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TEPLITZ:

Town in northern Bohemia, about 46 miles northwest of Prague. The earliest documentary evidence of the presence of Jews there is dated 1414; but the earliest Jewish source referring to them belongs to the end of the sixteenth century. In 1480 the Jewish community obtained from the town a burial-ground and built a synagogue. In an agreement dated Aug. 1, 1583, the Jews bound themselves to pay the town a certain sum yearly, in return for which they were permitted the unrestricted use of the baths. The Thirty Years' war caused a decrease in the number of Jews in Teplitz; in 1621 there were only 24 Jewish families there, occupying 11 houses; but in spite of this small number the old synagogue was torn down and rebuilt on a larger scale.

With the counter-reformation in Bohemia evil times came to the community in Teplitz. Those Jews who had no fixed business there were expelled (1667); this left only 8 families (34 persons); and though enough returned to bring the number up to 262 before the year expired, in 1668 they were again forced to leave the town. The Jews were by this time restricted to the Judengasse, and as a distinctive badge they were required to wear a large ruff around the neck. About this time, too, the old cemetery was closed and a new one opened. The wearing of the white ruff around the neck was abolished in 1781, in accordance with the decree of toleration issued by Emperor Joseph. Three years later, in accordance with a law relating to the Jews throughout the empire, the Teplitz Jews, whose disputes hitherto had been settled by their rabbi, were placed under the jurisdiction of the civil authorities.

After 1848, when the walls of the ghetto disappeared and the Jews obtained full liberty, the community grew appreciably. The Jews were active not only in commerce, but in manufacture, the introduction and development of which must be largely attributed to them, for they were among the founders and first builders of factories in Teplitz. Hosiery and glassware are the chief manufacturing products. In 1862 the second cemetery was closed and a new one opened. In 1883, about 400 years after the building of the first place of worship, a new basilican synagogue was erected at a cost of 150,000 kronen.

Whether the Jews of Teplitz had a rabbi previous to 1548 is doubtful, as the following clause is found among the instructions given them in that year by the lord of the manor Radislau: "The Jews of Teplitz must in the future conform to the order issued to earlier Jews, forbidding them to submit their difficulties to the rabbi in Prague, and requiring them to lay them before the elder of the Jewry and the local authorities in Teplitz." No mention is here made of a rabbi in the latter place. Probably the first rabbi was Nathan, son of Rabbi Joseph, who died in 1599, and whose tombstone was discovered in the old cemetery. Other rabbis known to have officiated in Teplitz were: Jacob, son of Monasch (d. 1717); Simḥah Kohen Poppers (d. 1744); Abraham Kohen Poppers (d. 1775); Isaac Kalisch (d. 1783); Naphtali Herz Emden (d. 1796); Joseph b. Abraham (d. 1800); Solomon Strasser (d. 1820); Isaiah Levi Eidlitz (d. 1831); Zacharias Frankel (called to Dresden in 1836); David Pick (district rabbi; d. 1878); Adolf Rosenzweig (to 1887, when he was called to Berlin); Adolf Kurrein (the present [1905] incumbent).

The communal institutions of Teplitz include a ḥebra ḳaddisha, a biḳḳur ḥolim, an almshouse (founded 1834), a brides' dowry society (founded 1866), a women's society (Nashim Ẓidḳoniyyot), a society for the aid of sick and necessitous women, a Tempelverein (founded 1882 for the building and decoration of the synagogue), Samel's orphan foundation, Philipp Spitz's Chanukkastiftung for clothing poor school-children at Ḥanukkah, Wilhelm Rindskopf's institute for the blind, a society for the support of poor wayfarers passing through Teplitz, and a hospital for residents or visitors in need of treatment at the springs (founded in 1836 by Naphtali Katz).

The following table shows the growth of the Jewish population of Teplitz:

Year.Number of Jewish Inhabitants.
141420
159078
162196
1640211
1650231
1660237
1667262
1674154
1702......(344 Christians)187
1724321
1786.........(47 houses)452
1791403
1792425
1823.........(50 houses)496
1835554
18701,290
18801,720
18901,900
19003,000

The total resident population of Teplitz is 30,000.

Bibliography:
  • Hallwich, Gesch. von Teplitz, Leipsic, 1886;
  • Rosenzweig, Skizze zur Gesch. der Juden in Teplitz, in Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1887, pp. 13 et seq.
S. A. Ku.
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