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Maskilim and Haskalah (Enlightenment) Movement in Bolekhov
in the 19th Century {Cont.}

4. The representatives of the third generation of maskilim in Bolekhov

So far we got to know two generations of maskilim, let us now turn to the representatives of the third generation: Nechemiah Landes, who was born in 1835, that is, nine years before Shmuel Leib Goldenbergís death, and died in 1899, that is, 27 years after Mandscheinís death. While Goldenbergís line of continuation went from Bolekhov to Tarnopol, then to Vienna and finally to Prague and Mandscheinís to Stanislav [Ivano Frankivsk] and then to Jaroslaw, Landesí line drew him to Lemberg where he became a permanent resident in 1879. Landes followed closely the renewal and modernization of Jewish life in Galicia. He was especially interested in educational matters, as can be seen from his reports in the periodical Ben Chananja, of which he was a permanent contributor. In his reports, Landes complained of the Hasidic camp which, in his opinion, hindered the normal development of Galician Jewry. Landes had a comprehensive education: he attended gymnasium in Lemberg, and most importantly he was an autodidact. His reports were written in an excellent German style, interspersed with Latin and French phrases. Apparently, he did not have extensive Hebrew erudition – this was rather typical of the education of the time, which considered mastery of the language and culture of the nation in which Jews lived the most important and neglected the values which ensured the uniqueness of the Jewish people. However, as we shall see, Landes was devoted to Hebrew.

[Yiddish page 201]

Moreover, he had a splendid mastery of Polish, which was one of the most important factors of the national movement in the second half of the 19th century in Galicia, and which gave a new direction to the Jewish Haskalah as well. Landesí fluency in Polish was acknowledged by such an important personality as the Polish leader Smalka whom Landes visited as the head of a delegation of Bolekhov Jews in order to thank him for his friendly attitude to Jews in the imperial council in Vienna. In his answer Smalka (who received delegations from other Jewish communities as well) considered it necessary to highlight the fine Polish speech given by Landes.[61] In 1866 a communal assembly on the occasion of the nomination of Count Galuchovski as governor of Galicia was arranged in the school building in Bolekhov. At this assembly the representative of the old direction, Mandschein, spoke in German, while Landes, the representative of the maskilim of the new direction, gave his speech in Polish.[62] This meeting reveals Landes as a public figure fighting for his peopleís rights. In his speech he expressed the hope that the new governor will work towards annulling the legal restrictions imposed on Galician Jewry.

Let us depict a few more characteristics of Landesí attitude to the community. In 1861 in a review on a book – speeches about Sabbaths and holidays – written by the director of a Jewish educational institution in London (he read the book in German translation) he remarked that it would be worth translating the book into Hebrew to use in girlsí education in Galicia. In the same year he published an article in German that appeared in a Polish calendar which praised the Jewish farmer. On the margins of the translation he stated that in his opinion it would be worth encouraging the development of Jewish agriculture so that Jews would be more willing to turn to agriculture once the legal restrictions which existed vis-a-vis the Jews in Austria would be removed. Pausing on Landesí communal activities it is worth noting that Landes was head of the community council for ten years and he was a member of the city council and the county council.

In 1878 when on the initiative of the Galician maskilim a conference of Galician Jewish communities was organized Landes was elected, together with the representatives of larger communities, to the executive committee.[63] One of Landesí finest accomplishments was the translation from German into Polish, in 1876, of the apologetic pamphlet written by Jacob Menachem Frankel against the attacks of Professor Ruhling, a foe of the people of Israel, on the Talmud.[64] He was especially interested in literary creations which could enhance esteem for the Jewish people.

[Yiddish page 202]

He translated the story entitled ĎZydí [The Jew] by Kraszewski from Polish into German and the book Abraham Ezapavitz, which was originally written by Levande in Russian and translated into Hebrew by Tzitran, from Hebrew into German. This was a clear sign of Landesí absolute fluency in three languages, German, Hebrew and Polish.

