44°57' / 26°01'
Translation from Pinkas Hakehillot Romania
Translation from Pinkas Hakehillot Romania
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem, 1969
Published in Jerusalem, 1969
Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem for permission
This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Romania,
Volume 1, pages 218-224, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1969
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
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A city in the province of Wallachia, Prahova region, in an area rich in oil.
It is an important railway crossroads between Transylvania, Moldova and Bucharest.
|Year||Population||% of Jews in
A second cemetery, located in the Dambu valley, was seized by the neighboring Romanian landowner who wished to enlarge his estate. In 1818, the Jewish Guild obtained land for a cemetery on the Jewish Street, which was located at the edge of the city in those days. Later, an area for a fourth cemetery was set up outside the city.
Until the times of the Fanarioti (rulers from the Turkish government of 1716-1812), the Jews lived at the edge of the city, near the first cemetery and surrounding the synagogue. When the synagogue and cemetery were destroyed apparently, in those days a synagogue in Bucharest was also destroyed at the order of the ruler Serban Cantacuzino (1714-1716), the Jews moved their neighborhood to a location approximately two kilometers from the city. An animal market and general market were opened up near this neighborhood. Romanian merchants also began to open up shops in this new neighborhood, thereby forging a connection between the city and the market. Many Jews built their homes on this central connecting road. The length of this road was about one kilometer. It was called the Street of the Jews until 1882. Later, the Jews moved their neighborhood to Vlad Tepes Street.
Sephardic Jews who came from the Balkan countries settled in Ploiesti in the year 1806. They set up their residences in a street that was called the Sephardic Street. It was known as Di Frankishe Gasse by the Ashkenazim. The Sephardim dressed in Turkish style, and the Ashkenazim in local Romanian style. A wave of Jewish immigrants from Russia and Poland arrived in Ploiesti in 1848-1856. They brought with them the traditional Jewish Eastern European dress. With their influence, the local Jewish began to dress in that manner.
A blood libel was perpetrated against the Jews of Ploiesti at the beginning of the 19th century. The Jews then fled to the mountains out of fear of the Christian residents. There were also blood libels in the years 1815, 1867, 1871.
During the time of the Greek revolt in Romania in 1821, many of the Jews fled to the neighboring villages. The revolutionaries pursued them, tortured them, and extorted money from them. Several Jews were chained and dragged by foot to the nearby village of Valeni de Munte. They were freed from their imprisonment only after the Romanian boyar Moise paid ransom for them all.
In 1824, Prince Grigori Alexandru Ghica visited the city. During the reception that was arranged in his honor, the prince recognized the absence of representatives of the Jewish community from the ceremony. To his question, one of the boyars answered that the Jews were not answered that the Jews were not invited because they were flotsam and jetsam. While the prince was visiting the city, the Sephardic Jewish banker Hillel visited him. He came to refute the claim of the Romanians. Indeed, during the following visit of the prince to Ploiesti, he commanded that representatives of the Jewish community be also invited to the ceremony. Not only that, but from that time, Jews participated in all ceremonies and receptions that were conducted in honor of other princes.
In 1844, Prince Stirbei issued an ordinance to expel the Jews from the villages of the area. The decree was annulled thanks to the intervention of a Jewish delegation. However, the Jews were forbidden from selling liquor. In 1849, the expulsion edict from the villages was renewed for the Jewish lessees of land and owners of taverns, bakeries and butcher shops.
In 1830, the Sephardic Jews of Ploiesti turned to the Chacham Bashi in Bucharest and asked him for permission to found their own communal organization and Chevra Kadisha. Their request was not agreed to, and they were given permission only to conduct their own Tahara. This decision was observed meticulously. Throughout all times, the two groups formed one community and had one cemetery. They only maintained separate synagogues and Chevra Kadishas (burial societies). This example of a combined Sephardic and Ashkenazic community was unique in Romania during that era. A rotation of Ashkenazim and Sephardim served as head of the community.
