In 1900 the Jewish population of Bershad was 4,500, out of a total population of 7,000. The Jewish artisans numbered about 500. The community possessed one synagogue and six houses of prayer. In June, 1648, during the uprising of the Cossacks under Bohdan Khmelnytsky (Chmielnicky), the most bloodthirsty of his leaders—Maksym Kryvonis—conquered Bershad and slew all the Jews and Catholics. S. A. Bershadski, the celebrated historian of the RussianJews, descended from a Cossack family at Bershad, where his great-grandfather officiated as a Greek Orthodox priest (Greek Orthodox Church).
Bershad was famous in the middle of the nineteenth century for its Jewish weavers of the tallit (ritual shawl word at prayers). But at the end of the century the demand decreased, and the industry declined, leading many of the weavers to emigrate to America.
In 1941, the Romanian forces transformed this city into a ghetto, where thousands of Jews were starved to death, including Bessarabian Hebrew writer and Yiddish poet Mordechai Goldenberg. Many of the victims were brought in from Bessarabia.