It is interesting that Landes tried himself out at writing historical studies. We know his studies on the Jews of Stryj, Stanislav [Ivano Frankivsk] and Zhulkev [Nesterov], and of course, Bolekhov.[65] One of his very important activities was the editing of the newspaper of the maskilim of Lemberg. In the last three decades of the 19th century the Galician maskilim and Hasidim were fighting with one another for getting control over the Jewish community. The Hasidim reinforced themselves through their association called "Machsikei Hadas" [Upholders of Faith], while the maskilim organized themselves into the society "Guard of Israel". The members of the "Guard of Israel" were divided on the language question: one party maintained that the activities should be conducted in German, while the other party held that Polish should be the language of culture of the maskilim. The newspaper Der Israelit was published in German but with the strengthening of the Polish-speaking elements among the Galician maskilim, Landes joined the editorial board in order to make Polish the language of the newspaper. He worked as a member of the editorial board for four years and when he left it, the newspaper appeared once again in German.[66]

Landes was an educator first in Bolekhov, where he was a teacher and director, then in Lemberg, where he directed the municipal school for Jewish children called Sztacki.[67] Finally he was offered the honorable high post of inspector of the Baron Hirsch schools for Jewish children in Galicia. As teacher and educator Landes developed a wide range of activities. He published course books for religious education, he served as advisor in educational matters in the Alliance Israelite Universelle, in his reports to various newspapers he frequently wrote on education. Just to give a few examples: in 1859 he asked why the Jewish schools in Jaroslaw and Kolomai [Kolomyya] do not go on; in 1860 he praised the schools in Brzezan [Brzeziny], Fadheytze (?) and Drohobycz where measures were taken to maintain the Jewish schools. He informed the readers about Jewish education in Czernowitz, Jasi [Iasi] and Galati. He called upon the government to raise the Jewish educational budget to make sure that education would not be dependent on the favors of the pious community leaders who sought its abolishment.[68] When a conflict broke out in the progressive camp in 1861, Landes chastised them "because in the hard struggle for the modernization of Jewish life in Galicia, the fighting camp must be united." [69] From the period when he was inspector of the Baron Hirsch schools important information on his relation to Hebrew was preserved.

[Yiddish page 203]

In 1894 a conference of the teachers of the Baron Hirsch schools was organized in Stanislav [Ivano Frankivsk]. The participants expressed their desire to raise the level of Hebrew instruction in these schools. On the conference inspector Landes declared: "a Jewish youth who leaves the Baron Hirsch schools must know Hebrew, just as well as Polish." [70] This statement may surprise us, yet Landes was an opponent of the national movement. He strongly criticized Nathan Birnbaum when he came to Lemberg in 1862 preaching on behalf of "Chabad Zion" [Love of Zion], he fought against the nationalist newspaper Przyszlosc which was first published in Lemberg in 1893. His opposition to the national movement and at the same time his positive attitude to Hebrew is evident: Landes remained a maskil with the concepts of the second half of the 19th century. He dreamed of light and progress but he did not go further. The national movement which wrote on its banner the full emancipation of the Jewish people, not only cultural but also political revival, did not touch his heart, he remained in the circle of the threefold cultural synthesis of Polish, German and Hebrew. But the natural development of the Galician Jewish world reached Bolekhov as well. In 1899, the same year that Landes died in Lemberg, Hebrew courses were organized in Bolekhov – which were regarded not simply as language courses but as tools for the national revival –, speeches were given in Hebrew on public Zionist meetings. We have to note that a year before Landesí death, on the occasion of the opening of the second Zionist congress a telegram was sent from Bolekhov signed by

  1. Dr. Jacob Blumenthal, chairman of the association "Tikvat Israel" [Hopes of Israel];
  2. Jewish citizens; and
  3. Jewish youth.[71]

C) The story of the Jewish school

We have very little material on the Jewish school in Bolekhov and in the literature we encounter contradictory opinions.

As regards Shlomo Rubinís activities in the school, it is assumed that he was active between 1856 and 1861.[72] Professor Klausner in his foreword to the second book of Rubinís writings disagrees with this hypothesis. In his opinion Rubin was in Bolekhov twice: he first came to Bolekhov in 1851 "and established a private school to teach Hebrew and German". His activities were interrupted because he was drafted into military service for two years. After much wandering – in Zurawno [Zhuravne] and Galati (Romania)– "he returns to Bolekhov in 618 (taf-res-yud-khet) and is nominated director of the Jewish school by the government. He held this post for five years", that is, from 1859 to 1864.

[Yiddish page 204]

Nachum Sokolov, who published, in 1899, a collection of the biographies and autobiographies of the writers of his time wrote that in the 50s Rubin "was a teacher in small towns in Galicia", then in 1857 he came to Bolekhov and became the director of the school for five years.[73] We must correct the erroneous assumptions. The Jüdisches Lexikon (volume 1, page 1111) says that Jacob Goldenberg who later became editor of the periodical Kerem Chemed was active in Bolekhov. We do not understand what the lexicon means by the word "later" as we know that the editor of the Kerem Chemed was not Jacob Goldenberg but his brother Shmuel Leib. The editors assured that they would refer to Jacob Goldenberg with the letter "g" but they did not keep their promise. The Russian Encyclopedia (Yevr. Entzikl.) (volume 4, page 780) says that the editor of Kerem Chemed lived in Bolekhov in the 1840s. Encyclopedia Judaica (volume 4, page 921) is of the same opinion. The truth is that Shmuel Goldenberg left Bolekhov at the end of the 1820s and he edited Kerem Chemed only until 1843 and died in 1846. So, it is hard to speak in general terms about the 1840s.

