Suzan & Ron Wynne <srwynne@...>
I wanted to alert H-SIG discussion group participants to my talk on the
kehilla in Galicia at the summer conference in New York. My talk is #129 and
it is scheduled for 9:30 Wed. a.m.
All territories within the Austro-Hungarian Empire had a kehilla, that is a
government-mandated self governing system. The kehilla structure in Galicia
was organized by approximately 72 main and subdistricts, each having an
elected body of 12 men with a president, a court comprised of 3
rabbis/scholars, and a chief rabbi. All members of the Jewish community were
required to belong to a kehilla and to support the officially recognized
synagogue in the district. Elections were held every 4 years. In 1877, the
kehilla system became responsible for collecting and maintaining vital
records. It was also responsible for collecting taxes and for maintaining
all Jewish organizations and institutions through its administrative
structure. The kehilla was a major factor in holding the Jewish community
together in very trying times. The system carried over to independent Poland
after WWI. It died in 1926 when splits in the Jewish community caused the
Polish government to abandon it.
Hungary had two kehillot, one for the more liberal Jews and the other for
the Orthodox. I feel sure that much of what I have to say will be relevant
for Hungarian Jews.
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