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Rozhishcher Societies

 

The Rozhishch Society in Israel

From its small beginnings, the Rozhishch society in Israel has developed into an organization with over 250 members. Its founder was Leah Gavish.

 

After the Second World War, its membership was augmented by those survivors of the holocaust who managed to reach Israel. Its major activities were the holding of the annual memorial service in memory of the dear ones who had perished in the Holocaust, and a mutual aid benevolent fund which offered financial assistance to members in need in the form of interest free loans.

Later, when contact was established with Rozhishchers in other parts of the world, the organization developed and took on its present dimensions. In consultation with, and through the active

 

Memorial tablet in honour of Rozhishch martyrs on Har Zion.

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cooperation of the Rozhishch committees in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Argentina, the enterprise of purchasing Beth Rozhishch was undertaken.

 

Beth Rozhishch

Beth Rozhishch serves as the focal point and the centre of the activities of Rozhishchers both in Israel and abroad. It was purchased in 1961, is well situated in the centre of Tel Aviv, occupying the entire basement floor of a commercial and residential building, and consists of a large assembly hall, a clubroom, an office, a kitchen and an outdoor patio.

It was officially opened at a festive ceremony attended by Rozhishchers from Israel and abroad. Many came especially to Israel for this occasion which was the culmination of much enthusiastic effort on the part of Rozhishchers everywhere. Beth Rozhishch was consecrated to the memory of those who had perished in the Holocaust, as follows :

“May this House serve as a monument in the memory of the disaster to the nation, and may those coming to this House learn to remember what the Amalech of our generation has done to us, and may concern and thought be given in order that such a thing does not happen again.

I will not die but i will live Am Israel Hai!”

And the inaugural charter, dated March 11, 1961 reads: “We, the undersigned of the city of Rozhishch, Volhynia, living in Israel and the representatives of those living in Canada, the United States of

 

The late President of Israel, Zalman Shazar, at a reception at Beth Rozhishch. He is being greeted by our chairman, Avner Rachmieli. Standing (left) is Michael (Max) Pepper of Denver, Colorado

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The late David Ben Gurion talking with Yitzhak Rabin during a reception held in Beth Rozhishch in honour of Ambassador Asher Ben Nathan prior to the 'latter's departure for Germany as Israel's first Ambassador there

 

America, Brazil, Argentina and in other countries, have gathered together this evening in order to inaugurate Beth Rozhishch.

“More than eighteen years have passed since eight thousand Jews of our city and its area were cruelly massacred by the Nazis and the Ukrainians, on Elul 10, 1942, and to this day there has been no mark made anywhere in this world of their sacred memory.

“This evening, March 11, 1961, in the Bar Mitzvah year of the state of Israel, we dedicate Beth Rozhishch and consecrate it to the memory of the Jewish community which perished together with the six million Jews of Europe.

“This house will be designated for those coming from our city, for social gatherings, for parties, receptions for guests from abroad, etc. Here the annual memorial services will be held each year, and a museum will be established for keeping of documents and other souvenirs of historic value of the annihilated community.

“In this House general cultural activities for adults and primarily for youth will take place in the form of lectures, exhibitions, conferences and the like. Here a library will be established with a special section which will contain the literature of the Holocaust.

“We, the representatives from abroad, will continue to assist you in equipping the House and operating it, and the Israeli committee will ensure that the House fulfills its role with distinction.”

 

Beth Rozhishch Activities

Beth Rozhish'ch activities are many and varied. Its primary function is to unite Rozhishchers wherever they may be, and it is here that the many receptions are held for Rozhishchers who come to visit us from abroad.

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Leah (Glazer) Gavish, a founding member and for many years chairman of the committee (centre), welcoming Mirel and Mendel Shames, from Canada, on the occasion of the dedication of the Beth Rozhishch Kitchen, July 1965

 

The annual memorial service is held here. Three memorial scrolls have been installed in the assembly hall where Rozhishchers from all over the world may have a tablet inscribed in the memory of their loved ones who perished in the Holocaust. Many Rozhishchers have come to Beth Rozhishch for this express purpose.

The society's general meetings are held here as well as the elections to the executive committee. Meetings of the executive committee, and the council and the provident fund committee also take place in Beth Rozhishch.

When the publication of this memorial book was decided on, it was at Beth Rozhishch that the editorial board met. It was there too that the many meetings with members, who gathered together to discuss, register, and tape record recollections for the book, and to collect and gather documents and other material were held.

A Scroll of Honour has been installed at Beth Rozhishch, where the names of particularly active members are inscribed.

 

Plans for the Future

It is felt that the best memorial to the past lies in the future, and therefore we hope to be able to expand and develop our activities in order to build a bridge between the past and the young generation. Our plans include setting up a library in the clubroom of Beth Rozhishch; founding a scholarship fund for deserving pupils; enlarging our hall by closing in the patio.

It is our hope that these improvements will encourage the younger generation to identify with us, to come to Beth Rozhishch, to use it for cultural activities, to hold their celebrations bar mitzvas, brith millas and even weddings at Beth Rozhishch where there are fine facilities for such celebrations, and also to become acquainted with friends from abroad there.

A reception held in Beth Rozhishch

 

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