The Cultural Institute of the Coral Temple |
An Institute deserving its rebirth
Record cards for the monograph: the contributions to culture and civilisation of the Jews from Bucharest
Moments in the activity of the Institute of Culture in the years 1938, 1944, 1945, and 1946
Centuries of living together
"Where there is a synagogue, there must be also a school..."
Synagogues - chronicle over the time
Jews who were - perpetual requiem
The Dynamic of the Israelite-Romanian School
Jewish teachers with special merits in the development of the jewish-romanian schools
Important moments in the evolution of the Jewish Schools
The Jewish press and the Jewish journalists in the capital
Jewish journalists in the Romanian press
The list of the Jewish publications issued in Bucharest, 1857-1957
From the eight Jews from the time of Mircea Ciobanul (1550) until today
Record cards for the monograph: the contributions to culture and civilisation of the Jews from Bucharest
- The thought that will preside the rebirth
- The academic reason of the Institute
- A way towards recognition of the value and merits
The community leaders of the Romanian Jews left the mark of their personality - with "a focus" on a direction or another - to a certain becoming of the community: Adolf Stern and Wilhelm Filderman represented "the integrating trend"; A.L. Zissu, Benvenisti etc. - "the Zionist-immigration trend"; lacob Niemirower, Al. Safran and, after 1948, Moses Rosen - "the Jewish cultural trend". Nicolae Cajal, himself between this great personalities of the community, is convinced by the fact that our moral and human level, but also our relationship with the climate and the times we're living in, is best expressed at the cultural level, in the effort we make for the affirmation and becoming of the community life. Because, who will want, over the years, to know the deeds of the Jews of today and here, he will have to come close, realistically, to the cultural work made, to the social-cultural institutions which we perpetuated, even developing them.
Forever, the success of the initiative of all those community leaders depended of the manner in which the intellectuals and the good people of this community engaged themselves in realising the projects: be it social or assistance institutions, or be it religious or cultural institutions. But this people doesn't miss today, when it becomes necessary to complete the double "troika" of the existing Jewish cultural institutions (the first -"Realitatea Evreiasca" magazine, "Hasefer" Publishing House, the Centre for the study of the Romanian Jewish history; the second - the museum, the archive, the cultural centre) and, in time - why not? - a new forum, not institutionalised and without "schemes of the posts", meant to reunite, as in an academy, intellectual forces happy to confront their opinions and contributions, in a domain or another, with the ones of the future members - titular, correspondent or honorific- of the mentioned institution, new and old in the Jewish world. Because we have in mind the respective "Academy" to continue the valuable tradition of a prestigious community institution from near past, named the Institute of Culture of the Coral Temple (I.C.T.C.), born in 1936, when in Romania lived almost 800,000 Jews, equilibrated settled on a pyramid of age. Instead today, the local Romanian Jews number less than 10,000 persons, the third age representing 3/5, from whom - it is true - people with high qualifications make the most of them. In interactive situations, their capital of knowledge, their experiences and creativity make them worthy of our appreciation and prestige. Not to talk about the bridge that could be made with "the middle generation " and the young one. It would be a blessed moment to pass away the courier!
There are many motifs to salute the initiative of reactivating I.C.T.C., after a pause of 55 years - a very long one -, in which little remember the beauty and the results of this institution.
Let's remind them, here and now, but not before mentioning that, between 1995-1996, there was another tentative to revive this institution, through the so-called F.C.E.R. Commission of Culture, which - due to the weak mobilisation, due to the lack of interest from the part of some "founding members" - had a short-lived existence. Let us pray, with the occasion of the following autumn celebrations, that the new Institute will have a different destiny. Because, if in the first half of the time passed by from the reaffirmation of the minorities, some creators still trifled with "the global assimilation", in the second half became more evident that nothing stops the Jew of our time to take part to the globalisation process as member of an ethic group, as the Jewish ethnic group, and not as a "freischwebend", free-floating outside his source.
In the evening of October 6th, 1936, the Jews from Bucharest, through its cultural elite, inaugurated in the conference room of Coral Temple the activity of the Institute of Culture of the Coral Temple (I.C.T.C.), the highest institute as importance among the co-religionists - and not only for them. On the inauguration it was revealed that: "Our new cultural institution tries to incorporate in great understanding everything cultural in the country we are born in and our parents. In the same time, it tries to be more attentive to all that represents creation of the Jewish heart and intelligence in the past and today" (from the inauguration speech of the founder of this institute, M.S. Zentler). So look, that is why!
At the moment of 1936, the Jews from the Romanian countries were deeply engaged in all the branches of the national culture (science, literature, arts, etc) and affirmed, in the same time, their own spirituality and religious and secular tradition. The institutions working to this end were many: I only mention a few, that lasted longer: the cultural society "Saron", founded in 1913, at the initiative of M. Schwig; the association of the university people "Unirea", founded in 1909; the cultural circle "Libertatea", dating back to 1915; at last, the society "Cultura" or different "popular universities" belonging to Romanian Jews Union, to the Student Zionist Society, lodges ("Noua fraternitate", "Lumina"), the Sefardic association etc. Between the wars, there were forums for organising the history researches of the Jews (the "Sinai" society, the Institute of Jewish-Romanian history). Around the education establishments (religious and secular), but also around the religious institutions, the cultural concerns were daily, with the local Judaism cultivating with great skill the cultural-cultural "symbiosis". This situation didn't excluded deviations on one sense or another, existing not few Jewish creators assimilated, who ignored the Judaism - they indulged themselves in institutions pertaining to the gentiles - and people of culture incapable of surpassing the religious dogma and showed themselves as supporters of isolationism. The originality of the Institute of Culture of the Coral Temple consisted in the wish to cultivate the science, the letters and arts under the roof and the name of the most modern cultural institution in the country. Around it there had been founded a series of secular institutions, among the most recent being the library, the museum and the history archive - with its publication - the bulletin of library, museum and history archive (B.B.M.A.) year I, no. 1, January-February 1935. There was intended the immediate creation of a Judaic Academy of the Coral Temple, destined to become "a desk for disseminating the Jewish thought, the place for carrying through the work of scientific research of our past in Romania, but also of the universal truths which constitute the value of the Judaism " (B.B.M.A., year II, no. 1, p. 4). On March 10th 1936, it is signed a constitutive document of the Association of B.M.A.T.C. friends with specific statutes for its transformation in the Judaic Academy of the Coral Temple.
The reason of naming the new institution an "academy" was especially motivated by the fact that until then - not a single Jew had access to the Romanian Academy except Gaster, whose presence was only a honorific one - and only after he, as an exiled person, became famous abroad. Even it was more and more evident the tentative of the Jewish intellectuals to create their own "Academy" - as long as their most important personalities didn't have the right to accede to the Romanian Academy -, at last, the name of this new prodigious institution will become the Institute of Culture of the Coral Temple whose statutes in 9 articles mentioned: "the «purpose» is to cultivate and disseminate the literature and art, especially the Jewish ones, and regarding the Romanian Judaism". (article 1); the publication in the bulletin of the library of the museum and the history archive (B.B.M.A.), of the communications that will be uttered (pct. 2) by the titular, correspondent and honorific members (pct. 5). The first founding members of I.C.T.C. were: M.S. Zentler, Dr. l. Blum, Dr. I. Brucar, Professor J. Bick, Dr. M.A. Halevy, Dr. O. Kauffman-Cosla, Engineer Max Marcus, Dr. I. Niemirower, G. Silvian, A.L. Zissu (see B.B.M.A., year II, no. 2, December 1936). After that, they will be successively co-opted, in the different scientific reunions held between 1936-1940, another 20 titular members, and between 1945-1948, after the restart of the activity cancelled between 1940-1945, another 20.
The first public act of I.C.T.C., after its founding, was to elect Rabbi Moses Gaster as honorary member. Dr. I. Niemirower, the honorary president of this Institute, made a wide presentation, in his homage speech, of the great merits of "the illustrious Rabbi who in his life united science and faith, Judaic and universal science..." Doctor Gaster is a celebrity of both Romanian and Israel science" (id). Dr. M.A. Halevy honoured the welcoming in the Institute, in the same meeting, of Horia Carp, and G. Silviu uttered the reception speech for A. Toma, E. Furtuna, and E. Relgis.
One by one, there will be received in the Institute - until 1940 and then between 1945-1948 - personalities of the Romanian-Jewish intellectuality, culminating with Chief Rabbi Dr. Al. Safran, in the meeting that took place on January 19th 1945, and with Dr. W. Filderman, president of F.C.E.R., on October 7th 1946. From the word of lawyer A. Schwefelberg on the occasion of including among the titular members of the last mentioned, we are citing: "This is the place to underline the good thought that presided the founding of this «Institut». Created in moments when the Jews were persecuted de facto and then de jure, excluded from the cultural life of the country, it represents a kind of Academy of the Romanian Jews… But the permanent reason of this «Institute» is, of course, that that the works of its members have a specific Jewish interest - which not excludes at all their universal value - specialisation which, if sometimes reduces the extension of these works, permits in some cases an increase in profoundness. All the academies were accused of having members of an uneven value and that some values, left outside, can surpass the others already inside. This normal imperfection, especially with the «spontaneous generation» of such an institution, doesn't diminish its importance and utility, as much as the fact that the «Nobel» Prize is not awarded to all who might deserve it (and who, perhaps, don't compete), doesn't diminish its value. The acceptance of Dr. Filderman in this «Institute» is recognition of the value of his writings…"
Examining, after all those years, of the reception speeches, as well as of the answers and communications uttered on those occasions, increases our sorrow of not reproducing them, along with the themes disputed in the ordinary meetings in an ad-hoc anthology that would emanate not just the flavour of a period, but also the desire of the Jewish-Romanian intellectuality to affirm its specificity for themselves and for others.
As I said in many occasions, the Jewish intellectuals adopted in the modern society different approaches towards their Judaic roots: on the extreme were the ones that rejected it or acted dogmatic and fundamentalist in respect to it, rejecting every form of aculturation. But between extremes, we have a wide range of positive attitudes. Those grouped around I.C.T.C. demonstrated the equilibrium between the innovation and tradition in the contemporary Judaism.
But there still are today Jewish creators that reject the Judaism, incapable of understanding the relationship between tradition and innovation. But we must not forget that there are limits that really close horizons, others - apparent delimitation that leave room to the infinite. The Judaism represented, along with Greek civilisation and Christianity, a ferment of the European culture, and the Jews and their specific culture (here used in the widest sense, the ethnologic one) in contemporary times, a ferment for what it is called today... globalisation, meaning the «universality» of the values of the human individuality. (Harry Kuller)
Moments in the activity of the Institute of Culture in the years 1938, 1944, 1945, and 1946:
a) During the year 1938: January, 27th - the celebration of M. Schwarzfeld, on the occasion of his 80th birthday (communications: Dr. I. Niemirower, Dr. M. A. Halevy, A. Luca-Axelrad, J. Aberman)
March, 10th - communications and commentaries to works - Dr. I. Brucar, Dr. M. A. Halevy, A. Axelrad-Luca
March, 31st - the celebration of Dr. I. Brucar, on the occasion of his 50th birthday (communications - Dr. O. Kauffman-Cosla, M.S. Zentler, Dr. I. Niemirower, Professor C. Radulescu-Motru, M. Schwarzfeld, Dr. Th. Lowenstein
May, 31st - the importance of I.C.T.C. (communications - H. Carp, Dr. M. A. Halevy, M. lancu, Dr. I. Brucar).
b) During the years 1944-1946:
· November, 10th 1944 - resuming of the I.C.T.C. meetings
· January 28th 1945 - debating the program of activity
· March 25 1945 - the celebration of writer Eugen Relgis (communications - Dr. Al. Safran, Dr. J. Aberman)
· May 20th 1945 - the reception of new members: Dr. L. Mayersohn; Doctor docent M. Cajal (communications about the members who passed away: H. Carp, M. Schwarzfeld, B. Kanner - uttered by A. Axelrad, J. Aberman, I. Grubea)
· January 10th, 1946 - M. Marcus, president of I.C.T.C., a speech for the reception of Engineer A. Rosenzweig (communications - l. Grubea)
· February 28th, 1946 - reception and communications: Dr. S. Bainglass, I. Grubea
· March 17th, 1946 - L. Mayersohn presents doctor docent M. Goldstein - the man and the work
· April 7th, 1946 - commemoration of 160 years from the death of M. Mendelssohn (communications - M. S. Zentler; M. Marcus; Professor G. Oprescu; minister M. Ralea; Dr. Al. Safran; J. Aberman)
· May 3rd, 1946 - the reception of Doctor Sig. Cohl (communications - Dr. L. Mayersohn)
· May 12th, 1946 - the reception of S. Gregore (communications - Dr. Al. Safran, S. Gregore).