The community also maintained a bathhouse, a matzo factory, and a slaughterhouse for fowl. They also maintained a restaurant for the school children in a special building fitting for this purpose, built by the women of the community.
The state of these institutions was very difficult. Until the ordinance of the communities was passed in 1928, the community was not recognized as a jurisdictional body. Therefore, the purchase contracts were registered in the names of private individuals, and the authority of the community over the property was not certain. The community was not able to receive gifts or inheritances, and its representatives were not able to demand their rights and protect their property.
For decades, the Jew of Ploiesti worshipped in rented houses. The first synagogue, built at the beginning of the 18th century, was destroyed. In 1780, the Synagogue of the Rabbi was built. It was renovated in 1891. Next to the synagogue was a Kina (jail) for Jews who rebelled against the Head of Government, especially for those who transgressed a grave sin. In 1820, the Great Synagogue was built next to the Synagogue of the Rabbi. It was built of wood, and rebuilt in stone in 1840. Itzeles Synagogue was built in 1843. Heichal Yisrael, with the traditions of the west, was built in 1882. Heichal Hasephardim was dedicated in 1899 (its building was completed in 1895). The Sephardic Jews already built themselves a synagogue in 1807, which was later known as the Synagogue of the Tradesmen.
also preferred to send their children there. During that time, about 25-50 Christian students studied there.
|The protocol of the communal council meeting in 1895
with the representatives of the synagogue and community notables.
From the general archives of Israelitish history
A school for girls was built in 1896 from the donations of members of the communities. Many Christian girls studied in this school, until the ministry of education forbade them from attending.
David Emanuel (1854-1941), one of the great mathematicians of Romania, was also born in Ploiesti. He completed a brilliant doctorate dissertation in 1882, and after that he was appointed as a professor of mathematics at the University of Bucharest. In 1966, his name was noted at the United Nations as one of the select personalities who promoted the advancement of various scientific areas.
In 1913, the merchant Baruch Kahana of Ploiesti donated the first and largest donation to the Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (Jewish National Fund), a sum of 130,000 golden francs (6,000 pound sterling). The Keren Kayemet LeYisrael used these funds to establish two moshavim in the Land of Israel. One of them, Kfar Baruch, was named for him.
one of them even served as vice mayor, during the days of the rule of the Farmer's Party of Maniu. The Jewish party was also organized, and attained recognizable achievements. It obtained 407 votes during the elections of 1931, and 228 votes during the elections of 1932.
The influence of Jewish members of the Romanian parties was also noticeable in the community. The chairman of the communal leadership was always a member of the party that formed the government at the time. During the 1930, when the Jewish party was organized, some of its members were appointed to the communal leadership. The head of the Luca Moise organization was a member of the Jewish party during those years.
In 1932, the community received official authorization as a jurisdictional body.
Rabbi Dr. Menachem Safran served in Ploiesti from 1939-1956. He then made aliya, and lives today in Ramat Gan.
During that era, Rabbi Friedman of the Rujin dynasty came to the city and set up a prayer house in his home.
There was an active chapter of WIZO (Women's International Zionist Organization) in Ploiesti, which founded a Hebrew kindergarten in 1926. The kindergarten was located in a fine building that was erected in the yard of the Luca Moise School in 1927, with the donation of the philanthropist Mendel Predinger. In this building there was an auditorium, a dining hall, and a bath house for the students of the school. The WIZO chapter took advantage of the proximity of Ploiesti to Bucharest, and invited the best lectures on all areas of Judaism to come from there and present their lectures in Ploiesti.
|Rabbi David Friedman (on the left), who was
murdered by members of the Iron Guard.
Next to him is Rabbi Mendel Friedman of Buhus
|Rabbi Dr. Yosef Chaim Brezis|
In 1939, a group of maskilim set up an institute for Jewish culture, named after Rabbi Dr. Yosef Chaim Brezis. Courses were conducted in Jewish history, the Hebrew and English language, as well as courses in various professions were conducted almost every evening.
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