Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN
The Jewish inhabitants probably settled at Galaţi from the medieval period, and the first prayer houses were organised in private houses. A new cemetery was established in 1774 and in 1780 the community inaugurated the Great Synagogue, which was also the community’s headquarters, in the courtyard of which there was also a mikwe with a steam bath. In 1805 the Jewish migrants set up the Hewra Kadisha, an organisation which took over the responsibility of burying Jews according to the Mosaic rite. In 1812 the community was clearly constituted, as almost 20 Jewish inhabitants decided to lease the Gabela. At the same time there was organised an epitropy to deal with the three aspects that secured the survival of the community: religion, school and health service.
The development of the community, in direct relation with the growth of the port–city, led to the establishment of new temples. In 1826 there was settled the guild of tailors, which founded in the synagogue courtyard its own prayer house, called Snaiderise Sil. Another synagogue, Meuras Hamachpeila, was built in 1836.
In 1834 the community founded a health house (“Hekdeş”). In order to turn it into a hospital, the community required the support of Prince Mihail Sturdza, who accepted in 1846 to impose a tax of 0.1 percent on commercial transactions of Jewish merchants, money invested in supporting the Jewish hospital of Galaţi. At that moment the epitropes of the community were Marcu Thal, Iosef Flachs, Iosef Barasch, Nachman Leibu Caufman.
The community grew tremendously during the 19th century. If in 1820 there were 169 families of Jewish sudits in Covurlui County, in 1839 their number increased to 231 families and in 1845 to 30 families. Despite the anti–Semitic feelings of the local Christian population (1846 and 1859), the community continued to grow and new temples were synagogues during the 19th century: Habad (1846), Blinzer (1847), Blecher (1847), Oel (1848), Dolingher (1854), Ironsmiths (1856), Millers (1858), Cabdrivers (1860), etc..
A new leadership of the community was elected in 1859: Berman Horowitz as president, together with Rafael Flachs, Moise Diman and Pascal Schein. In the same year the community inaugurated the first primary school for Israelite children, followed in 1876 by another primary school of boys, for which they erected a new building in 1896. From an educational point of view, an important moment in the history of the community was the establishment of a commercial school. In 1899 they opened a primary school for girls and in 1901 a girls’ household popular school (“Lumina”), which also taught tailoring courses.
In 1866 the Jewish community built a philanthropic association of ladies for helping Israelite widows and orphans in Galaţi, and in the next period new synagogues were opened: Caritas (in 1871) and Chesed sel Emes (1878). In 1872 there was established a new community leadership (Iosef Abeles, Marcu Peneles, Osias Margulius, I. Leibovici), as well as other charitable societies: “Stern verein” (1878), “Erwerbsverein” (1879), “Turnverein” (1880).
An important moment in the history of the community was the building of the Coral Temple inaugurated in 1885, which became the central place of the local Jewish believers.
The local Jewish community also played an important political role. From 1881 until the end of the World War One, Galaţi was the centre of the Zionist movement, under the coordination of Samuel Pineles, the organiser of the first Zionist congress in 1881 at Focşani. Pineles was elected secretary of the Central committee of the Zionist movement in Romania and then president of Hovevei Zion.
Since 1893 the Jewish community was led by J. B. Brociner, E. Dinerman and Josef Abeles, and in 1896 it was decided to organise a central committee of communal leadership, called the “Gathering of the representatives of the Jewish community in Galaţi”. The regulation stated that for securing the existence of the community’s epitropy and of its religious, charity and educational institutions a leadership made up of delegates from different synagogues and Jewish philanthropic societies in Galaţi was instituted. In the plenary meeting, summoned on 28 May 1896, it was decided that every Jewish society or synagogue with at least 50 members had the right to appoint a representative in the community; among them there were elected a number of epitropes, from the total of 15 epitropes of the community. According to these rules the leaderships of the community was elected as such: president E. Dinerman, M. H. Schein as vice-president and Moritz Schwartz and M. Allerhand as secretaries. The chief rabbi of the community was a marked personality, Jacob Margulies.
 Osy Lazăr, Solomon Weinberg, “Din istoria comunităţii evreilor din Galaţi”, Studia et Acta Historiae Iudeorum Romaniae, 6 (2001) 12–13; for all information in this template, also see Galatz, in the Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities in Romania, at the address http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_romania/rom1_00090.html and the site of the Jewish Community of Galaţi, https://sites.google.com/site/cegalati/.
 Monografia comunităţii israelite din Galaţi. Din cele mai vechi timpuri până în prezent. Lucrare prezentată la expoziţia jubiliară, anul jubiliar 1906 (Galaţi: Lito-Tipografia Moldova, 1906), 3–6.
 Lazăr, Weinberg, Din istoria, 13–14.
 Ibid., 17.
 Monografia, 8; Lazăr, Weinberg, Din istoria, 17.
 On the Zionist Congresses of 1898 and 1905, cf. Lya Benjamin, “Sionism şi identitate la evreii din România la sfârşitul secolului al XIX-lea şi începutul secolului XX”, in Minorităţile etnice în România în secolul al XIX-lea, edited by Venera Achim and Viorel Achim (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române, 2010), 287–289.
 Lazăr, Weinberg, Din istoria, 23–24.
 Teodor Codreanu, Albumul Galaţilor (Galaţi, Tipografia Bucovina, 1935–1936), 40.
Galatz, in the Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities in Romania, at the address http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_romania/rom1_00090.html
Website of the Jewish community of Galaţi
Benjamin, Lya, “Sionism şi identitate la evreii din România la sfârşitul secolului al XIX-lea şi începutul secolului XX” [Zionism and Identity at the Jews from Romania at the End of the 19th Century and in Early 20th Century], in Minorităţile etnice în România în secolul al XIX-lea [The Ethnic Minorities from Romania in the 19th Century], edited by Venera Achim and Viorel Achim (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Române, 2010), 279–296.
Lazăr, Osy, Weinberg, Solomon, “Din istoria comunităţii evreilor din Galaţi” [From the History of the Jewish Community of Galaţi], Studia et Acta Historiae Iudeorum Romaniae, 6 (2001) 11–27.
Monografia comunităţii israelite din Galaţi. Din cele mai vechi timpuri până în prezent. Lucrare prezentată la expoziţia jubiliară, anul jubiliar 1906 [The Monograph of the Jewish Community of Galaţi. From the Earliest to the Present Times] (Galaţi: Lito-Tipografia Moldova, 1906).
Pacu, Moise N., Cartea Judeţului Covurlui. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice [The Book of Covurlui County. Geographical, Historical and Mainly Statistical Notes] (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891).
Păltănea, Paul, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918 [The History of Galaţi from Its Beginnings to 1918], second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008).
Memoriu şi documente istorice despre comunităţile israelite în România [Memorandum and Historical Documents on the Jewish Communities in Romania] (Galaţi: Tipo–Litografia J. Schenk, 1896).