Centuries of living together
"Every generation left a sign of its passing..."(E. Religis)
"The way of treating Jews represents a kind of political and social barometer, with which one can establish, with some exactness for all the countries, the intellectual and moral state of every period" (Moses Gaster)
"...our instinct and desire to live as Jews made as act with a renewed intensity in spiritual and religious domains. We wanted to rise our children, to form our youngsters as we had the certitude of duration. It was the unshakeable proof of our faith in the eternity of the Jewish people" (Alexandru Safran)
Centuries of living together
In the Romanian countries, the presence of Jews is signalled from old times, especially at the princely courts, or as tradesmen and even farmers. The historian Carol Iancu reminds - in his volume "The Jews from Romania (18661919) from exclusion to emancipation " that a rise in the Jewish population in Romania has been signalled in the middle of the XVII century, and especially at the beginning of the XIX century, as confirmed by the chart of prince Caragea (1817). I.B. Brociner would prove, based on old documents mentioned by Dr. M. Beck in an article published in "Israelite Magazine " (1910) , that "it must have been Jews, both in Moldavia and Walachia, before the moment when those appeared mention in history as well-established principalities". The oldest news came from the XV-XVI centuries, mentioning dates regarding "a killing that took place in Bucharest" (Abraham Feller, "Toladot"), and in the XVIII century, the destruction of some synagogues in Bucharest. The rule of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the first prince of the united principalities, really meant an important moment in the lives of Jews in the principalities, who were given civil and political rights, favourable conditions to the indigenous or naturalised Jews. We remind the attitude of the great political Mihail Kogalniceanu, but also of some legislators and political and cultural personalities. Thus, G. Costaforu had the courage to mention: "...if we ask them things, we should give them rights ". Also, the beginning of the history of the Jewish communities in Romania - as it was said by the late Savin Solomon, our contributor, in articles published in "Revista Cultului Mozaic" is linked especially with the existence of the religious institutions, which were and still are not only praying houses, but also places to study the history of the Jewish people. It is one of the reasons for which we open this mini-monograph with the history of some religious institutions.
"Where there is a synagogue, there must be also a school..."
There is no doubt that the history of religious institutions blends with the one of the learning institutions. Rabbi Dr. M. Beck said, in his speech uttered at the inauguration of the first primary school for girls "Instructiunea": "Where there is a synagogue, there must be also a school… for us, it has the same meaning ". But about the learning institutions, about the first schools and their evolution, during the centuries, we will speak in a future edition.
Speaking about the religious tolerance of the Romanian people, B. P. Hasdeu reminded the existence of the Israelite-Spanish community, in the XVI century, fact mentioned in the accounts of foreign travellers in our lands and, over the years, in the inscriptions made on tombstones.
The first documented mention regarding the arrival of Jews in Bucharest, especially the Sefardic Jews, dates back from the time of Mircea Ciobanul, 1550 (Savin Solomon - "A Jew upon Mircea Ciobanul's official duties"). Nicolae Iorga ("The history of Jews in the Romanian countries") brings into attention moments of the settlement of Sefardic Jews in Wallachia. In 1730, during the reign of Prince Nicolae Mavrocordat, in Bucharest were raised synagogues, schools, institutions, cultural institutions etc. We also mention for the period before the Great War the historians' accounts (V.A. Ureche, Eugen Pavelescu, N. Grigoras), the progressive writer Gh. Panu gathering dates regarding the guilds, the emancipation of Jews. The historian C. G. Giurescu signalled in his "Bucharest's History. Contributions to the study of origins and development of the Romanian bourgeoisie until 1848" the concentration and organisation of the guilds, of some institutions. The late I. Kara, historian and writer, brought into attention some general aspects regarding the formation of the guilds, assigning the high clerics and even their great duties.
Through the institution of Hahambasia, the Jews from Bucharest organised themselves starting with the XVIII century. About the ulterior forms of organisation spoke historian Meir A. Halevy, in his study "Jewish community from Iasi and Bucharest until 1821", as well as in his monographs about the Coral Temple and the Great Synagogue and, not at last, we mention the volume "A history of the Jews from Romania in dates...", selecting the dates and annexes made by the ethnic-sociologist Hary Kuller. In 1815, we find out that in Bucharest lived some 1,500 foreign families, among them Jews, and in 1832 there were, in Bucharest, 10 praying houses for the Western rite and the Spanish Jews synagogue.
From the presentation of Ezra Alhasid, "The Sefardic Jews (Spanish)" included in the volume "The contribution of the Jews from Romania to the culture and civilisation" , we find out that at the end of the XVII century the Sefardic immigrants settled in different towns, including Bucharest, forming "religious communities, with praying houses, confessional school and specific cemetery". It seems that, in Bucharest, the Sefardic community is attested from 1730, and 1557 signals only a few Sefardic Jews. Haim Mose Bejarano (18501931), named "prince of the poetry and wisdom", shepherded the Sefardic community from Bucharest for 32 years and, in 1920, he was designed Rabbi of Turkey.
In 1846, the Jews received the right to build a synagogue that will become the Great Synagogue in Sf. Vineri neighbourhood. In 1861, there were in Bucharest "33 synagogues, most of them also functioning as «living houses»" (Harry Kuller). An important moment is the creation, in 1876, of the Coral Temple congregation that in 1895 received the title of Community and, in 1907, took place a re-organising.
Synagogues - chronicle over the time
We remember just a few moments regarding the rising of some monuments of cult in Bucharest - and this, until the Great War -, some faces of Hazanims and Rabbis, but we will speak again about this in a different section of the mini-monograph regarding the development of the Jewish community in Bucharest.
Until 1715, there have been built little synagogues in living houses or wood synagogues that were, at least partly, demolished or destroyed by fire.
1798. A wood synagogue built in Bucharest; it was destroyed in a fire, in 1813. As a matter of fact, a big part of the existing synagogues, until 1847, in living houses (about 10, most of them Spanish), had the same fate.
1818. In this year, it is mentioned the existence of a synagogue, belonging to the Sefardic Jews, in Popescului neighbourhood.
1819. Due to a princely chart, dating back to 1818, issued by prince Caragea, started the building of the praying house that will became the "Spanish Big Temple" Cahal Cados Gadol or Cahal Grande monument of Sefardic art. Gabriel Cohen, chief of the Sefardic community, received authorisation to build this synagogue and a little one, Cahal Ciuco. In those times, Eliezer Pappo was Rabbi (Raul Siniol, "Cahal Grande"). A presentation of the beginning of this temple, built in Popescului neighbourhood, is due to Iuliu Barasch (Itzhak Korn). In 1835, the building has been restored, and the Rabbi of the Sefardic community in those years was Mose Itzhac Almuly. In 1890, the construction of the Great Temple was finished and, before the celebration of Ros Hasana, the inauguration took place. Here, there would also be a choir (and an organ), from 1901, under the leadership of A.L. Ivela (18781927). Among the most important presidents of the community we mention Salomon Halfon, deceased in 1913. In 1941, the Fascist bands of the Iron Guard set the Great Synagogue on fire: "Cahal Grande became a pile of smoking walls..." (Raul Siniol).
18461847. There are the years when work begun at the Great Synagogue at Sf. Vineri, belonging to Lehi Jewish community. Israel Hert (Baratz) - one of the founders.
1852. The inauguration of the Great Synagogue of Tailors took place, during the reign of Prince Stirbei, before the founding of the Coral Temple.
In 1857, has been established "the community of the modern Israelite cult", guided by Isac Leib Weinberg , considered the father of the Coral Temple in Bucharest, "moderate religious reformer" , who had as target the founding of the Temple, as "a start of modernising the religious life of the Jewish community" (A. Stern).
In 1866, preparations are being made for inaugurating this important synagogue in Bucharest (first cantor - Gherson Weiss). It is mentioned that among the donators was the great politician Mihail Kogalniceanu (Moses Gaster, "Memories. Correspondence" - notes). It was also headquarter of some societies and schools, a place to meet and a place for cultural activities. Near it, it would be built "Unirea Sfanta" ("Achdut Kodes") and the museum of the Temple. But the building was devastated: "The sight was horrifying. The great façade in blood… inside, everything was crushed..." (Adolf Stern). The restoration work started - in 1867 - also the inauguration of the Coral Temple. "The Royal House offers financial support for the restoration of the Temple" (Hary Kuller). Lévy Antoine uttered the inauguration speech. The Coral Temple became a cultural centre, the main sanctuary of the faithful, "a representative forum of the Judaism". In 1908, it would be announced the founding of a library. A historic monograph of the Coral Temple in Bucharest would be published in 1935 and it is due to historian M. A. Halevy; and Marius Mircu signs a far-reaching study: "A revolution of the Jews from Bucharest. The Coral Temple". ("Landmarks for a future history", 1999).
1864. Synagogue "Rabin Meyer Leib Malbim" - "a true spiritual centre for the Romanian Jews " - it was restored in 1904 and 1928.
We must also mention that, in 1865, the "Filantropia" cemetery was inaugurated, information source for establishing of some moments regarding the settlement of the Jews on these lands (Marius Mircu).
In 1876, around the Coral Temple constitutes "The congregation of the Coral Temple", and in 1895 "receives the title of «Community»".
1886. The Spanish Temple has been inaugurated, having a space for a library. In 1890, a new Sefardic temple.
19031910. It was launch a competition for the temple "Unirea Sfanta" - "the beautiful synagogue «Achdut Kodes»" ("Egalitatea", Equality 1910) - inaugurated in 1910 (constructor - architect I. B. Iancovici; Rabbi of the Temple - Aizic Taubes).
1910. Also in Mamulari, it is built the temple of the "Fraterna" society. For the occasion of lying the first brick was present Ion I. C. Bratianu, then president of the Council of Ministers.
