District town in the government of Grodno, Russia; it became part of Lithuania in 1316. Jews probably lived in Slonim under Grand Duke Gedimin and his followers, although the first documentary evidence that a Jewish community existed there dates back only to 1551, when mention is made of a community which was exempted from the special tax called "scherebschisna." In 1556 Abram Mayerovich, a Jew of Slonim, is mentioned as plaintiff in a lawsuit against the estate-owner Martin Petrashkevich, the court deciding in favor of Abram. In 1558 the monopoly of brewing and selling beer in the city of Slonim was acquired by the Jew Abram Palam, who agreed to build the breweries at his own expense, and to pay an annual license of 30 kop groschen. In 1559 David Mayerovich, another Jew of Slonim, won his suit of 35 groschen against the boyar Zhuk Patzevich. Seven years later Aaron Gankevich, a Jew of Grodno, lodged a complaint in the district court of Slonim against the sheriff of the estate-holder Paluski, and his accomplices, who had assaulted and wounded the complainant while he was visiting the Jews of Slonim as representative of his landlord, Khodkevich of Wilna. In the same year (1566) the landlord of Slonim, Pavel Irikovich, bound his heirs to pay his debts of 8 kop groschen to the JewEsko, and 2½ kop groschen to the Jew Goshko. A Jew of Brest, Samuel Yuditch, farmed the taxes of Slonim in the following year, and is mentioned as claimant in 1570 against the estate-owner Mikhailo Stoiderev of Slonim for 5 kop and 12 groschen.
Two Jews of Slonim, Mayer Abramovich and Hessel Mordukhovich, were charged in 1583 with having tortured the prisoner Vasili Ivanovich, who was accused of having murdered the Jews Yakub Heimelovich and Hersh Davidovich. In the books of the custom-house of Brest-Litovsk for 1583 Jewish merchants of Slonim are mentioned among the exporters of merchandise to Lublin.
The Jewish community of Slonim began to prosper in the second half of the eighteenth century, when Hetman Michael Oginski became the elder of the town and built there a palace, a theater, and many other buildings, established a printing-office, and laid the foundation of the Oginski Canal, which developed trade and industry by connecting the River Shara with the Dnieper. In 1795 Slonim became the capital of the government of the same name, but in the following year it became a district town, and since 1801 it has been part of the government of Grodno. Slonim has the usual charitable institutions, likewise seven synagogues and many prayer-houses. Among the rabbis who have officiated there may be mentioned Judah Löw ben Moses ha-Levi Edel and Joshua Isaac ben Jehiel Schapiro (died there Dec. 3, 1872). The present (1905) rabbi is Judah Viernikowski. Among other prominent Slonim Jews of the nineteenth century may be mentioned Abraham Samuel Tenzer, Hirsch Arkin, Hillel Lipstein, Mordecai Rosenblum, Mordecai Samuel Weinikov, Eleazar Klaczko, Mendel Miller, Ḥayyim Pomeranz, Markel Shershevski, Noah Blostein, Isaac Elikowitz, Joshua Heshel Horodisch, and Asher Edelstein.
According to the census of 1897, the city of Slonim had a total population of 15,893, of whom about 10,588 were Jews; the population of the district was 213,611, including about 21,000 Jews.
- Regesty i Nadpisi, s.v.;
- Russko-Yevreiski Arkhiv, vol. ii., Nos. 87, 260, 261;
- Suvalski, Keneset ha-Gedolah, p. 79, Warsaw, 1879.