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CZERNOWITZ:

Capital of the province of Bukowina, Austria, situated near the banks of the Pruth, about 150 miles from Lemberg. Jews were living here and in a few other places in Bukowina when the Austrians took possession of the country in 1775. They were mostly of Polish and Rumanian origin, and had probably settled there in the fifteenth century, when it formed a part of Moldavia. During the occupation of Bukowina by Russia (1769-74) some White Russian Jews found their way thither. Czernowitz was termed "village" in the official documents of 1775, and in 1816 it had a total population of 4,516 persons. Its development began only in the thirties, from which time the history of the Jewish community may be said to date. Toward the middle of the nineteenth century the community was divided into two hostile camps: the Orthodox Jews, who detested all innovation; and the advocates of reform. The two parties avoided intercourse with each other, and the affairs of the community suffered considerably from this state of things. A kind of truce founded on mutual toleration was brought about by Chief Rabbi L. E. Igel, who held the office from 1854. He employed all his efforts to maintain peace in the community. During the forty years of his rabbinate many useful institutions were founded. Religious schools were opened under the supervision of Dr. Heinrich Atlas and Mandel Tittinger,who for twenty-five years held the office of deputy burgomaster of Czernowitz. In 1879 the Alliance Israélite of Vienna established at Czernowitz a center for the crownland of Bukowina. The community possesses a yearly income of 20,000 florins for charitable purposes, in addition to casual donations. In 1895 L. E. Igel was succeeded in the chief rabbinate by Joseph Rosenfeld, assisted by the rabbis Benjamin Weiss and Berl Bremer. The community possesses many synagogues, one of which is Sephardic. From 1836 to about 1860 a Hebrew printing-office existed at Czernowitz; but owing to the poverty of the plant and management, it was never very active. The total population in 1900 was 67,622, of which about 22,000 were Jews. Among the numerous societies and charitable institutions the most noteworthy are: the Jewish Hospital, the ḥebra ḳaddisha, the Jüdischer Frauen-Verein, the Krankenunterstützungsverein, and the Talmud Torah. Czernowitz was at one time the home of a famous printing-press. See Galicia.

Bibliography:
  • B. Schwarzfeld, in Kokebe Yiẓḥaḳ, xviii. 87, xix. 66;
  • idem, in Wertheimer's Jahrbuch, iv. 204;
  • Die Oesterreichish-Ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild, xx. 124, Vienna, 1899.
E. C. I. Br.
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