Jews who were - perpetual requiem
In this period a number of Rabbis and Gaons have serviced, including:
Meir Leibus Malbim (1809 1879) - Rabbi of the Bucharest community between 1858-1863. He was an erudite, exegete of some religious texts, eminent commentator of the Bible. "No one until Malbim recalled the late Rabbi Moses Rosen didn't try a parallel analyse of the Bible and of the oral tradition, no one until him didn't subjected the links of Torah with halaha, to a research really scientific". From 1858, he shepherded the Jewish community in Bucharest. He signed the founding document of the "Malbim" synagogue, whose foundation stone was settled in 1904
Ithac Aizic Taubes (18371920). He was for a period of time the Rabbi of Barlad, and starting with 1894, Rabbi for the Jews in Bucharest
Meir (Moritz) Beck (18451923) - specialised in oriental studies, publicist, he was, for half a century, Rabbi and predicator of the Coral Temple, he officiated at the "Fraterna" temple. He leaded the first primary Jewish school "Iacob si Carolina Löbel" and contributed to the founding of the vocation school "Ciocanul" (Bucharest). He was editor with the magazine "Revista Israelita" (Israelite Magazine). He spokes against maintaining the "More judaico" swear. He published the first "Manual of Mosaic religion". In 1905, he was awarded the "Coroana Romaniei" (The Romania Crown)
Abraham Leib Rosen Rabbi in Bucharest (19031951)
Rabbi Iacob Niemirower (18721939) - historian, lecturer, cultural animator. From 1921, he was assigned as Chief Rabbi. Between the wars, he took care of the organisation of the Mosaic Cult in Bucharest. He was the leader of "B'nai B'rith", with "mission to reunite the Israelites". He shepherded for ten years, starting in 1912, the Sefardic community from Bucharest, becoming the "pivot of the entire Jewish religious life in Bucharest" (Moses Rosen). He was the first Jewish senator of law in Parliament
Eliezer Itzhak Pappo (17701828), established in Bucharest, in 1811, erudite, author of some works that enjoyed the appreciation in those times: "Pele Ioetz" (book of traditional teachings), "Damesek Eliezer" etc. He shepherded the Sefardic community in Bucharest (18191828)
Heinrich Alperin (18771958) - he was the First Rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Bucharest, member of the Rabbinical council
Efraim Landau (18801950) - he shepherded for 25 years, in Bucharst
Ithak Meer Margulius - First Rabbi of the Jewish community in Bucharest
Rabbi Haim Schor - First Rabbi of the Capital. He received the order "Crown of Romania"
Abraham Ventura - he shepherded the Sefardic community in Bucharest, between 1828-1837. (EVELIN FONEA)
The Dynamic of the Israelite-Romanian School
"We belong to the Book, the Book is within us" (Sebastian Costin)
The school said Rabbi Dr. M. Beck, on the occasion of the inauguration of the primary school "Nissim and Lea Halfon", in 1878 "has the meaning, in the first place, to offer the soul food so necessary for the moral elevation of the human being". Through school "we want to offer pure souls to the world, devoted citizens to the country and, to the human being, the unlimited faith in the greatness and goodness of the Heavens...". From the beginning, the majority of the schools formed in the Capital around the synagogues, and later around the Coral Temple from Bucharest, taking advantage from the help offered by the Community around the Temple. Hadarim were the schools where all started - recalls M. Schwarzfeld, in his article "The cultural situation of the Romania Jews" ("Lumea Israelita", The Israelite World, 1910) - with the praying books, then with Torah or, later "right with the Talmud". The Talmud Torah, Iesivot, followed this form of hadarim, for the completion of the Talmudic culture. In this beginning meant to educate the young people were created those Beit a Midrasim. It is very interesting the fact that this last form was meant for a more profound education, through libraries, which in fact were in those times praying houses. The late Chief Rabbi Dr. Moses Rosen used to say about the meaning of learning for the Jews: "What charm would have had our life without the treasure of learning, which is offering us always from its endless treasures? ...Only one thing they didn't manage to take us, because we defended it more than our eyes, THE BOOK".
In Bucharest, it was signalled the creation of the first Jewish public school in 1851. Adolf Stern said that I.L. Weinberg - the one "who thought of the erection of the Coral Temple" - planned the founding of a school from 1850, for make up the education received in exclusively Hebrew and Yiddish schools. The ethnic-sociologist Hary Kuller reminds (in vol. "O istorie a evreilor din Romania in date", A history in dates of the Romanian Jews) the year 1853 as a year of reopening of a modern Jewish school in Bucharest, estimating that, in 1851, here opened "the first Jewish-Romanian public school". It is mentioned that the Jews formed groups in Bucharest, especially in neighbourhoods as Dudesti, Vacaresti, Nerva Traian, Mircea Voda, and Labirint.
But the year 1864 is a year when intense concerns appear, in order to bring into focus the education. As a matter of fact, under the rule of Alexandru loan Cuza (in his seven years of rule) a real turning point would take place in the life of the Jews living in the principalities. But from 1893 begins the era of the intense development of the Israelite schools. In this year, in the Capital there were mentioned three primary schools where - said Rabbi M. Beck - the priority was to educate and prepare the children for life. In realising these ideals would also contribute some Israelite literary societies, as long as the cultural circles. We remind just this first attempt of an Israelite literary society, from 1862, by Dr. l. Barasch, the scholar who "gave a strong impulse to the Romanian Judaism in all the domains" (M. Schwarzfeld). Or the apparition, in 1882, of the circle guided by M. Gaster, where important personalities - E. and M. Schwarzfeld, Lazar Saineanu, M. Staureanu etc - gave lectures and lessons for the school class "Israelite history and literature". Besides the studies regarding the situation of the Jews, M. Schwarzfeld reminds the conferences about the Jewish emancipation. In this period, the studies regarding the didactic Israelite literature grew in numbers - M. Schwarz, N. C. Popper, M. Beck, l. D. Bally. A. S. Gold. Later, Levy Ivela underlined the role of the Jewish teachers to illuminate and educate in children the love for culture and country. In this regard we remind the words of professor Ivela, delegate from the Israelite teaching staff to the didactic conference in 1910, and who underlined: "...we, the Jewish teachers, born and rose in this country, where the bones of our ancestors are buried, we are conscious of our duty to make our children useful for the country they are living in" ("Revista Israelita", The Israelite Magazine, 1910). The same thing will be underlined by the principle of the school "Instructiunea", Mina Cusiner, in one of her speeches, published in 1923, in the "Curierul Israelit" (Israelite Courier): the Jewish schools are "centres of Romanian culture... between the walls of these schools trickle in the love for the Romanian country, for the Romanian people, for the Romanian costume", in which the syllabus of the public schools is observed. On this occasion, she asked the professor and minister C. Angelescu to honour the modest Jewish teachers and "the faith of the superior didactic authorities… and the right to issue (to the graduates) valid certificates...". This was a courageous step that was followed later, all over the evolution of the educational process, by other great Jewish teachers. In the period 1913 and 1938, "the Jewish problem" faced - as it was underlined by the historian Iancu ("The Jews from Romania from emancipation to discrimination. 1919-1938"), two distinct periods: 19181923 giving citizen rights to the Jews, estimating that in Bucharest, in 1922, were 16 Jewish teaching institutions, with 94 teachers; and the period 19341938 - "the return to the anti-Semitic legislation" - periods that influenced the development and even the survival of the Jewish schools. In this second period, many schools couldn't survive.
Carrying on, we signal some Jewish institutions and teachers with a special role in the creation and development of the Israelite-Romanian school.
Jewish teachers with special merits in the development of the jewish-romanian schools
Adolf Salomon. Engineer, industrialist, the founder of the Professional School for Jobs "Ciocanul", "spiritus rector" of the school, he was concerned with the needs of the School for Girls "Baroneasa Clara de Hirsch". Along Filip Focsaneanu, he took part in the committees of the schools "Cultura" and "Focsaneanu". He tried "to educate the children of our poor co-religionists, on the cultural realm but also on the economic one" (Mina Cusiner).
Moscu Ascher. He was the leader of the Sefardic community in Bucharest, of the Organisation "Alliance Israélite Universelle". He had a special contribution in the transition period towards the modern Jewish school. On his initiative, the society "Munca" was founded, and he worked intensely for the creation of professional schools, capable of offering "an occupation for the students". He founded the society "Progresul" to support the students to enter in "public superior schools".
Nissim Halfon - banker. On his initiative, in 1878, a school for girls was founded. In the development of the education system also contributed his sons. Also Iacob Neuschotz in Iasi was concerned with the situation of the orphan children, and he founded a private boarding school for orphan children (1867).
Naftuli Crasen-Son Popper. He was a Hebrew specialist and open-minded teacher, one of the first historians of the Jews in Romania. He was born in Bucharest. He was the principle of the first modern Israeli Romanian School (1853) and, for a while, inspector for the Israelite schools in Bucharest. He had in mind the development of the Hebrew education, "the rebirth of the Jews through modern schools and media". He published, together with C. Cahane, two versions of the newspaper "Timpul", meant especially for "the Romanian and Jewish professors with knowledge of Romanian books and for the ones who knew to read a little in Yiddish" (S. Podoleanu). He underlined the necessity of translating the Bible in the Romanian language, "because we are in an Israeli-Romanian school" (L. Rotman).
I.L. Weinberg. He contributed to the founding of the first modern school for the naturalised Israelites in Bucharest. He was endorser of the magazine "Israelitul Roman" (Romanian Israelite), together with Aaron Ascher. He had the initiative of erecting the Coral Temple.
Haim MoSe Bejerano (18501931) - polyglot, poet. He was Great Rabbi for the Sefardic community. He was the principle of the school meant for the Jewish-Hispanic school and author of some important ethnographic studies, of some articles both for professors and pupils.
Filip A. FocSAneanu. He created the first Jewish professional school. He formed a group for editing Romanian-language didactic books and textbooks for learning the "Judaic religion and ethics". He fought for supplementing the number of Romanian classes in schools.
Ithac Niemirower. He was a modern Rabbi, doctor in philosophy. He was involved with the leadership of the primary school "Cultura", from Iasi. With the expansion of the Iasi network of "Cultura" schools, they "became a symbol of the modern Jewish school", founded in the Capital. He supported "the rebirth of the Hebrew language in schools".
Max Asiel. He was a philanthropist, businessman, he supported the founding of the "Cultura" lyceum (1894), which functioned until 1948, and a primary school with "a superior class for commerce", with a public education syllabus (1898).
Moses Schwarzfeld (18571943). From his diverse and varied activity we mention only his involvement in the development of the education. He fought for the creation and modernisation of the Jewish schools where, from 1878, he taught "Romanian reading, math and a little history". Also very important is the study "The old character of the Jewish presence in Moldavia and Wallachia from the ancient times until 1850". Together with Elias Schwarzfeld (18551915), he published the brochure "The issue of the Israelite schools and of the Israelite progress". A constant activity on the education domain also had Wilhelm Schwarzfeld (18561894).
Iuliu Barasch (Yehuda, 18151863). He was born in Brody. He was named the "Mendelssohn of Romania", leader of the Bucharest community, author of the brochure "L'emancipation des Israélites en Roumanie" (1861). He was among the organisers of the Romanian education system. He founded the first secular modern Israeli school (1852) in Bucharest, with Romanian-language classes. He was the director of the magazine "Isis sau Natura" (Isis or Nature, 18561859). He had an important activity in historiography. In 1862, he founded "Societatea de Cultura Israelita" (The society of Israelite culture).
Mina Cusiner. She was a teacher, and then principle of the housekeeping school "Clara Baroneasa de Hirth", in Bucharest. She gained her celebrity in developing professional-orientated schools. She gave some lectures regarding the schools organisation and she underlined the fact that the teacher must have a general culture. For her work in the didactic domain she was rewarded with "Rasplata Muncii, cl. I" (Labour Reward, first class).
A. LEvy Ivela (18781927). He was composer and conductor of the Sefardic Temple. For 14 years he worked as a music maestro at the commercial class of school "Instructiunea". The didactic literature "also has a beautiful contribution from professor Ivela" (Mina Cusiner).
M.A. Halevy (19001972). He was concerned with the education development, in order to modernise the Jewish schools. He studied in Sorbonne and at the Rabbinical School in France. In 1926, he established "Societatea de Studii Iudaice din Romania" (The Society of Judaic Studies in Romania) and "Institutul de Istorie evreoroman" (The Jewish-Romanian Institute of History). He published the magazine "Sinai", with studies about the evolution of the Jewish schools.
Adolf Stern (18481931) - he was a lawyer and literate. He was honorary president of the Jewish Communities in Bucharest and the Coral Temple. He was deputy in the Romanian Parliament, where he spoke about the issue of the Jewish schools and education.
