Falticeni through and above time


  • FALTICENI THROUGH AND ABOVE TIME
  • GAON AVRAHAM (Arie) LEIB ROSEN…
  • MOSES ROSEN (1912-1994)
  • The first Jewish schools and those “wonderful people” – their elite teachers
  • Eminent Rabbis effigies in just a few words…
  • Literary circles, associations, cultural societies and a library that became famous
  • Old time songs
  • The actors who used to charm us
  • The 11 synagogues built beginning with 1795
  • The golden hands of some long ago craftsmen
  • HAIM RIEMER
  • Prof. DAVID RIEMER
  • AVRAM FOCSANEANU
  • OTTO BACALU
  • IACOB BACALU
  • FRIMU VALERIU
  • LIVIU CALIN
  • REUVEN RUBIN (Rubin Zeilicovici, 1893-1989)
  • ELIOT SOREL
  • ISRAEL IOSEF BENIAMIN the second
  • NORMAN MANEA
  • PETER LOZNEANU
  • ELENA-ESTHER TACCIU
  • GUSTA MERINEANU
  • A few presidents’ names, for a future lexicon of the Romanian Judaism
  • FACTS OF LIFE, FACTS OF HISTORY
  • Zionist organizations that made history and the incredible ALIA toward Israel, on foot, in 1900
  • Zionist printing houses, newspapers, magazines and a remarkable book lover
  • Passover evenings
  • What we should never forget
  • Beyond literature


    FALTICENI THROUGH AND ABOVE TIME



    We can’t and we could never write everything about Falticeni… Our readers are asked to make complete our accounts… While waiting to that integral volume dedicated to the traditional Jewish stetl, we can only hope that its launch will not take too long… (R.E.)

    Shortly named “Targul Somozului”, the town of Falticeni is documentary attested from 1780, “on Soldanesti’s place, on the High Stewart Ionita Basota’s estate”. In the Princely Charter written by Voivode Constantin Moruzzi it is said that, in this little town in the north of Moldavia, had been coming “Christian, Armenian and Jewish” townsmen. In 1780, there was an organized community, with synagogue and ritual places, but the Jewish settlement is attested here from 1722. A tombstone, dating from 1780, confirms the Jews’ early settling on these lands. In “Enciclopedia Romana” it is said that here, in 1846, there were a synagogue, an Israelite hospital, closed in 1944, a shelter for elderly people and a Israelite primary school. Data regarding the town history are written both in the monograph of Artur Gorovei (Falticeni, 1938; folklorist and historian), and in Nicolae Iorga’s notes; and in 1852, we have again little information due to Wilhem von Kotzebue, former consul in Russia, who had a short visit in Falticeni. “The biggest part of the people are peasants and Jews…”

    According to the statistics, in 1805 there were 848 Jews; in 1859- 5,765; and in 1899 there were 5,500; in 1930 – 4,046 souls. After the 1941 census, was estimated that the Jewish population in Falticeni decreased to 4,020 souls and, in 1947, their number was 4,700, and in 1950- only 3,000.

    We have important data in the study wrote by M. Schwarzfeld, published in “Egalitatea” (1911). Israel Astruc – the representative of “Alliance Israelite Universelle” Organization, estimated in an 1899 rapport that in Falticeni the Jews lived “in an excessive poverty”. But in time (until 1942), due to the commercial occupations and to small industries, and on social – cultural level, the situation changed for the good. About the commercial activity of the Jewish merchants would later write the historian Itic Kara in his article “Din istoria comertului moldovenesc intre 1829 – 1831″. Manascu Cotter underlined that “by his geographic position, Falticeni was, in the 19th century, “the main commercial center of Moldavia with Austria” and somehow a cradle for the Hassidism.

    The history of Falticeni has also a sad page written between 1940-1944. “At the beginning of 1942, the great part of the Jews in Falticeni, between 16 and 60 years old, was sent to concentration camps (…) and to force labor in Basarabia” (from the volume “Pagini din trecutul evreilor: Falticeni).

