« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

[Page 84]

The Jewish Communal Life

 

The First Charity Institutions
and Torah Scholar Groups

by Borukh Szimkowicz

Translated from Yiddish to English by Asher Szmulewicz

The social life in Klobuck, like in other shtetls, started with charity institutions and Torah learning groups.

Remembering the old Jewish philanthropic institutions that were active in Klobuck, I recall the religious devotion, and the good deeds done for the community by the old time Jews, who were engaged in social activities. It was indeed a selfless activity, done for itself, and not for any money. This moral integrity, by those involved in public affairs, was the foundation that was transferred to the modern Jewish cultural institutions and the political parties, that were active in Klobuck.

The oldest Jewish institutions in Klobuck were “Chevra Chaye Adam” (Society for Human Life), and its predecessor, “Chevra Lomdei Torah” (Society of Torah Learners). According to tradition, this institution was created by Rabbi Yankele, righteous of blessed memory, cited in previous chapters. The goal of the institution was to provide Torah learning, Torah's laws and religious devotion among non-educated Jews. Thus, they learned the most important principles that every Jew should know: Knowledge of Moshe's Torah, Jewish Laws and Jewish Traditions.

The institution, “Human Life,” had a shtibel (room to learn Torah), where Shabbat and Holiday prayers were conducted. Before davenen (prayer) in the morning, people were taught the Torah's laws for two hours, according to “Chaye Adam”[1]. After the Shabbat “tshulent”, and before the afternoon nap, people studied again: in summer time, Pirkei Avot with the “Midrash Shmuel” explanations, and in winter time, various Torah reading portions with “Midrash Tanchuma”.

[Page 85]

The so called “Rabbis” of the institution were: Yeshayahu Bachinek, Yosef Buchweitz, Yitzhik Chadi, and Shlomo Birenbaum, the son of Daniel Katsav. There also were Gabaim (everyday managers of a Jewish institution), who were elected in an interesting way.

Every year at Hoshanah Rabah, during the tikkun (late night Torah learning), five arbitrators were nominated, and they in turn, chose three new Gabaim. On the afternoon of Simchas Torah, when everybody was tipsy, all of the members of the institution gathered, and the arbitrators selected the new Gabaim. Their names were not announced, but instead, the newly elected Gabaim were lifted up in the air. The first one lifted up was the First Gabai, and the other ones according to their order.

As I remember, the following people were part of the “Chaye Adam” institution: Moshe Szperling, Yitzik Tshuchne, Eliyahu Weichman, Eliyahu Mass, Hershel Szperling, Yossel Szimkowicz, Itshe Unglick, Itshe Wilkowietsker, Avraham Lubitsky, Hershel Rypsztein, Wolff Gelbard, Yunes Kirtsbard, Zalman Yossel Szwiertszewki, Chilke Kirtsbard, Moshe Mendil Friedman, Mordechai Unglick, Leib Szperling, Kopel Rosenszweig, Leib Zeibel and Kopel Weichman.

 

“Bikur Cholim” (Visiting and comforting the sick people)

“Bikur Cholim” was one of Klobuck's oldest institutions. According to the regulations of the institution, the goal was to provide poor and sick people with free medical help, such as, a doctor, or a barber (old time barbers were also surgeons), and also to provide medical equipment, such as a thermometer, cupping glass, rubber waist belt, and the like. The medical equipment also was lent to well to do people, who paid according to their use.

The “Bikur Cholim” members sustained the institution, as follows: a membership fee was paid by everyone, according to their means, which was collected every month by the shamash of the Beit Midrash, and from nedarim (promises to give money), when being called for an Aliyah to the Torah Reading. The majority of the members prayed on Shabbat morning at the large Beit HaMidrash. They were always together. Those who prayed in the Chasidic shtiblech were expected to pray at least once a month

[Page 86]

in the Beit HaMidrash, and promise to give money for the “Bikur Cholim” institution. The Chazan (cantor), Reb Moshe Zander, took it upon himself to pray in the Beit HaMidrash several times per year: on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, and Shabbat Chanukah. His prayer services were always well attended, and consequently many nedarim (promises to give money) for the “Bikur Cholim” institution were made. Also, Reb Moshe Zanger personally promised to give money to the institution, because he could not perform the mitzvah of “Bikur Cholim”, by going at night to visit the sick people, which was one of the highest obligations of the institution.

