STRY (Pol. Stryj), city in Lvov district, Ukraine. With the development of trade between eastern Poland and Hungary at the beginning of the 16th century, Jews were invited to settle in Stry by the governor, Jan Tarlowski, who wanted to counterbalance the number of Ruthenians (i.e., Ukrainians) in the city. In 1576 King Stephen Báthory (1575–86) issued the first legal confirmation of permanent Jewish settlement, granting the Jews the same terms as the other townsmen. The leaders of the city fought for almost 100 years against this privilege. In 1589 King Sigismund III Vasa confirmed the rights of the Jews, warning the townsmen not to harm them. Stry's Jews engaged in wholesale and retail trade, leasing of customs, brewing beer, and making and selling wine. At the end of the 17th and during the 18th century Jews imported wine and horses from Hungary, exported bulls, grain, and salt, leased estates and flour mills, bred cattle, and traded in cloth. A few of them were goldsmiths and tailors. The extent of their trade is reflected in the enterprise of Samuel Haymovich, who sold 18,000 barrels of salt annually between 1701 and 1704. The volume of their trade in Hungarian wines and horses is recorded in Ber of Bolechow's The Memoirs of Ber of Bolechow 1723 – 1805 ((1922), index).
An organized Jewish community, subordinate to the district of *Przemysl, existed from the end of the 16th century.
Since limitations were imposed on wine selling and leasing of estates in the 1820s, the number of Jewish families earning their living from tailoring, the fur trade, bakery, carpentry, and tinsmithing increased. In the 1870s Jewish entrepreneurs established a foundry, wood mills, a soap factory, and a match factory. In 1873 a Jewish hospital was built. In the mid-1880s the Hebrew author Isaac Aaron Bernfeld was a teacher of religion in the governmental secondary schools, which were attended by more than 400 Jewish students in 1910. In the same year a boarding school for 30 Jewish students from the area was opened. The nationalistic awakening among young educated Jews led to the foundation of the Admat Yisrael society (1891) to support Jewish settlement in Ereẓ Israel. In 1893 the first Jewish workers' association in Stry (Briderlekhkeyt) was organized.
At the beginning of World War I the Jewish community suffered during the Russian invasion of Galicia. With the disintegration of the Hapsburg Empire in 1918, a Jewish *self-defense group with approximately 40 members was organized. In 1918–19, during the period of the Ukrainian independence, a Jewish National Assembly, headed by E. *Byk and M. Binenstock (1881–1923), and a Jewish militia were established, and a weekly newspaper, Yidishe Folksshtime, was published in Stry. Between the two world wars, when Stry was part of Poland, all the Zionist parties and Agudat *Israel had branches there. A vocational school set up by the American Jewish Joint Distribution *Committee (Joint), a *Tarbut school, and a Safah Berurah school were founded during the 1920s. The historian and geographer Abraham Jacob *Brawer and the educator and poet Eisig *Silberschlag were born in Stry which was also the home of the Polish-Jewish author J. *Stryjkowski who describes Jewish life there prior to World War II in many of his works. The Jewish population of the city was 10,988 (40% of the total) in 1921, 10,869 in 1931, and approximately 12,000 in 1939.
Halpern, Pinkas, index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX (1930), 123, 131, 148, 154; S. Borensztejn, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w okresie międzywojennym (1963), 279; M. Bersohn, Dyplomataryusz, dotyczący Ẓydowska w Polsce (1910), no. 294; A. Prohaska, Historja miasta Stryja (1926); I. Schiper, Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemach polskich (1937), index; Sefer Stry (1962).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.