communities first appeared in Byelorussia in the
14th century, when it was part of the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They came –
mostly from Poland and Germany – because of trade
and business opportunities. The first mention of
Jews in Bobruisk, which sits on the Berezina River,
was in 1511. After the early 19th
town and its Jewish community grew
quickly. By 1898, the nearly 20,000 Jews constituted
half the population.
The village of Parichi,
where this story begins, is a small town on the
Berezina south of Bobruisk. Jews appeared there in
the early 17th century. Many engaged in the timber
trade, taking advantage of abundant forests and the
natural channel offered by the river, a Dnieper
Nearby Shchedrin's 9,700 acres were purchased in
1841 by the Lubavitcher Rebbe Mendel Shneerson,
who invited 300 Jewish families to settle there.
Among the village's early residents was a large
family named Seligman.