LEZAJSK (Pol. Leżajsk; Yid. Lyzhansk), town in Rzeszow province, S.E. Poland. The Jews of Lezajsk are first mentioned in 1538. In the middle of the 17th century the community possessed a wooden synagogue and a cemetery. During the 17th and 18th centuries the Jews of Lezajsk engaged in the grain trade, the weaving of woolen cloth, and the brewing of beer, and were contractors of estates and inns. According to the census of 1765, 909 Jewish poll tax payers lived in Lezajsk and its environs. When the ẓaddik R. *Elimelech settled in Lezajsk in 1775, it became an important center of *Ḥasidism in Poland and Galicia. Each year (until the Holocaust) on the anniversary of his death (21st of Adar), thousands of Jews used to journey to pray at his grave in Lezajsk. Fires in 1834 and again in 1873 severely affected the economic situation of the community, but toward the end of the century conditions began to improve. The Jewish population fluctuated between 1,868 (38% of the total) in 1880, 1,494 (28%) in 1900, 1,705 (32%) in 1910, and 4,575 (31%) in 1921. In the interwar years Zionist parties and youth movements were active in the town. There were Tarbut, Yavneh, and Beth Jacob schools in the town.
D. Rabin (ed.), Lizhansk, Sefer Zikkaron; Halpern, Pinkas, index; M. Schorr, Żydzi w przemyślu do końca XVIII wieku (1903), index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce… (1930), 116.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.