Ruzhany is a village in Brest region of Belarus
The Jewish community of Ruzhany was first mentioned in written chronicles back in 1623. Until 1662, when the community became an independent unit, it was part of Brest community. The Ruzhany community was thought for one of the richest in the region. The Russian-Swedish war had left its scent on the economical prosperity of the community. The local authorities, though, continued to collect high taxes from the Jews – the fact that caused a lot of them to leave the settlement. So there were 154 Jews left in the community as of year 1776.
The overall status of the community bettered within the years, so at the end of the 19th century there were 3,500 Jews in the village. Jews of Ruzhany worked at craftsmanship and trading, some of them bought lands to establish farms there.
In 18-19th centuries Ruzhany had a prominent yeshiva, where rabbi M. Yaffe taught, among others.
The local authorities started to confine the community activities during the WWI. Jews were persecuted, pogroms were conducted with the consent from the authorities. In spite of it, Jews still managed to remain active in the community. They had their Tarbut school and a Yiddish-speaking secondary school, as well as a primary school.
With the breakout of World War II, all the Jewish facilities were closed down, Jewish intelligency was expelled. During 1941-42 Jews of Ruzhany were executed or deported to Treblinka concentration camp.
Those Jews who managed to survive the Holocaust, left Ruzhany after the war, most of them emigrating to Israel. According to 1950s statistics there were about 10 Jews in the settlement, but nowadays there is no Jewish community in the village.
• Yitzhak Shamir (1915-2012) – prominent Israeli political figure, Prime Minister of Israel (1983-1984 and again 1986-1992)
Places of interest:
• Remains of 18th century synagogue