The historic Kosov synagogue continues to function as a vibrant Hassidic synagogue in Tzfat. It includes the traditions and customs of the founding Kosov Hassidim while introducing innovations that meet the interests of the families who currently pray and study at Kosov.
History Kosov Shul DoorImmigrants from Kosov in Galicia, Poland, came to Tzfat after the 1837 earthquake and build their synagogue on Alkabetz Street, on the street just below the Ari Ashkanazi synagogue. The Kosov Hassidim were followers of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hager in Kosov and established their synagogue in Tzfat to allow members to continue to worship and study in the traditions of their Hassidus. The Kosov Hassidim in Kosov supported the synagogue and its community in Tzfat. Disrepair The Kosov community in Tzfat declined and by the mid-20th century the synagogue fell into disrepair. There was no “minyan” -- prayer quorum -- to meet for daily prayers. Sabbath prayers ceased several years later. By the 1970s the synagogue was closed, locked and used only for storage by a local artist.;Revival Inside KosovIn 1990 a group of followers of the Biala Rebbe, who has a center of Hassidus in Lugano Switzerland, asked the Safed “Beit Din” -- Rabbinical Court -- for permission to refurnish and revitalize the synagogue. The Beit Din agreed, on condition that the new trustees would use the name “Kosov” in recognition of the original community and would incorporate Kosov traditions into their services. These new trustees agreed to maintain these conditions. Services Kikar Kosov DoorKosov opens to daily services, three times each day. Many of the congregants stay on to study. This open-door policy contributed to a theft of an old Torah scroll in 2010 so security in the synagogue is now more closely monitored during the non-prayer times. Torah Scrolls The synagogue uses three Torah scrolls which date back to the early days of the synagogue.The original Kosov immigrants brought one of these scrolls with them from Kosov. It is said to have belonged to the Kosov Rebbe and is dated at approximately 300 years old. The other two scrolls are at least 100 years old. The synagogue uses all three of these scrolls regularly.;Biala Rebbe The Biala Rebbe, the Rebbe of Lugano, Switzerland, maintains a home in Tzfat and worships regularly in the Kosov synagogue. He is the spiritual advisor of the synagogue and directs the synagogue’s spiritual efforts.;Beit Midrash Several men study part-time at the Kosov synagogue throughout the day.;Memorial The new trustees of the Kosov synagogue established a memorial, on the stone facing of the synagogue’s outside wall, to memorialize the Jews of Kosov who were murdered by the Nazis. Most of the community was annihilated by a mass killing at the Moskalovka Bridge in 1941 while the others were sent to Belzac concentration camp where they were murdered. The memorial commemorates the community.;