I visited the Rare Books section of the JTS in New York in Dec. 2009, to view an old manuscript from Kezmarok, Slovakia. I selected certain pages that I was interested in translating, on behalf of descendents who once lived there. These manuscripts are large books about the Jewish community, its synagogue, rabbis, and "important people."

One page has a spreadsheet with the list of shul officers, for each New Year, starting in year תרי״ט‎ (1858/1859) and it would be nice to know just what their functions were. Some we can already guess. The column headings are as follows:

  1. ראש הקהל Rosh Hakal
  2. טובי הקהל א Tovei Hakal Rishon (or Aleph)
  3. טובי הקהל ב Tovei Hakal Sheni (or Bet)
  4. גובה Goveh
  5. גבאי א Gabay Rishon (or Aleph)
  6. גבאי ב Gabay Sheni (or Bet)
  7. מזכיר (Mazkir) — apparently, like today, no one likes to be the secretary and no name appears in this column!
  8. אנשי שם קרואי מועד Anshei Shem Kruei Moed (reputable men who read for the holidays? announce the New Moon?)

    • Does anyone know if there were any real guidelines to the functions of these men?
    • Can anyone explain the title and function of a Parnas (פרנס)?
  • Was that last one a collection of people or perhaps a summary of all of the above?
    – Isaac Moses
    Aug 17, 2011 at 21:35
  • As for the set of people, it varies from about 9-12 and they are don't appear to be the same as the others in the other functions' slots.
    – Madeleine
    Aug 17, 2011 at 23:05
  • Is there any way to paste in an image? I could capture a portion of it for display. It is not on any website at this point.
    – Madeleine
    Aug 17, 2011 at 23:06
  • You can use an image hosting site (I've previously used TinyPic) and then use the Image button to paste it in.
    – Alex
    Aug 18, 2011 at 5:33
  • 1
    I learned a bit more about No. 8, the אנשי שם קרואי מועד Anshei Shem Kruei Moed. It would seem that if the community didn't have a head rabbi, that they had a group of honorable men who comprised a council and could make decisions on behalf or for the community. See also Devarim (Numbers) 16:2, with the words slightly rearranged.
    – Madeleine
    Nov 8, 2013 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


Every community might define things differently, but here is one possibility.

1 The richest guy

2&3 either the next richest guys or the richest guy's cronies

1,2&3 would probably be the guys who would negotiate salary and contract with the Rav; would probably have a big voice in choosing a new Rav and would probably be paying a large part of the Shul's expenses.

4 The guy who collects money due to the Shul and community. He may also set the amounts due by individuals.

5&6 are the guys who stand up by the Bimah During Torah reading. They get to decide who gets an aliyah, who gets to be the shaliach tzibuur, etc.

7 Secretary

8 Distinguished members of the community who can be called up for aliyah's on Yom Tovim.

Does anyone know if there were any real guidelines to the functions of these men? Whatever was customary in that community

  • Any "richest guy" role was probably played not by the richest guy but by the most philanthropic. (I'm guessing here.)
    – msh210
    Aug 21, 2011 at 16:26
  • Well, I was told that my grandfather, in the specific town (Kezmarok, Slovakia) was at one time "Rosh Hakahal." The manuscript that I looked at, predated his existence by several decades, so he was not listed. I don't think he was the richest guy and perhaps not the most philanthropic, but the family was well-respected. He had smicha (Leopold/Aryeh Leib GOLDSTEIN) I think from the Pressburg Yeshiva, and was there to assist the Rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Grünberg, in things like the Beis Din. But he might have been the exception, rather than the rule.
    – Madeleine
    Aug 22, 2011 at 4:11

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