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[Page 177]

In Memory of Those Who Made Aliya,
Worked, and Are No More

 

Avraham Yitzchak Chwojnik and his wife
Sara Henia of Blessed Memory

by Dr. Aryeh Oren (Chwojnik)

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Success shined for Avraham Yitzchak Chwojnik, the son of Fishel and son-in-law of Leizer the tanner, and he became wealthy. He did not keep his wealth for himself as the wealthy are wont to do, but rather tried to support charitable institutions. He especially concerned himself with providing heating wood and candles for the Mauer Beis Midrash, so as to provide light and heat for the Torah students. He also concerned himself with the repair of that Beis Midrash.

His wife Sarah Henia was his assistant in those matters. Approximately 40 Yeshiva students would dine at his table. She had a large pot in which she prepared food for them. Similarly, he supported the poor of the city.

When Sarah Henia came to the Land thanks to her son Dr. Aryeh Aran, who was the pioneer of the family and later brought almost all of the family to the Land, she continued her charitable deeds here. She had a special place in the Carmel Market, where she stood and collected donations for the needy. People immediately recognized the woman and her ways, and happily gave her their donations. She was one of the founders of the “Lone Senior's Home” on 9 Avoda Street in Tel Aviv. She remained faithful in her deeds until her final day.

From Dr. Aryeh Oren (Chwojnik)

 

 
Avraham Yitzchak Chwojnik. His wife Sarah-Henia

 

Rabbi Zeev Wolf the son of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov
(Samsonowich) of blessed memory

by Eliahu Landsberg

Translated by Jerrold Landau

ruz178.jpg - Rabbi Zeev Wolf Samsonowich
Rabbi Zeev Wolf Samsonowich

Rabbi Zeev Wolf of blessed memory of Ruzhany was the scion of the wide-branched Mirkin family. He was a man of great action, respected by his fellowman, upright, and fearing Heaven.

He was educated in the lap of Torah, as were most of the Jews of the town. When he grew up, he had a family of seven children. Nevertheless, he always found sufficient time to study Midrash, Ein-Yaakov and Mishna on a daily basis. He dedicated himself to communal affairs despite the difficulties of earning a livelihood. He was an active member of the Talmud Torah committee after Reb David, one of the heads of the Chevrat Mishnayot, one of those concerned with the livelihood of poor scholars, and one of those who hosted poor guests on Sabbaths. Similarly, he was an active member of most communal institutions. Every Friday, he would volunteer to walk around the city and declare the closing of the shops on time. Despite the suffering of his life, he was always cheerful and content with his lot.

His hand was open to anyone who asked. He would walk among the poor of the city and offer help. He would distribute charitable loans, and would never be exacting about the timeframe of payment. At times, he suffered from losses, but he accepted everything with love.

After the death of his wife and after the great fire, when his sons left him and traveled to America, Rev Zeev did not follow after them. However, he left his beloved Ruzhany and turned his steps to home, to his true home, to the Holy Land, to Jerusalem, the desire of his heart. He spent his final days there, and died on the 13 of Cheshvan, 5674.

In Jerusalem, as in the Diaspora, he dedicated himself all his days to the study of Torah, Mishna, and Midrash. His good name was etched on the marble tablet in the Great Synagogue of Meah Shearim as one of the founders of its Chevra Mishnayot.

He lived under meager means in the Land. He satisfied himself with meager bread and small portions of water despite the large sums of money that his sons sent him from America, for he distributed most of the money he received to his friends and to poor scholars. He accepted everything with love until the day of his death, and his motto was “this too is for good.”

Eliahu Landsberg

 

Leibel Ziskind of blessed memory

by Yosef Abramowich

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Leibel Ziskind, the son of Moshe the smith (Jubiler), was one of the younger activists in our town. He threw himself into communal activity with great energy and drive. Within a short period, he attained an honorable place in the leadership of the Jewish institutions of the town. These were townsfolk who had studied Torah from the best teachers of the city, read a great deal of books, and amassed knowledge and secular education through self study. These youths of the town, saturated with Jewish tradition, a Zionist tendency and sublime social idealism, gave their full energy to the youth movements in the city, to Zionist activity, and to the dissemination of culture and progress. However, these youths were unable to remain

[Page 179]

in their town. The place had become too constricted for them. With the passage of time, they grew “wings,” spread them, and wandered far off, some on Hachsharah and aliya, and others to the far reaches of the world.

