Photo Credit: Jewish Press

A collection of Yiddish newspapers I recently sold included an issue of Das Yudishe Blatt, published in the city of Mukacevo (Munkatch), Ukraine, on May 14, 1937 – the day after the passing of the Minchas Elazar, the famed Munkatcher Rebbe (R. Chaim Elazar Spira).

According to the headline, the funeral attracted 15,000 people, including hundreds of rabbanim and local government representatives. The article itself discusses the Rebbe’s will, the eulogies given at the funeral, and the appointment of his son-in-law, R. Baruch Rabinowicz, who was married to the Rebbe’s only daughter as his successor.


R. Rabinowicz held the position of Rebbe until the founding of the state of Israel, at which point his favorable view of Zionism caused most of the surviving Munkatcher chassidim to name his son, Reb Moshe Leib – the current Munkatcher Rebbe – as his successor.


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Above the headline appears an advertisement in German for Gloria cigarette paper, described as the finest cigarette paper, and on the final page of the newspaper is a news report of Nazi propaganda against the Jews of France, an ominous sign of the threat that would eradicate Munkatch’s Jewish community seven years later.


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Israel Mizrahi is the owner of Mizrahi Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY, and He can be reached at [email protected].