It is emphasized in various sources that it was the Mandschein brothers (Leib David and Zelig Hirsch) who lobbied for the permission to open the school. The Hebrew Encyclopedia (volume 3, page 808) shares this view. We have no material to either confirm or deny this information. We have not encountered the name of the brother Leib David or his activities in any sources. Zvi Scharfstein in the book The History of Education in Israel says [74] that the founders of the school were Shlomo Leib Goldenberg and Hirsch Zelig Mandschein and the permission was obtained in 1847 and it was because of his activities on behalf of the school that Goldenberg had to leave Bolekhov "he went to Tarnopol and then published the Kerem Chemed ". We found no confirmation in any of the sources of the view that the efforts to open the school were started at the end of the 1820s, at the time when Shmuel Leib (and not Shlomo!) Goldenberg left Bolekhov. Based on the sources we can conclude that Bolekhov followed the same road as Lemberg, in that the promoters of the school made efforts to obtain the permission to open the school at the beginning of the 1840s when Shmuel Leib Goldenberg had already been in Tarnopol for a long time and these were the last years of his work as editor of the Kerem Chemed. And by the way, Mandschein was 16 years old at the end of the 1820s. Scharfstein corrects the historian Balaban who attributes the activities on behalf of the school to Jacob Goldenberg.[75] In truth, Balaban is right – it was Jacob Goldenberg, Shmuel Leibís younger brother, who one of the promoters of the school and not Shmuel Leib, who died a year before the permit to open the school was received.

[Yiddish page 205]

In conclusion, we would like to note that Professor Balaban consulted the archives of the school which he designates Ďschool archives under Mandscheinís nameí. The archives are not at our disposal and who knows if anything remained of them, so let us turn to the sources that are at our disposal. As we have already noted a fermentation of awakening and modernization swept through the shtetl in the 1820s. This fermentation bore its fruit in the form of a circle of young people who set before themselves the goal of taking over control over the community in order to carry out their sweeping reform plans. The times favored them because at the very same time maskilim gained the upper hand in two large communities, Lemberg and Brody.[76] In 1843 a progressive community council was elected composed of three maskilim: Mandschein, Jacob Goldenberg and Zvi Birkenthal.[77]

The young people had elaborate plans but the Hasidic camp put up a strong opposition. Mandscheinís words about the new council are reliable: "From the time that I was elected leader of the community, I have been striving to uproot all bad plants which are distasteful to any maskil. I and my two comrades will continue our efforts and we will not rest until there is light in our dwellings and, despite the numerous opponents, the nation will be healthy in body and spirit alike." [78] One of the innovations the new council introduced was that in the burial arrangements, the ladder from which the corpse was pulled off with a rope was replaced by a bed with a curtain for the Holy Ark. The other innovation was the founding of a hospital. The council showed great zeal in this latter task. It secured support from the Viennese Rothschilds and from various Galician Jewish communities, as well as a single donation of 500 Florins from the town administration, and it also started negotiations with the administration about receiving a yearly subsidy of 100 Florins.[79] One of Mandscheinís important achievements was the introduction of regulations for the benefit of the synagogue, which aimed at preserving the esthetic side and elevating the sentiments in honor of Godís house. Mandschein printed the regulations in his book Amudei ha-Olam [Pillars of the Universe] and he noted: "I offer you the order of a house of prayer which I made for my community and which hangs by the entrance of the shul [synagogue] so that the whole House of Israel would see it in all their dwelling places and act as our learned men commanded. I greatly rejoice that these regulations will be printed on a special tablet and put up by the entrance of the shuln [synagogues] in honor of the Ďsanctification of the congregation".[80] It is not surprising that in the reports from Lemberg we read words of praise about the small town Bolekhov with its 3,000 souls. "There is an intelligent Jewry, led by an able council, which plans to build a school and has already succeeded in collecting 700 Florins to this
end.[81] 

[Yiddish page 206]

