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KULTUSVEREIN (Ger. "religious union"), an organizational form of Jewish communal life in the Hapsburg *monarchy between 1848 and 1890. The founding of new Jewish communities had been forbidden from 1779, but after 1848, when Jews were allowed to settle in localities previously prohibited to them, they organized their communal life into associations of this kind, although continuing to be members of their communities of origin and bound to pay taxes to them. In 1869 there were 69 such societies in Bohemia and six in Moravia. In time some of these congregations were acknowledged as communities (Kultusgemeinde) by the authorities, although old communities, losing their members and their dues, went to any lengths to prevent this (e.g., the *Udlice community tried to prevent recognition of the *Chomutov congregation and the *Kromeriz community tried to take legal action to force its members who had settled in *Brno to continue paying taxes). The problem was solved by the law of March 21, 1890 which set up a new organizational status for Jewish communities.


C. Ritter d'Elvert, Zur Geschichte der Juden in Maehren… (1895), 200–7.

[Meir Lamed]