Jewish Mementos in Vas Comitatus
Szombathely Part 2
In 1880 they also founded the Chevra
Kadisha and erected a new cemetery next to the old one, separated from it by a
wall. Lipót Rokkenstein’s appointment was not renewed in 1870, he moved away
from Szombathely. The next year Dr. József Stier was elected rabbi, he was
Hungarian born but did not speak Hungarian. He held his speeches in German and
in school he could fulfill the expectations of the Magyar community.
The vestibule has a threefold camera. The area of the synagogue room is 16,15 - 19 m, surrounded on three sides by the women’s gallery which stands on cast-iron columns. The building was transformed to a concert hall in 1975, the earlier elements and structuring pieces all torn down. Apart from the entrance the facade has been preserved.
During the 20 years Dr. József Stier was active the Jewish community experienced strong development, even though its rabbi dithered between his own religious convictions and the renewals in the community. In 1891 he gave up his position and became a rabbi in Berlin. Zsigmond Richter, judge from Kőszeg, provisionally took on the rabbi duties in Szombathely until Dr. Béla Bernstein was assigned the position in 1892 after several candidates had held their trial speeches. Béla Bernstein as a representative of the emancipated Hungarian Jews announced that a good Jew was also a good patriot and he paid great attention to the upbringing of the youth. During his years in Szombathely he organized the religious education at the middle school. And he saved the Jewish elementary school which had already been condemned to give up several times.
He found classes in Hebrew and the Talmud Torah classes to be important. At his appointment speeches were held alternating in German and Hungarian, from 1905 on Hungarian became the language for speeches. He was also open for changes, with 1892 a choir received a permanent position at the synagogue. His Bible translations and historical studies were not only acclaimed by the contemporary Jewish scientific community but by secular sciences as well. His historical work, focusing on the history of certain places, is greatly valued as a source. In 1909 he left Sombathely after 17 years to become rabbi of the Nyíregyház status quo community where he worked until his martyrdom.
In 1892 the community hall for the
congressional community on Rákóczi Ferenc Street next to the synagogue was
inaugurated. It also became the headquarters of the VII. congressional district.
The building was bombed during the war, then torn down; a music school now
stands at its place. Only after the inauguration of the community hall a new
school could be built. In 1891 the city granted 1000 Forint for the school. The
head of the school board, Dr. Sámuel Schwarz, started collecting funds for the
by Scholem Alejchem & Alexandra Vogt