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SOROKI (Rom. Soroca), city in N. Moldova, in the region of Bessarabia. The first mention of Jewish settlement in Soroki is in 1657. However, information concerning an organized community there only dates from the beginning of the 18th century. In 1817 there were 157 Jewish families. In the early 19th century, R. David Solomon Eibenschutz served as rabbi and encouraged the study of Torah in the city. The community grew in the 19th century with the Jewish immigration to Bessarabia, and at the end of the century, also with the frequent expulsions of Jews from the neighboring border area and from the villages. In 1864, 4,135 Jews were registered in Soroki and in 1897 there were 8,783 Jews (57.2% of the total population). In 1863 a government Jewish school was opened. At the end of the century among the teachers in Soroki were the writers Noah Rosenblum, and Kadish-Isaac Abramowich-Ginzburg, who laid the foundations of a new system of Jewish education and culture among the Jews of the town on a secular and national basis. Many of the Jews of Soroki engaged in agriculture, primarily in the growing of tobacco, grapes, and other fruit. In 1900 the Jewish Colonization *Association established a training farm near Soroki. From the 1880s the economic situation of the Jews deteriorated and a wave of immigration to the United States began. In 1930 there were 5,462 Jews (36.3% of the entire population). Before World War ii several educational and social institutions existed in Soroki, including Hebrew elementary and secondary schools, a hospital (founded in 1885), and an old-age home. The community was destroyed with the entry of the Germans and Romanians into Bessarabia in July 1941. The Jewish life of Soroki is described by Shelomo Hillels in the novel, Har ha-Keramim (1930). In the late 1960s the Jewish population was estimated at about 1,000. The only synagogue was closed down by the authorities in 1961. In April 1966 the matzah bakery was closed down by the authorities, the bakers were arrested, and the baking of matzah was discontinued. Use of the cemetery and ritual poultry slaughtering were still permitted in 1970.


S. Hillels, in: Pirkei Bessarabyah, 1 (1952), 94–120; E. Feldman, Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Bessarabyah (1963), includes summary in English.

[Eliyahu Feldman]