The council worked zealously on the founding of the school but the council members cherished illusions in this matter. Mandschein talked about a modest institution "where Hebrew language and grammar and also the vernacular will be studied" but in the same letter he also talked about the school as "a school for science and scholarship".[82] The Jews of Bolekhov were, however, suspicious of the school, fearing that the study of the Tanach with the Biur [Hebrew commentary on the Bible by Mendelssohn and his disciples] and Mendelssohnís translation would be introduced in the school. Mandschein did not rest and appealed to everybody from whom he could still get favor and attention for the school. In his announcements to the Jews of Bolekhov he exposed the low educational standards of the chederim [religious elementary schools] from which children came out "without knowing either our sacred tongue or German", at a time when Jewish girls were excluded from education. He called out: "Have pity on your children; heed to my talk; I've opened my mouth with my voice." Although he had only started carrying out his plan, he already saw the school finished and he pleaded with his people: "Send your children to the new school where they will be raised in wisdom and the fear of God." [83] He asked for support for the new task and edified his people: "It is not a marble stone that will immortalize our names… good deeds, charity and mercy will render us eternal and will secure our good reputation in the world." [84] Meanwhile three years passed since the last elections and who could know if the brave reformers would be elected again in 1846. A report from Galicia stated that there a stormy election campaign cold be expected because the reactionary forces would strive to oust the progressive council.[85] The council rushed to hand in a request to the government concerning the permission to open the school, and to defeat its opponents it collected signatures on a petition pretending that they wanted to open a synagogue, "and they made use of the signatures for the request to open a school".[86] In the meantime new elections took place and Mandschein was elected head of the community council again. In 1847 Mandschein thought that his dream would come true because he received the permission to open the school. But fate wanted it otherwise. The opposition of the Hasidim was very strong and it became impossible even to think about carrying out the plan, and the matter came to a halt until 1856. In 1847 Mandschein, who had had some success, still had illusions. He spoke about a dream of his in which the Jews of Bolekhov came to thank him "for your all the good you did to us, for leading us on the right road with your pen and advice". The dream develops: a battle between the rabbis and melamdim [teachers in religious elementary schools] on one side and the children on the other, and truth, justice and wisdom also take part in the battle in his dream.

[Yiddish page 207]

Truth demands that the leaders of the community be concerned with vocational training and the development of agriculture.[87] The dream maybe suggests the predicament of Mandscheinís plans. As we have already pointed out, Mandschein was forced to put them aside for some years. In the reactionary period which started with the failure of the bourgeois revolution of 1848 in France the prospects of having a progressive council elected were naught. However, the progressive forces had enough power to open the school in 1856 and Bolekhov was the fourth town in Galicia which established such a school.[88] We do not know the organizational and educational status of the school but as we shall see the school budget was based chiefly on the revenues from the shechita [ritual slaughter] and mikve [ritual bath] tax, and the promoters of the school in Bolekhov managed, with great difficulty, to convince the Galician authorities that they should contribute to the budget of the educational fund. With regard to the educational aspects, the school offered a 2-3-year course to provide the children with an essential basis in general and Hebrew erudition. The promoters of the school succeeded in ensuring school attendance by establishing in the regulations that the school was both for girls and boys, and the parents who sent their daughters to school – and parents were ready to do this rather than "sacrificing" their sons – were obliged to send their sons as well.

The school started off well because it managed to attract two important educators. One of them was the director of the school, Shlomo Rubin, who had been persecuted in Dolina and Zurawno [Zhuravne] because of his devotion to the Haskalah, and who later became known as one of the spokesmen in Jewish thought.[89] The other was the teacher Mandschein. A year later a new and very active person, Nechemiah Landes, arrived whom we have already presented in the previous chapter. The communal forces concerned with the school were reinforced with the arrival of another energetic person devoted to education, Berish Blumenthal, who apparently came from the family Blumenthal, a member of which had been a teacher in Bolekhov in Hombergís time. Blumenthalís appearance on the scene was very important because Jacob Goldenberg, the moving spirit of the school council, had left Bolekhov.[90] The external appearance of the school seems to have been satisfactory. In his book Amudei ha-Olam [Pillars of the Universe] Mandschein describes the low standards of the facilities of the chederim [religious elementary schools] but praises the facilities of the new schools. "… in the Galician towns Lemberg, Brody, Tarnopol and in my home town, Bolekhov,… the child comes into a fine building which overlooks the garden and where the rooms are well-lit, the children sit in separate benches in separate classes and are taught by fine and intelligent teachers." [91] Whether the conditions were such in the school in Bolekhov is hard to know for sure but one thing is clear: the school was much better in many respects than the chederim [religious elementary schools] and their facilities.

