Hertz was educated in the traditional spirit. Hertz made aliya to the Land together with his mother at the age of 13. His mother decided to return to Orheyev due to difficulties in absorption, and she pressed Hertz to return along with her and not abandon her in her old age. Therefore, he returned to the city. Nevertheless, Hertz remained committed to the Zionist idea and was active in the movement. He donated generously to the funds and the community. He was a member of the directorship of the library, and throughout his days, he attempted to obtain an inheritance in the Land. He educated his only daughter Naomi in the national spirit.
When Bessarabia was captured by the Russians, he was exiled to Siberia where he perished. His wife Fuga and 20 year old daughter Naomi also perished in the wastelands of Russia during the Holocaust.
The children of the family were Shmuel-Zelig, Yosef and Moshe Bronshteyn.
This was a well rooted family going back many generations in Orheyev, Bessarabia. They perished and were destroyed at the hand of the enemy.
When he returned to the city, he was immediately accepted to the Jewish Hospital, where he worked together with the physicians Dr. Warshavsky and Dr. Lashko for many years. Within a short period of time, he endeared himself to the ill people whom he tended, both in the hospital and in his private practice. In addition to his professional expertise, Dr. Berkovitz excelled in his popular character traits, through which he earned his place in the community. He tended to the sick out of humanitarian feelings, without concern about their status. In cases of need, he would forego monetary compensation and continue to take interest in the state of the sick person even though he was not summoned a second time.
His livelihood was constricted even though he was an expert physician. As has been stated, he was not particular about compensation, and he devoted the majority of his time to communal affairs. He was the vice chairman of the credit cooperative for the middle class. He was a permanent delegate and a chief spokesman of the Union of Jewish Cooperatives in Bessarabia. He was a member of the city council and the first on the regional Jewish List for the Romanian parliament in 1922.
Dr. Berkovitz contributed greatly to the cultural realm. He was a man who was raised and educated as one of the folk, and he was fluent in spoken Yiddish. Large crowds came to hear his readings of the works of Sholom Aleichem. The writer of these lines had the opportunity to participate with him in the performance of Shalom Aleichem's Only a Doctor. I recall the enthusiasm with which the community received the appearance of Berkovitz. Laughter mixed with tears and endless applause accompanied him. Whomever came in company with him, whether as he hastened to visit a sick person, in a meeting of a communal institution, or in his modest home, enjoyed full hearted words of humor.
Dr. Berkovitz worked greatly in many areas of our community, but he paid special attention to Zionist activity. He worked in the movement in Odessa from his earliest youth. During the time of his university studies and later, he dedicated his time to the funds (the Keren Kayemet and Keren Hayesod). He appeared with great success in public gatherings of the movement.
Even though he belonged to the general Zionists, the Zionist-Pioneering-Socialist youth and others were attracted to his home for conversation and exchange of ideas. His home was a gathering place for all the Zionists in the city, and was open to everyone. There, literary celebrations, Zionist debates, and even holiday and festival celebrations were arranged.
His very lovely wife Marika assisted him in arranging the celebrations and receiving the crowds. Those who came to his home enjoyed great spiritual satisfaction he with his jovial attitude and unique sense of humor, and she with her pleasant voice, charming smile and love of life. The two of them imparted a sublime spirit upon anyone who came into their shadow. Thus did the years go by until the Russians conquered Bessarabia in 1940. Dr. Berkovitz's house was destroyed and ruined, and the family was exiled to afar.
He was exiled for close to 15 years for the crime of Zionism. He lost his human form. When he was liberated, he did not return to his hometown that had been emptied of its friendly residents, but he lived near his sister Fania in Beltsy. Mordechai Gitnik of Putsuntey described his final days.
I met Dr. Berkovitz often in the home of his sister (the widow of Yaakov Globman). He left an oppressive impression upon me already from our first meeting. This was not the alert, enthusiastic man who once was, whom I knew from my visits to the Credit Cooperative in Orheyev. He was lost within himself, downtrodden, his clothing was sloppy, and his body was emaciated. To my advice that he should arrange himself in a human form, strengthen himself, and also pay more attention to his dress, he answered negatively: Life is not worthwhile. I can no longer bring benefit. My time to leave this accursed world is already at hand. Indeed not long passed until the news arrived that Dr. Berkovitz, the jovial and alert, left his barren and lonely life in the strange city. May his memory be blessed!
From Russian by R.
Matityahu and Frayba Globman
Melech, Chaika and Perl (Polonsky)
Binyamin and Yocheved Globman
A memorial to my dear mother Frayba, to my brother Binyamin, Tzeviya his wife, Yocheved their daughter who was a student, and Chaika their child, Perl my sister, Melech her husband and their daughter who perished in the Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.
We were six sons and daughters in my parents' home, all of us working. My mother labored and toiled to provide our needs. When we got older, our home became a meeting place for the youth without differentiation between stream or factional direction. My brother Binyamin had weapons of defense hidden in the chimney. Once, the news arrived that the police were conducting searches in the neighborhood. Binyamin of blessed memory took out his revolver and bayonet, covered them and gave them to me to transfer to Aunt Susia, on the Post office Street. I was nine years old at the time.
Each of us had our own friends, and the meetings took place primarily in our home. There, we arranged literary parties on Sabbaths. Sometimes the friends of my brother and of my sister of blessed memory met at the same time, and took over all the rooms in the house. My good natured mother smiled and enjoyed this greatly. When we met on the Sabbath, my mother appeared with a plate of steaming potatoes in one hand, and salted fish and home made challas in her other hand. The group enjoyed the food with great relish, and my mother's face beamed with joy. These were the few moments of happiness that gave us strength to bear the life of tribulation during the dark days.
My father of blessed memory died in the month of Elul 5696 (1936) at the age of 80, and my mother had to suffer the great suffering during her latter days as we fled from the persecutors along with the family. There, everyone fell at the hands of the murderers.
May their memory be a blessing.
Hundreds and thousands of all ages studied arithmetic from Yaakov. He searched for and found the means of teaching and educating each one, so that nobody would be left without the requisite level of knowledge Sit down and listen, perhaps you too will understand something -- said this man who taught with love. He remembered everyone who had been his student.
Indeed, teaching was the source of his livelihood, but nobody suspected that he was using this as a means of getting wealthy. Yaakov was strict with those students who tried to evade rigor in their studies and engage in guesswork in the fields of exact science. However, beneath the veneer of strictness beat a sensitive and loving heart, which would draw one close and offer explanations immediately after the dose of strictness that was meted out, until the point where you would understand, despite yourself, that which a few moments earlier was far from your understanding and ability to grasp.
His faithfulness to the Hebrew language was great and deep. He spared no efforts in filling his classes with comprehensive content by teaching arithmetic and mathematics in the Hebrew language, even before he had appropriate textbooks for such. When the Hebrew arithmetic books arrived from the Land, he was very happy. Yaakov was the first among our teachers to put the theory of modern teaching methodology into practice.
These were unforgettable periods of sublimity and connection between teacher and student. He earned the trust and love of his students, and all of them sought means to meet him and to find themselves in his domain as much as possible, even outside the hours of study.
As I bring forth these sections of memory for Yaakov the distinguished teacher, I am convinced that I do not exaggerate when I state that hundreds and thousands of his students remember him with love, reverence, and appreciation.
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