Important moments in the evolution of the Jewish Schools
18511853. The year 1851 marks the creation of the first Jewish public school in Bucharest which meant "«the exit» from hadarim" (L. Rotman - "The Israelite-Romanian school. 18511914"), beginnings of the modern school, whose apparition was marked in the year of 1853 In 1852, Iuliu Barasch "prominent member of the Bucharest community", together with I.L. Weinberg, starts a new primary school for the "Lehi-naturalised pupils". The humanist scholar Naftuli C. Popper, an open-minded Hebraic specialist, uttered the opening speech In a note published in the "Israelitul roman" (Romanian Israelite) we find out that, in 857, in Bucharest, there were a public school and six private Jewish schools 1860. In this year a decree was issued to "allow the functioning of confessional schools under the aegis of Israelite Community" (H. Kuller). An Israelite school for boys has been organised in this period with elementary and superior classes, besides the primary ones, and in 1863 it is intended the creation of a primary school for girls 1864. It is stipulated "the gradual emancipation of the Jews". Comes into living the first university institution. It seemed to be a result of the policy of the prince Al. Ioan Cuza who, in 1860, mentioned in a message that "the duty of the government is to take care of the improvement of the situation of the Jews" In 1866, through the article 23 of the Constitution, "the education was declared free and without paying". A year later, especially in the times of A.C. Cuza, "professional anti-Semitic agitator" (C. Iancu, Evreii din Romania de la excludere la emancipare. 18661919, The Jews in Romania: from exclusion to emancipation), the places in the public schools were limited for the Jews because - considered the press of those times - the Jews "invaded the schools" In 1893, took place "the first official manifestation of numerus clausus in the principality" (id. C. Iancu) 18731890. Around the Coral Temple, within the Temple Community was created the elementary school, inaugurated in 1873 under the name "Iacob and Carolina Löbel", principle Meir Beck. Moses Gaster would utter a speech on the occasion of the inauguration of the Israelite-Romanian school in which he said: "We recognise the nationality and the language of the country we live in, without giving away our nationality as Jews or as God's people" (M. Gaster, Memorii, Corespondenta, Memories, Correspondence). The Spanish-rite community founded a school for boys (1873) and, later, in 1890, a school for girls. The act of creation of the community along the Coral Temple, in 1876, would stimulate the role of the community in the organisation of the modern school. The banker Nissim Halfon supported those schools and, at an audience to the king, he asked for measures regarding the development of the Jewish schools In 1878, the primary school "Fundatia Nissim and Lea Halfon" was founded, surviving until 1919, when it was closed. After a sermon of M. Beck, in which he underlined the necessity of organising the religious education, of learning the Hebrew language, creating the concern of forming didactic staff for teaching the Hebrew language in schools 18801889. Crucial moments in the development of the education; the focus has been put on the question of supporting the professional education with more specialised domains drilling, mechanics, sculpture etc. 1880. The commercial school and the gymnasium "Cultura" have been founded. After the education reform, in 1848, the lyceum "Cultura" is suspended for a while. Among the professors we mention Ion Trivale and Max Asiel In 1889, came into being the gymnasium for girls and the professional school for girls "Filip and Rasela Focsaneanu" In 1890, it is inaugurated the school for girls "Fraternitatea Sion" and, in the same year, the schoolmaster Anna Olivenbaum founded a kindergarten 1893. The limitations in accepting Jews in the Romanian public schools, through the law issued in 1893; "numerus clausus" would bring a development of the modern Jewish schools, a network of Jewish public schools. The didactic syllabus would be doubled, along with specific Jewish classes, with other classes as: Romanian language, history, geography and math. There were conjugated said the historian Liviu Rotman "two causes... on the one side, the growing up the Jewish society… and on the other side, the restrictive measures taken by the Romanian government..." 1895. The school "Moria" was founded, and the corner stone, for which the king donated 500 lei (H. Kuller), was laid in 1904 In Mosilor neighbourhood the "Vointa" school was found, for poor pupils president the tradesman D. Leibovici 18971899. A period in which, along the primary Jewish schools, also appeared some professional schools. In Dudesti neighbourhood was found the primary school for boys "Talmud Tora Malbim" (1898), with donations from the "Marmorosh Blank", and "Ronetti Roman" school The school for girls "Instructiunea Goldfarb" (president - Sigmund Goldfarb) has been founded, with a private initiative, "...an impressive luminary wrote the director of «Curierul Israelit» newspaper , in the poorest Jewish neighbourhood from the Capital". For a more complete education, in the year 1920, a class for popular medicine was inserted. A sign of appreciation of this school came from Nicolae Iorga In Dudesti neighbourhood was also founded, in 1898, the professional school for trades "Ciocanul", in a location offered by the community of the Coral Temple, with a fecund existence until 1949. From 1902 it will be supported by the organisation "B'nai B'rith". The founding director was, at the beginning, the engineer Adolf Salomon. He preoccupied himself with arranging new workshops in which it was executed furniture, wood sculpture, locksmith, hygienic installations. "From the very beginning, Ciocanul takes an important place in the Romanian industrial landscape" (L. Rotman). In this school was inserted as domains of study the foreign languages, "a pioneering work". The schools had also a library, and in 1909 it had some 200 volumes The professional school for girls "Filip and Rasela Focsaneanu" was inaugurated in 1902, so the school for housekeeping "Clara Baroneasa de Hirth", 1902 (headmaster and professor - Mina Cusiner, a personality of the Jewish school from Romania) 19051906. It was founded a private school for foreign languages - French, English, German (Leon Schonfeld and I. Feinstein) An important moment is the publication, in 1906, of the school magazine "Institutorul evreu". In Cuvant inainte, from the editorial staff committee (H. Rosenbaum, M. Beck, R. Ghelerter, A Steuerman, Isac Leon, Mina Cusiner and Sc. Albrecht), it is specified that the magazine "will serve as the union between the Jewish teachers on the one side and the Jewish public on the other side" 1912. In Romania there were remembers the historian Carol Iancu 82 Jewish schools for primary and secondary education, with 16.476 pupils, without the right of issuing graduating diplomas 1919. In "Lumea Evree" we find an add which mentioned that "Universitatea populara a Caminului Uniunii Evreilor Pamanteni" had classes of "History of the Romanian literature" (Professor H. Sanielevici), "The history of the Yiddish literature" (Professor Barbu Lazareanu), "The history of Jews" (Professor L. Algazi), "The history of the civilisation" (Professor I. Brucar), classes of English and French language and classes of political economics. The university also received a well-organised library 1925. In his quality as deputy, Dr. Adolf Stern supported in the Camera the principles of the memorandum proposed by the Union of the Romanian Jewish (president - W. Filderman) regarding the law of the private education and asked that the Hebrew language to be taught in schools 1926. In the building of the Israelite community of Spanish rite was inaugurated "The superior school of music and dramatic art", the founder of the school Alberto della Pergola The historian C. Iancu realised a statistic on which he registered the educational institutions of the Jewish communities in Bucharest, between 19311932: kindergartens - 4; pupils - 331; primary schools - 10, the total number of students - 1.883; secondary schools for boys - 3 (only the most important have left: "Cultura", "Cursul Seral" and "Ciocanul"), the total number of students - 581; and secondary schools for girls - 2 ("Focsaneanu" and "Instructiunea"), the total number of students - 3.184 The Sefardic community had a kindergarten with 52 children; a primary school for boys, with 134 pupils and a primary school for girls with 81 pupils 1940. "The classes and practical works of theoretic and practical preparation for Jewish students and lyceum graduates" were inaugurated Erns Abason and Marcu Onescu. The medicine classes were guided by Dr. Marcu Cajal.
The Jewish press and the Jewish journalists in the capital
A retrospective of the Jewish magazines published in Bucharest revealed some 200 titles - most of them in Romanian language; the others in Yiddish, Hungarian, German, Russian, Ivrit; some bilingual. From magazines and bulletins with some longevity to… short-lived slips of paper, published during a century.
But Jewish journalists could be found working for almost all the newspapers of the time. From the biased estimation that in the democratic press published between the two world wars - and even before - the Jewish journalists were "supernumerary", the extremists concluded that their existence represented "the fifth power in the state", named as a mockery… "from Sarindari". The same extremists drove away the Jews from the press starting with the year 1938, banning even the Jewish publications during the war. With the exception of a "Jewish Gazette", semi-official organ of the Jews Central form Romania, which, speaking in cultural-Judaic terms, was not just an unimportant paper of the "powerful". After the war there was - but for a short time - a revival of the Jewish press, a proliferation of the Jewish journalists, this time almost equally divided between the democratic and the "progressive" press. The last became in the first post-war years the semi-official organ of the popular democracy and of proletcult.
After 1949, the Jewish press disappeared. Only in 1956 appears, as an innovative magazine, a Jewish gazette - it's true, unique in the countries satellites of Moscow -, "non political" and strictly restricted to the Judaism sphere and to the cultural life of the community, with a valuable influence in this effect. It is the "Revista Cultului Mozaic", founded by Dr. Moses Rosen, with hard working editors-in-chief as E. Fleischer, M. Rusu, and H. Riemer - well-known to the readers. From 1995, R.C.M. changes not only the title, in "Realitatea Evreiasca", but also its content, focusing more on describing the integral cultural life of the community and on its contribution to promote the multi-cultural and inter-ethnic relations.
A panorama of the landscape of the Jewish press - made in order to mark "its strength lines", its diversity and its functions etc - would be equivalent with diving in a phenomenological domain of aspects regarding a press that doesn't permit to be subordinated to monotony or to the "unique speech". There are many attitudes, the ways of judging a problem are diverse, and the militancy is the rule: the ideas confront each other and, where is the case, they face each other.
In the Jewish press
Besides the common content of information and generally Jewish attitudes, this press expressed grosso modo orientations regarding:
1. The inter-Jewish confrontation between orthodoxy and enlightenment (in this respect, we shortly mention the controversy during the fifth decade of the 19th century, between "Die Zeit", on one hand, and "Et Ledaber", on the other hand - expressing the attitude of the Jewish majority rallied around Rabbi Malbim - or between the magazine "Evreimea ortodoxa" (1921) and some magazines published by the supporter of the assimilation theory.
2. The general fights for civil rights and the struggle against anti-Semitism (mission carried out by the quasi-totality of the publications of that period, but especially by the newspapers).
3. The orientation towards finding some solutions "from the left" and "Zionist poale" (Zionist organisations with a labour character) regarding the Jewish problem (see, in this respect, publications such as "Lumina", "Emanciparea" etc).
4. The orientation of the supporters of immigration (see "Rumänische Post", year 1872, the media of the last decade of the century or "the leaflets" published by the "pedestrians").
5. The Zionist orientation, with its multiple variants, mirrored in dozens of Jewish publications in Bucharest but also in the country: we are just reminding of "Viitorul" and "Tribuna israelita" before 1900, "Macabeul", "Mevasereth Sion", "Tionul", "Mantuirea", "Eretz Israel", "Hanoar", "Mantuirea noastra", "Palestina", "Ahuza Sir Herbert Samuel" etc. and, first of all, a publication with a long life "Stiri din lumea evree", "Renasterea noastra" etc. after 1900. Within this orientation, on one extreme there were the left-leaned publications, such as "Al hamismar", "Hasomer hatair" etc, and on the extreme right, there were magazines such as "Cuvantul evreiesc", "Haiarden" or especially one with the longest activity, "Drumuri noua" (1926-1938).
6. The orientation for assimilation (that began with the publication "Assimilation", 1890), in which, by distorting the Mendelssohnian theory, they preached the ethnic dissolution.
7. The territorial orientation (the supporters of the theory that Zion can be rebuilt in other territories except Palestine), mirrored in the publication "Actiunea noastra" (1938), expressing itself in the Romanian-Zangvilian slogan that "the Jewish soul can create in every place its Palestine". The recommended places were sometimes Cyprus, other times Uganda, Guyana, Alaska, Australia, Dominican Republic, and New Caledonia, Argentina and, finally, The Land of Fire (explored by lulius Popper).
8. The political-organisational orientation, inaugurated by Adolf Stern, in 1909, when some important Jews from the country decided the creation of a representation of the naturalised Jews, The Union of the Romanian Jews (1923), that became later The Union of the Naturalised Jews. Along with those, during the third decade, would come into being The Jewish Party, the Jewish Block, and, in 1936, the Central Council of the Romania Jews (formed by representatives of U.E.R, Jewish Party and the representative of the Mosaic Cult in the Romanian Senate), and with Wilhelm Filderman as president. During the years, all those political initiatives will have as semi-official organs: "Curierul israelit", "Nadejdea" (1920-1921), "Infratirea" (1913-1916), "Tribuna evreiasca" (1932), "Opinia evreiasca" (1934-1935) etc.
9. The community orientation - meaning the evolution of this long process of preparing the reorganising of the community life - was mirrored, partially, in the great publication "Curierul israelit" and, totally, in publications created ad-hoc for the community elections, in 1933 ("Comunitatea") or, later, for other domestic problems of the community ("Pacea si dreptatea", 1937, "Infratirea", 1939 etc).
A special mention deserves "Ecoul evreiesc" (1932-1940) and "Neamul evreiesc", publications with a diverse content regarding the community, with various information and commentaries.
Bucharest - as long as Wallachia as a whole - had a strong Sefardic community, whose activity can be studied in "Buletinul Comunitatii Israelite de rit spaniol din Bucuresti" (1901-1920), "Comunitatea israelita de rit spaniol" (1902), "El froto de la Paciencia" ("Gazeta evreului spaniol din Romania") (1934-1935), "Viata sefarda" (1934-1935) etc.
