Town of eastern Galicia, Austria; situated on the Sereth. It was founded in 1540 by the Polish hetman Johann Tarnowski. Polish Jews were at once admitted, and soon formed a majority of the population; during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there were 300 Jewish families in the city. Among the towns destroyed by Chmielnicki during his march of devastation from Zloczow through Galicia was Tarnopol, the large Jewish population of which carried on an extensive trade. Shortly afterward, however, when the Cossacks had been subdued by John Casimir II]., of Poland, the town began to prosper anew, and its Jewish population exceeded all previous figures. It may be noted that Ḥasidism at this time dominated the community, which opposed any introduction of Western culture. During the troublous times in the latter part of the eighteenth century the city was stormed (1770) by the adherents of the Confederacy of Bar, who massacred many of its inhabitants, especially the Jews.
After the second partition of Poland, Tarnopol came under Austrian domination; and Joseph Perl was able to continue his efforts to improve the condition of the Jews there, which he had begun under Russian rule. In 1813 he established a Jewish school which had for its chief object the instruction of Jewish youth in German as well as in Hebrew and various other branches. The controversy between the Ḥasidim and the Maskilim which thisschool caused resulted four years later in a victory for the latter, whereupon the institution received official recognition and was placed under communal control. Since 1863 the school policy has gradually been modified by Polish influences, and very little attention has been given to instruction in German. The Tempel für Geregelten Gottesdienst, opened by Perl in 1819, also caused dissensions within the community, and its rabbi, S. J. Rapoport, was forced to withdraw. This dispute also was eventually settled in favor of the Maskilim. The present (1905) rabbi of the Tempel is Dr. Taubeles, who officiates also as a teacher of religion in the local gymnasium. The Jewish community is still growing, and at present numbers 14,000 in a total population of 30,415. The Jews are engaged principally in an active import and export trade with Russia through the border city of Podwoloczyska.
- Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1839, iii. 606;
- A. Bresler, Joseph Perl, Warsaw, 1879, passim;
- Orgelbrandt, in Encyklopedja Powszechna, xiv. 409;
- J. H. Gurland, Le-Ḳarot ha-Gezerot, p. 22, Odessa, 1892;
- Meyers Konversations-Lexikon.