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Bendery (cont.)

Reb Itzil Goldfarb's wedding Hall was also used as the Zionist Synagogue on the Sabbath and holidays. Its spiritual leaders were: Baruch Cholodenko, Hersh Kogan, Israel Blank, M. Chacham, Yoel Vodovoz (Dora Furman's uncle) and David Wertheim. The guest lecturers who came to this Zionist Synagogue were Chaim Greenberg and Leibele Glanz and a number of Yiddish Poets who nourished our souls and minds with the true meaning of Jewish education, Jewish bravery and the hope of reviving the Jewish homeland in Eretz-Israel. During the refugee years (1918-1921) Goldfarb placed the Hall at the disposal of the women's committee

 

The first group POALE ZION at Bendery
(1) L. Gurfild*, (2) Pruzhansky, (3) Glass *Garfield?

 

When in 1920 Leon Garfield came on a visit from America, he met in Bendery his old Poalei-Zion friends: D. Pruzhan-sky, Dr. Bregman, Z. Shenker, A. Kogan, Z. Bromberg, L. Shneerson, Miss Dubosarsky, Sperling, Arbitman, Rabinovich, Mrs. Kremon, Mrs. Yasky and Chaim Glass. Together they organized a branch of the “Yiddish Cultural League”, with a nursery for little children and an institute for Yiddish literature evening courses for boys and girls. All the above leaders of the league were acting as instructors without any pay. The same league was also responsible for the organization of a choir group under the direction of Zina Pistrow, the sister of David Zina, a talented singer and musician, became later a member of the Bucharest Opera House and also gave individual recitals in various cities.

I believe that our young American generation should know about our parents' enormous struggle in their efforts to make living. Antisemitism and persecutions forced us to leave Bendery and emigrate to the United States of America and to Israel. Those of us who came here had to struggle and work hard to raise our families.

 

The members of the Benderer Progressive Benevolent Society

 

And now let us glance at the achievements of the members of the Benderer Progressive Benevolent Society and the Ladies Auxiliary of New York. Its President, Abe Furman, has been active in the society for many years. Under the leadership of Leon Garfield, Irving Faerman, Louis Garfield, Abe Furman, Max Broitman, Joe Gorenstein, Henry Bidnick, Harry Winsaft, Moishe Sudit, Paul Garfield, Abe Lerman and Yasha Fein, the society helped to organize the “Council of Bessarabian Jews”, affiliated to the “American Histadrut Geverkshaften Campaign”. Leon Garfield, as the council's National Secretary, and David Carmel, as its Publicity Secretary, had helped to provide for more than 300 housing apartments for the Bessarabian refugees in Kiriat Israel near Tel-Aviv. The Benderer Society established a free loan fund for the Benderer newcomers in Israel, donated over $9,000 (with the most help of Leon Garfield) for the new large building of “Beth Yehudey Bessarabia”, which with its library, conference, and recreation halls serves the Tel-Aviv University students in their research work. This building serves as a center for various social activities, including dances for the Israeli soldiers on furlough and for the neighborhood youth, and conferences and lectures for the Jewish newcomers from the Soviet Union. The society is also helping the “Benderer Izkor Book”, which is devoted to the history of the Benderer Jewish Community liquidated by the Nazis.

 

Reb Elie (Shoichet) Chaplick

 

We derive great satisfaction from the fact that some of our Benderer Landsleit's creative effort have been recognized and esteemed. Especially deserving in this respect is Reb Elie (Shoichet) Chaplick, father of Yasha, Lana, Isaac, Chaika and Moishe. A famous Talmud scholar, he used to give Talmud lessons to 25-30 middle-aged Jews every night after the prayers in the Sadigerer School in Bendery. In 1912 he published in Hebrew “Kitzur Divrei Hayamim Veiseder Hadoroth”, in which he included commentaries on our Prophets, Kings, the Macabees, and sages of the great Yeshivas, and some research about the deported from Eretz Israel to Babylonia 2500 years ago. His works had been praised by all the critics as an invaluable source for studying Hebrew literature.

Reb Moishe Seiver (Sverdlick), also a Shoichet, devoted his time to the studies of the Talmud, searching out the epigrams of wisdom and collecting them as he went along for a period of 40 years. After having settled in Eretz Israel, and after long years of hard work, he published his collected works in three large Encyclopedic volumes containing over a hundred thousand quotations and his own commentaries on them. In his works he recorded the deepest wisdom of the Jewish masters. His works can be found in the librairies of the universities throughout the world.