One of the founders and the eminent leader of “Bikur Cholim” was Chaim Zeidman.

 

klo086.jpg
Chaim Zeidman and family, one son lives in Israel

 

Every year on the Sunday of Parashat Vayera, (the Torah reading “Vayera”), during which it is told that the angels came to visit our Forefather Avraham, who was sick (just after Brith Milah), the society “Bikur Cholim” organized a “Seudat Mitzvah” (Festive meal), which was always attended by Wolf Gelbard, one of the first Gabaim. He always brought a veal, ritually prepared, for the festive meal. The celebration started with the Maariv (Evening) prayer in the Great Beit HaMidrash. During the prayer

[Page 87]

all the lights were on. During the “festive meal” Moshe Shochat sang Shir Hamaalot with a festive tune.

Several women also participated in the activities of the “Bikur Cholim”. They raised money and looked after the sick people. The main activity of the institution was to look after sick people and serve them.

“Bikur Cholim” was a modest institution, whose members fulfilled their duty for the poor and sick people with a great “Ahavat Israel” (love for the Jewish people).

 

“Gemilut Chasadim” (Charity)

The “Gemilut Chasadim” (Charity) was located in Aizik Klopak's shtibel, where every Shabbat people prayed and read the Torah. From the nedarim (promises), made by people called to the Torah reading, a considerable sum of money accumulated. The congregation, of mostly young married couples and young men, didn't know what was to be done with the money, and they decided to establish a fund to help the needy. The fund was later called “Chevrat Gemilut Chasadim” (Society to Help the Needy).

In the beginning the “Chevrat Gemilut Chasadim” helped needy people with a one time “loan” of money, that was not meant to be repaid. Later,

 

klo087.jpg
Asher and Gitel Goldberg,
both died in Israel

 

[Page 88]

the institution left the shtibel of Aizik Klopak and rented another shtibel for the prayers. The “Gemilut Chasadim” society then started to give interest free loans.

The first members of “Gemilut Chasadim” were: Beril Klopak, Itzik Zeibel, Asher Goldberg, Aaron Zaks, Leib Zaks, Leib Weichman, Itzik Szperling, Aaron Weichman, Itzik Rypstein, Zeinvel Rypstein, Chaim Berl Weichman, Chaim Mendil Mass and Chilke Weissfelner.

*

In Klobuck there was also a society “Hachnasat Ochim” (Hospitality), which was in Yeshayahu Bachinek's house. The “Hachnasat Ochim” consisted of two large rooms, with several camp beds for poor travelers. Travelers passing through received a place to sleep overnight, and an evening meal. The lame, Leibele Melamed, was the ever present gabai.

 

The “Society of Young Men” who fought against the “Progress”[2] in the shtetl

The “Progress” in Klobuck started with establishing a library, organizing conferences and conducting a theater play in the Firefighter hall. As far I can remember, the first theatrical presentation was from a theater company that came to Klobuck from Lodz. I was one of the young men from the Beit Hamidrash who decided to fight against the “Kefirah” (Heresy), that was creeping into Klobuck.

At that time there were the Chasidim and the Rabbi. We started by trying to influence the parents to forbid their children from going to the library to read the “tereife psoles” (impure and unfit), which were the banned books in the library. The Rabbi called an assembly in the Beit HaMidrash, and warned the Klobucker Jews against the present danger created by the heretics, and announced a “formal ban” not to go to a theatrical production.

