[Zeitzeugen] [Gedenken] [Geschichte und Diskurs] [Erinnerung] [Nationalsozialismus] [Entschädigung] [Webausstellungen] [Suchformulare] [Literatur]

Wir versuchen auf diesen Seiten alle Dienste kostenlos anzubieten und sind somit auf Unterstützung angewiesen, denn leider wird haGalil im Rahmen der Bundesmittel zur Bekämpfung von Rechtsextremismus und Antisemitismus, trotz mehrfacher leitlinien-konformer und fristgerechter Antragstellung, in keiner Weise unterstützt. Wir müssen Sie deshalb bitten, haGalil auch weiterhin mit Ihrer ganz persönlichen Spende zu unterstützen. Schon zwanzig Euro helfen, haGalil zu erhalten; wenn's zweihundert sind, finanzieren Sie die Information für weitere Leser gleich mit.

haGalil e.V., Münchner Bank BLZ 701 900 00, Konto Nr. 872 091.
Sie finden weitere Angaben zu Überweisungen aus dem Ausland, zu Lastschriftverfahren, Spendenquittungen etc. auf den Seiten des haGalil e.V..


Entrance haGalil
Search haGalil
Jahaduth: Jüdische Religion
Jüd. Kalender
Forum Judaicum
Spenden Sie mit PayPal - schnell, kostenlos und sicher!


Nyirbátor’s orthodox Shul

The House of Learning (Bet Midrash) was part of the Synagogue building. One could recognize the room for prayers by its high round arch windows, instead of the pointed arch windows usually employed in churches. Over the main entrance there was a round window with a David Star. A neglected yard stretched in front of the building. All functional units mentioned before, the kosher butchery, the ritual bath, and the dwelling places of the Rabbi and that of the Shames were located in the courtyard behind the Shul. One could enter the Bet Midrash via a small gang where a washbasin was located for the ritual rinsing of your hands, including the obligatory bowl with two handles on a chain. From this gang one arrived to the passage, the so-called “Palish”. One entered the room for prayers via a separate entrance.
The modern furniture of the room of prayers was made of first-class timber. The places alongside the eastern wall were reserved for the Rabbi, the Rashekol (the president of the congregation) and the most respectable citizens of the community. Simpler people, like manual workers, artisans, small traders and coachmen, had their places at the back, by the entrance. To arrive to the Thora Shrine containing a great number of Thora Rolls, one had to ascend a number of steps. On the right hand side there was the desk for the person to lead in the prayers, In the middle of the room, on the podium, the so-called “Bima” (blemmer) stood the large table on which the Thora is rolled out and read. The Shamash i.e. Synagogue servant Reb Aaron Scheinfeld (“Aaron the Shames”) made the announcements for the congregation and sold prior to the reading of the Thora on Sabbath and Holy Festivals the “Alijot” (the calling-up to the Thora) 20) The Women’s Gallery 21) extended over one part of the room. As a result, the roof above it was lower. The easterly direction of the gallery facing the room of prayers was covered up with tight wooden slats preventing the men to cast a glance at the women. The ascent to the gallery was possible via some stairs in the yard.
The busiest place was the Palish, a meeting place of men, congregation in various groups to study the Thora. One group studied Talmud 22) the other Chumash (The five books of Moses with the additional sections of the Prophets). Still another group studied the Mishnah 23).

Bookshelves filled with literature stood next to the walls together with a small Thora Shrine. Rows of desks were placed alongside in the middle of the Palish for the purpose of study.
A samovar was steaming away in the corner. One of the jobs of Aaron the Shames was the brewing of tea. Whenever we went to the Cheder on cold wintrily days, we made a stop at the Palish to drink a cup of hot tea. An oven was placed between the desks. Next to the oven, Hersch-Beer, a lonesome “nutcase” was warming himself. He wore a shabby feathered cap to his worn-out overcoat, he murmured and complained for himself and never talked to any one present. We kiddies had our fun with him from time to time. The “Rebbetzin” (the wife of the Rabbi) gave him a room in one of the chambers and looked after him out of kindness.
In the Mikve there were some cabins with bath-tubs, used by the non-Jewish population as well as in Nyirbátor there were hardly any dwellings with bathrooms. The bathing facilities for women were in an entirely separate section. Women visiting the Mikve at the end of their periods entered the baths direct from the road via a hidden path between the two synagogues.

