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Chapter 31

On my arrival home, I received a letter from my brother-in-law saying that on the death of the nobleman who had been a friend of Rabbi Berish, the petitions had indeed been handed over to the nobleman who was a great enemy of the Jews. And notwithstanding Duke Lichtenstein’s great influence and the favourable reports of the other courts, there was still a possibility of the Royal Councillor prevailing upon the assembly to dismiss our petitions. Then I regretted that I had gone home, instead of to Vienna.

I wrote, however, to my brother-in-law, saying that he should endeavour to get Duke Lichtenstein to write a personal communication to the nobleman, which would no doubt bring about the desired change in his attitude. My brother-in-law did this through the intimate friendship between Duke Lichtenstein and Baron de Agilari. The Duke sent his chief minister to negotiate with the nobleman in the matter. The nobleman expressed his humility by claiming to be unworthy of the honour of doing the Duke a favour. He said that the faults of the Úsov community were many and of long standing., beginning with the story of the priest in the year 5482, and continuing up to the present time. Also that King Charles VI had expressly decreed that the town should never have a synagogue, which decree was ratified by the Queen. All this made the town of Úsov unworthy of any favourable consideration. But, thanks to the intercession of Duke Lichtenstein, and the representations made by the District Commissioner as to the poverty of the community, he was inclined to favour the petitions, and would advise the Royal Council to that effect.

The Duke’s minister returned to report this to the Duke, who informed Baron de Agilari, who in turn informed all those who had an interest in the matter.

And there was joy in the town of Úsov. It was in the month of Nisan that our prayers were answered and Her Majesty the Queen Maria Theresa promulgated her Decree. And we were at last permitted to erect a House of Worship as in the definitions, to preach in public, and in general to practise our religion as in towns that have synagogues. The Decree was signed with Her Majesty’s own hand.

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