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The Old Shtetl Rymanow (Part II)

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        Last week I wrote about Rabbi Avraham Reich, a decendent of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rymanow. Rabbi Reich represents the chassidic side of Rymanow. While most of the Jews in Rymanow were chassidic, not all were. The community was officially organized in the 15th century, 300 years before the advent of chassidut.


         During the 16th century, most the town’s Jews became known as sellers of wine from Hungary. The selling of wine to non-Jews became the topic of debate with the Vaad Arbaah Artzot, (Council of the Four Lands). The Council was concerned about Jews selling wine to people using it for religious purposes such as Mass. At first the council intended to entirely forbid the Jews to deal in such wine, but since it was their main occupation, a decision was made by Meir ben Gedaliah of Lublin to issue only a warning.


         Due to the small size of Rymanow, many of the Jews had to sell their wares in nearby Krasno. Krasno, though, had a law banning Jews. In the 17th and 18th centuries the municipality of Krasno allowed its townsmen to rob and even put to death any Jew from Rymanow who attended the fair at Krasno.


         The sale also caused difficulties with the bishop of Przemysl, who brought the Jews of Rymanow to court in the 17th century supposedly for profaning the Christian holidays.


         There is no record of exactly when the synagogue, located at the corner of Bieleckiego Street, was built, but it and the house reserved for the residing rebbe were said to be the finest in the town.


         In the late 19th century, the Zionist movement gained a foothold in Rymanow, and some Jews immigrated to the land of Israel. Due to the economic situation after World War I, many Jews from Rymanow immigrated to the U.S. The Rymanower Young Mens Benevolent Society owned two Landsmanshaft plots in the New York City area. They are listed on the New York Jewish Genealogical website. The plots are located at Mt. Hebron (path 32, gate 2) and Mt. Zion (Block 75, path 1).


         The Stanton Street synagogue on the Lower East Side was officially known as Congregation Anschei Brzezan, but records show that the Bluzhower-Rymanow society paid “rent” for decades to join in the services, and that the relationship was never terminated. It is not known if any members today trace their roots back to Rymanow. Rabbi Reich’s synagogue in Boro Park is the only synagogue named after Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rymanow.


         A man in Poland, Michael Lorenc, is interested in forming a society to preserve the Jewish heritage of Rymanow. In July 2005 he held a two-day festival in Rymanow with movies, concerts and exhibitions. He can be reached at m.lorenc@mediapartner.com.pl.


         For more information go to http://www.shtetlinks.org.

Shmuel Ben Eliezer

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