Dr. Isaak M. Fine is another outstanding personality. From 1943 until his retirement in 1967 a Professor of Jewish History at the Baltimore Jewish College, he also served for many years as Curator in the Baltimore and Boston Jewish Historical Society, and had been honored by many fellowships and grants, has published a great number of research articles dealing with Jewish History. In his new book, “The Making of an American Jewish Community: The History of the Baltimore Jewish Community in the years 1773-1920”, he goes beyond the chronological review of that -period and describes the persecution of the Jews and their struggles before they came to this country. The book includes the stories of the lives of a great number of historical figures, and is written in a vivid and clear style

Professor Harry M. Orlinsky, Dunia Fein's husband, the Professor of Bible at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, is an outstanding Bible scholar. In his book “Ancient Israel”, he gives a brief narrative account of the history of the people who created the Hebrew Bible and an outline of the integral relationship between the development of their societies and the growth of the Biblical tradition. His other contribution in the field of Biblical research is the editing of a new translation of the Torah. The text had been put into English directly from the traditional source as preserved throughout the centuries by the Masoretic scribes. Dr. Orlinsky has been a Gugenheim fellow and has lectured at Oxford, Jerusalem, Moscow and Rome Universities. He is considered one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He was also consulted by the archeologist General Yigael Yadin about the authenticity of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls bought from Jordanian Arabs for the sum of $250.00 donated by Samuel Gottesman. The Scrolls are now in the possession of the National Museum in Jerusalem.

David Wertheim, the son of the very cultured Talmid-Chochom Rabbi Shliome, had elevated .himself by his thorough knowledge of Judaism as well as by his extraordinary regard for the general humanitarian ideals. As a Poalei-Zion leader he proved not only a gifted orator, but also a person striving constantly to improve prove his mind, and a man able to endear himself upon all who came in contact with him, leading writers and thinkers as well as a wide following of appreciative friends from all walks of life. one of the most popular and beloved Yiddish and Hebrew speakers, he knew how to turn each of his speaches into a holiday for the Jewish community whenever he appeared, starting from Bendery, and later in any town in Bessarabia, the United States and South America.

Rabbi Dr. Aaron Wertheim had been the chief Rabbi of Bendery for a few years before he came to New York, where he was appointed the Rabbi of the Congregation Bnei-Israel of Linden Height in Brooklyn, N. Y. After a few years of studying he presented to the Dropsy College in Philadelphia, Pa. a thesis on Hassidism. His educational work entitled him to the degree of Ph. D. He published in Hebrew a study in the historical background of the teachings of the Hassidic Movement and its leaders from its beginning in the life of the Jewish people, devoting much space to Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the founder, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev, the well-known spokesman and defender of our people, Rabbi Shneur Zalmon of Liadi (Liubavicher) the builder of Hassidic thought, Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz, the champion of the ethical principles of life, and Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav, the master of the message of and for Eretz Israel. Thanks to this study Dr. Aaron Wertheim has come to be considered a distinguished scholar, particularly in the area of Hassidism.

Rivka Davidit (Davidovich) was born in Bendery and at the age of 12 (not knowing one word of Hebrew) she came with her parents to Israel. When she grew up, she established for herself a fine reputation as a theater critic (in the newspaper “Davar”), a playwright and a children's writer. She has been a co-worker of the Histadrut educational publishing houses: “Am Oved”, “Tarbut Vechinuch” and “Hakibutz Hameuchad”. Apart from all these, she has also translated into Hebrew a number of short stories by Russian classics: Gogol, Turgeniev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Gorki. Rivka Davidit's reviews are highly respected in the literary world and her writings have been described as natural, simple and sincere.

Mordechai Seiver, the editor of many educational Hebrew booklets, is a fine translator of poems and articles from Russian and Yiddish into Hebrew. He translated short stories and poems of Shimon Frug, Nathan Alterman, Kadia Molodovsky, Shika Manik and others. The struggle for Israel's independence has inspired his script for a movie show. He has also published a biography of the deceased speaker of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), Kadish Looz.

 

The poet Shika Manik

 

The poet Shika Manik is another distinguished Benderer. Professor Sol Liptzin gave an interesting review about Shika Manik's (Leiderman) Yiddish book “Along Your Wandering” (Trit Fun Dain Vander), where he says: “This fourth book of lyrics by a poet who left Bendery for America, and then for Israel over three decades ago, contains a few poems of New York, reflecting his American experience and a few recalling his Bessarabian childhood, but more lyrics are based on his experiences as a chalutz. He catches the spirit of Safad, Tel-Aviv and Sodom. He sings about the blue Mediterrenean, about the beautiful nights when the whole land appears like a temple. Sharply contrasted to these joyous lyrics of Israel are the poems devoted to the Holocaust”.

The actor Simcha (Senka) TzechovaI started his career while still a student at the Benderer Shwarzman's High School where he used to appear at the concerts in numerous sketches, and Hassidic and Hebrew folk songs and monologues. After having settled in Eretz Israel and joining the Ha-Ohei Theatre, he has won instant acclaim from the audience and press for his performance in “Uncle Vania” (Chekhov).

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