I acknowledge today my guilt – I was one of the fanatically-observant Beit HaMidrash young men, who strongly supported and acted

[Page 89]

on this – to remove the “heresy”. At first we tried to peacefully convince the founders of the clubs and the library to close their sinful activities, and return to the “right” path. When our appeals to morality did not work, we then started to use more constraining means. The arguments boiled over and came to a fight. Such an outburst of violence occurred on Simchas Torah, just after the Hakafot, (dancing with the Torah around the ark). In the small Beit HaMidrash an argument started between observant young men and the progressive young men. Soon fists became part of the argument, and it became “merry and joyful” (dramatic irony meaning the contrary). The whole Beit HaMidrash became a “battlefield”. The observant young, including myself, received support from the Chasidim shtibel, and it became a big scuffle.

The community leaders could not calm down the crowd, and the police was called. About twenty people were arrested, including my father and myself. We were not under arrest for long. Later there was a trial. I don't remember who conducted the trial. In court, both sides decided to make peace.

Thereafter, the young observant men started to fight the “enemy” with their own tools. A society named, “Tiferet Bachurim” (Splendor of Young Men), was established, with the goal of attracting the youth to their side. A “shtibel” was rented for this goal, where young people could pray and learn together, and study the old Yiddish books. This “shtibel” was located in the market, inside the house of Moshe Mendel Friedman. A Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) was ordered from a Sofer (scribe), and was inaugurated with a great parade. In addition to the core members of the “Tiferet Bachurim” society, there was a greater circle of young men, sons of well to do parents. I remember its following members:

Itzik Leib Ajzner, Abraham Inglick (Now called Osher), Itzik Szperling, Abraham Inglick (Mordche Katzav), Eliahu Szperling, Aaron Niedzele, Abraham Risental, Aaron Weiss, Eliahu Friedman, Itzik Zacks, Itzik Gelbard, Avraham Asher Szmulewicz, Baruch Szimkowicz, Berl Szperling, Gershon Ajzner, Groynem Mass, David Besser, Mordechai Szperling, Henech Feige, Hertzl Goldberg,

[Page 90]

Leibele Gos, Wolf Szperling, Mordechai Gelbard, Yehoshua Inglick, Yaacov Granek, Yaacov Dawidowicz, Yaacov Zigelman, Yossef Mendelewicz, Yechiel Rosen. Of the entire group, the only ones who remained alive were: Baruch Szimkowicz and Abraham Osher (formerly Inglick) both in Israel. Also Yehoshua Unglick who lives in Canada.

The society “Tirefet Bachurim” was active until the independence of Poland after World War I. In 1920-1921 when many young men were taken into the Polish army to fight during the Polish-Soviet Union war, the shtetl was emptied of young men, and the society “Tiferet Bachurim” fell apart.

Translator Footnotes

  1. Chaye Adam is the name of a book of Halacha (book of Jewish laws) written at the end of 18th century or beginning of 19th century by Rabbi Avraham Dantzig (Source Wikipedia) Return
  2. Progress here means the Haskalah (Enlightenment) movement who propagated among Jews the European culture Return


[Page 91]

Jewish Conflict and the First Mizrachi Organization

by Yakov Szperling

Translated from Yiddish to English by Asher Szmulewicz

After WWI, as in other Jewish shtetls in Poland, a substantial (and organized) social movement started in Klobuck. The Y.L. Peretz library, which contained a large number of Yiddish books, was founded in Klobuck. On virtually every Shabbat afternoon, readers gathered in the library, and held discussions about writers and their works. There was also a theatrical club, under the direction of Shmuel Franck, which put on theatrical productions with local actors or actors from Czestochowa.

During these times, Zionist ideas were not wide spread. Some Jews knew about Drs. Hertzl, Sokolov and Weizmann. The well to do Jews used to say: a Jewish state, (but) with an English passport. That was how people viewed the Yishuv (the name of the Jewish installation in Israel before the State of Israel), which was being established in Eretz Israel. The fanatically observant Jews believed that Jews had to wait for the Messiah to come (before the State of Israel could be established) and the “final” (Biblical) war (Gog and Magog, the enemies of the Jewish people to be defeated in the “final battle” at the “end of days”). They saw in the revolution (Soviet Revolution), the coming of the Messiah's time. That was the way the Rabbis then interpreted the events, and at that time they still had spiritual influence over the majority of the shtetl Jews.