20) “Calling up to the Thora” means the invitation to read the weekly section of the Thora which is considered a honour
21) In orthodox, conservative congregations men and women sit separately, in liberal or progressive congregations they sit together
22) Study/learning, having its origins in the Thora
23) Verbal tradition attached to the Thora, which is the basic part of the Talmud

Rabbi Naftali Teitelbaum
(Rabbi Naftole)

Rabbi Naftole, the Rabbi of the Orthodox Congregation of Nyirbátor came from the Family Teitelbaum, known for their vehement anti-Zionistic attitude. He was a cousin of the famous Rabbi Joelish Teitelbaum of Satmar (Satu Mare). Rabbi Naftole conducted the congregation in an authoritative style, straight, and without any compromises. He was always seen in his traditional attire, wearing a broad-rimmed velvet hat, a nice beard streaked with gray, and a pair of specs on the tip of his nose, over which he cast a glance at you. His was an impressive personality who demanded respect.
The so-called Shier-Stiebel 24)-was located next to the Rabbis dwelling place, a sizeable room well furnished with tables, desks, benches, book shelves full of volumes of Talmud and other religious and moralistic literature. This room was used by the young Talmud students to study in addition to their standard learning plan. Rabbi Naftole spent most if his time in this room. This was where he studied himself and where he received his visitors. At the mealtime, his Chassidic adherents congregated around the Rabbi’s table to snatch some “Shireiem” (leftovers). The Chassisds believe that it brings you luck or it will be in your favor if you finish off the Rabbi’s meal.
Whenever Rabbi Naftole turned up in the House of Learning, silence spread out and the congregation rose. While the prayer leader repeated the previously quietly recited “Eighteen prayer” at a loud voice, Rabbi Naftole used the opportunity to go round among the praying people, his hands hidden in the arm sleeves of his Kaftan. Once in a while he stopped to preach morals or to criticize someone.
On a certain Day at Atonement 25) he approached one of the praying, because he saw that the man had put on clean socks. It was clear to the Rabbi that this person disregarded the law not to wear leather wear un this day, had shoes on and only took them off outside the Bet Midrash. For this, he reprimanded him. Another event occurred on a New Years Day. This time, he attacked a woman sitting on the gallery because she dared to come to the synagogue with additional hair i.e. she used her Sheitl i.e. a traditional wig, but she dared to comb some of her natural hair over her wig, in great fashion by the not-so religious women… he walked up the stairs leading to the Thora Shrine and demanded that she left the Women’s Gallery.

In summertime, the tradesmen turned up at the Bet Midrash for the afternoon- and evening prayer, before thy went home. On the long summer days they had to wait for a long time after the afternoon prayers until they could say the evening prayer. Some used this time to study; others were just standing about in the yard and discussed politics.
One day, a visitor turned up around that time of the day with a handbag in his hand. He approached the group of men who greeted him with the usual “Sholem alejchem!” (Piece with you!”) The visitor pulled out a pad from his handbag and tried to sell Shekel for the Zionist congress. But someone told Rabbi Naftole that a good-for-nothing Zionist entered the Holiest realm. Rabbi Naftole jumped from his seat; he rushed to the scene and cried out a loud “Wu is der Meshimmed?” (Where is the heathen?) Arriving to the visitor, who, by the way, belonged to the religious Zionists “Misrachi” 26), he spat on his face and demanded that the Talmud students should expel him from the yard – in front of the non-Jewish passers-by! Rabbi Naftole returned from the Holy Land as a bitter, disappointed man. He, who believed that in Israel only observant Jews resided, had seen other ones as well. After his return he said he saw the “Yiddish Goyim” in Israel. His experience made his negative attitude towards Zionism even stronger.

On Friday evenings following the family Sabbath meal my father and I went together to the Rabbi’s table. Sometimes we took part next day in the third Sabbath meal and stayed on until the “Havdala” 27), the separation blessing at the end of Sabbath, Many people congregated to celebrate “Havdala”. It was usual that the youngest child had to held up the “Havdala” candle. It was believed that the higher the boy held it, the taller his bride shall be. I held up the candle higher than any one could and announced: “My bride shall be sooo tall!” The Rabbi, who obviously did not have any sense of humor, remarked: “”Well, you shall not hold the Havdala-candle again in my place!”
Rabbi Naftole possessed a specially small and light Thora roll. This one he took out only at the Thora’s Festival of Joy” 29) in order to dance with it ecstatically, whereby the Rabbi had to held it high above his head. His dancing around the Bima was a spectacle
Almost the entitle congregation took part in Rabbi Napftole’s funeral. Many non-Jews also came and made their way into the courtyard when the procession started off to the Jewish Cemetery. On his grave i.e. the grave of his family a tent like construction was erected, with a case and slots through which the visitors could insert their “Kvittel” (notes of requests). The grave and the tent is preserved quite well to this day and his grave is still visited. Rabbi Naftole was a respected person even in the circle of non-Jewish who considered him a holy man. My father wept bitterly at his funeral. The Rabbi’s passing left a gap in the life of the community.

After one year, they requested his brother, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum who acted as the Rabbi of the little town of Voloba, to come and to take over the duties in Nyirbátor. Rabbi Aaron looked like the twon brother of the deceased. He was my Grandfather’s, Reb Itze’s friend and his daughter; Pessil-Leah was my mother’s good friend. Pessil –Leah was together with me during the Shoah in the concentration camp Görlitz. Rabbi Aaron entered the Ghetto together with us and was deported to Auschwitz from where he never returned.

24) Hebrew: Shiur (measure) lection, reading; Yiddish Stiebel (dim, German Stube, Swiss: Stübli a small room
25) Yom Kippur, strict day of fasting, the highest Jewish festival
26) Short for “Spiritual Center”, a religious-Zionist group founded in 1902, Hapoel Hamisrachi 1922
27) “Separation” i.e. that of the Sabbath and the next weekday
29) Simchat Thora, a feast of joy celebrating the Thora at the end of Sukkoth in the autumn.

