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Hasidim of Bobowa

Jewish culture has had a huge impact on Polish identity. Before World War II, Jews made up 10% of the country’s population, dividing into the most diverse groups.

One of the most original was the mystical Hasidic movement, which was born in Polish lands in the 17th century, in the dark atmosphere of the wars that swept the country at the time. The Hasidim, whose teachings were initiated by the activities of the itinerant preacher Israel Ben Eliezer (Baal Shem Tov), preach the need to simplify the strict rules of traditional Judaism. They strive for direct contact with God, and love dancing and singing the most in the world. The movement became particularly popular in Galicia, a former province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where close-knit communities formed around charismatic tzaddikim. Perhaps the best-known tzaddik was Elimenech from the town of Leżajsk in eastern Poland.

The town of Bobowa became a Hasidic holy place thanks to the activities of Tzadik Shlomo Halberstam.

Bobover Hasidim live to this day in North American cities. Every year in early July they flock to the local synagogue to honor their spiritual guide. The exact date of the yortzait – the birthday of the tzaddik – depends on the Hebrew calendar, but it usually falls in the first week of July. The historic synagogue in Bobowa then fills with the chants and prayers of pious Hasidim from all over the world, and kwitele – greeting cards – are left at the tzaddik’s grave.

The synagogue in Bobowa can be visited all year round. You will get the key to the building… in the neighboring hairdresser’s shop (2 Grunwaldzka Street). The interior impresses with partially preserved polychromes and a richly decorated altar closet (aron ha-kodesh). Bobowa is located on the route to the Beskids, and it is worth spending an hour to see this unique Polish-Jewish cultural site, which is still alive today.




Chassidim aus Bobowa

Hasidim of Bobowa