10. A publication, "Ilustratiunea evreiasca", issued in the forth decade, is worth mentioning because of its noble intention to realise the Jewish-Romanian cultural homogeneity for the Jews living in all the provinces but, especially for the Jews living in Transilvania and the Old Kingdom, with specific cultures and sources.
11. Lots of publications expressed special orientations, dedicated to special themes (Jewish woman, Jewish school, Jewish youth and Jewish child etc.). Special mentions deserve all the student magazines.
The creation of some excellent cultural magazines, year books, almanacs - with a content and a form that, in spite of time, still seem very modern - took place during many decades.
Publications such as "Anuar pentru israeliti" (1878-1897), "Analele Societatii Istorice «Iuliu Barasch»" (1887-1889), "Revista israelita" (1886-1908), but also "Lumea israelita ilustrata" (1914), "Tinerimea israelita" (1915-1920), "Sinai" (1928-1933), "Almanahul israelit ilustrat" (1903-1904; 1931-1932; 1936-1945), "Almanahul revistei «Adam»", "Anuarul evreilor din Romania" (1935-1938) - to mention only the ones published in Bucharest - are treasures of documents, deeds, inscriptions in cemeteries, copies after pinkasim (documents of the community), Rabbinical responses, community monographs. We didn't mention the literary magazines and the magazines for general information - from "Lumea evree", "Adam" and "Cultura", to "Puntea de fildes" and "Spicul". After a very summary estimation, the number of the contributors to some 200 Jewish publications printed from 1857 is numbered with hundreds, and the remarkable ones, with dozens.
In the Jewish press of Romanian language or in some bilingual magazines in the year 1900, asserted themselves as important publicists: I. Barasch, N.C. Popper, M. Feldman (Campeanu), A. Stern, L. Stern, I. Schein, M. Schwartz, E. Schwarzfeld, S.I. Grosmann, I. Brociner, M. Brociner, K. Lippe, B. Labin, A. Gold, A. Taubes, I. Rosenzweig, I.H. Fior, I. Sotec-Leteanu, I. Auerbach, L. Saineanu, M. Beck, I. Kaufman, A.L. Brociner, N. Frenkel, A. Sternberg, M. Staureanu, H. Kritzman, D. Kritzman, M. Rosenfeld, S. Petreanu (I. Rubis), C. Agatstein, E. San-Cerbu, I.B. Schwartz, St. Stanca, S. Pauker, I. Hussar, M.I. Ipcar, M. Kaufman, A. Goldner (Giordano), A.C. Honigman, A. Saraga, L. Dichter, W. Schwarzfeld, I. Nacht, S. Ianovici-Tributo, A. Steuerman-Rodion, D.H. Paves, A.D. Rosen, I. Cohen, M. Braunstein-Mibasan, A. Birman, B. Branisteanu, M. Botoseneanu, M. Wecsler, L. Ghelerter, I. Fermo, P. Schwartz, A. Lubisch, A. Guttman, L. Bernstein, D. Bitel, M. Gaster, S. Pineles, I.A. Elmann, H. Rosenbaum, S.C. Tributo, H. Peckelman (E. Furtuna), A. Axelrad, A. Stern, A. Nora-Rosen, A.D. Rosen, E. Cohen, M. Russu (M. Kissineff), S. Cohen, I. Niemirower, M. Schwarzfeld - the last two with a particular longevity in the Jewish press.
Among the names who appeared more often in the Yiddish press, we just mention A. Silberstein, N.C. Popper, E. Rokeah - from Safed, A. Steinberg, A. Netzler, H. Goldner, N. Kedreski, I.M. Aziel (I. Azilescu), D. Sufrin, B. Sufrin, L. Naimianu, Dr. Weizenberg, D. B. Sufrin, R. Oser Brortes, I. Margulies, N. Frenkel, I. L. Solomon, Z. B. Iosif, I. Copel, I. I. Linetki, M. Braunstein, L. A. Roznik, F. Gordon, S. Trauman, I. Sonovici, L. Ghelerter, M. Gheller, M. Wexler, Z. Herman Zaidel, M. Michaelis, Saraga brothers, G. Cohn, L. Rudich. In the Jewish press worked: M. Kederski, H. Goldner, A. Silberstein, S. Rabener, L. Toller, D. S. Siberbusch, E. Rokeah, G. Kohn, Saraga brothers, A. Haim, L. Ornstein, M. Lineski etc.
Among the journalists who supported and started the publishing of the bilingual publications (in European languages), we must talk, of course, about Armand Levy, Antoine Levy, S. Carmellin, B. F. Peixotto - important and exceptional journalists, who introduced in the Romanian press journalistic "paradigms" similar with the ones existing in the West.
Jewish journalists in the Romanian press
The list of the Jewish publications issued in Bucharest, 1857-1957
The first well-known Jewish journalist in the Romanian press is Dr. Iuliu Barasch (1815-1863). The list of the professional journalists that activated in the Romanian press has - among the oldest - the name of I. Hussar. In a remembering article, he showed that, in 1888, he was "a full-fledged journalist, working for two Bucharest publications: «La Liberté Roumaine» and «Dreptatea», guided by the dissident liberal N. Pleva". In order to evoke just a few remarkable names of the journalists of those times we remember, after some accounts made by C. Graur, that in Beldiman's "Adevarul" worked the Jews Hussar and Bolocan - among the external contributors, Dr. Stanca, and in the administration, Sache Petreanu; at G. Panu's "Lupta", was S. Pauker; at Lascar Catargiu's "Timpul", were R. Rosenthal and Roth; at P.P. Carp's "Constitutionalul" were Lupu Dichter and Diamandescu; at G. Em. Lahovary's "L'Independance Roumaine", were Azra Berkovitz, Al. Rubin, Johnson and Marcu; at C.A. Rosseti's "Romanul", were M. Canianu; at Cristodulo's "Tara", were H. Streitman and G. Grosmann; at G.A. Scortescu's "Evenimentul", were Albert Honigman, and as administrator, Max Kaufman-Dan. Then, we must not forget the fact that Ronetti-Roman was colleague in the editorial staff with Eminescu and Caragiale, Em. D. Fagure and Steuerman-Rodion, Dr. Ghelerter and Dr. Ygrec had their say at "Evenimentul literar" (from lasi) and then at "Lumea noua", along with S. Sanielevici, A. Verea, B. Branisteanu, S. Grosmann, B. Lionescu, A. Toma, S. Labin. In those times, Cohen Lanaru was musical columnist with many magazines, and other Jews contributed with columns about art and philosophy. In this period, appeared names as Moise Zelter-Sarateanu, with his subtle analysis about foreign policy, B. Branisteanu, with his economy-related columns and later with columns regarding the foreign affairs, and Clement Blumenfeld-Scrutator had a column about the domestic policy. The young Jew Constantin Graur was sent to Vienna, where he makes his name with the articles sent after the assassination of the archduke of Habsburg, Franz-Ferdinand, and the beginning of the Great War.
In 1904, in "Adevarul", that became an evening newspaper, the big features got new and brilliant valence, due to F. Brunea-Fox. The permanent companion of Brunea in his courageous missions, the photograph Berman, was himself a true master for his young contemporaries. We must also mention the literary historian Barbu Lazareanu (who suffered, in his youth, expulsion), Arthur Bergman-Munte, for his dramatic chronicles, Erwinia Marghita, for her articles regarding humanitarian aspects, the analysis materials realised by doctor Grigore Graur, the instructive column with advises for a correct writing and speaking, realised by the philologist and scholar Alexandru Graur, the sports columns of A. Vogel, the activity as sub-editor of M. Kanitz.
Starting with 1920, the leadership of the two daily newspapers was taken by Constantin Graur, who brought important technical improvements, giving a new impetus to the editorial staff, introducing modern concepts of the international value and obtaining mass audiences for "Adevarul" and "Dimineata".
Among the Jews that activated as professional journalists for other publications asserted themselves Honigman brothers - Emil D. Honigman-Fagure, Albert Honigman. After spending some time working in Iasi, Alfred Hefter came in Bucharest, where he founded and guided, between the two world wars, the French-language daily "Le Moment", close to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some Jewish journalists asserted their professional capacities in the columns of some newspapers edited by various political parties. The most obvious example is that of Azra Berkovitz, doctor in philosophy in Sorbonne: between the two world wars he was director for the daily "L'Independance Roumaine", the French-language semi-official organ of the National Liberal Party.
Thus, this incursion into the territory of the Jewish press or of the one for which worked the Jews, reveals dozens of publications and hundreds of journalists, including ones who were true "directors of conscience", strong personalities, with civic courage, political sense and cultural horizon.
All those were publications and journalists that spoke, in the first place, in the language of the country and for the good of the whole country. For the Jews from the Capital, the language they spoke was the language of the country, and their magazines represented a way of "communication" meant to interest, to educate and to enlighten the Jews but also the Christians, and to inform the ones about "the others" as it was noted in the first edition of the first Jewish magazine, not accidentally edited with Latin letters, "Israelitul roman". The message is still true even today, when "Realitatea Evreiasca", the only magazine for the Jews in this country, tries to come with a reciprocal information, to present its own culture and ethnical specificity in the context of multi-culturalism and multi-ethnicity.
