Rzhyshchiv (Ukrainian: Ржищів, Russian: Ржищев, Yiddish: אירזיסטשוב, Polish: Rzyszczów, known also by several alternative names in Yiddish) is a city in Kiev Oblast (province) of Ukraine. Administratively, it is incorporated as a town of oblast significance. Population: 7,532 (2013 est.).
House of Culture in Rzhyshchiv
|• Total||35.6 km2 (13.7 sq mi)|
|• Density||210/km2 (550/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|Area code(s)||+380 4573|
In Yiddish, formerly a primary language of the city, the name has been recorded in different forms throughout its history including אורזיזטשוב, רזיזטשוב, אורזיזטשיב, רזיזטשיב, אורזישטשב , רזישטשב , אורזיסטשוב, רזיסטשוב, אירזיסטשיב, רזיסטשיב, אורזישטשיב , רזישטשיב , אירזישטשיב , רעזישטשיב , רזישטשעב, אירזיזטשיב.[romanization needed] In English it has been recorded as Rzhyshchiv, Rzhishchev, Rezhishchev, Rezhyschiv, Rzysciv, Orzistchov, Irzyszczów.
Archival sources report a Jewish community in Rzhyschiv by the end of the 18th century. From 1802 onwards, the town was the centre of a Hasidic dynasty. According to the census of 1847, Rzhyschiv's Jewish community numbered 1,543 people. By 1852 there was a synagogue in Rzhyshchiv. The Jewish area of the town was located behind the market. In his description of Kiev Guberniya, historian L. Pokhilevich writes: “At the beginning of the 20th century, Rzhyschiv occupied a prominent place among the trade centres of Kiev Guberniya, trading particularly in grain sent along the Dnieper River to Lithuania.” In 1858, a large beet-sugar factory owned by Berdichev banker Halperin was built in Rzhyschiv.
According to the census of 1897, Rzhyshchev's population numbered 11,629 inhabitants, of whom 6,008 were Jewish. In 1910, there is evidence of a Jewish school in the town. Rzhyschiv's Jewish community was not only large but also rich, as confirmed by the list of Kiev Oblast's Jewish merchants and manufacturers compiled by Kiev City Duma in 1907. The list included surnames of 150 inhabitants of Rzhyschiv, 47 of whom owned real estate valued at 1,000 roubles or more. These include:
Name Value of real estate Lishchinsky family 8,200 roubles Podraysky Vigdor Nisonov 5,000 roubles Polissky manufacturing family 4,200 roubles Skidelsky El Duvid Yankelev 4,000 roubles Movsha Leybovich Gohbarg 2,700 roubles
The enviable economic situation may have encouraged tzaddikim from the Ostrog dynasty to take up residence in Rzhyschiv.
The first AdMo"R of Rzhyshchev (Urzhyshchev in the Hasidic tradition) was Rabbi Moshe Mendl of Urzhyshchev, the son of Rabbi Pinkhas of Ostrog. He was brought up in the house of ‘the Shpoler Zeyde’; in 1802, he took the place of the town's Hasidic leader and founded a dynasty that existed until the Holocaust.
Little is known about his son, Rabbi Yosef of Urzhyshchev, who inherited his father's place. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef's[clarification needed] sons lived during the dynasty's heyday. The first, Rabbi Avraam Mendl of Urzhyshchev (? - 1910) was one of very few AdMo"Rim who openly supported the Zionist movement. His impassioned letter in support of the Hibat Zion movement was published in the Shivat Zion collection, and it is said that he sang Hatikva with tears in his eyes at the wedding of one of his grandsons. The second son, Rabbi Elyakim Gets of Urzhyshchev-Kozin (? - 1894), at first took his father's place but then ceded this to his brother and moved to Kozyn. He wrote ‘Imrey Emet’, published in Berdichev; its title's gematria is equal to the gematria of the author's and his father's names.
Rabbi Avraam Mendl of Urzhyshchev had three sons. Rabbi Isaya Mendl of Urzhyshchev became the Urzhyshchev AdMo"R after his father's death in 1910. He was an outstanding scientist, and was also renowned for his generosity. Rabbi Isaya was killed during one of the pogroms in the spring of 1919. He was succeeded by Rabbi Avraam's second son, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Mendl of Urzhyshchev, who was the Urzhyshchev AdMo"R beginning in 1919. Nothing is known about the third brother, Rabbi David, but his son, Rabbi Moshe Mendl of Urzhyshchev-Kiev, was the Urzhyshchev AdMo"R in Kiev. He died during the Holocaust. The son of Rabbi Elyakim Gets of Urzhyshchev-Kozin, Rabbi Yaakov-Yosef of Kozin, took his father's place in Kozyn and later moved to Bohuslav. His fate under the Soviet government is not known.
In 1864, a conflict between the Hasidim of Rzhyshchev's AdMo"R and the followers of the other tzaddikim arose. The other tzaddikim had come to Rzhyshchev to collect donations: “it is clear that”, David Asaf writes, “the invader was showered with stones and nearly killed.” There were many other disagreements, and the Rzhyshchev tzaddik was even accused of counterfeiting.
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