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[Page 235]

The Sofer Brothers

 

English Translation by Sara Mages

[Page 237]

About Yosef Sofer

by Hentsye Zak

 

Vis237.jpg
Yosef Sofer

 

In 1921, when he was still young, he immigrated from Vishnevets and was among the first to arrive in the Land.

As a son of a respected, affluent, and well-known family, he was sent to Odessa to get an education. At that time, Zionist idealism entered his heart, and he decided to immigrate here. It was a daring decision, and his parents couldn't prevent him from carrying it out.

In the Land, he settled in Tel Aviv and lived in hardship in a hut with a comrade. It was a dilapidated hut whose roof leaked when it rained. Yosef worked a few days a week in construction and had a hard time earning a living. But he was always in a good mood. Happy and joyful, he visited all the Vishnevetsers in Tel Aviv, and everyone praised him.

A few years before World War II, his parents pressured him to return “home” so they could see him for a short time, but in their hearts, they were hoping he'd agree to stay with them, and he responded. He stayed abroad for a while and married Lola. We were all worried that he wouldn't return to the Land, but how surprised we were when we found out that he was returning to us with his wife.

This time, he didn't go to Tel Aviv. Haifa attracted him, and he settled there. Again, the pangs of absorption faced him, and again he had to adjust to a new location, new connections, and a new society. With great effort, he got a job at Solel Boneh [1]. In this company, he showed great skill at his work and dedication to the company's affairs, and he became one of the senior administrators at Herut, a Solel Boneh subsidiary company.

At that time, his situation improved. He obtained a nice apartment, and he enjoyed life and the rewards of his work. But unexpectedly, Yosef, who was in good health, contracted heart disease, which stayed with him and attacked him, attack after attack. After a number of attacks, his heart was silenced. He died in 1955.

Then we mourned the loss of a good friend, and we kept his memory alive. Now, with the publication of Sefer Vishnevets, we'll write his name before us, and we'll remember him for eternity.

 

Translator's Note:
  1. Solel Boneh (literally, Paving and Building) is the oldest and one of the largest construction and civil engineering companies in Israel. return

 


[Page 238]

Yakov Sofer, of Blessed Memory

by Meir Or

 

Vis238.jpg
Yakov Sofer

 

I knew Yakov from the time he was a child. We were neighbors. I saw him at all stages of life: as a cheder student, at the secular school, and as a teenager with an appetite for education who exchanged books at the library and swallowed them thirstily. Afterward, I saw him as a young man seeking a brighter future, searching for an outlet and relief from his difficulties, walking like a shadow between us, like us, in our town's gloomy life.

Yakov inherited some rare qualities from his father, R' Issakher Sofer: kindness, patience, forgiveness, forbearance, openness to the sighs of his fellow man, and the will to help him.

His social sense was engraved in him as part of his being. I, who was older than he was by half his age, realized he was unusual. There was kind of warmth in him that enticed anyone who met him. He was a loyal friend who maintained his friendship to perfection, without showing off. His friendship flowed from his personality without any special effort, as an order from his conscience and through knowledge of the person.

In the Land, he passed through the different stages of life that were typical of our generation: pioneer training, living in a kibbutz, and a position in the city at Tnuva [1]. In all the various stages of his life and within his social framework, he was given to helping those who experienced personal difficulties. He assisted those in need with action, advice, and direction, and by taking every possible advantage of all possibilities connected to his role at Tnuva and derived from his connections with various organizations in the country.

I know of one family that was orphaned and abandoned after Yakov's death. A few days after his death, the head of the family came to me and told me that Yakov had been his only savior, the only one who had substantially cared for his existence, and he concluded, “We've passed through various stages of hell in our lives, and we didn't break as we broke when our beloved Yakov died.”

Two weeks before his passing, I visited him at his place of work.

I happened to be there exactly on the day when Tnuva's offices were moving to their new home. Yakov, as he always did, took care of each detail of his department's transfer.

[Page 239]

I said to him, “Yankeli, you were ordered to take care of your health. What's this uproar? What's this extra effort, why are you pushing yourself?”

And he answered me, “I know my condition. A disaster could happen any day or any time, so I take my mind off it by continuing to work as if my condition weren't so bad.”

Apparently Yakov knew what was coming to him and didn't deny it.

With his death, we lost a man and a dear friend. His loss will be felt in various circles, mostly in the community of our Vishnevets brothers. He cared for their organization and carried its burden since its establishment.

 

Translator's Note:
  1. Tnuva is a co-op in Israel specializing in dairy products. return

 


[Page 240]

Asher Sofer

by Ts. R.

 

Vis240.jpg
Asher Sofer

 

From the time he was a child, Asher showed us that whatever road he took, he wouldn't turn aside from what appeared right and correct to him, even if his road were exceptional and unlike others.

He was serious in his deeds, loyal to his heart's commands, and righteous and noble in his business dealings. His movement recognized him as an outstanding member and “honorable” graduate, and invited him to work at the Betar center in Warsaw.

At the height of the Holocaust, Asher escaped to the Land and searched for a chance to save his family members.

Asher experienced strange adventures in the Land; even if he planned them himself, he was surprised by the outcome. By chance, Asher joined Anders Polish army to take revenge on the Nazis who had spilled our blood, but he deserted, wounded in his soul and hopeless.

Asher experienced some suffering in his private life in the Land and wandered from job to job, from being a janitor at the municipality building in Tel Aviv to being an office clerk in Netanya. He was cut off from his acquaintances and friends and alone with the worries he had to solve himself, without imposing on others. He carried his suffering silently and with inner tranquility.

When Asher reached the point of building a home and family, he reached the height of his happiness. When the country was at full strength and his family bloomed, he represented his movement at the central employment service office. He was kind to those who approached him and enjoyed his surroundings.

He had a heart attack at the height of his happiness. The great fears of May and June 1967 shook the vision of his growing happiness, and his sensitive heart stopped beating.

Asher the noble, who was pleasant and friendly in his manner, will be missed by Vishnevetsers. He cared for his family and was a dedicated, loyal, loving father and husband.

 

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