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RUSE (Russe, Rustchuk ), port city on the Danube in N.E. Bulgaria. The Turkish traveler Evlyia Chelebi (17th century) relates that Jewish merchants visited the town briefly. When the Austrians besieged Belgrade in 1788, several of its Jews escaped to Ruse. They were the founders of the Jewish community and were later joined by Jews from other towns. In 1797 the first synagogue was built. During the Russo-Turkish War (1828), the Jews fled to Walachia and although they did not all return after the war, the community nevertheless continued to grow. The merchants imported goods from Austria and Saxony and exported those of the country. The first rabbi of the community was Abraham Graciani (1806–14), the author of She'erit Ya'akov. In 1826 a new synagogue was built and in 1852 the Giron synagogue was founded and was followed by the Shalom synagogue in 1858. There was also an Ashkenazi community and Zionist newspapers and periodicals were published there. In 1905 there were 4,028 Jews in Ruse and in 1938, 3,000. In 1943 many Jews from Sofia were deported to Ruse. With the establishment of the State of Israel, most of the Jews emigrated. In 2004 there were around 200 Jews in Ruse, affiliated with the local branch of the nationwide Shalom organization. (For further information on the Holocaust Period, see *Bulgaria.)


S.A. Rosanes, Istoriah di la Cominidad Israelitah di Rustchuk, 1 (1914).

[Simon Marcus /

Emil Kalo (2nd ed.)]

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