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With My Own Hands (cont.)

 

 
The Woodcutters
Members of the Hachshara at Kibbutz Ironi (Urban) “Chaim”, Ponevezh

The gentiles sneered: A Jew is working? …
From right to left, top: (-), Bertzik Lipshitz (Dov Magen, the first ones of Palyam; captain of the “Velus”), Yashka Vitkin
Second row: Dina Fish, Zelda Charit, Rachel (from Vilkomir-Ukmerge), (-)
Standing in a long line: Micha Baron (third), Rivka Melamed, Nehemya
Seated: Chaim Grinstein (right)

 

On the ship “Pilsana” to Eretz Yisrael

I was on hachshara for a year, from Passover to Passover. When I was approved for aliya, I returned home and waited for the certificate. At that time the allocation of certificates had stopped. I was impatient. I was afraid that the time of my recruitment to military service would arrive and that I would not be able to leave Lithuania. I emphasized it in the Hechalutz center. I raised the problem with Marshak during his visit to Lithuania, and to Dov Rumil. Dov Rumil calmed me down and said, “ You will make aliya. You will not go to the army.”

Soon before my recruitment date, August 25, I received the message, “You are to make aliya”.

I needed a certificate vouching for my honesty, and a bachelor certificate. The teacher Yudel Slep lent me his bicycle. (I said, “Do me a favor, as a memento.”) I went to Zarasai to receive the honesty certificate. I had to receive the bachelor certificate from the Rabbi, but he refused to issue it. The Rabbi's relations with my father were better than with me. He said: “I shall give the certificate only if your father allows you,” and I confronted him: “What shall I do? Shall I lie?”

While informing the center about not getting the bachelor certificate, I realized I had gotten “married”…

Leaving home was quiet. It was difficult to part from my father. I knew we would not meet again. Leaving my friends was easier. We departed saying, “See you in Eretz Yisrael.” My close friends arranged a special farewell party for me, and an evening earlier we went to Ziv's Tea House where brandy was served. My sister Gitke arranged a party for me as well. Before leaving, I renovated their home and added a room that later served as a butcher shop. I also made furniture for them.

On the day of my departure, a theater performance was to take place in Dusiat (I still have pictures from the rehearsal…). Everybody was very busy, but they found the time to come to the bus and say goodbye. I left happily. On reaching Utian I went to Chaya-Sore, father's aunt, and to Hirshel Chatzkel.

 

 
“From your sister Gitke and brother-in-law Elyukim Pores and your niece Bailinka.
Forgive us for not writing to you”

 

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