Friday, September 01, 2006

The New Jewish Cemetery In Shepetovka

The new Jewish cemetery in Shepetovka in the 1920's
Gate funded by the Shepetovka landsmanshaft in New York

Shoshana (Bershad)'s addition to Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz

Rebbe Pinchas was buried in the 18th century cemetery that existed at the time. After the Russian Revolution, that cemetery was destroyed. A landsmanschaft organization in the U.S. funded the construction of a new cemetery in 1928. The tombstones were transferred to the new cemetery, where they were photographed by ASJ during his visit a few years ago. However, the actual tomb of R’ Pinchas was not moved. As the town of Shepetovka grew, the site of the old cemetery was now near the center of the town and was used for a police station and a house. When Rabbi Gabai began his restoration, he first confirmed that the tomb was not located near the tombstone. His organization purchased the property where the old cemetery had been, and he confirmed that the grave was still there. He then constructed the ohel, as well as a small guest house to accommodate visitors.

Sources (obtained and provided by my translator friend):

In Hachasidus, Yitzchok Alfasi states that “The tombstone of Rabbi Pinchas of Koritz was moved from the old cemetery to the new cemetery but his grave stayed in place, according to one opinion.”

In an article, “My Trip to Russia,” in the Jewish Press, dated October 20, 1989, Rabbi Chaim Uri Lipschitz obm says: "In Shepetovka, at the entrance to the cemetery where Rabbi Pinchas (Shapiro) from Kuritz is interred, Bunim Kleiner and a group of Jews awaited us. Bunim Kleiner has been doing this for 70 years." And further," Rabbi Pinchas Kuritz's grave had been situated in the old cemetery until a police station was built on the site. It was then transferred to the newer cemetery. Opinions vary; some believe that only the tombstone was moved. Others say the whole grave was transferred." The accompanying photograph shows the Chevra Kadisha of Shepetovka assembled in 1928 at the dedication of the new cemetery after the old cemetery was destroyed by the Communists.

In the beginning of the sefer Medrash Pinchas, there is a letter of approbation by Rabbi Tzvi Yecheskel Michelsohn of the Vaad HaRabonim of Warsaw, dated Sept 8, 1929. He writes: "And on his grave [is a] house [a] surrounded by a wall (or wall surrounding), and in the house near the grave stands the matzeveh/tombstone from [on] the large stone is written these words . . .” My translator friend read these lines from Medrash Pinchas to Rabbi Gabai and asked if he found the foundation of the wall which surrounded the house and he replied that he did. He also said that this area is near the police station (the detail learned from Rabbi Lipshitz's article in the Jewish Press).

Thus, the true location of the actual tombstone is at the restoration site where the ohel was constructed, and this was confirmed to us by both Rabbi Gabai (6/12/06) and Rabbi Frankel (7/3/06). When my friend asked Rabbi Frankel why the Imrei Pinchas did not give this information, he replied that the Rabbi Gabai was still trying to purchase the property at the time when the book was published.

The head of the Jewish community stands at the entrance
New Jewish cemetery in Shepetovka, Ukraine - 2001

Immediately inside the main entrance - 2001


At September 3, 2006 at 3:30:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not related to the post above.

For those who are interested in sidurim (and nusach Ariza"l in particular) - just few days ago came out a new beatiful print of Munkatcher sidur - "Tzvi Tiferes". Ask in sforim stores soon.

At September 3, 2006 at 3:32:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, where does that old photo from Shepetovka come from?

At September 3, 2006 at 8:50:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

It was printed in National Geographic and also in the book Roots in Ukraine and Moldova by Miriam Weiner.

At September 4, 2006 at 5:42:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A footnote/correction about the cemeteries in Shepetovka: although the new cemetery was opened in the late 1920s, Rabbi Frankel's web site notes that the old cemetery in the center of town was razed after World War II and the memorial to R' Pinchas (the three ornately decorated stones photographed by ASJ in 2001) was constructed in that era (post-WWII).

At September 4, 2006 at 6:26:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the address of Rabbi Frankel's web site?

At September 4, 2006 at 6:35:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's (ASJ provided the link in the post about R' Pinchas).

I just sent you an email with contact information on the two rabbis.

At September 4, 2006 at 8:27:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I figured out - something was strange with that site. It didn't work properly in my Firefox browser, so I opened it with IE and it worked better.

At September 4, 2006 at 8:44:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is even a nigun from Reb Pinchos there:

I was looking for such old nigunim of talmidey Baal Shem Tov for quite a while! I wonder if there are some nigunim from the Degel as well? (ASJ - hint).

At September 4, 2006 at 11:12:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just searched for a book "Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova" (referenced before by ASJ). It costs almost 500$!! Why such an astronomic price?? I never saw genealogical books SO expensive. Even M. Beyder books (very high quality), cost around 80$ for each tome. But 500$?? Russian Yidden also published research books on Ukranian shtetlach, for example "500 shtetlach of Ukraine" (it speaks about history of Bershad there by the way!), but they never dreamed to charge so much for it (I guess noone will buy it for such price if they would).
About the book:

At September 4, 2006 at 11:14:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I meant "100 Shtetlach of Ukraine".

At September 5, 2006 at 6:27:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

A Yid: You are 100% correct. $500 is way too much. I bought my copy when it was first published for the list price of $60. I really have no idea why the price has inflated so much.

On a side note, is "Tzvi Tiferes" available at Heichal Menachem?

At September 5, 2006 at 6:31:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

A Yid: Regarding niggunim from the Degel, I am not aware of any. The book "HaNiggun v'HaRikud B'Chassidus" does not list any attributed to him. Isn't that correct Yitz?

I sure would like to be proved wrong on this one!

