Skip to main content



ZELVA (Pol. Zelwa ), town in Grodno oblast, Belarus. Jews were accustomed to visit the Zelva fairs from the end of the 15th century. A Jewish community, under the jurisdiction of the Grodno kahal, was established in the late 16th century. During the 18th century Jews traded at the local fairs, dealing in horses and in furs imported from Moscow. The lay and rabbinical leaders of Lithuania met at these fairs, and after 1766, when the Council of the Four Lands (see *Councils of the Lands) was disbanded, Zelva became the customary meeting place for rabbis of the region. Excommunications against the Ḥasidim were publicized here in 1781 and 1796, and a plan of action was drawn up to suppress the movement. In 1766 there were 522 Jews who paid the poll tax. In 1793 Zelva was annexed by Russia. There were 864 Jews in 1847, and 1,844 (66% of the total population) in 1897. Between the world wars Zelva was part of independent Poland and possessed *Tarbut and Yavneh schools. In 1921 the Jewish community numbered 1,319 (64%). The community was annihilated in World War ii when Jews were executed by the Germans or sent to death camps, but dozens of young people managed to escape into the forest.


S. Dubnow (ed.), Pinkas ha-Medinah (1925), index; E. Ringelblum, in: Miesięecnik źydowski, 6 (1932), 516; I. Schiper, Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Zelva." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 20 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Zelva." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (March 20, 2019).

"Zelva." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved March 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.