Fortified town in Austria-Hungary, the second largest of Croatia; situated on the Drave. It has a population of about 18,000, including 1,600 Jews. Jews did not enjoy the privilege of residence there until 1792. They were, however, permitted a stay of twenty-four hours for the purpose of trading. As traders they appeared as early as 1757, although decried as "pestilent and mangy sheep." In 1830 their number, though small, nevertheless permitted of religious services; and in 1847 they organized a regular congregation, with a membership of forty and a budget of 663 gulden. In 1856 Dr. Samuel Spitzer became the first rabbi and the principal of the congregational school, which had obtained the privilege of incorporation; in 1864 the ḥebra ḳaddisha was established; and in 1867, the membership having increased to one hundred and sixty, a temple was built. The successor of Dr. Spitzer was Dr. Armand Kaminka (1897-99); the present rabbi of Essek is Dr. Simon Ungar of the Budapest Seminary.

D. G. S.
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