At September 5, 2006 at 9:06:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

That's correct ASJ. We don't know of niggunim of his, but that doesn't mean there weren't any. We know that music played an important role throughout Chassidic history, not least of which in the early generations of Chassidus. I'd appreciate if ANYONE has more info on this!

At September 5, 2006 at 12:34:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heychal Menachem gets sforim quite slowly. It is available in Bigelayzen and in Munkatcher shul in Boro Bark. I can find the phone of Bigelayzen for you if you need it.

About nigunim - I was hinting, that since you have a close relation to Rabbi Vogl from Eretz Yisroel (who is a descendant of the Degel as I understood?) who is a Sudilkover Rebe, you may try to get some nigunim from him or his chasidim. Have in mind - the majority of the best old nigunim were never recorded anywhere, and are preserved only orally by different chasidim and tzadikim. If someone wants to get them for his avoydas Hashem - his job is to go around and to collect them. Vogl seems to be a special family. Its branch from Skolye also possess a lot of old authentic nigunim. That part of misphochas Vogl somehow comes from Rebe Reb Boruchl miMezhbuzh as well.

At September 5, 2006 at 12:47:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

A Yid: I have Biegeleisen's phone number, but thank you anyway for your offer to help.

I am actually in touch with Rabbi Aryeh Wohl who is the Sudilkover Rebbe. I will let him know your suggestion, nevertheless.

At December 20, 2006 at 12:42:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandfather's grave fence is in right corner of this picture. I have not been at this place for years... Do you have other pictures available?

Thank you.

At December 20, 2006 at 12:44:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Please e-mail me.

At December 4, 2008 at 8:03:00 AM EST, Blogger Jeffrey Mark Paull said...

I am a descendant of Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz, and I am researching my family history and genealogy.

I am trying to locate a translation of the Hebrew inscriptions on Rabbi Pinchas' grandson's and great-grandson's memorial headstones.

If this information is not available, a good, high-resolution photograph of the headstones would be a great help.

If anyone knows where this information can be found, please email me at

Thank you!

Jeff Paull

At October 31, 2009 at 3:42:00 PM EDT, Anonymous mazer said...

My family Mazer came from Shepetovka. My earliest records show them in Nashville, 9/22/1877.

Any help in finding any family history, marriages, births, deaths from Shepetovka?

Thank you.

Terry Mazer

At April 4, 2013 at 7:49:00 PM EDT, Blogger Writer For Hire Pat Kramer said...

My family were the Morochnicks - Barney and Sarah and their five kids: Abraham, Issac, Anna, Morris, and Louis. They emmigrated to the U.S. around 1909 from Shepatovka. I know Barney had two sisters and a mute brother who stayed behind. Do we know what became of them?

My uncle went to Russia in the 1960s or 70s but was unable to get any cooperation from the authorities and no one would talk to him.

I'd like to find family if there are any left.

Pat Kramer
818 468-7278 Los Angeles, CA

At December 16, 2013 at 12:22:00 PM EST, Blogger Karen Azari said...

Hi- my grandfather , Yehoshua Fleishman was the son of Yaakov and Chana Fleishman, and they came to this country in 1907 from Shepatovka. My grandfather had brothers and a sister too. I only heard stories about how they had a cow living under the house, and how the women protected themselves from getting raped by covering themselves with foul smelling dirt. If anyone has any information about my family or life in the shetl, please let me know. Thank you- Karen Azari tel (305)970-9029 My grandfather is buried in the Temple Emeth cemetary in West Roxbury, MA.

At February 22, 2014 at 8:14:00 PM EST, Blogger cf said...

My father's family came from Shepetovka and came to the states about 1904 settling in Roxbury, Ma. His father (my grandfather) was named Kalman Finer, and his mother (my grandmother) was named Rebecca Gutman Finer. My father's name was Joseph Finer. I have no records about family in Shepetovka - would appreciate any help in this regard. Thanks

At December 21, 2014 at 12:36:00 AM EST, Anonymous L. Vorona said...

Im researching my family. My great-grandpa Benjamin Vorona and my great-grandmother Getrude Russman came from Shepetovka. If there was any information on them, I'd truly appreciate it.

At August 18, 2015 at 1:56:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An extensive portion of my mother's side of my family came from Shepetovka in the late 1800's and early 1900's. They all went to the greater Boston, Mass area. Their names were: Eichenbaum (which became Baum), Kirchner/Kirtzner (which became Kerzner), and Tyrencer (which became Greenberg. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

At September 6, 2015 at 8:21:00 PM EDT, Blogger Jeff Shapiro said...

I notice that R Pinchas of Koretz has last name Shapiro, as I, my father, and my grandfather David do.. My great grandfather Yeshiahu Shapiro, a shochet, came to the U.S. after my grandfather did, early 1900s. It would be quite exciting for me to discover that I was in the lineage. Kindly, what do you know?

Jeffrey Shapiro

At September 6, 2015 at 8:25:00 PM EDT, Blogger Jeff Shapiro said...

I notice that R Pinchas of Koretz has last name Shapiro, as I, my father, and my grandfather David do.. My great grandfather Yeshiahu Shapiro, a shochet, came to the U.S. after my grandfather did, early 1900s. It would be quite exciting for me to discover that I was in the lineage. Kindly, what do you know?

Jeffrey Shapiro

At November 3, 2015 at 4:18:00 PM EST, Blogger Unknown said...

We think that my mother's family came from Shepetovka. Peissech Kosakovsky and his wife Hannah changed their name to Kaplan and lived in Chelsea, Massachusetts from 1900. My mother was Rachel Leah, changed to Lillian Ruth. I would be grateful for any information.
Sid Bennett.


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