The list of the Jewish publications issued in Bucharest, 1857-1957
Actiunea noastra (1938)
Adam - International Review (1941)
Ahuza "Sir Herbert Samuel" (1925-1928)
Albumul israelit ilustrat. Supl. (1925-1928)
Al Hamismar (1935, 1946-1947)
Alef Gordonia. Makabi Hazair (1946)
The "Adam" almanac (1929-1939)
the Cooperation almanac (1930)
Almanahul Evreiesc pe anul ebraic 5704 (1943)
Almanahul Evreiesc ilustrat pentru România (1931-1932)
Almanahul Israelit ilustrat (1903-1904)
Almanahul tineretului evreu (1938)
Anale Bucurestene (in Romanian and Yiddish language) (1947)
Analele Societatii Istorice "Iuliu Barasch" (1887-1889)
Anuar pentru Israeliti (1878-1898)
Anuarul Liceului Comercial "Cultura" (1942/1943)
Anuarul evreilor din România (1937-1938)
Aparatorul (1881-1884, 1888)
Apel (signed: the fixed group 400) (1900)
Apel (belonging to the craftsmen group named "the desperate") (1902)
Apel (belonging to the group named "itinerant vendors") (1903)
Apel catre evrei (1902)
Apel catre inimile generoase (1902)
A message issued by the group "Viitorul meseriasului evreu" (1902)
Apelul. Ziar ocazional pentru ajutor de lipsa de lucru (1902)
Der Auswanderer (in Romanian and Yiddish language) (1900)
Barbu Nemteanu (1920-1922)
Biblioteca junimii zioniste "Tikvath-Israel" (1918)
B'nei B'rith (1914-1920; 1925-1927)
Bilantul Azilului Elizabethen (1884-1888; 1897)
Bucarester Israelit (1895)
Binele omenirii (1904-1905)
Buletinul Asociatiunii Evreilor Romani (1921)
Buletinul Asociatiei Sionistilor Centristi din Romania (1935)
Buletinul Bibliotecii, Muzeului si Arhivei istorice de pe lânga Templul Coral (1935-1939; 1946)
Buletinul Comisariatului General al Fondului National Evreiesc din România (1931)
Buletinul Camerei de Comert romano-palestiniana (1934-1938)
Buletinul Consiliului Comunitatii Israelitilor de rit spaniol (1901-1911; 1920-1939)
Buletinul Hehalut (1946-1948)
Buletinul Iehova Tanui Reszere (1935)
Buletinul Infratirii "Zion" (1875-1895; 1897-1898; 1901; 1903-1905; 1911-1912; 1920-1924)
Buletinul Marii Loji Sion (1899, 1890, 1920)
Buletinul "Keren Haiesodului" Romania (1926)
Buletinul Lojii "Noua Fraternitate" B'nei B'rith (1930, 1933-1937)
Buletinul Organizatiei Sioniste din Bucuresti (1932)
Buletinul Societatii pentru tamaduirea bolilor (1914-1915)
Buletinul primei Societati "Fraternitatea Israelita" (1910)
Buletinul Societatii de Studii Iudaice din Romania (1928)
Buletinul Societatii "Dr. Iuliu Barasch" (1932)
Buletinul Societatii "Tinerimea Israelita"(1905, 1920)
Buletinul Uniunii Comunitatilor Evreiesti din Vechiul Regat (1928-1934)
Buletinul Uniunii Evreilor Romani (1930-1932)
Buletinul Uniunii Sioniste "Statul Iudeu" (1938)
Buletinul Israelit, evreo-german (1879)
Caiete literare (1929)
Caiet de documentare in problema evreiasca (1946)
Caiet pentru cultura si stiinta evreiasca (1947)
Calendar F.C.E. din R.P.R.-R.S.R. (1950)
Calendar pentru Israeliti (1877-1878)
Calendare F.C.E. (Luah) (1950-)
Calendarul ziarului "Vocea Dreptatii" (1886)
Camera de Comert Romano-Palestiniana (1937)
Circulara (Congresul Mondial Evreiesc. Sectia Romana) (1947)
Colectia Societatii Sioniste "Jobal" (1900)
Columna Evreiasca (1923)
Israelitul de rit spaniol (1902-1923)
Cooperatia libera (1931)
Copilul evreu (1922-1937; 1923-1940)
Creditul marunt (1927-1928)
Cronica Israelita (1901-1916)
Cronica Romana (1924)
Cronica Sefarda (1935)
Cuget liber (1927-1928)
Cuib...! Spre rasarit (1918-1920)
Cultura (1911; 1936-1940)
Curierul Israelit (1906-1916; 1920-1941; 1944-1945)
Curierul Evreiesc (1923)
Curierul Zionului (1904)
Cuvantul Cooperatiei (1933)
Cuvantul Evreimii (1933)
Cuvantul Evreiesc (1933-1940)
Cuvantul nostru (1926, approximately 12 years)
Darea de seama a Comunitatii Evreilor din Bucuresti (1923)
Darea de seama a Consiliului de administratie si raportul cenzorilor pe anul 1928 (1929)
Darea de seama a Consiliului de administratie si raportul cenzorilor pe anul 1929 (1930)
Darea de seama "Fundatia Familiei Menachem U. Elias" (1923), Dari de seama: Eforia (1929-1931), Marea Loja (1890), Fraternitatea (1879), Caritas (1889), Dare de seama pe anul 1926 a Societatii de Asistenta sociala si medicala "lubirea de oameni" (1926), Dare de seama pe anul 1929, catre Adunarea generala, din 26 aprilie 1930, a Societatii "Caminul pentru protectia fetelor si a femeilor evreice"
Dare de seama (the 7th) pe anul 1929 a Societatii de Asistenta medico-sociala "Iubirea de oameni"
Darea de seama pe anul 1927 a Societatii de Asistenta sociala si medicala "Iubirea de oameni"
Darea de seama si Bilantul general pe exercitiul anului 1928 al Societatii "Sanatatea" (1929)
Darea de seama si Raportul cenzorilor al Societatii "Amicitia" (1927)
Darea de seama pe întâiul semestru ianuarie-iulie, anul 1929 (1929)
"Der Palestiner Monath Blath" ("Palestina Reinviata") (1919)
DoruI Sionului (1899; 1900)
Drumuri Noua (1927; 1936)
Drumuri Noua (semi-official organ of the Romanian Judaic State Party) (1935; 1938)
L'Écho Danubien (1867-1871)
Ecoul Evreiesc (1932-1940)
Egalitatea (1890-1916; 1919-1940)
El fruto de la paciencia (1912)
Emanciparea (1891-1892; 1897-1898)
Emigrantii pedestri (1900)
Eretz Israel (1921; 1922-1926; 1926-1929)
Et Ledaber (in Romanian and Yiddish language) (1859)
Evreii in Alegeri (1932)
Evrei celebri (1932)
Evreul ortodox (1929)
Evreimea (1930; 1932)
Evreimea politica (1921)
Femeia evree (1928; 1930; 1931-1937)
File culturale. Comitetul Democrat Evreiesc (1949)
Foaia Israelita (1887)
Fraternitatea (1879-1885; 1889-1890)
Gazeta evreiasca (1942-1944)
Gazeta evreului spaniol din Romania (1934-1935)
Gazeta Societatii "Dr. Iuliu Barasch" (1932)
Gandul tineretului scolii evreiesti (1942)
Hanoar Haivri (1929)
Hanoar Hazioni (1944-1947)
Haoved Hationi (1946)
Harazon (1946) (appeared also in Ploiesti)
Hasomer-Hatair (1931-1932; 1944-1946)
Idealul - revista nationala evreiasca (1910)
Ilustratiunea evreiasca (1930-1931)
Institutorul evreu (1906)
Indrumator cultural pentru caminele culturale de limba idis (1950-1952)
Israelitul ortodox (1921)
Israelitul roman (1857)
Junimea evree (1922-1927)
Kadimah (1902; 1930)
Lectiuni pentru Sabat (1922-1937)
Lumea evree (1919-1920)
Lumea israelita (1902-1903; 1905)
Lumea israelita ilustrata (1914)
Lumina Israelita (1901)
Marpe lenephes (1900)
Mevasereth Zion (1901-1904)
Miscarea sionista (1913; 1934-1935)
Mantuirea (1919-1922-1923; 1944-1948)
Mantuirea Noastra (1929; 1933-1937)
Mantuirea Noastra (1939-1940)
Muncitorul evreu (1932-1933; 1935-1936)
Neamul evreiesc (1908-1916; 1918-1923-1929; 1930;1933-1934; 1936-1937; 1939-1940; 1944-1949)
Noi, copiii si tinerii evrei (1934)
Noua maternitate (1923-1927)
Omagiu Printesei Sabbath (1931)
Opinia evreiasca (1934-1935(?))
Palestina (1901; 1904; 1938-1941)
Palestina de azi (1934-1938)
Pace si dreptate (1937)
Palestiner - Service P.S. (1935)
Parintii Cooperatiei (1928-1929)
Pazitorii Sabatului (1922)
Pedestrii bucuresteni (1900)
Pentru copilul evreu. Supliment (1946-1948)
Posta Romana (1872)
Presa Israelita (1907)
Programul nostru (1929)
Publicatia festiva a actiunii Ussischkin (1933)
Puntea de fildes (1925; 1926)
Raportul de activitate a Societatii de ajutor "Dr. Stein" (1935/1936)
Raport al Comitetului de administratie Congregatia Templului Coral (1899)
Raport Societatea Templul Coral "I. and C. Löbel"; Fraternitatea Zion (1920-1924)
Realitatea evreiasca (1936)
Renasterea (1924; 1925-1940)
Renasterea. Buletinul Congresului XIV Sionist (1925)
Renasterea Noastra (1942; 1944-1947)
Revista Cultului Mozaic (1956)
Revista israelita (1886-1897; 1908-1910)
Revista literara israelita
Revista "Programul nostru" (1929)
Revista pentru studii iudaice (1926, 1927)
Rumänische Post (1871; 1873)
Scoalele Templului Coral (1922)
Saptamana halutiana (1928)
Studentul evreu (1935)
Scoala si caminul (1931)
Stiri pedagogice (1933)
Stiri din lumea evreiasca (1922-1940)
Stiri din Israel (1948)
Stiri literare (1925)
Stiri pentru copii (1928)
Theodor Herzl (1904 - just an edition)
Timpul vorbit (bilingual) (1859)
Tineretul Nou - Hanoar Hazioni (1944-1947)
Tinerimea israelita (1915; 1920)
Tribuna. Organ "Zeirei Zion" (1933-1935)
Tribuna (becomes "Tribuna noastra") (1923)
Tribuna Partidului Evreiesc din Romania (1931)
Tribuna Israelita (1900; 1933)
Tribuna Sionista (1905-1906)
Tribuna Studentului sarac
Ultimele stiri din lumea evreiasca (1922-1931; 1940)
Un an de activitate a Liceului Comercial "Cultura" (1942/1943)
Unirea (1937; 1945-1951-1953) (see "Viata Noua")
Viata evreiasca (1932-1933; 1944-1949)
Viata israelita (1907; 1909-1910)
Viata Noua (1951)
Viata sefarda (1934-1935)
Vocea Canadei (1900)
Vocea Dreptatii (1885; 1887; 1889-1896; 1897(?)-1899; 1906; 1916)
Vocea noastra (1931-1932)
From the eight Jews from the time of Mircea Ciobanul (1550) until today
The presentation of a micro-monograph, including the one of Bucharest’s community, under the slogan "The Jews from Romania", does not exclude, but also include a scrupulous differentiation on provinces and counties, localities and zones. There are more than a dozen of such local monographs: Arad, Bacau, Dorohoi, Iasi, Oradea, Radauti, Roman, Tecuci and some about the little towns or stetl (little towns). In Yiddish language, a "Book of the communities" summarily represents a great number of Romanian localities with Jewish population.
Until now, even we have published four magazine pages on this subject, there is not yet a comprehensive, complete monograph regarding "The Jews from Bucharest", although the partial information can be found in various writings. Even more praiseworthy - but courageous - is the attempt made by our magazine "R.E." to sketch through index cards, selections and, why not, synthesis the frames of a micro-monograph of the Bucharest’s Jewish community, within all its crucial aspects.
The sociologic literature is recommending for a monographic effort an analytical "structure" which includes "incursions" on demography, economics, ethnography, ethnic-culture and cultural sciences. The synthesis on the contribution of science, arts, entertainment, mass media, education, political and social history imposes along the others. Covering such a wide range of aspects regarding the (Jewish) population from the biggest town of the country makes even more difficult the task of research, which explains the "long period" of its finalisation, as well as some inevitable completions in time.
In the present stage, even the ambition of a "micro-monograph" - made on a small scale and "shrink" needs to be taken cun granno salis.
Bucharest, Capital of the Romanian Country - and from 24/5 February 1862, the only Capital of the country -, is one of the oldest place of settlement for the Jews on these lands. A "Response" of Great Rabbi of Salonic, Samuel de Medina, at the request of some Jews settled in Bucharest, dates back from 1550. The content of the document certified the existence of the Sefard population here, north of the Danube, at the midst of the 16th century. And this is not the only documentary certification in this sense: A royal document dating back in the times of Mircea Ciobanul, from 1550, reminds of some Jews with "shops", and of others with "functions" etc. There are also remembered, nominally, eight Jews: Amato, ibn Usa, ben Habib, ben Eliezer, Isac, Iuda and losef Rufus, ben Gerson. These are almost exclusively Sefardic names, which indicates natives of south Danube and from the entire Ottoman Empire.
Responses, as the one we mentioned or another one, dating back from 1559, written by the Rabbi losif Karo from Nicopole, regarding "a Jew killed in Wallachia", or the 1594 reports, regarding the killing of some "Turkish and Greek Jews", debtors of Mihai Viteazul, but also the most documents from the 17th century and even the first half of the 18th century, regarding some "groups of families" and, for this motif, doesn’t permit demographic generalisations. Only "The Treasury register", from 1694, refers to "the Jewish guild" as a collective (community): "the Jews from Bucharest" are contributing to the debts. The Jewish tradesmen are explicitly enumerated in "The Balance Book from Bucharest", published by Constantine Brancoveanu, on January 17, 1702. Even from the beginning of the 18th century, in the Romanian Principalities, some reports have been issued regarding the leaders of the Israelite communities, assuring the "Jewish guild" the commercial freedom and recognising the community right to independently organise and manage, thus having a legislated existence.
Although the oldest Jewish funeral tomb known until now in Bucharest dates back from 1715 - situated in the former cemetery on Sevastopol Street -, there were also some cemeteries in a former parish named Budesti, and also in a place where today stands Cismigiu garden, both cherished only in... memories.
