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Revista Cultului Mozaic din R.P.R.

Romanian trilingual journal. Revista cultului mozaic din R.P.R. (Periodical of the Mosaic Religion in the Romanian People’s Republic) was started as an irregular monthly on 19 October 1956 and was published twice a month from 1965. In 1991 its production again became sporadic and its last issue was dated December 1991.

In Yiddish the paper was called Tsaytshrift funem religiezn yidntum fun der rumenisher folks-republik and in Hebrew it was Ketav-‘et shel ha-yahadut ha-datit ba-republikah ha-‘amamit ha-romanit. Normally there were eight pages in Romanian, three in Yiddish, and one in Hebrew; during the 1980s, however, with increasing foreign contacts one of the Yiddish pages was replaced by a page in English. Romania’s chief rabbi, Mozes Rosen (1912–1994), reported in his memoirs that more specific suggested periodical titles such as Sinai had been vetoed by Jewish Communists for seeming too chauvinistic. Due to restrictions imposed by authorities, the names of the editors were not mentioned, but were publicly known: Victor Rusu (1964–1978) and Ḥayim Riemer (from 1979), as well as Wolf Tambur (editor of the Hebrew pages).

In accordance with its mandate, Revista was basically a religious periodical and its staple content was Jewish traditional and religious lore. However, Jews were also recognized as an ethnic group and many articles were devoted to prominent Jews from various walks of life, with special attention to personalities involved in Romanian Jewish culture such as Avrom Goldfadn and Itsik Manger. In its first years, reports on Jewry were limited to Romania and the Communist world.

Revista and its editors were required to join peace campaigns against Western “warmongers,” and Rosen—about whose doings and travels there developed a personality cult—frequently contrasted the favorable situation of Jews in contemporary Romania with that of the period of persecution between the wars. Unlike the situation in the Soviet Union, where for most of the post–World War II period the specific nature of Jewish suffering could not be mentioned, in Romania major pogroms were officially commemorated.

Revista was the only partly Hebrew publication in the Communist world. As time went on and with growing liberalization, the Jews of the West and eventually also those of Israel—a touchy subject for Revista—seemed newsworthy. Especially during the 1970s and 1980s, the journal served as a rare place for Jewish intellectuals and writers (including Ovid Crohmălniceanu, Alexandru Mirodan, Norman Manea, Henri Wald, and Anton Celaru) to publish essays on Judaism and Jewish literature. After the overthrow of communism in 1989, the periodical defended Jews of Romania against antisemitic press attacks and Holocaust denial.

Suggested Reading

Joseph Finklestone, Dangers, Tests and Miracles: The Remarkable Life Story of Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen of Romania as Told to Joseph Finklestone (London, 1990), pp. 164–168, 306–307; Liviu Rotman, Toldot ha-Yehudim be-Romanyah, vol. 5 (Tel Aviv, 2004).