YISRAEL BARUCH WARSHAVSKY
Yisrael Baruch Warshavsky was born in Drohitchin in 1882. On his father's side (R. Yeshayahu), he was a fourth-generation direct descendant of the great scholar and kabbalist, R. Dovidel Yaffe. His mother, Gittel, was housewife and upstanding G-d-fearing woman.
Until he was 13 Yisrael Baruch studied in kheder and the House of Study in Drohitchin, and then attended the Pinsk yeshiva. In the summer of 1897 he traveled together with Avraham Asher Kravetz to the Vilna yeshiva, which was located in the Butcher's Kloiz [= a synagogue usually frequented by people of a particular occupation]. Warshavsky also studied briefly on his own in the House of Study in Kartuz-Bereza before studying together with Yisrael Baruch Eisenstein in Iveia, near Vilna, for an extended period.
Warshavsky was quite young when, due to economic conditions, he decided to learn an occupation; he chose teaching, and diligently spent his time studying on his own. He studied a lot of Bible, grammar, Hebrew language and literature, and became an enthusiastic reader of Hamelitz and Hatzefira. At the same time he studied Russian intensively and became acquainted with the Russian literary classics. He also read the Russian newspapers constantly.
He briefly had his own class in Drohitchin but didn't enjoy teaching. So he went back to his studies and took up pharmacy; he then became a pharmacist. His skills and great diligence enabled him to break through all obstacles and achieve his goals. Shortly thereafter, he started working as a pharmacist and optician in Kobrin.
After he married Chaya Lieba from Pruzhena in 1913 (she was a granddaughter of Yitzchak Kravitz of Drohitchin), Yisrael Baruch opened his own optician store in Dvin, near Kobrin. Later he moved his business from Dvin to Drohitchin (in Shimshon Goldman's place), and was on his way to achieve his life's ambition. However, World War I interfered with his plans, and in 1915 the results of all his work and effort went up in smoke.
During the war years and afterwards, Warshavsky suffered greatly (see his memoirs in this book, p. 79), and experienced many difficulties until he got to the United States in 1923. For a while he was supported by his brothers Eliyahu and Yehoshua in Chicago (they had been the ones who sent him money for the trip) until he got involved in teaching in Chicago. He was also a teacher in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rock Island, Illinois, and Vodoville [sic]. He finally moved to New York, and in 1930 brought his wife and children from Drohitchin to New York, where he was hired by a synagogue, and ran a Talmud Torah school. Sometimes he served as a cantor on the High Holy Days as well.
From his early youth, Yisrael Baruch belonged to the Lovers of Zion movement, and was one of the founders of the Mizrachi movement in Drohitchin. He was also an active member of Mizrachi in the United States, collected for various Zionist funds and assisted in building Palestine. Warshavsky was adept at writing, and wrote frequently. He had a nice writing style and a literary sense.
The Warshavskys had one son and two daughters: Yeshayahu (who excelled as a US soldier in the war in the Pacific, and who served in the Israeli army against the Arabs. [Today] he [is] the regional commander of the Ramat Raziel area in Israel); Chana Margalit (a high school graduate with a command of Hebrew, Polish, English and French, and lives with her husband and children in Louisville, Kentucky); Frieda (a graduate in teaching with a government position in New York).
Hershel Baum, may G-d avenge his blood!
Hershel Baum, a son of Shmuel Artshis and a native of Drohitchin, spent his whole life as a religious teacher, though his kheder was a bit modern. In addition to Bible and the Rashi commentary, he taught the children to read and write Hebrew, and had a good reputation as a teacher.
Hershel, his wife and children (except for two daughters, Rachel Lozy in New York and Ahuva Becher in Israel) were killed. May G-d avenge their blood!
[Photo:] Seated from right: Yosef Wasserman (and his class, 1918 Drohitchin), Polia and Wertheim (Volhyn).
Yosef Wasserman was born to his parents, R. Yaakov the Ritual Slaughterer and Chaya in 1896 in Obla, near Pinsk. He studied in kheder in Drohitchin, and then in 1908 in the Karlin Talmud Torah school in Pinsk, and with Motka Melamed in Yanova. In 1911 he arrived at the Mir yeshiva, and then attended the Navarodok yeshiva for 3 years headed by the renowned R. Yozel. He also studied in a study group [kibbutz] in Lida. This group was led by Meitshet rabbi and Rabbi Rabinovich (a son-in-law of the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Reines). R. Yosef Wasserman studied on his own in Slonim during World War I.
In 1917 Yosef came to Drohitchin, and for a while he was involved in teaching. In 1920 he married Solia, the daughter of Shimon and Lotsa Weissman. At the end of 1921 the Weissmans moved to the United States and settled in Chicago, where Yosef worked as a teacher (1922) at the Tiferet Zion Talmud Torah school. Between 1922-1923 he taught at Talmud Torah of Drohitchin. Starting in 1926 he went into business.
As a Zionist, Yosef Wasserman was a strong supporter of Ze'ev Vladimir Jabotinsky's ideas and of the Irgun in its battle for Palestine. He then became closely involved in the Herut movement here and in Israel. Yosef's wife, Solia, [is] an active member of Pioneer Women and Poalei Zion in Chicago. The Wassermans [have] four children: Miriam, Yaakov, Shimon and Chaya.
Shmuel Eppelbaum was born in Drohitchin. When he was still a child he lost his father Aharon David (a son of Shimon Nahoriyer) and received his education from his mother who was known as Bobel the candy store lady, and who was responsible for earning a livelihood for her six children.
Shmuel studied in kheder and under various teachers in Drohitchin. Afterwards, he graduated from the Hebrew Teacher's Seminar in Vilna, and became involved in teaching. Over the years he worked as a teacher in various towns in Poland. In later years he was a teacher at the Moriah School in Drohitchin.
When the Germans took away some Jews, including Shmuel and his family, from the Drohitchin ghetto to be killed in Brona-Gora, Shmuel jumped off the wagon. Despite shots fired at him by the German he succeeded in disappearing into the forest, where he remained in hiding for a long time until he was able to join up with the partisans. Finally, he joined the Red Army and was one of soldiers who entered Berlin.
After the war, Shmuel ended up in a refugee camp, where he worked as a colleague and co-editor of Dos Vort and the Hebrew paper, Netzotz [Spark]. From 1937 on, he lived in Palestine/Israel. Shmuel's mother and sister were killed, may G-d avenge their blood! (For more details, see his articles in the yizkor section).
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