    Of real help were the articles included in the monograph “Pagini din trecutul evreilor: Falticeni” (editing committee: Dr. Otto Bacalu, Prof. David Riemer, lawyer Noel Vaintraub), the memories of Liviu Calin, from Falticeni, and not the last, the data offered by Mrs. Tania Grunwald, the active president of the small community of only 40 members.

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    GAON AVRAHAM (Arie) LEIB ROSEN…



    Embodying “the perfect symbiosis between the written Word and the One whom he represents today in this world”- that was the father of the late Rabbi Moses Rosen. “My father… my Teacher”, to whom he remembers with veneration: “dressed in a long clerical robe, with his lively eyes watching an open book, urging me to repeat after him alef-beit… ” For a long period of time, he preached his sermons in the “Habad” synagogue “built on the principles of… love between people and nations” (Moses Rosen). In Jerusalem – thanks to the scholar Rabbi Dr. Wolf Gottlieb, from Glasgow – have been published, even from 1912, at the “Harav Kook” publishing house, his notes, works of “religious legislation” (Saagat Arie, Eitan Arie, 1912; Pirkei Sosana, 1920). He died in 1951 (5712), in the second night of Ros Hasana. He rests in Jerusalem, in the Sanhedrin cemetery.

    … and his son – Chief Rabbi of the Romanian Jews, for 46 years.

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    MOSES ROSEN (1912-1994)



    He was disciple of Rabbi Alter Dorf. The biography of this tenacious personality, who watched over preserving and defending the Jewish identity, affirming himself on the international scene as “the architect of his own immortality” (“Caiet Cultural” R.E.) is very close to us. We will only mention that he spend a part of his childhood in Falticeni, and that, for almost half a century, from June 16, 1948, when he was elected Rabbi of Romania, “he united his destiny with that of his community, animated by his love for Eretz Israel”. He was justly named the artisan of the Romanian Jews’ Alia; some 400,000 Jews, physically and morally saved, walked on the Holy Land, thanks to his sustained activity.

    From October 1956, in “Revista Cultului Mozaic” – of which he founded and supported – his wide – reaching activity for dignity, for human rights, has been reflected, as a national and religious Jewish activity. He loved Torah and the people of Israel. A man of peace and life, he leaded the community with self – abnegation and devotion. “Not one of us will stand on the history stage with such a bright «balance sheet»”, said Lord Jacobovitz.

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    140 years of education
    The first Jewish schools and those “wonderful people” – their elite teachers



  • 1866 – a public school for boys has been established, guided by the Hebrew-specialist S. Rabener, one of the translators of the Romanian poetry.
  • Two primary schools, financed by a charity, founded before 1866, but temporary closed, resume their classes in 1874.
  • 1899 – a school for girls is being open, with 168 students.
  • Jewish Colonization Association (J.C.A.) decides to offer material support for a number of schools from Falticeni.
  • An enthusiast. The contractor Isidor Last fights for the building of an edifice, donating money for an apprentice school.
  • A. G. Davidescu designs, in 1903, the project for a modern school “on a land bought by merchant Max Goldenthal…” (Liviu Rotman, “Scoala israelito-romana. 1851-1914).
  • Among the many excellent teachers, named as “elite” by Professor David Riemer, we mention: M. Sufrin, Braunstein Berthold, Albert Spaier, David Moscovici and Iohanan Iacubov, Alter Dorf, Israel Rosenbach, etc. (The list remains open. We are kindly asking our readers- born in Falticeni – to make it complete as soon as possible).