Regarding the epitaphs deciphered from the tombs in the Sevastopol Cemetery, for the period before to 1750, we mention that they refer to: great clerics, rabbis, mentioned in a very old register. Such "hevra-kedosa registers" are being kept, by tradition, but usually only in the Jewish cemeteries created in the 19th and 20th centuries. Those registers have the names of some hundreds of thousand of people buried there; the R.J.H. project, mentioned by us in a previous edition of "Realitatea Evreiasca" proposes itself to implement them as a whole in the computer memory, with the conviction of thus realising an important genealogy from a name, demographic and historic point of view. From a name point of view, are predominating the Askenad names, because the weight of this type of Jews is in rising starting with the first half of the 19th century when, after the Peace of Kuciuk-Kainargi (1774), but especially after the Peace of Adrianopole (1829), the Jews that came from North, West and East sensibly surpasses as weight the Sefardic one, came from the South. After that, the 1848 revolution from Wallachia and Moldavia, The Principality Unification, from 1859, winning the War of Independence in 1877, the creation of the Romanian Unitary State, through the Great Union in 1918, represented as many stages in the economic development and, eo ipso, demographic development of the Jewish population from Bucharest. The numbers are very telling in this sense: if in 1803, the number of the Jews was approximated (for the entire Romanian Country) at around 4.000, in 1830, 7.000, in 1859 it is known for sure, after the data from the first official statistics, this number was around 10.000.
Unfortunately, the studies regarding the Jewish population in Bucharest for the previous period, before the data of the first official statistics, can not take benefice of rigorous data, because the documents offer only partial information, without clear preoccupations for historical demographics.
At the last census- about 4.000 Jews
Following the Bucharest’s Jewish community from a demographic point of view makes it necessary to establish the number of its members. Or, the global data for the XV-XVIII centuries does not exist. Everything that we know is that the last wave of the 1.000 Sefards, mentioned in a document dated 1893, would have immigrated from Hungary and Turkey to Bucharest in 1813.
Dionisie Fotino thinks that, in 1815, in Bucharest, "the Jews - together with all the foreigners were about 1.500 families". A foreign traveller, Clausewitz, passing by through Bucharest, in 1824, wrongly estimated that, from the 80.000 inhabitants of the city, 6.000 were Jews, and ten years later, in 1834, two Scottish missionaries had been informed that here were living a relative great number of Mosaic followers (this time, especially Askenads).
The official news regarding the Jews from Bucharest became more numerous with the time passing by, even if their number in Wallachia didn’t seem to rise in the 17th century or in the 18th century.
Data with some degree of certainty we found in some census from 1810-1811 (incomplete), carried out by the Russian occupation troops. Some 5.000 Jews are mentioned (including southerners); the data between 1828-1832, also carried out by Russian occupation troops - indicates some 3.000 souls.
The decrease of the Jewish population was due to the anti-Semitic repression that took place immediately after the Revolution led by Tudor Vladimirescu. The statistical chart of the population in Bucharest, carried out in December 1831, indicates at the "Jew" section 563 men, 587 women, 647 young men, and 504 young girls.
The data in 1838 from which in the work IMER III/2 of C.S.I.E.R. are excluded nominally the naturalised and southern Jews from Bucharest, indicates over 2.000 names, much under the global number. The data mentions 480 families of naturalised Jews and some hundreds among the 3.000 Jews from the South. The census in 1860, carried out with modern criteria by the Office of Statistics of the United Principalities, is the first precise evaluation of the population, y compris of the Jewish population.
In 1860, in Bucharest there were 121.734 souls, among them 3.600 Jews, representing 2,9% from the total number. From the ulterior census, for the years there were carried out:
1878 - total: 177.646, Jews: 20.749 (11,67%)
1889 - total: 184.488, Jews: 23.887 (12,95%) 1894 - total: 232.009, Jews: 31.251 (13,46%) 1899 - total: 282.071, Jews: 43.274 (15,34%) 1912 - total: 341.321, Jews: 44.084 (12,91%) 1930 - total: 643.430, Jews: 76.480 (11,80%) 1940 - Jews: 99.253 1941 - Jews: 102.016.
While between 1878-1899, the Jewish population in Bucharest almost doubled, between 1900-1912, was almost the same (after the wave of "on-foot" immigrants). Between 1916-1918, has been registered a deficit of minus 981. In the Greater Romania, the number of Jews doubled again. Even in the years of the last world war, the Jews settled in the Capital numbered 102.016 souls in 1941 and some 150.000 in 1942, due to the "migration" movement of the Jews evacuated from all over the country.
The demographic dynamic of the Jew population from Bucharest leads us to an ensemble of "causes" and "conditions" that, in fact, reflect the state - social, economic, etc - of this population, that varied from stage to stage. Thus, the growth rhythm between 1899-1912 is very low, due to the leaving of the "wave of the ‘on-foot’ immigrants" from that time, moved from economic motives.
The demographic involution after the Second World War has a more complex cause: the effects of the Holocaust, the nationalisation, the emigration etc. In a few "waves", over 100.000 Jews from Bucharest or living here temporary, have left, most of them, to Israel. From here also left a few thousand Jews, in the years of the war and over 10.000 between 1946-1948. Among those who decided to stay, some tried, for a while, a political integration, while others a honest and diligent integration in the realities of the country, without political compromises bad for them from a social point of view.
So, as the documents show, there were Jews that came to Bucharest even from the 16th century, that settled here beginning from 17th and 18th century, grew in numbers in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century and then the most of them made Alia, in the second half of the 20th century.
At the last census, in the Capital there were only 4.000 Jews, assuming responsibilities and creative tasks to measure with the Jewish-Romanian traditions of the past.
The residence of the Jews from Bucharest between 1881-1941
As it is shown by a prestigious researcher (dr. Radu Stefan Ciobanu), the settlement of the Jews in Bucharest can be traced back in time due to the statistical data, of lists mentioning victims of the 1847 fire and, at last, of census. Initially, the Jews settled in the centre of the town, near the market places, where they could do better their jobs. The first comers, the Jews of Hispanic rite, settled at "Jignita" (the outskirts of Popescu), near the Curtea Domneasca and of intense trade places, and from there, they extended all over the city in suitable places. Slowly, they moved to south and south-east (Calea Vacaresti, Udricani street, Labirint street, Pitagora street, etc.), then to the zone of the outskirts Sf. Gheorghe Nou (Sfintilor street), Sf. Gheorghe Vechi, behind the former Palace of Justice. Most of the new comers from north occupied the streets where there used to live the first Jews that came in Bucharest, and settled on Decebal street, Sf. Vineri street, Calea Vacaresti, Udricani street, Mircea Voda street, Anton Pann street, Calea Dudesti, and then in the space between Labirint street and Dambovita.
An analyse of the documents from the archive of the Romania Jewish Communities Federation let us established with precision the residence of the Jews in Bucharest, between 1881-1941, of the men - heads of the families, stable inhabitants. Thus: on Calea Mosilor lived 229; on Calea Vacaresti - 186; on Calea Dudesti - 212; on Nerva Traian street - 245; on Calea Calarasi - 165; on Vulturi street - 142; on Logofatu Tautu street - 42; on Calea Serban Voda - 100; on Unirii street - 37; on Calea Grivitei - 83; on Calea Rahovei - 91; on Olteni street - 98; on King Carol I Boulevard - 31; on Alexandru Moruzzi Voievod street - 80; on Labirint street - 68; on Colonel Papazoglu street - 41; on Foisor street - 40; on Splaiul Unirii - 39.
From the last decade of the last century, the Jews also settled in the centre of the town, on Academiei Street and on Calea Victoriei. Somehow isolated, without a connection through their residences, were the Jews from Calea Grivitei (the railway station area and towards the centre of the town). There were also the ones settled on Popa Tatu Street and around the Matache Macelaru market place. Finally, the others expanded to the entire surface of Bucharest. When they had the possibility, from the beginning of the 19th century, the Jews started to buy "a house" in the place they liked, without restrictions. After 1810, only Simon the money changer, who lived in Sf. Gheorghe Vechi outskirts, no. 70, who also obtained "Wallachian citizenship", was the owner of a house and of a Gypsy slave, between 1846-1847, the number of the Jews that owned houses, starting with "the banker" Manoach Hillel, grew at some dozen. The settlement of the Jews, little by little, on the entire surface of Bucharest permitted them to exercise their jobs and their commerce in their own locations and residences that sometimes functioned as dependencies. The free-lancers disposed, in most of the cases, of offices, cabinets, etc., in elegant residences. The headquarters of some banks were in very beautiful edifices.
Asking where, when and how lived the Jews in Bucharest, the research still needs to do a scientific presentation of the "Jewish" neighbourhoods, "Vechiul targ", Calea Vacaresti and Calea Dudesti, Calea Mosilor - full of Jewish shops and workshops, the Sefardic streets - Sf. Ioan Nou, Spaniola, Negru Voda - where had been built sumptuous houses, also "clean, luxurious, with asphalt yards" (H. Stahl). Some buildings are due to famous architects were owned by wealthy Jews such as P. Brantman (1887), M. Mircus (1886), L.H. Loebel (1896), M. Stein (1885), H. Manoah (1893), D.V. Moses (1894), not to mention those erected during the first decades of the 20th century on Calea Victoriei, Calea Grivitei or in the residential neighbourhoods.
Started in September 2003, the micro-monograph would require, to be a whole... a JUDAIC ENCYCLOPEDIA
The Jewish-Romanian diversity wasn’t – and, partially, it is not more "visible" than in Bucharest: naturalised and from South (until the middle of the 19th century) Sephards and Askenads, natives from generations and recently flowing from all the provinces of the country – especially after the first world war and even during the last war (or in the following years). The percent of the Jews 100% from Bucharest can be evaluated at just 30% at the end of the 19th century, at about 40% in Greater Romania and at over 50% for the years that followed. Today, in the Capital there are some 5.000 souls, some "homogenous" by the experiences they lived under the two totalitarianism regimes, as well by the continuous reduction of some differences previous to the communism, among them the ones between the rich and the poor, between people especially enterprising and others "gone with the waves" (luftmenschen), between the advocates of assimilation and the supporters of the tradition, between left and right intellectuals, Zionist and the supporters of integration etc. During decades, the specificity of each Jew from Bucharest was linked by the numerous "social roles" (community ones, regarding organisation etc.) and social-professional status – as well as by the existence itineraries walked by each of them. This is why the all-included formula of "Jew of Bucharest" can not and should not blur such a wide diversity of actual situations, reducing them just to literary typology and close to... dogmatic characters.
And still: in this final part of our micro-monograph of the Jewish community from Bucharest we can not "sum up" everything but through a generalisation operated on some "parameters" with a coagulation effect between the individuals, by grouping and polarising the numerous and singular, centrifugal manifestations. I am thinking of:
a) the cultural and community action;
b) the action of other "trends" conjugating of expectations and efforts made by important groups of the Jewish population in the Capital (as well as in the whole country);
c) the impact of the well-known personalities – first of all those from the community – that lead those "trends".
Because of the fact that detailing (and coming with examples) on all those things mentioned would require many volumes I will refer - in this last article of the "series" started in September, last year – to some "punctual" aspects regarding the subjects mentioned.
Cult and culture
A cultural and community history of the Jews from Bucharest, that began in the second half of the 19th century, unrelenting gravitates around the institutions and religious personalities on one side, and of the community on the other side. The history of local Mosaic religion goes back many centuries, but of actual interest there are also more recent events – starting with "the Malbim case" and "the triumph of the modernists" headed by Iuliu Barasch, A. Felz, I.L. Weinberg, I. Löbel – founders of the "Society of Israelite Culture". At its initiative, came into being – after the suppression of the "Lehi Jews Community" (by a government decision on June, 3rd, 1862) – the Community of the Coral Temple, that begun in 1874 (in the same time with the total disorganisation of the "community" after the resignation of the last president, Filip A. Focsaneanu) an authentic congregation (the Congregation of the Coral Temple, Western rite) with prerogatives in cultural rebirth (Israelite schools, locations) as well as in subsiding the learning-orientated youth (Iacob Löbel Society) and encouraging the musical and sport education, of public lecture ("Saniel Marcus" Library) etc. An ample work of public assistance, without a juridical clout, after the suppression of "Obstea", passes under the patrimony and control of the Coral Temple. The modernist from Bucharest realised thus the performance of giving the first religious institution of the country, the Coral Temple, cultural perspectives to happily achieve the cultural tradition. And they did it! Adepts of Barasch, personality profoundly attached to the tradition – they wanted to link the Mosaic orthodoxy to the cultural and civilisation requirements. Under this aspect, will also act the modern Rabbi office from Bucharest (from Beck to Halevy) and first of all the three chief Rabbis that led sermons in the Capital, during almost the entire 20th century. Dr. I. Niemirower, who in a work titled Contributiuni la istoria filosofiei evreiesti (Contributions to the history of Jewish philosophy), analysing the plural senses of the modern Judaism will dissociate the divergent action, visible sometimes in the West among the conservatives and progressives, among the trend of the "nationals" and the trend of the integration advocates etc – each one of them with its wide stream of options – will conclude on the necessity of a non-antagonistic solution in the relation cult-culture. Iacob Niemirower, as well as, later, Alexandru Safran and Moses Rosen will prove they took the important lessons from the local and European confrontations between conservatism and reformism*.
