Though only settled in the 18th century and flourishing in the 19th, the town of Sighet made its mark on Jewish history and its legacy accompanies Jewish life until this very day. Nestled in the Maramaros district in Transylvania, it was sometimes in Romania, other times in Hungary and for a long time in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
By the end of the 19th century, its sizable Jewish population was one of the largest in Transylvania and also one of the few which was largely Orthodox. In the century before the war, Sighet was home to some prominent historic personalities, while left an imprint on Sighet Jewish life and the wider Jewish community. One of the earliest prominent rabbinical figures to settle in the Maramaros district was Rav Yehuda Kahana-Heller (1743-1819), known by his work the Kuntres Hasfeikos. The Kahana family would dominate Sighet communal life for the next century. Sighet is almost synonymous with the Teitelbaum dynasty, with a decisive impact on both Sighet’s Jewish history as well as beyond its borders across the Jewish world.
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