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    Eminent Rabbis effigies in just a few words…



  • The “Strul Hakatan” synagogue was built, as a posthumous eulogy, in the memory of Rabbi Strul, also known as “the little one”… He was a great Rabbi.
  • In the memory of Rabbi Tverski has been built, also for not forgetting, the “Rabbi’s Synagogue”.
  • Oisie Falic – author of the volumes “Seilot ve Tsuvot” (Response), “Nehorah Deoraita” (Lumina Legii) – he had his own Beit Hamidras…

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    Literary circles, associations, cultural societies and a library that became famous



  • The Jewish students circle from Falticeni (organizing conferences).
  • “Eugen Relgis” Cultural Circle founded by Iacob Bacalu.
  • “Cugetarea” Cultural Circle guided by Fischel Haimovici. It is worth mentioning that one of the sessions had been lead by the folklorist Artur Gorovei.
  • “Infratirea” Society (1928) guided by Lazar Peltz.
  • The Cultural Association of the Jewish Women (A.C.F.E.) – organizing cultural and fund – rising activities.
  • “Shalom Alehem” library (1935 -1940).

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    Old time songs



    “Between 1934 -1938, I wrote some revues together with my friend Iosala Beer, never forgotten, which had been interpreted by students and young people, Jews and non – Jews, on a stage set up in the aula of the Israelite school from Falticeni. The revues names were «Comme ci, comme ca», «Asa e lumea», «Cum e mai rau». The last show was a big success. After the premieres, in the same hall, the Jewish community was organizing balls. The performers were accompanied by the “Schweiffel – Stein” orchestra (…). During the breaks, Mrs. Haras, Brotman, Mina Schechter, Adela Lustgarten, Tony Lupu served tarts and drinks at the refreshment bar”.

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    The actors who used to charm us



    “We are leaving behind the house of Artur Gorovei and we are coming close to the notice board in front of the townhouse in order to read two notifications… The first reported about the arrival in Falticeni of the actors Leni Caler and Ronald Bulfinski, with the play “Soarece de biserica”, and the second notified us about a musical sustained by Jean Moscopol, who had in his repertory songs like «Pe bolta cand rasare luna», «Nusa», «Zaraza», «Valencia»”.
    Fragments from the volume “Pagini din trecutul evreilor: Falticeni”.

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    The 11 synagogues built beginning with 1795



    In Falticeni there were 13 synagogues. In the memories of D. Bolintineanu, included in the volume “Calatorii in Moldova”, we find out about those “religious processions on the streets…”
    • “Sinagoga Mare”, built in 1795 (now functional). Being destroyed in a fire, it was rebuilt in 1854 • “Leipziger” (1812) • “Habad” (1852), one of the old synagogues • Tailors’ (1862) and shoemakers’ (1872) synagogues • “Hevra Beit Semi” • “Strul Hakatan” (1888) • “Meir Ioil Last” (1890) • “Mahala” (1862) • “Klaus” (1870) • “Iuhr” (the year of its construction is unknown)

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    The golden hands of some long ago craftsmen



  • Do you remember the great Jewish tailors of Falticeni? How about the renowned Jewish boilermakers, putty makers, and the furriers? Dozens of craftsmen, if not hundreds or thousands.
  • They built concert rooms (Adolf Bayer and Moise Herman)…
  • They kept close contact with great craftsmen and merchants, with their brothers regarding their line of work from Moldavia, Muntenia and Transylvania…

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    HAIM RIEMER



    He was born in Falticeni, in 1916. He was a lyceum professor, chief of Suceava education department. “I remember him from Falticeni, the city of our childhood and youth. His house was a traditional Judaic cradle, a place of learning our ancient values, of cultivating our ideals of national revival. His father and his grandfather were piously performing the synthesis of the Jewish life standards: TORAH – the book and AVODA- the work”. (Moses Rosen). Beginning with 1977- said the late Rabbi Moses Rosen -, Haim Riemer ” identified himself with «Revista Cultului Mozaic»”. After making Alia, he still remained honorary director of “Realitatea Evreiasca”. We receive for our magazine his articles from Jerusalem. He is also coordinator of our Luah, for the Judaic section.

