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[Pages 55-56]

From Thought Into Action (cont.)

Baking of Matzos

Baking of Matzos
Yaakov Yudel Beznos training pioneers in the baking of Matzos

 

We took upon ourselves the hardest of labors at the time of the baking of matzos. Our male youths worked with the machines and our female youths worked with the dough. Even though the conditions of existence were difficult and the work exhausted our strength, we still managed to create a warm corner in the Hechalutz chapter, which attracted all classes of the youth of the town. How pleasant were the evenings in the chapter, when we gathered together for discussion, deliberation, song and dance. We organized a group of “Friends of Hechalutz” for our friends who did not go in our path. The connection between us was strong. I remember one Passover night when we all gathered together, the friends and supporters of the chapter with the delegates of the Hechalutz center, for a party, and we felt like one family. We attempted to draw the youth near with our cultural work within the chapter and outside of it. We created a unique social and cultural reality.

Then came the call from Mordechai from the Land regarding the need to send a number of members in order to establish the organization in the Land of Israel. Chava Dyukman and later Yisrael Ben-Shem made aliya at that time. In due course, Snitkovsky and Shmuel Sharf made aliya to the Land (the latter did not become adjusted and returned).

In June 1926, a small group gathered in Haifa: Frank, Yisrael Ben-Shem, Chava Dyukman, Sharf and other members who were not from our city but who joined us in the land. We lived in a hut in the German Colony. The Histadrut organization directed us to the road to Nahalel. One day during the afternoon, we took our belongings, boarded a wagon hitched to a pair of mules and left Haifa to an unknown destination, filled with enthusiasm and a sublime state of spirit.

Pioneers of 'Bnei Israel' in the homeland

Pioneers of “Bnei Israel” in the homeland

From right to left: 1. C. Dyukman -- Sinai 2. Shmuel Sharf 3. Dov Snitkovsky -- Sinai
4. Yisrael Ben-Shem -- Shamban 5. Mordechai Frank

 

We arrived to the area of Nahalel around noon. We did not know where we were. The wagon driver showed us the exact place where we were to set up the camp of three tents. We were sent to work on the road. The labor was difficult and backbreaking, but it was performed with creative joy. We set up camp after the work. We moved it after the completion of each kilometer of the road. We slowly became acclimatize to the Land, and felt the spirit of Bnei Yisrael in the Land through all of our labor. The connection with the Diaspora continued, and many waited for the day when they could join us. However, the crisis of lack of work that pervaded at that time in the Land led to the closing of the doors of the Land and a break in aliya. We, a small group of chalutzim, faced the difficult problem of physical sustenance. The desire for independent creativity obligated us to think about additional means. We set up a point, a bunk and tents, in the region of Nahalel. Even though the living conditions were very difficult, and the lack of work was tormenting us, our spirits did not fall and the joy in our camp was great. Girls from the agricultural school as well as workers would come almost every night, and we would dance endlessly.

The break in aliya continued and gnawed at our hearts. The question was, until when? It hung in the air like a nightmare.

When the situation improved slightly with the news of the renewal of aliya, M. Frank left for the Diaspora in order to organize groups of members for actualization.

He returned along with a group from the town. The joy in our camp was great, and the people of Nahalel joined in our rejoicing. Avigdor Garber, Bilah Hentin, Shlomo Bronshteyn, Penina Chalyk, Tovia Averbukh of blessed memory, Leibel Kuchuk and Fania Nairner arrived. The reinforcement was strong enough. We gathered strength and energy, and set out to the breadths.

The group became organized, and we decided to establish an auxiliary farm. In the interim, the connection with the Diaspora strengthened, and Miryam Beznos along with others made aliya. Chalutzim from Bessarabia arrived among the first of the Fifth Aliya. The heads of Gordonia – Moshe and Naomi Zinger (today in Massada) and others arrived. The debates about the directions of the group and its place in the kibbutz movement were endless. We did not see ourselves as different from the people of other groups, and we established a connection with “Hechaver” and an agricultural center. We searched for ways to actualize our goals without a direct connection with the existing movement.

The programmatic deliberations began with the arrival of the first ones of Gordonia. We were unable to accept upon ourselves the doctrine of Gordonia, even though we saw no difference in our approach.

We wished to be independent in our path, without being bound to ideas or doctrines, and to found the group as an agricultural unit similar to other groups, without a specific connection to Gordonia. However, the group disbanded. The members of Gordonia were forced to leave, and 2-3 other members left with them. We were not able to bring the matter to conclusion despite the efforts to strengthen the group. The disruption in aliya for several years was not conducive to the organization of the youth in Orheyev into movements such as Gordonia, Hashomer Hatzair and Poale Zion. It appeared that our members of Bnei Yisrael were also tiring, and were not able to overcome the difficulties. After the members of Gordonia left us, a kernel for a group in Hadera was founded named Massada. There were fundamental debates about its direction, whether it should be an independent group or should join to one of the existing groups. We deliberated day and night, and did not come to a clear conclusion. What took place previously again happened. The group broke apart. Some of them went to the Mishmar Hasharon group (Avigdor, Bilah, Tovia of blessed memory and others), then located in Herzliya. The rest continued to search for a path. It finally became evident that we would not be able to maintain the idea of an independent kibbutz group on our own. Therefore we decided to join one of the Kibbutzim of Hechaver, even though we agonized about the energies and means that we had invested into an independent group. We overcame our hesitation and transferred to the Gan Shmuel group (then a member of the united Kibbutzim).

Much water flowed since those days. New conditions were created, some passed and others continued. However, the path of creativity and labor, faithful to the founding principles of Bnei Yisrael with its vision and aim to actualization remained the heritage of all alumnae of Bnei Yisrael. Even though we did not merit having an independent farm, all of the ideas that we dreamed about in the Diaspora were later imparted to the youth of Orheyev. That youth followed along our path in its masses – the path of Zionist actualization.

Yaakov Idil Beznos and family

Yaakov Idil Beznos and family
On the stairs of their house, Miryam, before going to Israel

 

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