[Yiddish page 208]

One thing is certain, that Mandschein appreciated order and cleanliness very much and he was especially concerned with sick nursing.[92] It seems that the main figures of the school were considering whether the removal of hats in the classroom should be made compulsory.[93]

[Photograph; caption: The writer and thinker, Dr. Shloyme Rubin (1823-1910), the first ladder of the Jewish school in Bolekhov.]
Despite all the efforts, despite the good teachers, the important promoters of the school, and despite the fact that the maskilim saw a "noble flower of culture" [94] in the school, it was built on shaky foundations. The situation of the teachers was hard because the wages were low; the school building required investment and the public was indifferent; the inhabitants, incited by the rabbi and the Hasidic leaders, were hostile to the school and the community council did all in its power to harass the school and its teachers and leaders.

[Yiddish page 209]

It went so far that when the leaders of the school asked for a certain sum to raise the wages and decorate the school, the community leaders said that it would be more reasonable to donate these sums to the general municipal school in order to strengthen it. The fact that the community council favored Jewish-Christian rapprochement instead of cutting itself off in separate educational institutions was also a hint to the high society of the attitude of the council, it was a sign that the community council was firmly resolved to fight the school to the end until it would die of itself.[95] The fanatics made use of yet another tool to strangle the institution, namely, to ruin the normal school budget. To this end they proposed to suspend shechita [ritual slaughter], which meant that the shochetim [ritual slaughterers] would not slaughter or open a private mikve [ritual bath] near houses of study – the suspension of the revenues coming from the shechita and the mikve meant a death sentence for the school. And they had an even more important tool, namely, not sending the children to school despite the law on compulsory education. The fact is that in 1858 there were 445 school-age children in the town (250 boys and 195 girls) but only 73 attended the school (51 boys and 22 girls). In 1860 there was a change for the better in the case of girls and for the worse in the case of boys. That year only 45 boys but 46 girls went to school. The year 1864 experienced a clear decline: from the 500 school-age children only 70 frequented the school.

Who were the pupils? Primarily girls, as only poor families sent their sons to the school and even they left the school under the pressure of the melamdim [teachers in religious elementary schools] and the Hasidic leaders – after getting clothes and books from the school committee. There was of course a law according to which the melamdim [teachers in religious elementary schools] were not allowed to accept children to study Talmud unless they had a certificate that they had attended a school but no decree and no threat helped. They always found a way to evade the law and the decree.[96] Thus, a permanent war was waged in the town. Professor Klausner states "that the fanatics led a stubborn fight". This war embittered Rubinís life so much that he was fed up with teaching in the school and resigned from his post.[97] After his resignation Nechemiah Landes, hated by the Hasidim because of his progressive ideas, took over the direction of the school, and the war reached its culminating point. On the one hand "the school was a progressive center for many towns in the vicinity," [98] and on the other, the opposing forces were trying to destroy it. It went so far that in 1864 the school experienced a serious crisis.

[Yiddish page 210]

At a popular gathering which took place in the big house of study and in which two members of the community council participated the following far-reaching resolutions were accepted:

  1. the shochetim [ritual slaughterers] would be affiliated with different houses of study and the slaughterhouse, as well as the mikve [ritual bath] would be closed until the school ceased to exist;
  2. the teachers would be declared lawless and it was also suggested that people of the underworld should be hired to "make a physical impression" on them (in other words, to break their bones);
  3. a ban would be proclaimed on the shop of Berish Blumenthalís father if he did not exert influence on his son and tell him not to meddle in the affairs of the school. [99]
Fine words! A life and death struggle! But the school figures were not idle either. Perforce they turned to the government which interfered in the affair and under governmental pressure the community members and the shochetim [ritual slaughterers] retreated and the situation returned to normal.[100] It seems that the matter was fixed and the fanatics came to terms with the existence of the school. It is clear that the school and its promoters were not destined to have any easy life. In any case, as we can see, the school struck root. In 1869 there were already four teachers and 160 children in the school.[101] In 1879 a historical note about Bolekhov appeared in a German newspaper and the editors commented it with the following words: "We see a nicely populated community with fine institutions." [102] It is probable that the editor meant among other things the school, too. In due course the institution became a school for boys only, a fourth class was set up and the curriculum improved. It must be noted that the study of Hebrew was an organic part of the timetable which comprised the study of three languages: Polish, German and Ukrainian.

