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[Page 329]

Youth Movements
and Political Parties

czy329a.jpg [30 KB] - Youth Movements and Factions

Youth Movements and Factions



Youth Movements and Zionist Activities
in our City of Czyzewo

by Yitzchak Szalski of Tel Aviv

Translated by Jerrold Landau


Within the socio-cultural excitement that was appropriate to the restricted conditions of a small provincial town such as our Czyzewo, and within the general realm of multifaceted activity in the field of Zionism with which our town also excelled during the proud era of Zionist pioneering, the Zionist youth groups stood out and prominently in great glory and successful activity, each according to its own faction. These activities brightened the gray skies of this typical Diaspora town. They blew a spirit of enthusiastic life into its Jewish residents, awakened in them the somnolent national feeling, strengthened their social standing, and raised their honor in their own eyes and in the eyes of the gentiles around them.

During its first steps, this positive phenomenon did not find the required echo in the midst of the Jews of the town. Many opposed it and placed obstacles in the path of its development, based on the realities of the Jews of the town. However, the small group of idealists who toiled with dedication and faithfulness for the Zionist idea succeeded in overcoming any obstacle placed in their path.

Indeed, not much time passed before various youth organizations, all with a pioneering Zionist inclination, began to arise. The youth were drawn to them in their masses with youthful enthusiasm. In them, they received their first social, nationalist and pioneering education. The Zionist doctrine exuded from them, permeating the town and spreading its influence upon Jewish life in the town, from both a national economic and practical Zionist perspective. In these youth groups, the first of the pioneers were trained for aliya and realizing the goal of the upbuilding of the homeland in the Land of Israel.

As I now cast a backward glance and come to survey briefly, from a historical perspective, the history of the development of these youth groups, their activities and achievements, I am proud to state with satisfaction and pleasure – that was indeed the way it was. We were correct at that time in our activities for the benefit of the youth of our town! All of the ideals that we preached to them have been realized! Our vision turned out for us and for many of them to be a pleasant and good reality. It is unfortunate that only a portion of us merited this!

We were a small group of young people. Most of us Beis Midrash students became enamored with the Zionist idea with great enthusiasm and pure belief. We searched for freedom and salvation for the forces of youth and the tensions of thought, and the possibilities of concrete expression in day to day activities for a specific sublime idea. For us young people, educated in Yeshivas, the children of good families from circles of those faithful to the faith of Israel – what could be a more sublime idea than the return to Zion and the education of the youth towards aliya and the building of the Land? Therefore, we thrust our souls forward; we exerted our power, and made this seminal jump[1]. We went out against the boorishness and boring innocence that ravenously consumed the youth of our town. We stood up against the idle notions of Agudas Yisrael, which was inimical to the Zionist spirit. However, above everything, we saw it as a holy obligation upon ourselves to wage an energetic war against the Communist venom that attracted the pure souls of the neglected youth with its secret charm, and planted in them nationalistic ruin and destruction by negating all that was holy to our people.

We began this activity with great effort. We performed our tasks with dedication and faithfulness, with the faith and trust that our toil would not be for naught. Indeed, not much time passed before all of the youth was conquered by us and was taken over by the pioneering Zionist idea.

"Hashomer Haleumi" was the first Zionist organization that arose and began its activities in Czyzewo. Other organizations stemmed from it as time went on. However, the common denominator among all of them was that they all raised the horn of nationalistic Judaism in our town, and played a great role in the education of the youth towards a social life filled with a practical Zionist spirit. We merit the fact that today in Israel there are more than 120 families of Czyzewo natives, and indeed the majority of them were educated in these youth groups.

Thanks to the practical care of the counselors, people made aliya to the Land, laid down roots there, and assisted in its upbuilding and its defense during the War of Independence. They established their families and their lives, which is now a life as an independent citizen in the homeland of the State of Israel.


czy329b.jpg [26 KB] - Hashomer Haleumi
Hashomer Haleumi

 



Translator's Footnotes:
  1. This is literally: “this Nachshonite jump”, referring to the Midrash (exegetical commentary on the Torah) that the Red Sea did not splint until Nachshon the son of Amminadab (the prince of the tribe of Judah) jumped into the sea. return


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