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Senta

SENTA

SENTA (Hung. Zenta ), town on the Thissa River, Vojvodina province. Jews arrived there during the 18th century, mostly from Hungary and Moravia. They engaged in trade of cereals and textiles though quite a few were artisans. The first rabbi was Isaac Heilborn, followed by Solomon Klein and Moses Leibowitz. A ḥevra kaddisha was founded in 1858. In the wake of the great split that occurred in Hungarian Jewry in 1868/69, the local Jewry separated, too, into *Neolog (Reform) and Orthodox communities. A small group declared itself status quo, as did some of the communities in Hungary which did not join either of two rival groups. This phenomenon was unique as far as Yugoslavia was concerned. Consequently, there were three kehillot in Senta. The Orthodox renamed themselves inexplicably "Sephardim." This was probably in imitation of what occurred in the community of *Sighet in Romania, where a dissident group of Orthodox Jews eccentrically adopted the name, also without any Sephardi members. A Neolog synagogue was built in 1873, another in 1929.

A yeshivah was established, headed by Rabbi Eliezer Rausnitz. Michael *Fekete, mathematician and well-known professor at the Hebrew University, was born in Senta.

Among the Senta rabbis, Hermann-Zvi Schweiger was a prominent Hebraist. Neolog community leaders were Armin Graf, Nathan Kramick, and Solomon Ehrenfeld. Armin Fischer was the Zionist leader.

During the Holocaust all the Jews perished. The "Sephardi" rabbi, without a single Sephardi present, was Moses Teitelbaum; he was extricated from a concentration camp, eventually reaching the United States and joining the Satmar congregation in New York. The kehillot were not renewed. The great synagogue was demolished and a smaller one serves as a sports club.

bibliography:

Israel-Juedische Wochenschrift No. 3 (1940); "Yehudei Vojvodina be-Et ha-Ḥadashah," in: Yalkut, no. 2 (ed. Z. Loker) (1994), 92–93 and 112.

[Zvi Loker (2nd ed.)]

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