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Va'ad Hakehila ~ Community Council

At the end of World War I, the Jews of Mazheik began trickling back to their shtetl from exile. Soon thereafter elections were conducted to select members of the governing council of the Jewish community as was mandated in the Law on Jewish Autonomy enacted by the government of Lithuania. Seven members were elected.

 The Council, or Va'ad, as it was called in Hebrew, was active between November, 1920 and December, 1924 and was responsible for the cultural, educational, religious, medical and other social affairs of the local Jewish community.

[NOTE: A considerable part of the Archive of the Jewish community in the first few years of the 1920's was saved and is kept at the YIVO Archives in New York. The stamp below was used by the Va'ad in its official documents. 

Stamp of Vaad Ha’Kehila of Mazeikiai

Below are a number of documents from the YIVO Archives in New York, as published in “The Litvak who Survived, Rescued, Went to Eretz-Israel”, by Yehoshua Trigor, Pozner and Sons Ltd., Jerusalem, 2004, pages 7-14 (permission granted by author).

The first two documents are from the first meeting of the Council, Protocol No. 1, 4th November, 1920. In a joint meeting with the Organizing Electoral Committee, the Council informed the Lithuanian Ministry of Jewish Affairs of proceedings and outcome.


Translated from the above: Ihe first meeting of the Council on the 4th November, 1920, with participation of the Organizing Committee, comprised Moshe Lev Levitt, Dov Levitt, Hirsch Teiger and others.

Translated from the above: In the meeting it was decided to elect Mandel Landman to the Electoral Committee, Chayim Yitzchak Averech, and as candidates: David Leibovitz, Yaakov Porat (Peires) and Yisrael Marin. Among those who signed the protocol are the Council's Chairman, Rabbi Mamyoffe, Yoseph Rabinovitz and Betsalel Lampe.

Translated from the above: Members of the Council that was elected in the elections of 12th July, 1921 were Rabbi Mamyoffe, Mr. Y. Porat (Peires), Mr. B. Reier, Mr. Dov Klaff, Mr. Y. Averech, the son of Rabbi Damteh (...) and Mr. Avraham Getz from the town's honoured (inhabitants). The following were chosen as Chairman: Mr. Moshe Tov, Secretary : Mr. Y. Rubinstein, treasurer: Mr. Avraham Getz (see below page 11).

From the documents (that have survived) we see that Hebrew was used, despite the fact that we can assume (we know: translator) that Yiddish was spoken in the shtetlach.  In the (Council's) first meeting, sub-Committees were chosen for Culture and Social Affairs. Rabbi Mamyoffee was chosen to head both. Binyamin Reier and Yitzchok Averech were elected to the sub-Committee for Culture. Mr. Dov Klaff and Mr. M. Roval were elected to the sub-Committee for Social Affairs. It was then decided to find a suitable office and to invite Mr. Yitzchok Rubinstein to fill the position of secretary, with salary.  



Translations to follow ... ...



The above document is the official notification from The Ministry of Jewish Affairs, Kovne (Lithuanian: Kaunas), Department of Communities' Affairs, 30th June, 1921. It certifies the election of the new Community Council of Mazheik and is signed by the Director of the Department and its Secretary. It is hoped the Council will carry out it local and general duties with fresh vigour. The Department's Inspector, Mr. Helfer, had filed a detailed report of his findings. The Department wishes to be periodically informed about the progress of Council's work.     

(page 14)






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Compiled by Raymond Ravinsky
Updated: March, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Raymond Ravinsky

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