 

ruz179.jpg - Leibel Ziskind
Leibel Ziskind

Already in cheder, Leibel excelled as an activist. When he grew up, he was among the organizers of the “Zelbsts-Bildungs-Farein” (Autodicactic Organization). When it disbanded and the “Herzlia Zionist Youth Movement” arose, Leibel became involved in cultural activity there as well. He was the one who led the communal singing at Friday night parties. His voice was sweet, and the main thing was that he knew how to choose the fitting song (along with Sonia Leviatan, may she live long, who is married to Baruch Moskowitz, who also excelled in pleasant song). He entertained those at the party and the residents of the neighborhood with his rendition of the Sabbath hymns and songs of Zion.

In the interim, years passed. The kids grew into goats. The time came to move from publicity activities to actualization. Leibel joined Hechalutz. “Until this time, we preached nicely,” he declared at the founding meeting of the Chalutz organization in Ruzhany, “The time has come that we now fulfill nicely.” For reasons not related to himself, he was unable to immediately fulfill that which he preached. He moved to work in Bialystock. After he married Dova Chwojnik, the young couple moved to live in Volkovisk. He continued his communal activity in his new places, and did not cut off his connections with Hechalutz. Even though he became entrenched economically in Volkovisk, he did not give up on his life's desire. His face was always turned toward the Land of Israel. When the opportunity arose, he quickly liquidated his business and made aliya at the end of 1933, filled with energy and hope for the desired future.

“I finally arrived home,” he said to us during our first meeting. Indeed, Leibel felt himself as a veteran of the Land from his first day. All difficulties in becoming accustomed to the new place, all difficulties in arranging work, the crowded living quarters -- he accepted everything as natural, as a necessity, without complaint. Even though he endured several difficult years, he remained calm in his soul and content with his lot.

He stopped busying himself with communal affairs in the Land. He avidly followed anything that was taking place in the settlement, he came to meetings and lectures, but he always remained as an onlooker from the side. His friends who knew Leibel from the era of his activism in the Diaspora often attempted to pull him into the circle of communal life. However, he continued to refuse, saying:

“My wife and I are actualizing Zionism by our very being here. We are faithful to the Workers' Movement in that we live off the toil of our hands and eat our bread from the sweat of our brow -- there are better and more talented people than me for communal activity.”
This upright man left us at a young age. He was 36 years old when he died. His memory will be preserved by anyone who knew him.

Yosef Abramowich

 

Nachum Alperstein of blessed memory

by Zeev Rushkin

Translated by Jerrold Landau

I do not want to wax greatly in praise, but it seems to me that I would not exaggerate if I say that there was nobody who knew him who did not love him. That is, literally love him!

This love accompanied him throughout his life, and somewhat eased his difficult life. Worries of livelihood troubled his parents, and Nachum was forced to begin to bear the yoke of livelihood when he completed the Tarbut School. He worked in brick manufacturing, and later in the forest.

Unlike his friends, he did not suffice himself with preaching about labor and promising to fulfill such only in the Land. He was one of the first of our friends who joined Hechalutz in 1926. He went out to Hachsharah in Michlin, and when that Hachsharah Kibbutz disbanded, he did not give up on his aspirations. When a new awakening came after the disturbances of 5689 (1929) and a Hechalutz chapter was founded in Ruzhany, he was among the first to go out to Hachsharah. This was in May 1930. Within a few days, he succeeded in endearing himself to all the members of the Kibbutz. Even the workers and the gentiles held him in esteem on account of his serious attitude toward work.

When Hershel Pinsky of blessed memory came after about half a year to certify people for aliya with only three certificates in his sack for the Kibbutz of more than 50 members who had been waiting for their certification for more than a year, Nachum was the first to obtain a certificate, even though he had not yet attained “tenure.”

Nachum made aliya to the Land and once again demonstrated his serious and dedicated attitude to work. The tribulations of absorption were not difficult for him. He knew the language, and therefore immediately entered into the “Hasadeh” group of Mikve Yisrael graduates in Rishon Letzion. After a few weeks, he already competed in digging deep pits with the veteran diggers. In the harsh winter of 1932-33, when the lack of work in the Moshava was at its peak due to the estrangement of the farmers to the Hebrew worker, Nachum was one of the few who worked in an orchard. He received a higher salary than the others. With a piece of bread and slice of halvah for the entire day, he went out to backbreaking work with a hoe as he competed with dozens of Arabs who attempted to tire him out and peg him as an unsuccessful person in the eyes of the orchard keeper. However, his stubbornness stood in his stead, and he did not fall behind them. He returned to his tent-home broken and weakened. However a complaint never came to his lips, for he realized that there is no replacement for him. There was always pleasant smile on his lips.

With the hope that he would be able to help his parents and have his sisters make aliya, he left the kibbutz and moved to Tel Aviv. There too, he endured all the tribulations of an intermittent building worker.