There were a few exceptions among several of the well to do Jews of Klobuck. Two Jews – Reb Itzik Chade and Reb Eliahu Friedman, the sugar manufacturer, both observant Jews, took the initiative to establish a “Mizrachi”* organization in Klobuck. For this purpose they rented a room

[Page 92]

from Yechiel Kraszewski, and there started a Minyan to pray each Shabbat. Reb Itzik Chade understood that a social movement required young members, so he started to spread the idea of “Shivat Zion” (return to Zion), among the youth. As a result of his efforts, a “Young Mizrachi” organization was established.

It is noteworthy to specifically write about Reb Itzik Chade, one of the wealthiest and important landlords from Klobuck. In those times he had the spirit of an idealist, and he spent a lot of his time and effort on the Zionist ideal. He owned and rented a sawmill; engaged in substantial trade transactions with Czestochowa merchants; and bought significant forest rights from the land owners in the Klobuck area. He was the only person in Klobuck to contribute very large sums of money to the “Keren HaYesod” (the United Jewish Appeal).

Why Reb Itzik Chade adopted Zionist thoughts, and became an enthusiastic leader for the “Return to Zion” movement is unknown. He studied Torah, and prayed with the Gerer and Alexander Chasidim, who fought against Zionism, and was a follower of the Rav Kook of blessed memory, but on all occasions he promoted the Zionist ideas. He became the spokesman of the Zionist Movement, and spread the “Return to Zion” ideas among the Jews of Klobuck.

In the orthodox and observant community, Reb Itzik was despised. It went so far that once, when he was in Czestochowa and went to pray in a Gerer shtibel, the Chasidim refused to start the prayers until Reb Itzik Chade agreed to leave. In Klobuck there also were opponents to Zionism, led by Rabbi Henech Goldberg, who fought a campaign against the observant Zionists. In spite of all of this opposition, Reb Itzik Chade established the “Young Mizrachi Movement” in Klobuck, provided the young Mizrachi members with literature, and a Zionist movement started in the shtetl.

Soon there were two groups of observant Jews in Klobuck: observant, orthodox, Jews against Zionism; and observant Jews, who supported the “Shivat Zion” ideas. Both sides competed with speakers, who

[Page 93]

spoke in the Beit-HaMidrash and the Shul (Synagogue). Mizrachi brought from Czestochowa the famous publicist and Mizrachi activist, Reb Moshe Halter. The orthodox (opposing Zionism) brought the Rabbi from Wielun, who was renowned as a good Baal Tefilah (Chazan), and a good preacher against assimilation. With his Kabbalat Shabbat (prayer on Shabbat's eve) and his Shabbat morning service he was winning over the congregation.

The Wieluner Rabbi spoke before the Torah reading. He didn't really speak that much against Zionism, but rather against the organization, where young men and young women were gathering: “Young women - the future Jewish mothers”, with a crying pathos he finished his oration, : ”Gewald (Emergency) Jews! There is a fire, help! There is not much time left.”

Reb Itzik Chade directed his activism towards the young men. He spoke to them like a father, and convinced them to adopt the ideas of the Young Mizrachi Movement. He was so profoundly involved in his Zionist activities that he neglected his private business. Subsequently he lost his fortune and became poor. Later he moved to Czestochowa.

*

The second Mizrachi activist – Reb Elyahu Friedman was a confectioner. In the shtetl he was named after his trade, because there was another Elyahu Friedman in Klobuck. Friedman Zuckerbecker (the confectioner) was originally from Rembielicz. His father, Reb Zalman Rembieliczer, lived his entire life in that village, traded with the peasants, and only for the day of Awe (Yom Kippur) did he come to pray in the Klobuck synagogue. He sent his son, Elyahu, to Lodz to learn the trade of manufacturing of sugar.