Rabbi Abraham Lemberger, DD

I had only met Rabbi Lemberger on one single occasion. But quite frankly, our exciting talk put me through frenzy. I discovered it only much later, what a permanent, unforgettable impression it made on me and I was not able to fully appreciate the extraordinary personality of this rabbi until that time. He was a small man, who wore a nice long white beard commanding special respect; He had an elevated round back cap and a black frock coat. He was around eighty at that time.

Doctor Lemberger was the Rabbi of the Status Quo Congregation of Nyirbátor, since its foundation by Simon Mendel in the Nineteenth Century. No successor was appointed after his passing away. The orthodox Jews kept their distance from this congregation.
My encounter with the Rabbi took place as follows: When one day, on my way to Cheder, i.e. the Talmud-Thora School. I passed Rabbi Lemberger’s Shul, he came up to the door and beckoned me over. He greeted me and asked me how old I was. I told him: “Twelve”. He was a little disappointed as he was looking for another Jew to make up the quorum 30). As I had not reached the required age of 13, I was unable to help him. Nevertheless, he invited me to his study to my great joy and let me take part in an unforgettable event. His study was at the entrance of the house of prayers. He spoke to me in Yiddish but his language had a German slant, so I had to pull myself together if I wanted to understand him. He asked me: “ Do you study Chumash?” (The Pentateuch) “Of course”, I replied. “And what does Chumash mean?” I kept silent because I did not know the answer. Our “melamed” (teacher) did not spend any time on such questions. Rabbi Lemberger, full of patience, explained the answer: “ Do you know what ‘chamesh’ means? It just means “five” and here you have the origin of “Chumash” for the “Book of Five” i.e. the five books of the Thora!” (Moses).
There was a large portrait on the wall of his study showing Herzl. How can anyone be so naïve, I don’t know but I asked the Rabbi: “Who is that Jew with the beard without a hat on the picture?” “That man is Theodor Zeev Herzl” explained Rabbi Lemberger. In order to explain Herzl’s personality, he opened his chest of drawers and pulled out some letters in German he received in the course of his correspondence with Herzl, and he read out some lines to me. When I admitted that I do not understand any German, he put the letters away and talked to me about the Zionists’ Congresses. Proudly he remarked that he took part in one of them. He proceeded by telling me his “Credo”: “Do you know, my son, he said, one day there’ll be a Jewish State – with Jewish men, Jewish soldiers, Jewish policemen o cetera. This Jewish State of the future has still no hymn.” He pulled out a sheet of paper on which the “Hatikva” (the Hope) was printed from another drawer and re repeated the song with me until I learnt it and I could sing it on my own.

I left his study as in a dream. On my way to the Talmud-Thora School I repeated everything Rabbi Lemberger told me. When I entered our classroom, I was in luck, because our melamed had not yet arrived. I told my adventure with Rabbi Lemberger to my classmates and repeated his works parrot-fashion: We shall have a state! Jewish secretaries of state, Jewish soldiers…” I pulled out the sheet of paper with the text of the “Hatikva“ from my pocket and started to teach the rest of the class to sing it.
At this moment in time the melamed turned up and heard us to sing the Zionist Hymn. The disaster was perfect. Almost as if a Cross-had been erected in the classroom. And no one else, but Reb Abraham Elieser’s, the Kosher butcher’s grandchild caused this disasters! The teacher tied me to the windowsill, and beat me until I almost lost consciousness. The matter became known not only by Rabbi Naftole, the Rabbi of the Orthodox Community but also by my Grandfather. Both wanted to punish me separately to beat the Devil out of me. Finally, my mother stopped the beatings and refused to allow any one to get close enough to me. “Don’t worry” she said to me, “we shall arrive to Erec Israel (the land of Israel)!”
When I was called up in 1948, I had to attend a medical examination in Tel Litwynski, today’s Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv, to prove that I am fit to serve in the Israeli Army, I remembered Rabbi Lemberger and his words: “There shall be Jewish soldiers…”. His words came true. Tears were running down my cheek. The doctor was worried that I’m unwell. But I explained the situation and told him about the late Rabbi Lemberger. He was so deeply moved that he too joined in my crying and he had a good old cry together.

30) Certain prayers may only be said in the presence of 10 men (“minjan”) older than 13. In liberal congregations women older than 12 also count.



Jüdische Weisheit
Die bei haGalil onLine und den angeschlossenen Domains veröffentlichten Texte spiegeln Meinungen und Kenntnisstand der jeweiligen Autoren. Sie geben nicht unbedingt die Meinung der Herausgeber bzw. der Gesamtredaktion wieder.

Kontakt: hagalil@hagalil.com
haGalil - Postfach 900504 - D-81505 München

1995-2006 © haGalil onLine® bzw. den angeg. Rechteinhabern
Munich - Tel Aviv - All Rights Reserved
haGalil onLine - Editorial