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    Prof. DAVID RIEMER



    Mathematician, Yiddish specialist, university professor, he attended the Faculty of Mathematics in Iasi. In 1942 – against “the destructive effects regarding the educational system” -, the Riemer brothers “tried to open a secondary school under the leadership of Artur Moscovici”, and in 1944, “they started, together with Artur Moscovici, a private lyceum…” Between 1981-1984, he worked – on his own confessions – at the chancellery of the Chief Rabbi Dr. Roses. The Riemer family’s house acted as headquarter for the “Mizrahi” Zionist organization. On Riemer family, the author Norman Manea has said: “… industrious and enthusiastic intellectuals, and their mother – an unforgettable Biblical presence”. His father – Reb Leibala Riemer, the old upholsterer, represented “the Man with the Book in his arms… the undaunted warrior for the greatest of all causes – the spirit”.

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    AVRAM FOCSANEANU



    He was regarded as one of the town’ founding fathers. He settled in Falticeni in 1770, and Artur Gorovei mentions him. He established here “a commercial house… with import – export activity”. He brought goods from Leipzig and Vienna. In the 1824 Treasury Books wrote that “Bercu brothers, Smil and Izrael Focsaneanu, Jews, were tribute-payers in this town”.

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    OTTO BACALU



    He had a medical training. He made Alia in 1971 and he professed as a doctor at Kupat Holim, today Kupat Macabi. He wrote for the medical section of “Viata noastra” and “Revista mea”.

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    IACOB BACALU



    He was born in 1922, he attended the Faculty of Law in Bucharest. As the president of the Jewish students’ circle from his hometown, he took part in numerous cultural events, attended by authors from Bucharest (I. Peltz, V. Voiculescu, Iacob Groper, Ionel Teodoreanu, Eugen Relgis, Camil Baltazar) whom he introduced to his audience, especially by writing small texts about them. Enthusiastic supporter of the ideas formulated by Eugen Relgis, he was the president of “Cercul Umanitarist «Eugen Relgis»” and co-leaded “Uniunea Evreilor Romani”. He contributed to many magazines, especially to “Curierul Israelit”. He died on August 10, 1973, in full journalistic activity.

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    FRIMU VALERIU



    He was engineer. He made Alia in 1999. In his youth, he had various jobs, including “book binder”- as his colleague, Liviu Calin, has putted.

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    LIVIU CALIN



    He was doctor in engineering. He was born and he spent his childhood in Falticeni. Here he attended the Israelite-Romanian School’ classes and then “Nicu Gane” lyceum.

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    REUVEN RUBIN (Rubin Zeilicovici, 1893 – 1989)



    Visionary painter, he was the first Israeli ambassador in Romania. He spent his childhood in Falticeni, from where he left, in 1912, for the Holy Country. Here he studied at “Bezalel” Academy of Arts in Jerusalem. In 1915, he returns in the Zionist movement from Falticeni. In 1922, he settles in Israel. “He has done his mission of friendship between Romania and Israel with integrity, loyalty and devotion” (Moses Rosen). Falticeni was the place where Moses Rosen met “Reuven Rubin, the young man gifted with a visionary eye, an eye of a dreamer. He used the brush with a godly grace, and he was painting – from the ancient «stetl», the Moldavian town – the Jews dancing with Torah, and the Jew reading the Book”. The thematic of his paintings was the Jewish neighborhood, the portrait. He received the National Prize of the State of Israel.

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    ELIOT SOREL



    He was a psychiatrist (U.S.A.). He was born in 1939, in Falticeni. He studied in Paris, London, and New York. He took his doctor’s degree in psychology. He is professor at the Georgetown University and author of numerous specialized works: “Psihiatria sociala”, “Consecinte ale torturii, violentei si traumei asupra sanatatii mentale” etc.

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    ISRAEL IOSEF BENIAMIN the second



    He was born in 1818, in Falticeni. Explorer experienced in Bible and Talmud. He is a representative of those travelling Jews, “attracted by the desire of finding the descendants of the ten tribes”. In 1859, he leaves for America, where he published “Trei ani in America (Drei Jahre in Amerika – 1863)”. The volume “Cinci ani in Orient” comprises news about the birth of Hassidism in Romania. We also mention his travelling impression “Opt ani in Asia si Africa”. He also visited the Holy Land.

