Rivka Shapira (Horowitz)
Translated by Allen Flusberg
I will never forget the friends that I grew up with in our town, and how we spent time together dreaming about aliya to the Land of Israel. I will never forget how we girls would gather together every evening in the Beit Yaakov building, in the presence of Pesya Gutmorgen, our lovely, modest teacher, whom everyone in the town was fond of. How we enjoyed those meetingswhether it was a Bible class, an open discussion, or a game. And sometimes we would sit around, singing late into the night; or we would carry on, the way young girls do.
Every Sabbath we would gather before evening for Shalosh Seudot. We would sit around a table, set appropriately with an abundance of delicacies and treats. Pesya Gutmorgen sat at the head of the table, giving a talk on Parshat Hashavua, while we girls lapped up her words with relish. We felt engulfed with peace and serenity. We would start singing as soon as her talk ended, and then we would finish by dancing. It was a kind of harbinger of a good week to come.
Whenever my thoughts turn to my childhood I recall these friends of mine, envisioning them before my eyes. One in particular stands out, a close friend whose image has been with me all these years since I left DobrzynChana Kadecki.
She was the daughter of wealthy parents. We were bound together in a very close, devoted friendship. When they began distributing aliya certificates to the Agudat Yisrael girls, they set up hachsharot for girls in Warsaw and Lodz. Chana Kadecki also wanted to go on hachshara, but only if we would be together. And indeed in the end we did go to Lodz together. However, when it actually came to immigrating, I wound up going to Israel by myself; it was not possible to obtain two travel visas, nor were her parents in a hurry to agree to let her go.
After that she wrote me a great deal, letters abounding with love for the Land of Israel. To prepare for aliya she went to learn needlework, wishing to find means to support herself by working. She believed that she would join me in a matter of a few months. She believed it, but did not merit it…How unhappy I was! For together the two of us had dreamed about aliya to Israel as we strolled through the streets of the town, our thoughts taking us far, far away…
I left Dobryn in 1936, on a Sunday in the month of Tammuz. Very early that morning we strode towards the Golub train station, a distance of several kilometers. I was accompanied by my dear family members and by my many girlfriends, tears in their eyes. The tears were tears of joy that I was going up to the Holy Land, and tears of sadness that they were remaining in the Exile. We parted, using the word lehitraot to say goodbye; it did not occur to any of us that we would not see each other ever again…
May these words constitute an everlasting testimony for my family members and for my friends:
|My mother, Bayla Frumit||Groner, Tultza|
|My brother, Yaakov||Grosman, Sara|
|My brother, Avraham Yosef||Goldbruch, Hinda|
|My sister, Hinda||Goldbruch, Yente|
|My brother, Baruch Mendel||Kadecki, Chana|
|My sister, Hinda||Frajlich, Esther|
|My aunt, Chana||Rosenwaks, Gela|
|My uncle, Mendel Gurfinkel||
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