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[Pages 59-60]

Those Rocks Aroused our Imagination

By Miryam Slep

Translated by Judy Grossman

All ready for the “Seder” on the eve of Passover

From right to left: Henia-Henka, Yehuda-Yudel, Ella-Elka, parents Chaya-Tzipe and Emanuel, Kehat-Olke and Miryam-Mirka
“As a memento to you Avraham from all of us.
The picture was taken by Micha. The shadow of his hand can be seen on the wall…
You should imagine the original of us nicer than the copy.
Looking at the picture you will see your photos (Yosef with Riva and Avraham with Esther) among the Yomtov articles on the table.”

 

Who will win?
From right to left: Miryam, Yudel, Ella, Henia, Hillel Schwartz

 

 
Miryam with her brother Micha Slep and their brother-in-law Hillel-Yaacov Schwartz   “As a memento to you dear Avraham From me, from Yaacov and Micha. We are happy because you are looking at us …”

 

When my brother Yosef made aliya to Eretz Yisrael[1], father sighed: “Why did he go to a country filled with rocks?” However, it was precisely those rocks that aroused our imagination. The pioneers' letters filled the young people with enthusiasm, and the dangers and events taking place in Eretz Yisrael did not deter us, just the opposite. The murder of the students of the Lithuanian yeshiva in Hebron spurred us on to make aliya and to help.

I knew what was happening in Eretz Yisrael from reading the newspaper Davar that my brother Avraham sent in packages to Lithuania. The shlichim (emissaries) from the Zionist youth movement also kept us informed [of events in Palestine].

… Someone from almost every home made aliya, and this added to the ties to Eretz Yisrael. I remember a fellow, a yeshiva bocher [student] from the Rabbi's family. They said that he was a prodigy, and suddenly he decided to make aliya to Eretz Yisrael. His family was religious, I think his father was a rabbi, and his decision astounded them. The fellow came to Kibbutz Givat Brenner, and in a letter that he sent to his parents, he wrote: 'I have been privileged to attain what Moses was not privileged to attain…' He wanted to console his parents with this statement, and expressed himself so beautifully. I remember reading the letter… When I was once in Givat Brenner I attended his grave and placed a wreath of flowers on it. His name was Yehuda, and I don't remember his surname …[2]

At a young age I was in the scout movement. However, at that time they were not yet talking about aliya to Eretz Yisrael, but only striving for social bonding.

Activities for aliya began at a later stage when a ken (cell) of Hashomer Hatzair sprang up in the shtetl as a Zionist movement, and a branch of Hechalutz (Zionist pioneering movement) was also opened.

… The idea to make aliya took root in my mind when I was in Hashomer Hatzair. That was the movement's orientation. The movement led to Eretz Yisrael, and it was taken for granted that whoever was in the movement would make aliya. I was never tempted to immigrate to a different country. I also had no one to go to.
My parents knew all the time that I would make aliya to Eretz Yisrael. It was a given fact. Would that everyone could have made aliya. My parents did not object in any way. Eretz Yisrael was an actuality.
[2]

 

Members of Hashomer Hatzair from Dusiat and Abel [Obeliai]

Top: Baruch Klass (Obeliai)
Second row, right to left: (-), Yoel Zeif, Zelda Charit, Henia Slep, Yaacov Charit, Miryam and her brother Micha Slep
Third row: Itale Orlin, Yona Musel (Obeliai)
Bottom: Chava Shub, Tzirka Kagan, Noah Poritz, (-)

Footnotes

  1. Eretz Yisrael – Palestine (The Land of Israel) – the name used by the Jews before the establishment of the present State of Israel. Return
  2. Passages from an interview with Miryam Slep conducted by Michal Gutmacher: Gutmacher, Michal, The Affinity of the Jews of Dusiat (Lithuania) to Eretz Yisrael, History Term Paper, The Hebrew Reali School, Haifa, March 1992, pp. 222-232 Return

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