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The word Kehillah in Hebrew קְהִלׇּה ḳehillah or qehillah , in Ashkenazi pronunciation kehilloh , plural kehillot, denotes a Jewish community. In the ideal sense, this means the "holy community" (ḳehillah ḳedoschah) for holding church services in cities and smaller settlements.

A Kehilla's responsibilities include: organizing mikveh (ritual bath), gemach (distribution company), kashrut (Jewish dietary laws monitored by Mashgiach ) and Chevra Kadisha (burial society), and for relations with the non-Jewish communities in the cities.


In particular after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD, the self-government of Jewish communities in the diaspora became increasingly important. From late antiquity to the European Middle Ages , when Jews under Christian and Islamic spheres of power increasingly lived in cities, Jewish communities continued to lead an ethical, social, historical and intellectual life of their own. The congregations acted as self-contained communities with voluntary jurisdiction (in legal disputes among themselves) as well as traditional Jewish social, educational, poor and sick care, which dates back to prehistoric times. In the past, it was also up to the Kehillah to collect taxes that were specifically imposed on Jews.

Jewish communities in European cities typically have one or more such community organizations with one or more synagogues as the center. Schools, hospitals and orphanages, also Zionist organizations and educational establishments, Jewish boarding schools and training centers and rabbinical schools or Jewish universities can be affiliated .

The Russian anti-Semite Jakow Alexandrowitsch Brafman , who himself came from a Jewish family, portrayed in his influential work Книга Кагала ( Kniga Kagala , German: "The Book of Kahal") in 1869 the Kehillot as the centers of a Jewish world conspiracy to exploit all non-Jews secretly controlled by the Alliance Israélite Universelle .

Parish council

The community council of larger Jewish communities is elected from among the household heads of local Jewish families. Re-election is permissible and often common. In the state of Baden , the synagogue council (Baden) was elected as a forerunner by order of the authorities for intra-community administration . The odd number of councils depends on the size of the community. Apparently there was a comparable regulation in the Kingdom of Württemberg (cf. district rabbinate ).

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Harald Witzke: In 1760, 60 Jewish families lived in Altstrelitz. In: Freie Erde , Neustrelitz, 07/1988, note : The material on the history of the Strelitz Jews was compiled by the research assistant at the Karbe-Wagner Archive Neustrelitz, Harald Witzke, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Reichspogromnacht . For editorial reasons, only an abridged version appeared in the newspaper. The complete version can be viewed in the Karbe-Wagner archive. (According to the editor's note at the beginning of the article).
  2. Anke Hilbrenner: Brafman, Jakov. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus . Vol. 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , pp. 97 f. (accessed via De Gruyter Online)


Web links

Wiktionary: Kehillah  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations