SIERPC (Rus. Serpec; Yid. Sheps), town in Warszawa province, N. central Poland; passed to Prussia in 1795 and was within Russia from 1815 to World War I, after which it reverted to independent Poland. A Jewish settlement in Sierpc is mentioned in documents in 1739 and 1766. In 1830 a government commission directed that Jews living in houses owned or leased by them were to be permitted to stay in Sierpc, while the rest were to be expelled. The community numbered 649 (67% of the total population) in 1800; 2,604 (56%) in 1856; 2,861 (42%) in 1921; and 3,077 (about 30%) in 1939. Jews earned their livelihood from the retail trade and crafts, generally on a small scale with inadequate earnings. They particularly suffered from the economic *boycott instigated by antisemites from 1912. Many Jews in Sierpc were dependent on outside relief, being helped by former residents of Sierpc in the United States who established a special "rescue fund" to aid them. Prominent rabbis of the town included Meir Devash (officiated 1790–1812); Moses Leib Benjamin Zilberberg (1830–40; d. Jerusalem, 1865); Mordecai b. Joshua Greenboim (1841–58); and Yeḥiel Mikhal b. Abraham Goldshlak (1865–1918), a disciple of the ẓaddik of Przysucha.
Kehillat Sherpẓ; Sefer Zikkaron (Heb., Yid., 1959).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.