October 29, 2007

History of the Rabbi and the Shul.

There were two shuls in Radziejow, the Old Shul and the New Shul built in the mid 1930s. During the early 1900s the Rabbi of the Old Shul was Rabbi Mazur. He had a number of sons. The Rabbi and his wife died in the 1920s. They were buried in the Jewish Cemetery of Radziejow. Prior to their parents death, the sons moved to the city of Danzig and went into business. The business was very successful. The Mazurs became one of the richest families in Poland. The sons would come to Radziejow every year for the Yortzit (anniversary of the death) of their parents. They donated a great deal of money to the Jewish community of Radziejow.
Sometime after the death of Rabbi Mazur the community hired Rabbi Platgevich. The Rabbi lived about 6 blocks away from the Old Shul. The local antisemites constantly harassed the Rabbi. When he would walk to the Old Shul, they would, on occassion, throw stones at him and pull his beard.
The Poles celebrate a holiday called Dingo. On Dingo, it was a custom to splash one another with water. One Polish woman took a large bucket of water and poured it on Rabbi Platgevich as he walked to the Old Shul. Strangely, three days later, the woman became ill and died. The Poles thought that perhaps this was a result of insulting a man of G-d and therefore temporarily halted harassing the Rabbi.
The Gabbi of the Shul was one of the most honest men in town. The Gabbi serves as a kind of layman assistant rabbi. He would prepare the Shul for its religious and civic activities, distribute Shul charity to the poor, and helped arrange food and housing for visiting Jews. The Gabbi’s reputation for honestly was well known. Once, a wealthy member of the community tried to test him. The man offered the Gabbi a large fortune if the Gabbi would give the wealthy man the Gabbi’s share in the World to Come. The Gabbi didn’t hesitate when he answered the wealthy man that even if he offered all his money he would never give up his share in the World to Come.
One day, the Mazur sons came to Radziejow for the Yortzit of their parents. They were in a particularly generous mood. They asked to have a town meeting of Jews to inquire what they wanted them to donate to the town this year. They asked the leading members of the community. One man said that they would like a Jewish hospital. When they came to my Grandfather, Shimon Neijman, he said that it would be helpful if their would be a bigger Shul with apartments for the Rabbi to live in so he would not be harassed by the antisemites. The Mazurs liked the idea and a beautiful Shul was built.
The Shul stood for about five years. After Germany invaded In the early 1940s the Nazis occupied Radziejow. They tried to burn the Shul down, but it was so well built with fireproof materials that they failed. One day their was a large explosion.

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