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Chapter 21

This decree was forwarded to the Tribunal and the Consistory, and distributed in all the towns and settlements within the kingdom of Moravia. Úsov also received a copy, through the Duke of Lichtenstein, as did the priest of the town, our inveterate enemy. This was on the Sabbath before Passover in the year 5511 (1750), in the middle of the morning service.

I, being at that time the head of the community, was sent for by the Duke. He read to me the Royal decree in which Úsov was especially mentioned as a non-synagogue town and subject to the six prohibitions, and cautioned me against continuing to practise our customs as heretofore on the pain of fines and imprisonment.

I was greatly dismayed, and on my breaking the news to the community there was great mourning at the prohibition. The Rabbi of the town, Rabbi Eliezer, who had waited with his sermon till my return from the Duke’s palace, did not preach it; prayers were finished privately, and we did not read the Law.

On the following Sunday we sent a deputation of two persons to the District Commissioner and told him of the interpretation put upon the decree by the Duke. And they pleaded that since we had the express permission from His Majesty the late King Charles VI for ten of us to assemble for public worship, we also had the right, by implication, to perform all the rites appertaining to public services, like the reading of the Law, etc. The District Commissioner was inclined to allow our plea. But to confirm his opinion, he promised to put the case to the Tribunal in Brno. In the meantime we might continue our custom as before. Thus we had relief for two months, taking great care, however, not to assemble more than ten at a time for prayers.

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