While in Lodz, Elyahu did not only learn a trade, but he also developed spiritually. He learned Hebrew and read modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature: Peretz, Shalom Aleichem, Asch, Mapu, Y. L. Gordon, Bialik, Smolenskin, etc. When he established himself in Klobuck, he was a spiritually mature person. He knew by heart chapters from Tanach (Bible). He loved philosophic questions and strategy. He was at home in politics. His political wisdom came

[Page 94]

from the Warsaw newspaper “Haynt” (Today), and from the articles of Grinbaum, Dr. Tean, Rotensztreich and Itshele Yojon.

The business of Reb Elyahu Zuckerbecker did not do well. He had his confectionery, and sold ice cream in the market in the summer, and thereby he made a scarce living. He never complained about his fate. He was enthusiastic about “Shivat Zion” (Love of Zion) ideas. As an observant Jew, he joined the Mizrachi Movement, and together with Reb Itzik Chade founded the “Young Mizrachi” movement. In public meetings and conferences Reb Elyahu gave enthusiastic speeches and commanded the audience with jokes and folk stories.

Today, I still remember Friedman's lectures about Zionist figures, people and religion, the sacred places in Eretz Israel, etc. He thought that without religion, a Jewish state could not exist. He had an enormous influence on the Klobucker youth.


Hitachdut, Gordonia
and Other Zionist Organizations

by Yaakov Szperling

Translated from Yiddish to English by Asher Szmulewicz

Yaakov Chade, the son of the Mizrachi activist, Reb Itzik Chade, did not follow in his father's footsteps. He was caught up in the Communist ideology, and for a long time became involved in Communist illegal activities. Then a crisis occurred with respect to his convictions, and he began to adopt Zionist ideas. With the impetuosity of the youth, he started to organize the socialist–Zionist “Hitachdut” (Union).

The young Chade surpassed his father as a speaker. He successfully convinced the pro– Zionist youth of Klobuck of his views, and he became their spiritual leader. Shortly after Chade started the “Hitachdut”, the “Gordonia” organization was established. The two organizations shared the same premises.

Many other Zionist youth movements arose. There were many active sections and commissions such as: a literature section, a dramatic art circle, the Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) commission, and the Keren HaYesod (United Appeal Fund) commission,

[Page 95]

 

klo095a.jpg
Hitachdut

 

klo095b.jpg
Gordonia

 

[Page 96]

etc . Every year the remembrance day of Herzl and Gordon was celebrated. Yaacov Chade was active in virtually all of the sections and commissions. He was, in fact, the spiritual leader of the Zionist Youth Movement. Through his speeches, lectures and discussions he lit the flame of the Zionist ideal in the hearts of the young men and women of Klobuck.

Chade devoted a lot of his energy on the library: “The library must have more readers and more books,” was his slogan. When extra money was made from the earnings of a theatrical production, Chade used the funds to buy books, mostly with national Zionist content. He recommended that all should read and study Herzl's book, “Alt Neu Land (Old New Land), Pinsker's, “Auto Emancipation”, and the writings of A. D. Gordon, Echad HaAm, Bialik and Max Nordau.

Chade taught the young: take a moral lesson from A. D. Gordon. You should not wait until you become 50 years old to transform yourself from an office employee into a farmer. We have to become pioneers during our youth, and go to Eretz Israel.

Regarding the issue of buying books for the library, there was a heated debate among the members of the management. Several members demanded that only classical literature be bought: works from the classics, and works from Shalom Asch. Chade preferred books with Zionist content. After he did what he wanted, he told us: now you can buy beautiful literature novels, but the ones that are interesting to read.

Despite these controversies, we established a library containing several hundred books, which included works of our classical literature, novels, stories and writings on current public affairs.

The “Hitachdut” organization did not restrict itself to spiritual–educational activities. The organization also was active in the political and social life of Klobuck, participated in the election campaigns of the community council and the city council, and supported its representatives in these institutions. Thus, for the community council, as a community representative, was Pinchas Unglick, and in the city council, Itzik Leib Szperling.