D) The beginnings of the Zionist organization in Bolekhov

Following the Haskalah movement in our town we discussed at length the school around which the socially most progressive forces were concentrated, and in particular the two most important representatives of these forces, Mandschein and Landes. Mandschein died before the first cells of the national movement were formed but there is no doubt that if he had lived longer, he would have surely joined the national camp which found its expression in the "Chabad Zion" [Love of Zion] camp. Landes, as we have seen, honored and respected Hebrew but he was opposed to the national movement and was in the camp of the assimilationists. We are interested in two question. Firstly, which approach determined the character of the youth in Bolekhov, Mandscheinís or Landesí; and secondly, what influence did the school have on this formation.

[Yiddish page 211]

It is hard to answer this question and we do not have sufficient factual material, especially about the beginning of the 90s when the first Zionist associations sprang up. We find their echo in the columns of the Zionist weekly Die Welt [The World] but we find nothing about Bolekhov: no Zionist association, no reports. However, the news which appeared in the Zionist organ Die Welt since it was first published in 1897 give us some information on the preceding years, as well. And the news depict an intensive national life. One of the carriers of the movement was the school teacher Berish Bikl. We learn that the first national association called "Tikvat Israel" [Hopes of Israel] was formed in Bolekhov already in 1895. The answer to the question posed earlier is plain and clear: the youth crossed the bridge of Haskalah and set foot on firm national ground. We do not intend to describe the national movement in Bolekhov, we shall be satisfied – in order to confirm our former premise – with a short chroniclerís note about the national activity of the last years of the 19th century.

1897

a) A Reb Yehuda Ha-Levi evening was organized. At the gathering after the evening there was a discussion on the national question and one of the speakers denied Zionism and wanted to show that only socialism would solve the Jewish Question, "but it was not hard to challenge his views". From the style of this report we get the impression that the carriers of the national movement in Bolekhov were the high school and university students.
 
b) A large public assembly was organized in the synagogue which attracted "more than 2,000 people (!?), the topic of which was whether Bolekhov should join the "Ahavat Zion" [Love of Zion] movement of Tarnow. This movement planned the establishment of a colony of Galician Jews in Palestine beside the regular Zionist activity which was given its organizational framework at the first Zionist Congress in 1897. The chairman of the assembly was Nechemiah Latringer and at the end of the meeting a committee was elected to distribute the shares of the Colonial Bank and Zionist shekels. To honor the people taking a lead in Zionist matters let us publish their names as they appeared in the press of the time: A. Goldschlag, H. Rosenberg, S. Elendman, M. Schuster, I. Pipes, N. Latringer, V. Askreis, A. Spiegel. The enthusiastic writer ends his interesting report with the following words: "There is no Jew in our town who is not a Zionist, the proof is that the day after the assembly merchants, craftsmen and youth gathered to appoint committees which would elaborate the statutes of the various Zionist associations. The women also gathered to establish their own association, the "Banot Zion" [Daughters of Zion].[103]



[Yiddish page 212]


1898

a) A Maccabean celebration was organized in town for the third time. At the celebration which made a strong impression the following people gave lectures: Dr Blumenthal, Latringer, Levner and Bikl. The latter gave his lecture in Hebrew.
 
b) An interesting report relates that the "Gardener Association" which was organized on a socialist basis joined the national camp and its members bought Zionist shekels for the first time.[104]


1899

a) A Zionist association named "Chovevei Zion" [Lovers of Zion] was founded to replace the association "Tikvat Israel" [Hopes of Israel]. Shortly after its foundation 45 members joined it already and it is hoped that the number of members will soon double. The following members were elected into the council of the association: H. Rosenberg (farz?), Landau, Gartenberg, Spiegel, Neumark, Unger, Friedlander, Kornbli, Erster.
 
b) A memorial service for Dr Ezriel Hildesheimer, rabbi of the "community of Israel" of Berlin and one of the active Zionist leaders, was held in the school auditorium. The following people appeared publicly at the gathering: H. Rosenberg, Latringer and Neumark. The latter gave a speech in Hebrew.
 
c) A general meeting was organized on which H. Friedlander and H. Rosenberg gave an account of the Zionist regional congress in Lemberg to which they had been delegated as representatives of the Bolekhov Zionists. Not only members of the association participated in the meeting. At the end of the meeting Latringer gave a speech in honor of Dr Nordauís birthday.
 
d) In the bes medresh [synagogue] of Dolina a meeting of the Zionists of Dolina, Bolekhov, Vigode [Vygoda] and Razhnyatov [Rozhnyuv] was organized to report on the last Zionist Congress. Dr K. Lipa, the well-known Romanian Zionist leader, who was a delegate of the Romanian towns, gave a lecture. After the meeting there was a gathering where there were Hebrew speeches.
 
e) The usual yearly assembly was organized and a new council was elected. The following people were elected: Chairman– N. Latringer; vice-chairman – D. Unger; treasurer – I. Landes; secretaries – S. Neumark and I. Spiegel; librarian – M. Bandler. Members of the council and special functionaries: A. Landau, Ch. H. Friedlander and S. Vilgut. Eizik Shur was unanimously elected honorary member.

