||Eulogy by R. Abraham b. Israel Teomim of Zaleshchiki of R. Israel Friedmann, Admor of Ryzhyn.
R. Israel Friedmann (1797–1850), hasidic leader. R. Israel was a great-grandson of R. Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mezhirech. Hasidim claimed to recognize his outstanding qualities almost from birth. His uncle R. Mordecai of Chernobyl declared that the babe had the soul of the Ba'al Shem Tov. At the age of six Israel lost his father. At the age of 13 he married and moved to Botosani. When R. Israel was 16 years old his brother Abraham died, and he was appointed to succeed him as the leader of the Hasidim. Possessed of great organizing ability, he rapidly established a large Hasidic center attracting thousands of followers. He then moved to Ruzhin where he set up a splendid "court" and like his father, R. Shalom Shakhna, lived in great luxury and unusual splendor. His dwelling place was that of a noble with all its opulence. He rode in a splendid carriage with silver handles, harnessed to four galloping horses, and surrounded by many servants. The ideological explanation given by Israel himself for his mode of behavior was that Satan is already involved in all the behavior of the Hasidic Zaddikim, although he is unaware that within the external extravagance and wealth a precious stone is concealed.
In 1838 Israel was accused of having given the order to put to death two Jewish informers, Isaac Ochsman and Samuel Schwartzman, who had been engaging in illegal exploitation and informing. When their activities began to endanger the Jews and their communities, the lay communal leaders decided to put them to death. One was put into the boiler of the ritual bath and the other was drowned. For a long time the Hasidim and members of the community succeeded in hiding the affair, and even after the body was found in the river the cause of death remained a secret until revealed by a third informer. An extensive investigation was then initiated, and the case was transferred to a higher authority. Hundreds of persons were imprisoned and subjected to severe tortures. Eighty of them were brought before a military court in a trial that lasted a year and a half. Six lay leaders were sentenced to hard labor for life and flogging, from which most of them died. Israel was imprisoned for 22 months, during the whole period of the investigation. He was placed in solitary confinement in prison in Kiev, but was permitted to receive food in his own utensils.
On the conclusion of the investigation in 1840, in which the defendants did everything in their power to exonerate Israel from the accusation leveled against him, he was released, but was placed under continual surveillance as he was also suspected of an ambition to become ruler of the Jews. Policemen went in and out of his room while he was praying. He moved to Kishinev where the provincial governor was better disposed toward the Jews. However, when his followers learned that their leader was to be exiled to a distant place, they speedily obtained a travel permit to Moldavia for him, promising that he would return if required to do so. He then settled in Jassy in Rumania. The Russian governor who provided the permit, in fear of his superiors, hastened to send emissaries in secret to Jassy to have Israel extradited. However, the Hasidim anticipated this and removed him to Shatsk in Bukovina, which belonged to Austria. He moved from town to townincluding Kompling, and Skola, until after many efforts, described in numerous Hasidic legends, he was authorized by the Austrian emperor Ferdinand I (Dec. 20, 1845) to live in Sadgora in Bukovina. R. Israel's Hasidim purchased an estate for their leader called Zolotoi-Potok near Sadgora.
At Sadgora thousands of Hasidim streamed to him, and he built himself a splendid palace there, continuing the same life of opulence that he had led in Ruzhin. R. Israel had a great influence upon the numerous Hasidim and Zaddikim, especially the Rumanian Hasidim. On the death of the rabbi of Apta, R. Israel was also appointed head of the Volhynia Kolel in Erez Israel, and did much on behalf of the Jews in Erez Israel. The splendid synagogue Tiferet Yisrael in Jerusalem (destroyed by the Jordanians after 1948), also called the Nisan Bak synagogue, was named after R. Israel of Ruzhin because he provided the funds for buying the ground and building the synagogue. R. Israel of Ruzhin wrote no books. His teachings are collected in Irin Kedishin, Beit Yisrael, Tiferet Yisrael, Keneset Yisrael, Pe'er Yisrael, etc.