[Page 97]

Preparation to Aliyah (Hachshara) and pioneers (Chalutzim)

On Yaacov Chade's initiative, the central branch of the pioneers in Warsaw agreed to open a pioneer branch in Klobuck. In a very short time, pioneers of men and women enrolled in the training center in our shtetl. Chade's first assignment for the pioneers was to work in his father's (grain) mill and in the sawmill. The pioneers worked together with Christian workers, carrying the long wooden blocks to the saw–machine, taking out the cut timber beams, and sorting them by length.

Several of these pioneers are recorded in my memory. I remember Nachman, the oldest pioneer. He stood out for his work at the Kurland's mill, which operated all day long. In the mill he acted as a supervisor, and he saw to it that

 

klo097.jpg
On training (Hachshara) in Klobuck

 

[Page 98]

 

klo098.jpg
On training (Hachshara) in Klobuck

 

not a grain would be damaged, and that the tools remained intact. He encouraged the pioneers to perform their work consciously, and not to lag behind the Christian workers.

In the Kurland house, Nachman was welcomed as if he was in his own home. During the winter when he was cold, he used to come into the Kurland's house and stand with his shoulders against the tile–oven in order to warm his bones. During the summer, when his throat was dry from the flour dust in the mill, he left work, and went to the Kurland's house, where Rivkele, the miller's wife, served him cold sour milk from a big earthenware pot. His soul was refreshed, and he went back to work.

Later he made Aliya to Eretz Israel. In 1946, during the events in Israel, he was killed by an Arab bullet. Silently, without close friends or family, his idealistic soul went to the Hadassah Hospital in Tel–Aviv.

[Page 99]

It was difficult for the pioneers to work outside the sawmill and the mill. The Jewish observant manufacturers argued that physical, difficult, work was possible for non–Jews, but not for Jews. With these arguments, and other reproaches, they declined to employ pioneers in their businesses. Nor was it easy for the pioneers to rent a room or an apartment. What Jewish landlord would agree to permit a pioneer in his house? What would the Rabbi say? What would be said in the Beit HaMidrash or in the Shtibel?

Yaacov Chade finally found an honorable Jew in Klobuck, who was a respectable landlord, and who agreed to accommodate the pioneers. This Jew, Reb Itzik Zeibel, deserved to receive a special mention in this Book of Remembrance.

Reb Itzik Zeibel was a Jew, and a hard worker. He, his wife and young girls worked from dawn to late in the evening at their new sewing machines, sewing clothes, and bedding for Klobuck's Chatanim and Kalot (fiancis about to get married). The hard work did not make him close minded. Reb Itzik was a learner. He lived close to the Shul (Synagogue), and although he was always busy, he found time to go the Beit HaMidrash, to read a book. When he finished a chapter, he made a bookmark, so that the next day he would not have to look for the place where he stopped his reading.

Besides sewing new clothes, Reb Itzik Zeibel also was busy with farming activities. He owned a field, which he cultivated alone, and he harvested and thrashed the grain in his own barn. He also raised pedigree poultry, in accordance with methods described in a manual he received from America. These farming activities aligned Reb Itzik with the pioneers' ideas. He sent his son, Moshe Mordechai, to Hachshara (preparation) in Tomaszow or Radomsk, and opened his house to the pioneers from Klobuck.

The Rabbi of Klobuck was profoundly saddened by this behavior, and summoned Reb Itzik (to a meeting), at which time Reb Itzik Zeibel and the Rabbi had the following conversation:

[Page 100]

“Good morning Rabbi, why did you ask me to come to see you in the middle of the day? It must be an important subject.”

The Rabbi angrily answered Itzik:

“I will not allow Shikes and Shiskim (non–Jewsish women and men) to stay in your house.”

Reb Itzik answered with good humor:

“Rabbi of Klobuck, these people are not Shikes and Shiskim, but only honest Jewish sons and daughters like your children.”

 

klo100.jpg
Itzik Zeibel with his family - one daughter lives in Israel

 

Following that answer the conversation between the Rabbi and Reb Itzik Zeibel ended, and the pioneers stayed in his house.

