Reb Laizer Borokhovich, Shtetl Chazzan and Shoichet
The heartfelt prayers of Reb Laizer were always so sweet and wonderful that the people at prayer were very moved by them, so much so, in fact, that he could have been called Rebbe. In the same way the Hasidic Rebbe affected the ones at prayer with his Torah and hasidic tales and caused his listeners to repent and return to Jewish ways, so did his singing give expression to the words, causing them to penetrate the hearts of his listeners and mend their way.
I once heard him daven during Passover. He sang the verses of Barikh Dodi and his prayer moved me so deeply that tears poured from my eyes. Always, being in Israel already, I dreamt of at least once more hearing Reb Laizer's prayers. And to this day I recall how beautiful he looked as he stood praying, with his combed beard, when he conducted the choir, truly like the temple Kohen (priest) in the time of the Bais Hamikdash.
The hiring of Reb Laizer as Chazzan-Shoichet was thanks to the last Ciechanow Rov, Rav Hagaon Reb Chaim Mordecai Bronrot Z'L, the former head of the Bet Din (Jewish religious court) in Tel-Aviv.
Amongst all his good works for Ciechanow Jewry, it is also worth mentioning Rov Bronrot's understanding of a good Chazzan. He knew that by engaging a good chazzan the school will have a better attendance, and that actually was the case. When Reb Laizer davened, the shul was packed.
Reb Laizer perished during the German annihilation.
The light of Reb Yoel-Dovid shone for just a short time. He died at a young age and with his death Jewish Ciechanow lost one of its most active and finest societal workers.
He was active in the Agudah and his main aim in life was to spread the Torah amongst the people of Israel. He often put aside his own matters and devoted his time and money for communal needs. Even the most bitter opponents of the Agudah showed great respect to Reb Yoel-Dovid Weingarten, because everyone considered him an earnest person who does not want to derive any political capital from his work in the community.
The Agudah member, Reb Yoel-Dovid Weingarten, born in 1894 in the village of Glusk, near the Polish shtetl of Zakrochim, descended from a family of rabbonim, hasidim and important merchants. His father, Reb Yehoshua, gave his father a full Jewish religious education that left its mark on all the life and communal activities of Reb Yoel-Dovid Weingarten.
At the age of twenty-three, Reb Yoel-Dovid, who lived in the shtetl Yerantshin with his parents, married someone from Ciechanow and set up life there. He occupied himself with communal matters. He was one of the founders of Agudat Shlaimah Amunai Yisroel in Ciechanow and became the secretary of the organization of religious Jews.
Reb Yoel-Dovid devoted all his youthful fervor to this organization that he supported in every way with all the means at his disposal. As a well-to-do merchant, he helped the organization financially and influenced others to contribute funds. With his help, large sums of money were collected for victims of the Ukrainian-Petlurish pogroms of 1919. With Weingarten's help, there was carried out in the Ciechanow Agudah a successful campaign for Keren Hakhinukh (Fund for Hebrew Education)) that made it possible to establish the religious schools. His initiative, energy and temperament also expressed itself when the Agudah in Ciechanow collected money for Keren Avraham to perpetuate the memory of the Ciechanow Rebbe ZL.
In 1921, when together with the help of American Jews, the Kitchen Committee was established to feed the needy Jews, we once more see Reb Yoel-Dovid as a representative of the Agudah. In this respect, Reb Yoel-Dovid showed himself to be Jewish-hearted to all who were in need. There was hardly an aspect of communal activity in which Reb Yoel-Dovid did not participate. He was amongst the founders of Tzirei Amunai Yisroel (later called Tzirei Avodah). Of the Poale Amunai Yisroel, of the Bais Yaacov School and other institutions. Reb Dovid-Yoel Weingarten supported all these materially, and for the youth of the Agudah he gave lectures and readings.
In the important political campaigns such as elections to the Polish Siyum (Government) and for the Ciechanow Kehillah, Weingarten took an active part. He was the Ciechanow delegate for the land-wide gatherings of the Agudah in Poland. In 1924, Weingarten was elected as an officer in the Kehillah and participated in the work of its commissions, such as : education, Talmud Torah, economy, schita and so on. During the Kehillah elections in 1931, when the Agudah was victorious, Weingarten was elected as vice-president of the Kehillah executive.
With this activity of so many branches, Reb Yoel-Dovid Weingarten still had time for his family. He gave his children a modern Jewish-religious education.
Suddenly, an illness destroyed the normal way of life of this energetic man, and at the age of thirty-nine he died, leaving a wife and four children.
One of the loveliest personalities in Ciechanow was Reb Dovid Vise ZL. A wealthy Jew, a learned man of former times, well accomplished in Hebrew literature, spoke Polish well. He was well equipped to represent Jewish interests of Ciechanow.
Reb Dovid was president of the Kehillah many times. A devoted Zionist who worked hard and spent a lot of money for all Zionist funds.
A. D. Vinditsky
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