[Yiddish page 213]

f) In the apartment of B. Bikl a Hanukah celebration took place and the following persons gave a talk: Latringer, Bikl and Shur. The program also included recitations by Neumark in Hebrew and Friedlander in German.[105]

1900

There are six reports on Bolekhov in 1900 which describe activities similar to the above-mentioned ones. Two new public figures were mentioned that year, A. Halperin and D. Kaiser. "A meeting was organized in honor of the fourth Zionist Congress – says the report – in which the whole Jewish population participated.[106] Despite their dry tone, all these news are explicit. They show that Bolekhov was a Zionist town thanks to its active youth. In those years Zionist activity meant organizational unity, agitation, enlightenment and cultural activity – the study of Hebrew and the cultivation of its literature. In due course self-realization through aliya [immigration to Palestine] was to start as well.

Closing words

As Mandschein said about the 1820s, "The ha-Tzefirah was successful in our town." At the end of the 1860s Peretz Smolensky wrote the following about Mandschein: "We can see in his words the spirit of the people among whom he dwells."

I hope that my article threw some light on the new spirit of the young generation on Bolekhov which brought the national revival to the town and its inhabitants. This is but a modest contribution to the monument to the memory of our town and our sacred community, at the bosom of which my parents, blessed be their memory, raised me for the Torah and for fate.

Dr. Mishl Hendel

[Yiddish page 214]

[There are only two photos on the page with no description.]

