JEWISH SNITKOV'S RELIGIOUS LIFE:
SYNAGOGUE AND MEMORY BOOK
The 1904 figure for the number of Podolian synagogues continuing to perform religious functions is 168 (JAFI) and Snitkov's was one of these. The Jews of Snitkov led a very active religious life. There were at least: one synagogue dating to the 18th Century, one cheder, and one Torah scribe, Reb Samuel Tepper. Most families were Chassidic in practice, at least until the beginning of 'modern times' toward the end of the 19th century. The synagogue was a small, multi-level, classic Eastern European wooden synagogue. (See sketch, below.)
The shtetl synagogue served many needs. It was frequently the site of the study hall or beit midrash, the cheder. and in smaller towns (Snitkov?) would also have provided the equivalent of today's community meeting space, even for non-religious issues affecting the whole population, such as civil legal problems, politics, the Haskalah-Chasiddism disputes. Holidays within the synagogue might have included both celebration and feasting. (JAFI).
The photo on which the sketch is based can be seen in Wooden Synagogues (WS, image 245). The authors describe the Snitkowo synagogue as likely from the 18th Century, with twin windows, a western vestibule, probably two women’s sections (south and north), and the main hall having lower structures along two sides.THE SNITKOWO SYNAGOGUE
Sketch Copyright Michelle Frager 2004.
Construction was of wooden beams and horizontal boards, but of horizontal timbers in a south annex; annex roofs are noticeably contoured. In the left wall of the second story, you can just see one of the large main windows, and also masonry work at the ground level corner. The building appears to be set in a surround of earth and scrub grasses.
SNITKOV MEMORY BOOK
"Snitkiv, Mayn Shtetl"
In 1932-33, the immigrant journalist and poet, Y.L. Malamut, published “Snitkiv, Mayn Shtetl: Lider und Retzitatzie”, a verse collection memorializing his home town. Although it was reprinted in Tel Aviv in 1960, it has apparently not been translated into English or other languages, and is not easy to find; occasionally, old copies are offered for sale. However, several educational and cultural collections own their own copies. Among these are:
= The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, MI, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
= Yeshiva University Libraries YULIS in New York City.
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Copyright Michelle Frager July 2004.