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Bendery (cont.)

The Benderer Jews were charitable and supported all Jewish causes. When Jewish refugees came streaming in from across the river, having escaped from the Ukrainian pogroms and Bolshevick revolution, the Benderer gave them shelter, food and services to ease their burden.

Politically, we had our share of Socialists, Zionists, Labor-Zionists, and also a few Bundists, Territorialists and Revisionists. We also had our Jewish amateur theatre-group from which several fine artists emerged. To name but a few: Shmerl Chrush, Rose Kaniberlatzkaya, Panish, Rose Celnik, Liza Klotz-Gorenstein, Yoske Gorenstein, Bendersky, Krasilchik, Motke and Yosi Gold.

 

The first group of Zionists at Bendery under the leadership of N. Lifshitz

 

In addition to our own cantors: Tevya Schachanovsky, Kolochnick, Moishe Chazkelevich, Reb Pini from the Sadigerer Shil, Balaban, Banish and Yosele Shwartzman, we used to enjoy the performances of the finest opera-troupes from the bigger cities and the most famous cantors from Russia.

 

Head Hazan Reb Pini Mesonsnic
at the Sadigure Synagogue

 

Summertime, our city would become a vacation center and the greatest actors with their companies would then appear in our summer theatre.

We must devote at least a little space to the unusual honesty of our artisans. Here is an illustration: dressing up in her fineries to attend a wedding, my Mother notices that her diamond ring is missing, and she gives it up for lost. After some time, before another wedding, she takes her good dress to the best tailor in town, Reb Itzchok Furman (father of Abe), for a slight alteration. A few days later, Reb Itzchok brings my mother's dress back with the missing diamond ring, which he found hidden in the hem of the dress. And since we mentioned a wedding, let us now and here describe one. It usually started late in the afternoon and lasted till dawn. After the Chupa ceremony, the caterer and head waiter, Reb Elia Bidnick, (father of Henry), would announce that all the guests of the groom's side were to be served bouillon with mondlen. The bride's guests would simply sit and watch. The main dinner for all would take p!ace about midnight. Before the last course, the sexton would announce that wedding gifts were then in order. Some would give a rubble, some half rubble, a few would bring gifts. The obvious reson for this procedure was that the money had to be used to pay the cooks, the waiters and the musicians.

The prosperous families would arrange more modern weddings. It is worth noting that the building where these weddings were held, was built and owned by Reb Itzil Goldfarb, (grandfather of Label Goldfarb from Montreal, Canada). The Chupa ceremony would take place on a huge outside balcony, which could hold more than 50 guests, and hundreds of people would be watching the ceremony, usually conducted by the Chief Rabbi Reb Shliomke Wertheim. Reb Itzil Goldfarb had been a President of the old Synagogue for a long time. During his term in office he rebuilt, renovated and redecorated the old Beis-Medrash, but kept its interior in the old tradition and spirit. After him Reb David Gurfel became the President.

 

Hersh Kogan
The Zionist leader at Bendery
Israel Blank one of the leaders
of the Algemeine Zionisten

 

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