The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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Village in the government of Grodno, Russia. It has a very old Jewish community, but it is impossible to determine when Jews first settled there. When the town endeavored to secure the Magdeburg Law, the Jews contributed for the purpose fifty gold coins, in return for which they were to be allowed to avail themselves of the privileges and income of the town. Notwithstanding this the burghers often attempted to curtail the rights of the Jews. In 1634 King Ladislaus IV. granted them certain privileges, and recognized their rights to the possession of houses, market-places, the public bath, and lands legally acquired by them. The right to own a synagogue and a burial-ground, and to free and undisturbed conduct of religious services, was also recognized. They were permitted to engage in commerce, and to enjoy other privileges, on equal terms with the burghers of Dyvin. They were subject to the jurisdiction of the Dyvin court, but had the right to appeal from this to the judges of the king's court. With the burghers, the Jews have often farmed various profitable portions of municipal property, as, for instance, the flour-mills and the distillery.

In 1656 the commissioners appointed by the king, on the complaint of the Jews, reaffirmed that the latter, having enjoyed for many years with the burghers the privileges and incomes of the city, andhaving contributed to the expense of securing the Magdeburg Law, were entitled to avail themselves, to an equal extent with the burghers, of the income from the farming of public property. But since for a number of years they had neglected to avail themselves of these rights, the commissioners conceded to the Jews the right to share, as was done in other towns, in one-third of the farming privileges. Subsequently new differences arose between the burghers and the Jews in regard to the unequal distribution of taxes for the maintenance of soldiers. These differences were settled by mutual agreement on Feb. 9, 1661.

In 1898 the Jewish population of Dyvin averaged twelve per cent. of the total, there being 1,200 Jews in a total of 10,000 inhabitants. The greater part of the Jewish population follows commercial and industrial occupations. There are 237 Jews who earn their livelihood as artisans; others are engaged in agricultural pursuits. The educational institutions include a Talmud Torah with an attendance of 24 pupils, and ten ḥadarim with an attendance of 115.

  • Regesty i Nadpisi, i. 365, 440, 448, St. Petersburg, 1896.
H. R. S. J.
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