Moses Deutsch (1844-1931)
Chief Rabbi Moses (Moshe) Deutsch z'cl was born in Pozsony (Presburg, today Bratislava, Slovakia) in 1844- died at Salgótarján, 14. April, 1931. Son of Chief Rabbi Aaron (Aharon) David Deutsch, younger brother of Joseph Israel (Yoseph Yisroel) Deutsch z'tl, Chief Rabbi of Balassagyarmat
He was a student of his father, then, in the yeshiva of Pozsony (Bratislava). He became as chief rabbi (av beit din) of Salgótarján (which was a village at this time) in 1874, when he was only 30 years old. The orthodox faith commune however was established much later, on 28. July, 1895. Construction of the impressive (in external and internal appearence as well) Moorish style synagogue had been started under his leadership in 1901, and it was inaugurated in 22 September 1902.
Part of the article of a local newspaper about the opening ceremony of the synagogue:
Festival of the Jewish Community of Salgótarján (Inauguration of the church).
Finish of the construction of the Israelite church of Salgótarján is more and more approaching. The majestic, soul-lifting ceremony, the consecretion of the church will be held in this week. Schedule of the inauguration ceremony of the church raised by the Jewish Community of Salgótarján on the 24th September: 1. Gathering in the hall of the school 3 PM. 2. Marching to the old church. 3. Valedictory in the old church. Speaker: Reverend Chief Rabbi Moses Deutsch. 4. Removing the Torah scrolls [scrolls containing the five books of Moses], prayer during taking out the Torah scrolls by the Chief Cantor. 5. Carrying the Torah scrolls to the new church. 6. Ceremonial handover of the keys of the church. 7. The public marches in. 8. The Torah scrolls are taking into the tabernacle, where respected members of the community goes around the almemar [platform used to read out the Torah], while the Cantor sings the psalm: „Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous” (Psalms 118:15). 9. They put the Torah scrolls into a sanctuary, the Cantor performs an occasional prayer for the "closing of the ark". 10. Deposition of the keystone. Speaker: Reverend Dr. Leo Singer, Chief Rabbi of Rimaszombat (today: Rimavská Sobota, Slovakia). 11. Lighting of the Eternal Light (Ner Tamid) by Reverend Moses Deutsch Chief Rabbi. 12. Minche [afternoon] prayer. 13. Inauguration speach and prayer by Reverend dr. Leo Singer Chief Rabbi of Rimaszombat. 14. Prayer for His Majesty. 15. Adjournal praise by the Chief Cantor 16. Anthem sung by the Choral Society of the Trade Association.Public Dinner at 8 PM in the hall of Hotel Vadász. (Salgótarjáni Lapok - Salgótarján Pages, 14. September 1902. page 2.)
(Note: The building has survived two world wars; it was used as a warehouse during the german occupation. After the liberation the small community who returned fixed the damages in the building. The church was functioning until 1969, when the leadership of the city decided to demolish the building...)
Chief Rabbi Moses Deutch was the religional leader of the Jewish Community of Salgótarján between 1874-1931, i.e. for 57 years. After his death only a vice rabbi was elected, who was Jenő (Yakov Yehuda) Deutsch z'tl (1905-1944) from Verpelét, who officially functioned only from 1936, after years of litigation. He published in 1943 the collection of the speeches and talmudic commentaries of Chief Rabbi Moses Deutsch with the title of "Drushei ve'chiddushei ha RaMBAD" ( the acronym's meaning: Rabbi Moshe ben Aharon David Deutsch).
Local newspapers wrote these lines about his funeral: Moses Deutsch, 87 years old Rabbi of the Israelite Faith Commuity has died on the 14th of this month. He functioned in Salgótarján over 57 years. His coffin was assembled from that nailless table, on which he studied throughout his life. On his funeral many rabbis participated even from far away from the countryside. The synagogue was crowded with people, among them we cound see the delegation of the city, headed by the mayor, representatives and leaders of the offices, authorities, and also the army. The ritual and the lot of funeral speeches lasted from 1:30 until 5 PM, when the members of the Jewish Community took the old rabbi (who performed his duty even two days before his death) on their shoulders to the cemetery" (A Munka - The Labor, 18. April, 1931., page 3.)
Pilgrims still often visit his grave in the Jewish Cemetery of Salgótarján.
- Cecilia Pásztor - The Archives of Nógrád County: History of Salgótarján Jewry. For primary and high school students. Salgótarján, 2003.
- Sinagogues of Hungary