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    NORMAN MANEA



    The well – known writer Norman Manea was born in Suceava, in 1936. Between 1945-1946, “repatriated” from Trandsniester, he lived in Falticeni: “I was living temporary” at the Riemer family. He wrote about this little town in his novel “Octombrie, ora opt”. After studying at the Institute of Constructions, he professed as an engineer in Suceava (1959 – 1960). In 1965, he settled in Bucharest, and in 1985, after a passing-by through Europe, he settles himself in New York.

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    PETER LOZNEANU



    The lawyer Peter Lozneanu was born in 1911. “He spent his first years of life” in Falticeni. In 1944, he settled in Dorohoi, and between 1972-1987, he was the president of the local Jewish Community. In 1988, together with his son, engineer Stelian Lozneanu, he made Alia. He died in Petah Tikwa, in 1993.

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    ELENA-ESTHER TACCIU



    “As for our (Hebrew) language, it should be first of all the language of literature, expressive, not flat, working with the clear-obscure of the suggestion, and not with the plain journalistic recording, with the art of the word… and not with a dilettantish improvising” (Elena Esther Tacciu).

    She was born in 1933, in Falticeni. She graduated the Bucharest Faculty of Philology. Doctor in philology- Romanian and comparative literature. She is the author of seven literary critic volumes. She contributed to “Romania literara”, “Ramuri”, “Revista Cultului Mozaic”. In 1991, she settled in Israel. She is member of the Israeli Writer Association. Present with articles, essays, and literary chronicles in the Israeli press. Recently, she received “Medalia jubiliara «Mihai Eminescu. 150 ani de la nastere»”. She published “Eminescu – Poezia elementelor”, “Romantismul romanesc”, “Mitologia romantica”; also well acclaimed was the lyrics volume “Umbra copacului” (1994) etc.

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    GUSTA MERINEANU



    She worked in the editorial department. She was sub-editor at “Revista Cultului Mozaic”. In 1989, she made Alia. She is part of the committee for the promotion of Romanian-language culture, in Haifa.

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    A few presidents’ names, for a future lexicon of the Romanian Judaism



  • MARTIN BALUS (lawyer Martin Bercovici- he settled in Falticeni in 1929. Called in Bucharest, in 1963, he took part in the directory board of F.C.E.R. He died in 1975.
  • EMIL SCHECHTER – he attended “Nicu Gane” Falticeni lyceum and Iasi Faculty of Law. He practiced as a lawyer in Falticeni and, for a while, he was the community president. From 1944, he was the president of the Dorohoi community and, this time in Bucharest, he was secretary-general of F.C.E.R. Involved in the community affairs, he identified with their community problems; he made contact with the poor, solving their problems. Moses Rosen knew him in Falticeni, the town of his childhood and adolescence, when studying at the Israelite-Romanian primary school.
  • Lawyer HAIM GRUNBERG – “a good Jew, a special lawyer and magistrate”, MARMOR.
  • In present days, President TANIA GRUNWALD is working hard, preserving the Judaic values.

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    FACTS OF LIFE, FACTS OF HISTORY



  • The Principalities Union was celebrated in the main temples and synagogues, where solemn Te Deums have been celebrated; in the Jewish communities and societies have been organized festivities. In Falticeni, after the official solemnity, the Jewish reservists’ society held a defilation, leaded by Dr. Weisselberg and the reservist Refull Aurelovici. At the Great Synagogue in Falticeni, Mr. Iechil Saraga, local adviser, took the floor, showing the love with which the Jews take part in these celebrations when they are set free. (“Egalitatea”, Feb. 1920)
  • A Torah from Falticeni, brought to Israel. The Romanian Jewish Community Federation gave Rabbi Zvi Leibovici, who guides the Kfar Avraham synagogue, near Petah Tikva, a Torah roll that belonged to a Falticeni synagogue.

