V,1     A Walk through Jewish Rozalimas 

(with references to Map of Rozalimas in 1940)

It happened that Jewish families settled even in a small village like Rozalimas, from 1707 on and very soon they had built a synagogue in the centre of Rozalimas.
 the synagogue

This synagogue was made of wood and painted in different colours (red and yellow). The building was built according to local architecture. At the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century, the windows were made higher. On the outside of the building there was a staircase which led women and children to their compartments at the upper level of the synagogue. Women either sat on wooden benches or didn't sit at all. Men stayed on the groundlevel. Women were separated from men by the upper level and by a wooden carved fence. Such 'seperation' is made, because in this way one can pray to God in a very concentrated manner and one isnít distracted by the opposite sex. In the centre of the synagogue one can find the bima, a table with a beautiful cloth, on which one lays the Torah-scrolls from which one reads a certain chapter during the service. The Torah (the five books of Moses) is written and read in the Hebrew language. The Torah-scrolls are kept in the Aron Hakkodesj situated on the east-side of the synagogue. Unfortunately, I donít know, up to this point, neither what the inside of the synagogue looked like in detail, nor if the Torah-scrolls were covered with a silk or velvet cloth and ornamented with silver or gold towers. The exact number of ritual objects one used in the synagogue for all kinds of services are not known by me. All the information which could lead to an answer was destroyed in 1941. One of the escaped Jews might have been able to take something with him/her in order to preserve it. One of the citizens of Rozalimas might have taken it and kept it, not knowing what to do with it.

Two photos of today's (1996) interior of the synagogue

(by courtesy of the Center for Jewish Art)

The rabbi is a scholarly person who has studied the Hebrew language, the Torah, the commentaries on the Torah and all kinds of other subjects concerning Judaism. He is the spiritual leader of his community and a guardian of Jewish traditions. He receives his education at the so-called jesjiwa. At the end of the 18th century a lot of jesjiwaís were established in Lithuania, after the death of the famous scholar the  Gaon of Vilna(1797)whose ideas influenced Judaism all over the world. His real name was Elijahoe Ben Shlomo Zalman.

The names of the rabbis of Rozalimas were: R.Nachum Sahr(Sher) (who served also in Daug, near Alytus), Yehekel Zussman Brudno (who died in 1923) and R.Eliezer Goldberg. The latter was the last rabbi of Rozalimas. Itís a pity, I donít have any more names of rabbis resident in Rozalimas.


 rabbi Yehekel (Ezekutiel) Zussman Brudno
house of the rabbi 

The house of the rabbi and his family was almost opposite the synagogue. I didn't hear from the eye-witnesses if he and his family were in Rozalimas in 1941.

Next to the house of the rabbi was the Jewish school, where the Jewish children (from + 4-12 years old) were taught the Hebrew alphabet, the Hebrew language and parts of the Torah(the five books of Moses).This teaching took place on Sundays and was done by the rabbi and the teacher Fiskis.

the Jewish school
Rozalimas, 1923

pupils at Hebrew school with teacher Mr Beber *)

the Hachshara group from Rozalimas *)

Hachshara= a training period in which you could learn how to become a farmer


*) original photo from Mrs Cohen Savoy, Photos from the South African Jewish Board of Deputies Archive,
    Courtesy of Naomi Musiker, and scanned by Barry Mann and Maurice Skikne.

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Copyright © 2005 Dora Boom

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