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The Religious Leaders of Komjat


Velikiye Komyaty, a very small shtetl, did not have a Rabbi.  Instead, the Shochet, who must be a pious man, was the judge or leader of the Jewish community.   Besides being knowledgeable of Jewish law, he was also specially trained and licensed to be the ritual slaughter of animals, following the laws of shechita as it relates to kashrut. 

In small and remote communities, like Velikiye Komyaty, the rabbi and the shochet were often the same person. The position of shochet, as a G-d-fearing person of integrity, is a very respected one in the Jewish community. 

Rabbi Shmaya ben Eliezer Klein, who died in 1900, was a great personality in Komjat.

Nachman Rapaport was the shochet in the late 1800ís and early 1900ís. He was a very kind, gentle and respected person. It is believed that he died between 1910 and 1916.

Rav Shimon Rottenstein had an important religious position in Komjat prior to his death in 1918.

Rabbi Avraham Chaim Halevi Weisz, son of Moshe Weiss of Ilnitza, followed him as Dyan and Shochet. Avraham Chaim was the teacher for the Satmar Rebbi Teitlebaum.

His son Refoel Weisz filled the position when Avraham retired in 1938.

Mor Deutsch was the Dyan of the synagogue, prior to the Holocaust.


The Synagogue in Velikiye Komyaty- A Wooden Synagogue



The synagogue in Big Komyat is one of two examples of a wooden synagogue existing in the world today.  In the late 1990ís a team of historians and architects from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem discovered that this synagogue is a wooden synagogue. They have written a paper with photos and drawings.  The Wooden Synagogue at Velikiye Komyaty



The synagogue is located in a small courtyard in which several families lived, including the rabbi/shochet.  There are two entrances to the synagogue, one in the front for the men and another, on the side, for the women.  The women sat in the balcony, accessible by a staircase, which was just above the vestibule.  Opposite the entrance there is a round metal window with a Star of David. Small pieces of stained glass still remain in parts of that structure.  Below the stained glass window, is a very simple ark consisting of a wooden cabinet with 2 doors and one drawer. The ceilings of the synagogue were very low. The interior was white washed. The ark was very simple. People owned their own pews which were made of wood. The synagogue was not heated. In the winter the smaller building, the Beis Medrash, which was next to the synagogue, was heated and was used for prayer and study.  

Photographs of the Synagogue and Beis Medrash taken during my trip to the Ukraine in 1998.


                                                                                                                               Photo credit- Roberta Solit 

The white building on the left is the Beis Medrash.

The beige building behind it is the synagogue.

The foundation of the Shochetís home is visible in the foreground.



                                                                               Photo credit- Roberta Solit

  Photo credit- Roberta Solit 

The Beis Medrash in Velikiye Komyaty, where the

children studied Hebrew.

Part of the Synagogue can be seen on the right.

Front of wooden synagogue in Velikiye Komyaty

with window in womenís section visible above doors.


Photo credit- Roberta Solit



Photo credit- Roberta Solit

Front doors of synagogue in Velikiye Komyaty with

Magen Davidís on each  door.


The side view of the synagogue with womenís entrance.



2008 - Sad update on the synagogue-

In 2008, Charles Burns visited Veikiye Komyaty and photographed the courtyard that housed the synagogue and cheder

The Beis Medrash was no longer there.  Two of his photos are shown here. He also photographed a few stones in the cemetery.  His description and photos can be viewed at  http://galiciantraces.com/velki-komiaty/ 


Photo credit- Charlie Burns

Photo credit- Charlie Burns

Side view of synagogue, with garden

where the Beis Medrash stood, 2008.

Interior of synagogue, 2008.


Additional photos of the Synagogue, taken by Eti Elboim, daughter of  Sarah Herskovitz Leibovitz , a survivor from Komjat, during their visit to Komjat with their family in 2012.


                                                   Photo credit- Eti Elboim



Photo credit- Eti Elboim

           Exterior of Synagogue, 2012, note Beis Medrash is no longer there.

Rear of Synagogue with Magen David visible.


Photo credit- Eti Elboim


Magen David with evidence of the existance of stained glass.


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