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Footnotes from Book Chapter:
  1. Balabanís Polish book, The History of the Jews in Galicia, p. 187. Return
  2. Ben Chananja, 1886, pp. 822-23. Return
  3. Ben Chananja, 1861, pp. 58-59, 79-80. It is interesting that writing about the village Neubabylon, near Bolekhov, he stresses that it was not the laziness of the Jews that led to the liquidation of the village but the reactionary politics that dominated Austria after the death of emperor Joseph II (Ben Chananja, 1863, p. 61). Sefer Zichron le-sofrey Israel [Memorial book of the Scribes of Israel], Warsaw, 5649, pp. 56-57. Beside the representatives of the Jewish community of Lemberg, representatives of the following communities participated in the council: Kolomai [Kolomyya], Zlotshev [Zloczew], Drohobycz, Jaroslaw, Reishe [Rzeszow], Tarnow, and as referred to, Bolekhov (Allgemeine, 1878, pp. 457-58). Return
  4. On the Rohling affair see S. Dubnow: Divrei YameyiIsrael ba-Dorot ha-Acharonim, vol. 3, p. 43ff. Return
  5. Ben Chananja, 1861, pp. 115-17; 1862, pp. 163-66; 1883, pp. 61-62. Allgemeine, 1879, pp. 283-85. Return
  6. G. Bader: Medinah ve-Chachmeah, p. 127. Return
  7. (1765-1813) A well-known public figure and writer who promoted Jewish rights. Return
  8. Ben Chananja, 1869, pp. 469-72; 1860, pp. 458-60. Return
  9. Allgemeine, 1861, pp. 521-23. Return
  10. Przyszlosc, 1894, pp. 242-46. This report talks about Landes with respect and appreciation, while the newspaper usually talks about him in a tone of contempt; pp. 34-35: "The inspector favored by Viennese bankers"; p. 116: "The assimilated inspector, Mr. Landes" is criticized in 1793 because he reduced the wages of a Hebrew teacher in Stryj because of the teacherís attitude to the study of Hebrew which he did not find proper (1793, p. 224). Return
  11. See the report on the second Zionist Congress, 1898, p. 254. A telegram was sent by the association "Choveve Zion" in Bolekhov to the third Zionist Congress (1899) (congress report, p. 260). In the statement on the greeting of the fifth Zionist Congress (1901) by Bolekhov it is stressed that there are 100 signatures on the telegram (congress report, p. 463). The sixth and seventh Zionist Congresses (1903, 1905) received a telegram also from the community council (cultural community, pp. 340-60). Return
  12. F. Friedmann: Die Galizischen Juden im Kampfe um Gleichberechtigung (1848-1868) 129, p. 71; See also Balabanís Polish book, The History of the Jews in Galicia, pp. 136, 186-87. Return
  13. Kol Katvei Dr. Shlomo Rubin [The Writings of Dr. Shlomo Rubin], book 2, Warsaw, 1910, pp. IX-XIII. The designation "on behalf of the government" means that the school was under government supervision. In the first years the authorities did not set any budgetary help. Sefer Zichron le-sofrey Israel [Memorial book of the Scribes of Israel], Warsaw, 5649, pp. 102-103. Return
  14. Vol. 1, p. 158. Return
  15. op. cit., note 46. Return
  16. See Friedmanís book, p. 146; Gelberís book on Brody, p. 263; Balabanís Polish book, The History of the Jews in Galicia, pp. 130ff. Return
  17. Jacob Goldenberg, Shmuel Leibís brother – we already had some opportunity to mention him and know him a little. Zvi Birkenthal, apparently from the family in Bolekhov – we encounter him as rabbi of the Jewish community of Pisk (Czech lands) in 1863. Both of them are referred to as members of the community council in Jacob Bibringís letter to Mandschein. Kochave Jichak, brochure 10, pp. 39-42. The preacher of Lemberg, Reb Issashar Ber Löwenstein is also mentioned in the dedication of Mandscheinís book Lashon Chachamim,…? (p. 5). Return
  18. op. cit., note 43. Return
  19. Allgemeine, 1846, pp. 475-77. Return
  20. Amudei ha-Olam, pp. 61-62, 59-60. Return
  21. Allgemeine, 1844, pp. 545-46. Return
  22. op. cit.y, note 43. Return
  23. Kochave Jichak, brochure 7, 1846, pp. 18-36. Return
  24. Kochave Jichak, brochure 5, 1846, p. 20-27. Return
  25. op. cit., note 78. Return
  26. Zvi Scharfstein: Toldot ha-Chinuch be-Israel [The History of Education in Israel], vol. 1, p. 158. Return
  27. Kochave Ichak, brochure 6, pp. 21-32. Return
  28. Take into consideration that the school which was founded in 1830 in Cracow, while it was independent, Bolekhov was in the fifth place (Tarnopol, Brody, Cracow, Lemberg, Bolekhov). On the character of the school in Tarnopol, the most important institution, see Sefer Tarnopol [The Book of Tarnopol], pp. 47-51, 55-60. Return
  29. I accept Balabanís view which is based on archival material and he states, as already mentioned, that Rubin came to Bolekhov in 1856. We must remember that Rubin came here when he was already well known in literary circles and in Jewish thought. He had in his literary possessions among other things the translation of the well-known tragedy of Karl Guzkav "Uriel Accosta", as well as the literary-ideological debate with Shmuel David Luzzatto about Spinozaís philosophy. Return
  30. Jacob Goldenberg settled in Czernowitz and died as a landowner there. Return
  31. Amudei ha-Olam, p. 46. Return
  32. op. cit., note 78. Return
  33. op. cit., p. 52, footnote 27. Return
  34. Ben Chananja, 1864, pp. 843-46. Return
  35. Ben Chananja, 1865, pp. 836-37. Return
  36. Ben Chananja, op. cit., note 94; Russian Encyclopedia, vol. 4, pp. 782-83. Return
  37. op. cit., note 72, p. XIII. Return
  38. Balabanís Polish book, The History of the Jews in Galicia, p. 187. Return
  39. op. cit., pp. 187-88. Return
  40. Ben Chananja, note 94. Return
  41. Friedmanís German book, pp. 150-51, note 6. Return
  42. Allgemeine, 1879, p. 283. Return
  43. Die Welt, 1897, Pamphlet 18, p. 11; Pamphlet 21, p. 9. Return
  44. Die Welt, 1898, Pamphlet 2, p. 5. Return
  45. Die Welt, 1899, Pamphlet 23, p. 13; Pamphlet 27, p. 13; Pamphlet 36, p. 12; Pamphlet 37, p. 11; Pamphlet 40, p. 10; Pamphlet 50, p. 16; pamphlet 51, p. 12. Return
  46. Die Welt, 1900, Pamphlet 10, p. 11; Pamphlet 17, p. 10; Pamphlet 24, p. 12; Pamphlet 35, p. 15; Pamphlet 39, p. 6; Pamphlet 47, p. 14. Return


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