Currents and options
[NOTE:*It is known that in the second half of the 19th century the local confrontation could become damaging if at the conservative decisiveness of Rabbi Malbim the reaction of the "people of progress" would have been different from the one we just mentioned – and has been surpassed as we showed. On the one hand, the taking over of the Coral Temple congregation of numerous community attributions, and on the other hand the effort made by the "progress" people for re-establishing the general community of the Jews in Bucharest. The members of the Înfratirea Zion lodges (through Fraternitatea "school") led the attempts. A "Committee for the general interests of the Israelite Community" has been established in 1887 and in 1899 another "Committee of centralisation" under the care of the Coral Temple. In 1901, takes place a new attempt of recreating the "General Community" and also takes place a "General Congress of all the communities in the country". But the time of re-establishing the community from Bucharest had not come yet. Just a fragile "Central Committee of the Schools" has been established to co-ordinate some 15 schools, and also a "Central Committee for matot producing". The attempts made in 1908 to recreate an "initiative committee" under the directorship of the veteran Filip A. Focsaneanu, as well as the renewed efforts made by the Lodge Noua Fraternitate, in 1916, didn’t have practical consequences, although they created a certain climate of understanding the pressing needs of a comprehensive community organism.]
The effects of the disappearance of the "Community of the Lehi Jews", provoked by the controversies between Malbim conservative orthodoxy and "progressives" lasted for a long period of time and there were not quite salutary. But as it was remarked by M.A. Halevy, they weren’t, in the beginning, just negative in all senses. He writes his exciting work Polemicile fecunde de acum 80 de ani: "...the period 1859-1864 was one of the most productive to the culture of the Jews from Bucharest, the most productive regarding the Rabbinical and Hebrew culture, almost as a period of literary creation and journalism, never experienced in such a short period of time". But, we should add, also for the stimulation of a future development of the enlightenment trend represented by the wide movement of the Maskilims.
Because in the second half of the 19th century, not only the peaks of the modern Judaism made themselves known, building the Jewish intellectual elite, but also a great number of Maskilims – teachers, other free-lancers – that adhere to the enlightenment and Judaic ideas (Mendelssohnian) adapted to the local conditions, thus coming into being the so-called Jewish-Romanian Hascala current. So, not only the well-known Gaster, Saineanu, Schwarzfeld (M. and E.), Weissengrün, and then Beck, Niemirower etc, but also the less known I. Halevy, M. Aziel, B. Goldenberg etc, as well as the dozens of names that can be found in the Jewish media of Yiddish and Ivrit language or in the Romanian-language media. There is an intelligentsia of which not a single monograph of the Jewish community of Bucharest cannot ignore.
Together with the ones included in the Hascala current in Bucharest, also made themselves known all those intellectuals that promoted the emancipation and integration trends within the Jewish mass starting with the end of the 19th century. It is known that the civil and political emancipation of the Jews from Romania didn’t take place in 1848, 1866 or in 1879, not even during 1913 when this subject seemed again very present. This problem was resolved after 1919. The integration desire within the social and economical levels was a constant trend of the Jews from the Capital and expressed by the end of the 19th century through numerous civil organisms. While during 1829-1880 almost all the Jews had been integrated – and especially – in the economic life of the country, but after 1880, their status as juridical and political outcast, expressly entertained by the establishment and by a part of the civil society, imposed a co-ordination of the reactions by which the Jews persisted, not just regarding the economic integration, but also the social, cultural and spiritual one. Referring to the long range of laws regarding education for the Jews – partially discriminating -, at the end of the 19th century, the Rabbi Niemirower remarked the fact that, if banned in the public schools, the Jews must create for themselves their own schools in which the program of studies "happily combined the Jewish culture and the Romanian and universal one". Even Bucharest was full of such Jewish schools that essentially contributed to the education and instruction of the Jewish population. The "en titre" leaders of the integration trend in Bucharest even established some integration organisations such as the Union of the Naturalised Jews (U.E.P., 1910) that became U.E.R. (in 1923) etc. At the lead of those organisations there were well-known personalities, such as Adolf Stern, W. Filderman and many others. Not once, at the helm of such organisations there were modern rabbis of the Capital, fighting for combining the Romanian Jews interests, cult, but also the solidarity of the Jewish world against the anti-Semitism with calling their co-religionists to all the interests of the Romanian nation and state.
Jews in the Romanian Academy
In 1999, an important edition of the Dictionary with the members of the Romanian Academy has been published, under the signature of Dorina N. Rusu, well-known historian. Inspired by this voluminous work, we ourselves published a first list (see number 200/201), but an incomplete one and even with some mistakes regarding the names of the Jews that were members in the Romanian Academy, with titles mentioned in the respective work we consulted. The end of 2003 has seen published a new edition of the Dictionary, under the same signature. It comprises the portraits of precisely 1.547 elected members of the Romanian Academy between 1866 and 2003 (among them, 41 were elected post-mortem), and 529 from abroad (419 of them were honorary members, 109 – correspondent members and one was elected post-mortem). In this edition we included all the ones elected after 1999 or whom had their titles changed. Starting from this exceptionally bibliographic instrument with over 1.100 pages, we offer a new list, completed and revised, with the Jewish personalities within the country, but also from abroad, that honour us with their presence as elected members of the Romanian Academy. Because the Dictionary doesn’t mention their origin or their ethnic inclusion it is not impossible to have some personalities omitted from our list, especially regarding the ones from abroad or less known as Jews. (H.K.)
The list: Banu, Ion (1913-1993), philosopher, c.m.; Barasch, Eugen A. (1905-1986), jurist, f.m.; Bercovici, Martin (1902-1971), engineer, f.m.; Brezis, Haim (1944), mathematician (France), h.m.; Cajal, Nicolae (1919), medicine, f.m.; Cernea, Mihail (1931), sociologist (S.U.A.), c.m.; Dobrogeanu-Gherea, C. (1855-1920), critic and literary theoretician, elected p.m.; Ehrlich, Paul (1854-1915), physicist, Germany, h.m.; Elias, Jacques H. (1844-1923), philanthropist, elected p.m.; Emmanuel, David (1854-1941), mathematician, h.m.; Felix, Jacob (1832-1905), medicine, f.m.; Florescu, Mihai (1912-2000), chemistry engineer, c.m.; Friedländer, Erwin M. (1925), physicist, c.m.; Gall, Ernö (1917-2000), philosopher, f.m.; Gaster, Moses (1856-1939), philologist, folklorist, h.m.; Graur, Alexandru (1900-1988), linguist, f.m.; Haimovici, Mendel (1906-1973), mathematician, f.m.; Iagnov, Simion (1892-1958), medicine, c.m.; Ianchelevici, Idel (1909-1994), sculptor, h.m.; Ianosi, Ion (1928), aesthetician, essayist, h.m.; Ionescu-Gulian, Constantin (1914), philosopher, f.m.; Iser, Iosif (1881-1958), painter, graphic designer, f.m.; Kanitz, August (1843-1896), botanist, c.m.; Katzir-Katchalski, Ephraim (1916), chemist (Israel), h.m.; Kreindler, Arthur (1900-1988), medicine, f.m.; Lazareanu, Barbu (1881-1957), literary historian, publicist, f.m.; Ligeti, György Sándor (1923), composer, h.m.; Marcus, Solomon (1925), mathematician, f.m.; Menkes, Benedict M. (1904-1987), medicine, biology, c.m.; Menuhin, Yehudi Sir (1916-1999), violinist, composer, director, h.m.; Rachmuth, Ion (1911-1990), economist, c.m.; Roller, Mihail (1908-1958), politician, historian, f.m.; Rosen, Mose, David (Moses Rosen) (1912-1994), chief of the Mosaic Cult, h.m.; Sager, Oscar (1894-1981), medicine, f.m.; Sanielevici, Alexandru S. (1899-1969), physicist, c.m.; Sanielevici, Simion (1870-1963), mathematician, h.m.; Savulescu, Alice (1905-1970), botanist, f.m.; Segal, Eugen (1933), chemist, c.m.; Sela, Michael (1924), immunologist, Israel, h.m.; Simionescu, Maya (1937), biologist, f.m.; Singer, Ivan (1929), mathematician, c.m.; Socor, Matei (1908-1980), composer, c.m.; Stânca, Stefan (1865-1896), medicine, elected p.m.; Safran, Alexandru (1910), Great Rabbi (Switzerland), Chief Rabbi, Romania, h.m.; Vianu, Tudor (1897-1964), aesthetician, f.m.; Wiesel, Ellie (1928), writer (U.S.A.), laureate of the Nobel Prize for Peace, h.m.; Zaharescu, Barbu (1906-2000), economist, c.m.
The abbreviations encountered in the list above should be read: c.m. = correspondent member; f.m. = full member; h.m. = honorary member; elected p.m. = elected post mortem.
Regarding the election date of certain Jews in the Romanian Academy we mention that, before 1948, the following have been received: Ehrlich, Paul (1911); Emmanuel, David (1936); Felix, Iacob (1879); Gaster, Moses (1929); Kanitz, August (1882).
The institutional level
Even from the times of "Little Romania", but especially after the War of Completion, Bucharest is the location of numerous Jewish institutions: schools, settlements, organisations etc. After 1918, we find out here the headquarters of the biggest community in the country (Askenad and Sefard), of the Jewish Community Union from the Old Kingdom (U.C.E.) and from 1937 of F.U.C.E., of some political institutions such as U.E.R., the Jewish Party (founded in 1930), of other Zionist organisations and parties – extremely numerous, of representations of international Jewish organisations (the Jewish World Congress, the Zionist Executive, Joint and many others). During the years of persecution, the main Jewish educational institutions, of assistance or cultural were in Bucharest, even if they were under the scrutiny of the Jewish Central in Romania, an organism subordinated to the Antonescu government. Between 1945-1949, a certain number of central institutions or organisations of the Jews continued their activity or started a new one: U.C.E. and F.U.C.E., dissolved during the war, as well as U.E.R., P.E.R., O.S. C.M.E. – Romania section, "Joint", O.R.T., O.T.E., O.D.E. etc. They restart their activity, within a cultural and Judaic level, a number of societies and associations, as well as the Institute of Culture of the Coral Temple about which I wrote a special article in the present series. A Jewish neo-integration organisation – the Jewish Democratic Committee (C.D.E., 1945-1953) – plays an important role in leading the Jewish community life taking over, after 1948, the lead and contributing to the dissolution operated by the "democratic-popular" of all the community organisations, locations and institutions. With the exception of the religious and community organisms, including their tutelary forum, F.C.E.R. The history of F.C.E.R. and C.E.B., during the totalitarianism years of Dej and Ceausescu, still waits its researchers. It is certain that the Jewish community life, even severely limited, survived this long period marked by an important Alia, sign of a national rebirth, as well as a wide education program for the Jewish population, that went to schools and high specialisation.
After 1989, the Jewish community in Bucharest – including almost half of the entire Jewish population in the country – has experienced an ascendant trend under all the circumstances of the community life: religious, cultural, youth, Talmud-Torah, de middle generation etc. From a cultural point of view, the magazine "Realitatea Evreiasca", "Hasefer" Publishing House and C.S.I.E.R. are co-opting active forces of the Jewish intelligentsia to continue and put into value the Jewish-Romanian cultural heritage. A future monograph of the Jewish community in Bucharest, as well as a history of the Jews in Romania – where the Capital of the country should have its deserved place -, inscribe itself as sine qua non efforts in this effect. Mini-monograph.
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