under Russian domination, after having been held by Prussia under the provisions of the second partition of Poland in 1793), had a total population of 27,073 in 1897. Of this number more than 10,000 are Jews. In the city there are several synagogues, a Talmud Torah (founded 1868), a Gemilut Ḥasadim (founded 1873), and a well-equipped hospital. It has also a Jewish boys' school attended by more than one hundred pupils. Instruction in the Hebrew facth is imparted to Jewish students attending the local gymnasium by A. J. Papierno, a prominent Maskil who has resided in Plock since 1870, and who established a library there in 1900.

Owing to the influence of the Ḥasidim the Jewish community of Plock frequently changed its rabbis during the nineteenth century, and the term of seventeen years during which R. Azriel Aryeh Rakovski held that position, which he resigned in 1880, was considered an extremely long one. Aryeh Löb Zunz or Zuenz also was rabbi of Plock and later of Praga, but removed to Warsaw, where he died April 22, 1833. Since 1897 R. Ezekiel Libshitz (born in Rossienny, in the province of Kovno, in 1864), son of R. Hillel Libshitz of Lublin, and who, like his father, is a Talmudist and able scholar, has been the rabbi of Plock.

Przasnysz, with 4,500 Jews among its 8,586 inhabitants; it has two synagogues.

Sierpce, with about 600 Jewish families among its 8,560 inhabitants. The Jews of Sierpce are burdened with a tax of 68 rubles which they have to pay annually to the owner of the town on account of a debt said to have been contracted by a certain David, of whose origin nothing is known ("Ha-Meliẓ," 1883, No. 105).

Bibliography:
  • Brockhaus-Efron, Entziklopedicheski Slovar, s.v.;
  • Ha-Meliẓ, 1878, No. 9; 1888, No. 33; 1890, No. 200;
  • Ha-Ẓefirah, 1876, No. 4; 1900, No. 44;
  • Yevnin, Naḥalat 'Olamim, pp. 14-15, Warsaw, 1882;
  • Walden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Ḥadash, p. 80, Warsaw, 1882.
H. R. P. Wi.
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