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Jewish Towns and Villages
(Yidishe Shtet, Shtetlekh un Dorfishe Yishuvim in Lite)
by Berl Kagan

(pages 549-551)


District of Kovno. Quite an old place. Already mentioned in documents of 1381. In 1760 it belonged to Count Broinoff and in 1775 to Baron Mat Ziniev.

Between 1842 and 1880 there were in Rumshishok 24 subscribers of rabbinical books.

In a list of volunteers of 1872 for the sake of people suffering from hunger in big parts of Lithuania, there were many from Rumshishok. The fund raisers were: Michal Shraga Kadishon, Tuvia Segal.

In two lists of contributors of 1899 to help build Eretz Israel, there were Jews from Rumshishok. The deputies in one list were Zemach Feldstein, Nachum-Eliyah Yog. In a second list – Rabbi Eliyahu Levin.

Before the First World War, about 450 Jews lived in Rumshishok, in 1923 – 288 and before the ruin – about 200. Jews occupied themselves with commerce, stores and labor.

The Lithuanian expulsion occurred in Rumshishok in May 1915. Police had warned the farmers not to hire out carts to the Jews. Nevertheless, part of the Jews succeeded to obtain carts for the old and small children and some garmets. When the head of police saw this, he shouted at the peasants: “Why were they helping the Jewish traitors.” The peasants dispersed and the Jews had to drag themselves by foot to another place, with their cargo and old people. Before the expulsion, Cossacs organized a pogrom against the Jews.


Rabbi Meir Duber, son of Rabbi Moshe Eliezer Pagir, from 1866 until 1891, later as second rabbi in Keidan. He emigrated to America where he died in 1906. He published Yad Meir (Meir’s monument), Likutei Yaacov (Yaacov’s gatherings), Piskei halachot (Decisions of laws).


Rabbi Eliyahu, son of Rabbi Shmuel Hacohen Levin. He lived in 1890 and at the beginning of the 20th century.

Rabbi Aharon Bendet Hacohen Schmidt, later Rabbi in Wizshun. Died in 1965 in Tel-Aviv at the age of 106.

Rabbi Israel Goldman

Rabbi Aharon Grozovsky, died in 1937, at the age of 44.

From about the second quarter of the 19th century, lived here the teacher Rabbi Joseph Eliashberg who taught before in Tzaikishok and in his last years emigrated to Eretz Israel. He was the father of Rabbi Mordechai Eliashberg, born in 1817 in Tzaikishok andhead of court in Zhezmer and Boisk (Latvia). He was a know pro-Zionist thinker. His books are considered as basic books of the religious Zionism. The Gaon Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook said that “his views on the future of the nation and its hopes” were influnced by the books of Rabbi Mordechai.


Rabbi Yehuda Leib, son of Rabbi Yitzhak Katz (Rabbi Leibele from Rumshishok), sharp and expert. One of the most important Jews in Vilna.

In 1798, a Jew, who supported the Hasidim, was brought before him and another dignitary from Vilna. (As it is known, the Vilna Gaon had declared a herem, a ban, on the Hasidim). He died in 1906. Shai Fein writes that he was one of the sharpest in the generation of the Gaon of Vilna.

Rabbi Chaim Elchanan Tzadikov (known as Rabbi Chaim from Rumshishok). Born in 1813. He was one of the most known magidim (preachers) in his generation. He was one of those who frequented the house of the Vilna Gaon who said about him that he was worthy of the title of Gaon. Abe Kahan, redactor of the Forwerts, wrote in his memoirs that Rabbi Chaim from Rumshishok was the most interesting figure among the magidim (preachers) of his time. He used to draw the pictures of his allegories with a great displaying force, elevated by humor. In Fruit tree, A’ by S.A. Fridenstein, a story is related, in his name, about the Gaon “Shaagat Arye” (Lion’s Roar”) and the last Rabbi of Vilna, Rabbi Shmuel, author of “More Chayim” (Teaching Life), Vilna 5735, interpretation of Job, with text). Died 1883.


Rabbi Joseph, son of Rabbi Yehuda of Rumshishok, one of the Ashkenazi scholars in Jerusalem. Died there in 1870.

Rabbi Yaacov, son of Rabbi Israel Katz. Born in 1863. In Hirshel’s Yeshivah in Slobodka. From 1906, Rabbi in Klikol. During the First World War, Rabbi in Homel and later in Zhager. From 1920 until his death in 1923 – in Wildingen (Germany).

Shimon Gens, born in 1907. Studied philosophy at the university of Kovno. From 1935 in Eretz-Israel. Wrote in Galim (Waves),Netivot (Paths) – Kovno, Ktuvim (Written), Turim (Columns), Ha’aretz, Al Hamishmar, Davar – Tel-Aviv. Published articles on literature and theater in the Kovno newspapers: Iddishe Shtime, Dos Wort, Folksblat. Redacted the journals Ptach and Paam – Kovno. Author of “Hitler reads the Bible” (Tel-Aviv 1940). Translated into Hebrew Voropianov Polius’ Tayasei Hakotev (The pole’s pilots) (Tel-Aviv 1940)


Hamagid 1872: 11;Hameilitz, 1899: 62, 213;S.J. Yatzkan,Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilno, Warsaw, 5670, page 120; Abe Kahan, Pages from my life, New-York 1926, page 164; Israel Klausner, story of the old cemetery of Vilna, 5695; “Rabbi Mordechai Eliashberg”, Jerusalem, 5696, pages 7, 11, etc.

Israel Klausner, Vilna during the period of the Gaon, Jerusalem, 5702, page 28; Memorial book of Keidan, Tel-Aviv, 1977, page 189; the story of Keidan, page 11; A.L. Frumkin, The annals of Jerusalem’s wises, C, Jerusalem, 246; Faithful City, 204; the story of the Jewish Yeshivah in Kurland, page 54; the city of Vilna, 125; lexicon, 2; Book of the subscribers, 8153; Ohaley Shem (God’s tents), 113; Lita, 2, page 99; Yahadut Lita, 3.

J. Totoraitis, Suduvijos Suvalkijos Istorija, pages 393; Black Book.


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