Dispute between the Munkács and Belz Hasidim

During WWI, the town of Belz in Galicia became a battlefield. The Admor of Belz, Yissachar Dov Rokeach, left the town with his disciples, wandering across Hungary as a refugee. In 1920 the Admor from Belz arrived in Munkács, where he found many disciples.

In Munkács, an enmity had developed between the courts of the disciples of Rabbi Shapira and the Belz Hasidim. The arrival of Rabbi Rokeach worsened the dispute further. Rabbi Shapira attacked the Belz Hasidim with curses, tattle tales and defamation – among other names he called them Hazirei Belz (Belz pigs) and they answered back.

The dispute was eventually brought before the Czech court, which found Rabbi Shapira guilty of calling for an excommunication, which was against the law. The case was publicized in the Czech press and those of neighboring countries, damaging the good name of the Jews of Subcarpathian Rus'.

In 1922, Rabbi Rokeach left Munkács and returned to Belz, but the dispute in the town continued. That same year, the Belz Hasidim left the orthodox community and established a new community with their own rabbi and shochet. The new community did not succeed in obtaining a permit from the authorities to call themselves "The Guardians of the Orthodox Religion, Belz Hasidim in Munkács," so they reapplied with a new name – "Guardians of the Neologic Belz Hasidim" – which was granted. According to Hungarian law, which stayed in effect under Czech rule, it was forbidden to establish an additional community from the same religious stream. So the Belz Hasidim, which could not call themselves "an Orthodox community," chose the name "Neologs," the name of the Hungarian Reform Movement, despite the fact that it was orthodox in all but name.

After years of bitter infighting, and lengthy negotiations, a peace agreement between the two sides was signed on 11 March 1934. In the peace agreement between the Belz and Munkács Hasidim, the Belz Hasidim received the right to provide the teachers and rabbis of the Orthodox community. The agreement read:

At the official General Assembly Meeting at the "Machzikei Hadat" Synagogue, on 11 March 1934, with the participation of members of the "Neological Community Congress" Association as well as, of course, the rest of the members of and visitors to the prayer house that accept the peace agreement that the Orthodox Community and its prayer house received, and that was approved by the authorized delegates of both sides, as one document […] and irreversible. Also, the members of the community and/or visitors to the prayer house renounce all confrontation with the Orthodox Community and the Orthodox Rabbinical Institution, and cancel all claims against the Orthodox Community.

At the same time, the assembly wholly approves the council and the administration of this prayer house, as well as the Property Committee of the previous Congress Community, in coordination with the autonomous Orthodox Community, to take all necessary steps to implement this peace agreement in full, including translating the agreement and passing it to the authorized authorities.