PARNAS

PARNAS
PARNAS (Heb. פַּרְנָס; "leader"; also called rosh), head of the community. The parnas was usually elected, sometimes for life but more customarily for a definite term of one year or three years. In larger communities in the later Middle Ages and early modern times, there were several parnasim who led   the community in rotation, each for one month; they were then called parnas ha-ḥodesh ("the parnas of the month"; this system is described in detail in the takkanot of Cracow for 1595). The leaders of the territorial autonomy structure also used this title, which was later attached to partial, functional leadership, when a distinction was made between the parnas ha-kahal ("of the community"), parnas ha-galil ("of the province"), parnas ha-shuk ("of the market"), the parnasim of the guilds and the like. In modern times the title Parnas is employed for the president of a community or a congregation (in the Spanish and Portuguese congregation of London he is called Parnas – Presidente). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Baron, Community, 3 (1942), index S.V. Parnasim. (Natan Efrati)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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