TIRGU-FRUMOS (Rom. Târgu-Frumos ), town in Jassy district, Moldavia, Romania. In 1763 Jews were granted a special privilege to settle there in order to restore the declining economy of the town. In 1769 Tirgu-Frumos is mentioned in connection with the trade developed by the Jews, who sold cereals, butter, milk, honey, leather, flax, and hemp at the weekly fair. In 1815 the privilege was confirmed and more Jewish settlers arrived; from 280 in 1803 their number increased to 1,258 (31% of the total population) in 1859, and 2,123 (45.6%) in 1899. At the beginning of the 19th century Jews assumed responsible positions in the local council. At the end of the century, however, proceedings were opened against them. For 30 years the Romanian parliament refused to raise Tirgu-Frumos to the status of a town, keeping it a village, because in such a rural environment the Jews had no rights to acquire immovable property. During the Peasants' Revolt in 1907 the synagogue as well as the houses of 59 Jewish families were destroyed. Between the two world wars antisemitism increased, and in consequence many Jews left Tirgu-Frumos. In 1930 there were 1,608 Jews (26.4% of the total) in the town. The members of this community held a central position in trade (cereal, cattle, timber, grocery and other stores, alcoholic beverages), crafts (tailors, cobblers, potters, bakers, furriers, leather cutters, smiths, etc.), small industry and professions (doctors). In 1939 students from the University of Jassy, led by A.C. *Cuza and his son George, attempted to organize anti-Jewish riots but were deterred by an effective *self-defense organization. Among the rabbis of the town were Shalom b. Samuel Shmelke Taubes (1825–1888), who officiated later in Botosani. Three synagogues – the Big Synagogue (of the merchants) founded in 1813, the Cobblers' (1883) and the Poor's – lasted several years more than the community.
In World War ii most Jews were expelled to Roman and some also to Botosani. Some 650 victims from the "Death Train" traveling between Jassy and Roman in the days of the Jassy massacre, July 29, 1941, were taken from the train and interred in the Târgu-Frumos cemetery. After the war a community was reconstituted (amounting to 530 persons in 1947) but diminished rapidly through migration to larger cities or emigration. In 1969 about 10 Jewish families remained. The last Jewish inhabitant died in 1998.
E. Schwartzfeld, Impopularea, reîmpopulerea şi intemeierea târgurilor si târgusoarelor in Moldova (1914), 17–19, 34; N. Dărângă, Monografia comunei Târgu Frumos (1914); V. Tufescu, Tárguşoarele din Moldova, si importanţa lor ecomonicā (1942), 92, 104–5, 130, 140; PK Romanyah, 130–2.
[Theodor Lavi /
Silviu Sanie (2nd ed.)]