BARLAD (Rom. Bârlad or Bîrlad), town in Moldavia, E. Romania. The Jewish community there is first attested in 1738 when the prince of Moldavia, Grigore Ghica, appointed Marco (Mordechai) as leader (staroste) of the Jews of Barlad "according to ancient custom." "A row of Jewish stores" is mentioned in 1767 and a "Jewish street" in 1819; 53 Jewish households were recorded in 1803. In 1838 the Jews were accused of desecrating Christian holy objects, and 23 notables of the community, including three women, were imprisoned. They were released only after payment of a heavy fine. In December 1867, there was an outbreak of violence when the Jews were accused of murdering an antisemitic priest. The community numbered 2,000 in 1859; 5,883 (24% of the total) in 1899, about one-third of the merchants and artisans in the city being Jews; and 3,727 in 1930 (14% of the total), mainly occupied in commerce (many as clerks) and as artisans. There were then in Barlad a Jewish kindergarten and two Jewish schools, for boys and for girls. Aizic Taubes (1834–1920) was among the prominent rabbis. Barlad was also a Zionist center.
In November 1940, all Jewish men were sent to forced labor. However, the intellectuals were liberated due to protests by Romanian intellectuals. When the war against the U.S.S.R. broke out (June 22, 1941) the Jews from towns in the district were driven from their homes and sent to Barlad. The community founded a gymnasia and aided many pauperized Jews. After World War II Jewish life was reorganized for a short period only due to the considerable decrease in population through emigration, mainly to Israel. In 1969, 100 Jewish families lived in Barlad where there was one synagogue. In 2004, 46 Jews lived in Barlad.
M. Carp, Cartea Neagra, 1 (1946), 115, 158; Filderman, in: Sliha, 1 no. 4 (1956). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: PK Romanyah, I, 17–21; S. Rubinstein, Me-Barlad ad Rosh Pinah (1993).
[Eliyahu Feldman and Theodor Lavi / Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.