HARLAU (Rom. Hârlǎu), town in Moldavia, N.E. Romania. A Jewish settlement is known from 1742. In 1768 a Jew was authorized to establish a factory for window glass and a paper mill in Harlau. From 1751 the documents mention the "Jews' Guild," which in 1834 became the local community organization. The oldest of the five synagogues in Harlau was built in the 18th century. The community had a primary school (founded c. 1900), which was erected with the assistance of the *Jewish Colonization Association . There were also a talmud torah, a mikveh, and two Jewish cemeteries. Many Jews were ḥasidim of the admor of Pascani.
Antisemitic persecutions led half of the Jewish population of Harlau to immigrate to the United States during 1899–1900. However, at the same time Jews expelled from the villages settled in Harlau, so the Jewish population did not decrease. The community numbered 784 in 1803, 2,254 (56.6% of the total) in 1886, 2,718 (59%) in 1899, and 2,032 (22.3%) in 1930. The majority of both craftsmen and merchants enumerated in Harlau in 1913 were Jews. Following emancipation in 1919 the Jews took an active part in the municipal council. A small cooperative credit bank was founded in Harlau with the aid of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Rabbis of Harlau included Israel Isaacson (b. 1895), a deputy in the Romanian parliament, who settled in Israel.
The Zionist movement was also strong in the 1920s and 1930s. Three local Zionist leaders, Sami Stern-Kochavi, Michael Landau, and Valter Abeles (three brothers-in-law) became Jewish-Romanian political leaders in Israel in the 1950s. During World War II some of the Jews in Harlau were deported to Botosani, and others to Jassy. There were 1,936 Jews living in Harlau in 1947. In 1969 approximately 60 Jewish families were living there and they maintained a synagogue. In 2005, 22 elderly Jews lived in Harlau.
M. Schwarzfeld, Ochire asupra evreilor din România… (1887), 38; E. Schwarzfeld, Impopularea, reîmpopularea şi întemeierea tîrgurilor şi tîrguşoarelor in Moldova (1914), 21, 22; S. Savin, in: Revista cultului mozaic, 19 (1965), no. 119; M. Carp, Cartea Neagrǎ 1 (1946), 66, 158, 200, 202; PK Romanyah, 1 (1970), 112–4. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Izvoare şi marturi, 2:1 (1998), 46; I. Bar-Avi, Emigrarile anului, 1900 (1961), 117–8; Ch. Zaidman, Der hob fun zikhron (1982); M. Marcovici-Meridan, Hirlau (1993); FEDROM-Comunitati evreieşti din Romania (Internet, 2005).
[Theodor Lavi /
Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.