FALTICENI THROUGH AND ABOVE TIME
We can’t and we could never write everything about Falticeniâ€¦ Our readers are asked to make complete our accountsâ€¦ While waiting to that integral volume dedicated to the traditional Jewish stetl, we can only hope that its launch will not take too longâ€¦ (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 Jewsâ€¦”
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 (â€¦) 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.
GAON AVRAHAM (Arie) LEIB ROSENâ€¦
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 fatherâ€¦ 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-beitâ€¦ ” For a long period of time, he preached his sermons in the “Habad” synagogue “built on the principles ofâ€¦ 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.
â€¦ and his son – Chief Rabbi of the Romanian Jews, for 46 years.
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 Â«balance sheetÂ»”, said Lord Jacobovitz.
140 years of education
The first Jewish schools and those “wonderful people” – their elite teachers
Eminent Rabbis effigies in just a few wordsâ€¦
Literary circles, associations, cultural societies and a library that became famous
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 Â«Comme ci, comme caÂ», Â«Asa e lumeaÂ», Â«Cum e mai rauÂ». 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 (â€¦). During the breaks, Mrs. Haras, Brotman, Mina Schechter, Adela Lustgarten, Tony Lupu served tarts and drinks at the refreshment bar”.
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 notificationsâ€¦ 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 Â«Pe bolta cand rasare lunaÂ», Â«NusaÂ», Â«ZarazaÂ», Â«ValenciaÂ»”.
Fragments from the volume “Pagini din trecutul evreilor: Falticeni”.
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 streetsâ€¦”
â€¢ “Sinagoga Mare”, built in 1795 (now functional). Being destroyed in a fire, it was rebuilt in 1854 â€¢ “Leipziger” (1812) â€¢ “Habad” (1852), one of the old synagogues â€¢ Tailors’ (1862) and shoemakers’ (1872) synagogues â€¢ “Hevra Beit Semi” â€¢ “Strul Hakatan” (1888) â€¢ “Meir Ioil Last” (1890) â€¢ “Mahala” (1862) â€¢ “Klaus” (1870) â€¢ “Iuhr” (the year of its construction is unknown)
The golden hands of some long ago craftsmen
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 Â«Revista Cultului MozaicÂ»”. 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.
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 lyceumâ€¦” 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: “â€¦ 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 armsâ€¦ the undaunted warrior for the greatest of all causes – the spirit”.
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 houseâ€¦ 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”.
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”.
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 Â«Eugen RelgisÂ»” 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.
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.
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.
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 Â«stetlÂ», 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 wordâ€¦ 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 Â«Mihai Eminescu. 150 ani de la nastereÂ»”. She published “Eminescu – Poezia elementelor”, “Romantismul romanesc”, “Mitologia romantica”; also well acclaimed was the lyrics volume “Umbra copacului” (1994) etc.
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.
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
“â€¦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 (â€¦) Then, the evening of Seder came (â€¦), and lasted almost by midnight (â€¦). We counted 12 ticks of the Cathedral’s clock, and after that a deep silence came. It is Passover”.
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”.