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    Zionist organizations that made history and the incredible ALIA toward Israel, on foot, in 1900



  • “B’nei Zion” Association (1898) • “Wolfsohn” Association (1908) • “Ticvas Israel” • “Mizrahi” • “Dr. Max Geyer” Zionist branch. The circle was established at the initiative of Dr. Max Geyer and S. Meyer. The painter Reuven Rubin took part at those meetings. • “Poalei Zion” Zionist movement founded by Carol Segal, born in Falticeni, in 1917. He made Alia in 1960. • “Hasomer Hatair” • “Hanoar Hatzioni” • In 1900, a very important year, some 100 Jews immigrated; 4 or 5 groups on foot. Among them there was Efraim Fisel Aronzon, “one of the founding members of the Zichron Yaacov colony”. •Carol Segal was one of the founding members of the Falticeni “Poalei Zion” Zionist movement.

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    Zionist printing houses, newspapers, magazines and a remarkable book lover



  • “A. Goldner” printing house (1876)
  • “M. Saidman” printing house (1879) – named “Junimea”, has had a more intense activity than “A. Goldner” printing house (Manes Leib). Here were published: “Revista populara” (owned by Eugen Teodorini and Artur Gorovei), “Ravasul poporului” (edited by Mihail Sadoveanu and Artur Gorovei) and “Sezatoarea” (1892 – 1915), magazine “for literature and popular tradition”, successively published by “Saidman”, “Goldner”, and “Bendit” printing houses.
  • “Gutemberg” printing house, established by Iosif Bendit in 1906
  • “Cultura” printing house, guided by Copel Schwartz
  • 1881 – “Armonia”, chowewe-Zionist semi-official paper
  • 1882 – “Stindardul”. In this weekly publication, the immigration of young people it is supported. The first copies of “Gazeta de Falticeni”, “Vointa Sucevei”, “Curentul falticenean” were published due to Leon Negru
  • 1897 – “Drepturile”, local political magazine
  • IANCU SIN LEIZER was a remarkable bookbinder, with a wide Judaic and laic culture and, in the same time, a typographer who built “a wooden printing press… the first machine in the new Saidman printing house” (Leib Manes).

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    Passover evenings



    “…The preparations (for Passover) begun early in the winter. We used to buy gooses from Nuham Lozneanu and, because they were thin, a woman named Bobte came to our house to fatten them in order to have blob for frying Iotkes. The unleavened bread was baked in Saie Michelson’s bakery. The bread was brought to our house, in a white sheet, by Haim Turcu and Avrumola Siker (…) Then, the evening of Seder came (…), and lasted almost by midnight (…). We counted 12 ticks of the Cathedral’s clock, and after that a deep silence came. It is Passover”.

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    What we should never forget



    “And the Jews from Falticeni responded to the country call. They joined the army and many of them died on the battlefield. We remember how in those years of war, the Jews from Falticeni offered the local authorities their houses, for the mobilized soldiers to be quartered here, Romanians and Russians, on the Moldavian front. In the town synagogues people were praying, and the Rabbis and the leaders of the Jewish community were holding sermons, for the triumph of Romania”.

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    Beyond literature



  • The action in the “HAIA SANIS” story takes place in Falticeni, where Sadoveanu attended lyceum. He would describe this Jewish environment thus: “A narrow street, on the school lane, and on that crooked narrow street, a poor people is growing and growing bigger, stirring under the sun, with bend endures his troubles, imperturbable speaks his jargon, and worships his God”. Saturdays “this kind of life comes to a halt. The candles are being lit, the family head, seated at a clean table, starts his prayer. After a week of troubles and bad food, if any, God commands His people to eat meat and fish”.
  • Fragments from the “Manasse” movie- filmed in 1925, presented in 1989 in Beit Hatefutot – have been taken in Falticeni, where the leading character of Ronetti-Roman’s play, Manasse Cohen, lived.

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