Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Synagogue, school, society.

Finally, after the nonsense of residency for Jews in Eindhoven had toned down (*), the small community started thinking in terms of the typical markers of a Jewish presence: Synagogue, Mikvah, and Cheder.

(*) As detailed in part one: , and part two:

In 1781 Joseph Isaacq and Philip Lazar purchased a building called 'De Wind' (the wind) on the Kerk Straat (Church Street), for the 294 florins. Remember, the gaurantee of good behaviour that had been demanded of Jews wishing to settle in Endhoven had been 300 florins - from this one can guess how small the building was, and conversely how extortionate the guarantee payment.
[No one ever said we Dutch weren't good at finding ways to profit - and, in a like manner, the prosperity of the Golden Age was founded on colonialist robbery, the slave trade, and selling supplies to the Spanish at the same time as Holland was at war with Spain. Our ethics often take a backseat to our opportunism.]

There was one small problem with the purchase of the house, however. The Jewish community was not a recognized entity, and so could not collectively hold property. Wherefore the building was registered to the ownership of Mr. Isaacq and Mr. Lazar personally. Upon changes in the community, the house was repeatedly sold to the subsequent secretaries of the community, being held next by Salomon Levie and Michiel Schuur, who in their turn rolled it over to another set of penningmeesters.

In 1786 the house was remodelled, to better serve its intended purpose. By this time the kehal had hired a gentleman to serve as teacher, voorlezer (baal kria), and slachter (shochet), for which multi-tasking they paid a salary of 150 florins.
Not a munificent sum, but the candidate would also be entitled to what was called 'ordinaire profijten' (ordinary profits; the customary sums and gifts of his office). The gentleman they had hired in 1784 was Heijman Mosis (the 'Jewish Master' of Woensel, see Part One). Unfortunately the schepenen (city councillors) of Eindhoven had, in their wisdom and mercy, demanded that he agree to leave town permanently in the spring of 1786 - no reason for this decision has been recorded. To this end, and to avoid further trouble with the local bureaucracy, the kerkmeester ('church-master'; the acting chair of the community) Mr. Moses Salomon had promised that he would ensure the 'delogementing' and departure of Mr. Mosis. This was done with such punctiliousness that Mr. Mosis could not collect the last installment of the monies due him from his salary and from the ordinary profits. Consequently, when Mr. Mosis had resettled in Veenendaal (outside of North Brabant province entirely), he requested that the city administration of Eindhoven permit him to legally proceed against the Jewish community of Eindhoven without being charged the filing fees, pointing out that the entire adventure had left him in some difficulty.

His claims were directed in general at the entire community, and in particular towards Philip Lazar, Abraham Joseph, Mozes Salomon Levie, Joseph Isaacq, and Wolf Polak. The city administration inquired of these gentleman about the case, and were informed that, on the contrary, Mr. Heijman Mosis still owed the community - 39 shellingen (shillings) in rent! He should pay up! The city administration decided to butt out at this point (and how very unlike the Dutch that decision was!). The case was never taken to court.

In 1808 (during the Napoleonic years, when the Netherlands had been made a monarchy under Louis Napoleon), the government in the Hague requested information regarding the size and commonly held property of all religious communities in the country. The Land-drost of Brabant (more or less a chief administrative officer) forwarded the query to the city governments, and they in turn queried the local parishes. Aaron David and Lazarus Israel provided data showing that there were one hundred and seven members of the Jewish community in Eindhoven, making it by far the largest kehilla in the province.

The community had started to outgrow its facilities, so, upon receiving a grant from 'der melech' (Louis Napoleon) in 1809, the old shul was torn down and a the building of a new one was begun, which was finished in 1810.


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