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KALVARIYA:

District town in the government of Suwalki, Russian Poland. In 1897 it had a total population of 8,420, including about 7,000 Jews. The Jewish community was established there in 1713, as appears from a charter of privileges granted to the Jews of the town on Aug. 8 of that year. According to Poluganski, in his historical notes on Kalvariya published in 1857, Jewish weavers lived in the place before it became a town and while it was still known as the village of Traby. The present synagogue, built of stone, was constructed in 1803. Another house of prayer, also of stone, was built in 1865: it contains a Talmud Torah established by the widow of Asriel Sobolevich. The community supports a number of charitable institutions.

Among its rabbis have been: Ẓebi ben Simḥah ha-Kohen, brother of Rabbi Naphtali of Shaty; Aaron Broda of Grodno (d. 1798); his son Löb (d. 1837); Isaac Slonimer, author of "'Emeḳ Yehoshua'"; Löb Shapiro Smorgoner, a pupil of Manasseh Iliyer; Mordecai Klaczko (called also "Mordecai Melzer"), author of "Tekelet Mordekai"; and Jacob ben Solomon (d. 1835), who did much toward beautifying the synagogue.

Other prominent scholars and communal workers were: Arele Natas, ancestor of Mordecai Aaron Ginzburg; Isaac ben Israel Laskes; Mordecai Ẓebi Grodzinski; Nata Reinherz, descendant of Joel Sirkes; Menahem Efrat, brother of David Tebele Efrat; Israel ben Jeremiah Ratner; Isaac Sterling and Jacob Rosenthal, both poets; Zundel Grodzinski; Eliah ben Mordecai Margoliot, rabbi at Rakishek; his son Asher; Rabbi Jacob Wolfkovich (d. in Jerusalem); Nahum Rotstein, dayyan at Kalvariya, and later rabbi at Simva; Isaac Rittenberg, author of "Nimuḳim 'al Sefer ha-Maklul," and a prolific writer for Hebrew periodicals; Isaac ben Elihu Margoliot, author of "Ma'oz ha-Talmud"; Bär Ratner, author of an introduction to and commentarieson "Seder 'Olam" and of scholia to the Palestinian Talmud; Isaac ben Meïr Margoliot, author of "Har Ẓalmon"; Moses Aaron Vizanski, author of "'Eẓ ha-Da'at"; Samuel ben Nata Reinherz; Meïr ben Ḥayyim; and Isaac Freid.

Bibliography:
  • Akty Wilenskoi Arkhivnoi Kommissii, v. 291;
  • Bershadski, Litovskie Yevrei, p. 26;
  • Isaac Rittenberg, Kehillat Kalvariya, in Yalḳuṭ Ma'arabi, p. 33, New York, 1904.
H. R. J. G. L.
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