[Page 101]

It was not easy to conduct Zionist work in Klobuck. Fanatically observant Jews and the Beit HaMidrash young men did not easily accept the precepts of “Shivat Zion” (return to Zion). They believed that they needed to wait for the Messiah (in order to return to Israel), and labeled the Zionists as heretics, who had to be cut (out of the community) from the roots. Often we endured a difficult struggle while conducting a Zionist gathering or a meeting in the Shul (Synagogue).

I remember in summer, 1930, I received a notification from the board of directors of the Keren Kayemet (United Appeal Fund) in Warsaw that Rabbi Jacobson from Eretz Israel was being sent to visit our shtetl by the Keren Kayemet. All of the Zionist organizations, “Hitachdut”, “Gordonia” and the others made preparations to organize a great meeting for the Keren Kayemet. My uncle Reb Moshe Szperling, who was a community representative, was asked to arrange that the Shul would be made available for the purpose of the meeting. Special placards were posted to announce the great assembly.

On the designated day, between Mincha and Maariv, (afternoon and evening prayers), the Shul was full of people, who came to listen to Rabbi Jacobson from Eretz Israel. The dignity of the Rabbi, his being an emissary from Eretz Israel, and his speech, of rich content, which intertwined the citations of our Sages and pictures of the life in Eretz Israel, all captivated the public. Suddenly, a fire was seen from one window of the Shul, and immediately somebody shouted: “It's burning.”

There was panic in the Shul. People pressed to get out through the exit door. Meanwhile, people standing outside of the Shul extinguished the fire, and the organizers, with difficulty, calmed down the public. The lecture of Rabbi Jacobson ended with the singing of “Hatikvah”. The fire in the courtyard of the Shul, as it later turned out, was an irresponsible act by the opponents of Zionism.

The mock fire was set by “hot headed” young boys, who were students at the Beit HaMidrash. They prepared a haystack in the Shul courtyard, and they set fire to it, so as to trigger a panic among the public gathered in the Shul, who came to hear the Zionist emissary from Eretz Israel. The result of this infamous act had a contrary effect:

[Page 102]

The next day almost all the Klobuck Jewish families hung the white blue box of the Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) (from their homes).

Following the appearance of Rabbi Jacobson, an intensive fund raising effort for the Zionist cause started. From the “Blimel Teg”[1] (Flowery Day) and other contributions, hundreds of zlotys were sent to the main branch of the Keren Kayemet.

Later, there was a greater scandal in the Shul during a fund raising gathering for the Keren Hayesod. While the emissary of the Keren HaYessod, Mr Azjner, was speaking about the Keren HaYessod to the public in the Shul, the Rabbi came in with several young men. He climbed on to the pulpit and shouted:” Shaigetz (impure), get out of the synagogue,” and pushed the speaker. There was an uproar. Two camps were created. The meeting ended with the song “Hatikvah”.

Due to all of the controversies that both sides instigated on behalf of “LeShem Shamaim” (For the sake of Heaven), the shtetl was shaken. People argued, and the Zionist ideas spread, and the movement found more supporters. During the early 1930's the following people went to various preparation centers: Yaacov Starzinski, Meir Rotbart, Shmuel Goldberg, Daniel Szperling, Rachel Chade, Batia Zeibel, Moshe Mordechai Zeibel, Kopel Mass, and the writer of these lines.

In 1932 there was the first attempt of illegal Aliyah, which did not succeed. The following friends left Klobuck to go to Eretz Israel: Menachem Chorzowski, Daniel Szperling and Leah Birenbaum. Their return to Klobuck had a negative influence on the shtetl. Shortly thereafter, all three received their certificates, and thus they were able to make Aliyah to Eretz Israel, legally. Menachem Chorzowski and Daniel Szperling got along and stayed in Israel. Their sons are already serving in Tsahal (Israel Defense Forces). Leah Birenbaum went to Paris in 1937 and remained there.

Translator's Footnote

  1. Seems to be a special money raising day for Zionist purposes. See pictures on page 107 and 108. Return

 

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »


This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.


JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  Klobuck, Poland     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page


Yizkor Book Project Manager, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Max G. Heffler

Copyright ©1999-2014 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 22 Jan 2014 by MGH