The Klobuck Synagogue
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
In far away Australia, the Klobuck Synagogue, destroyed by the defiled Germans, begins to shine before my eyes in the brightest light. No, it is not burned - somewhere this holiness exists, somewhere the divine piety of my childhood years flutters.
The sunlight piously, modestly radiates through the high windows with the colored windowpanes like the silent prayer of Shmoneh Esreh [central prayer of Jewish worship]. These colored rays of sun that light up every corner of the synagogue still shine today in my heart.
Past experiences and childish excitement on Friday nights and holiday evenings in the synagogue emerge in my memory, chandeliers and extra bright oil lamps pour their light over the Shabbos [Sabbath] and holiday Jews who all are joined in holy prayer to the Creator of the World.
And there is the God-fearing Kol-Nidre [All Vows - the opening prayer recited on the eve of Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement], the hot tears of Jewish Klobuck, the prayers of the men and women pour into the clear, warmed lightness. The Kol-Nidre singing rolls and reaches higher and higher; it appears that the synagogue becomes higher. The sacred painted ceiling disappears and the gates of heaven have opened.
On Tisha B'Av [the ninth of Av], the night of the destruction of Jerusalem, dark shadows spread in the synagogue; the mourning Klobuck Jews sit removing their shoes from their feet and near a small candle they cry out their Book of Lamentations song at the destruction of the Temple.
And after all of the sadness of the people - it again becomes animated with the beaming joy of the people: Klobuck Jews rejoice with the Torah -
Drawn by Adele
Simkhas Torah [holiday commemorating the completion of the yearly reading of the Torah and the start of the reading for the new year]. Light, joy, religious ardor merged the individual Klobuck Jews into one congregation that filled the synagogue with singing, dancing in honor of the Torah.
* * *
The Klobuck Synagogue, the small Temple, was destroyed with the kehile [organized religious community]. However, it lives in my heart and soul with those closest and dearest, who were cruelly tortured.
I have tried with a weak effort to bring this synagogue again to paper so that its appearance and its memory will never be removed from our eyes and hearts.
by Batya Zajbel-Izraelewicz
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
The mikvah [ritual bathhouse] bordered our meadow. The mikvah water flowed through a specially created canal onto the surrounding meadows. Streams were created at various places in which our ducks splashed.
Once, on a Thursday night, the ducks disappeared. We looked for them all over and, not finding them, we were sure that they had been stolen. My father, as always, when something unusual happened, responded with a saying, Never mind, a kapore on the ducks, as long as we have other fowl.
However, it happened: There was a pious Jew in Klobuck, a God-fearing person, an Aleksanderer Hasid, Reb Yudl Ahron, who went to the mikvah every day to immerse himself. On that Friday morning, when he entered the dark mikvah, he suddenly heard splashing in the water. In his imagination, he saw images moving on the surface of the water.
Frightened, he quickly ran out, went home and, later in the beis hamedrash [house of prayer], said that he had seen ghosts in the mikvah Several bold Jews, among them my father, took a chance and went into the mikvah. Here they saw our ducks swimming in the mikvah. They were given the nickname, Kosher ones, immersed ducks.
Mrs. Gitl Goldberg talks about the mikvah in her memoirs: My father-in-law always spoke about the problems the Klobucker Jewish residents had in building the mikvah. It seems that gentiles were afraid of the Jewish mikvah that was being built and twice they burned the building that was being built.
A delegation of esteemed Jewish Klobuck businessmen went to Piotrkow to the governor and obtained permission for the regime to protect the religious facilities of the Jews. The Klobuck police turned to the Polish managing committee at the city hall and made it responsible for every case of setting fire to the mikvah. This had the effect that the building of the mikvah was completed.
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