After he got married, he succeeded in entering the Lebanon ice cooperative. Although he evaded the nightmare of unemployment, anyone who has attempted the backbreaking work of ice delivery knows what it is about. Getting up in the middle of the night and climbing stairs all day is not one of the easiest things.

I cannot refrain from mentioning an additional thing -- his sweet voice and love of song and cantorial music. He sang in the workers' choir for a long time.

Ten years ago, he underwent a successful operation in his throat due to a malignant tumor. All he lost was his voice. For a long time, he was presented as an example at every medical convention, where his persistence was lauded, thanks to which his voice returned, to his joy and the joy of those close to him.

However, this time, his luck ran out. He suddenly took ill. He was taken to the hospital and operated on successfully. Then the tragedy came suddenly. He was only 46 years old when he died.

Dear Nachum, the clods of earth of our Land, into which you exerted so much sweat, are dear to you. Your friends and acquaintances will remember you forever. May your memory be blessed.

Zeev Rushkin

 

[Page 181]

The Organization of Ruzhany Natives

Translated by Jerrold Landau

 

Dr. Aryeh Aran (Chwojnik)

He was born in Ruzhany. He completed medical school in Geneva, Switzerland. He continued his studies in Zurich. He worked in Vienna, Paris, and America. He was already active as a member of Poale Zion in Switzerland in 1915. He organized the “Taz” and the hospital in Ruzhany. He made aliya in 1922, and set up the “Histadrut Shechenim” (Organization of Neighbors) and “Shchhunat Hashchenim” (Neighborhood of Neighbors) here. He served as a member of the Tel Aviv city council for six years. He set up the “Hachlama” convalescent home in Ramat Gan. Today he continues to work as an ear, nose and throat specialist in Tel Aviv.

 

Abba Leviatan

He was a native of Ruzhany, and one of the pillars of communal activity there. He served as the gabbai of the Great Synagogue for 20 years (1901-1921). He was a founder of the Volunteer Firefighters in the town, and one of its heads until he made aliya to the Land in 1924. He was the head of the militia during the change of regime.

Many accompanied him as he left Ruzhany. Abba Chwojnik asked him, “Many have made aliya, without many accompanying them. How did you merit?” Abba Leviatan answered him, “I belonged to everyone -- and everyone to me. I worked with the government authorities and with the police for the benefit of anyone who was in need of such.”

 

ruz181.jpg - The Organization of Ruzhany Natives
The Organization of Ruzhany Natives.

First Row, right to left, standing: Yudel Sokolovsky, Elisha Shimshoni, Roza Jubiler (Pines), Efraim Gamerman, Rafael Karelitz.
Second Row: Yosef Abramowich, Shmuel Magli, Dr. Aryeh Aran, Abba Leviatan.
Third Row: Zeev Rushkin, Elka Ines (Rubinowich), Meir Sokolovsky

[Page 182]

Shmuel Magli (Mogilenski)

He was the owner of the pharmacy in Ruzhany from 1911 to 1932, the year he made aliya. He was an active member of the Zionist organization of Ruzhany, an activist with the Keren Kayemet LeYisrael, and other organizations. He owned a farm and orchard in Raanana until 1945. Today, he owns a pharmacy in Tel Aviv.

 

Roza Jubiler-Pines

She was a native of Ruzhany. She completed her medical studies in Leningrad in 1918. She then completed additional studies in London and Berlin. In 1922, she returned to Poland and worked as an eye doctor. When Hitler ascended to government in 1933, she made aliya and works here in medicine.

 

Yaakov Shimshoni

He was one of the intelligentsia youth of Ruzhany. He studied Torah from the best teachers in town, and also mastered general education in the Real School of Slonim. He was considered to be an honorable person, even though he conducted himself modestly and spent his time studying. He owned the largest flour mill in town. After the region was conquered by Soviet Russia in 1939, he left the town and remained in Russia. He returned to Ruzhany after the downfall of the Nazis and saw it in its full destruction. He made aliya to the Land and today is a librarian in the Kaduri agricultural school.

 

Yosef Abramowich

He was a native of Ruzhany. He was the son of Meir Hirsch and Shitel-Chana. He studied in Ruzhany with the best teachers. He continued in the gymnasium in Slonim and university in Warsaw. He made aliya to the land in 1933. He worked as a teacher for many years. After the founding of the state, he became a supervisor in the Ministry of Education and Culture. He was active in the area of physical education and sport, and published several books on these topics.

 

Elisha Shimshoni

He was a native of Ruzhany, the son of Nachum and Miriam (Rogov). He studied in cheders, and was known as an excellent student. He made aliya along with his parents, brothers and sisters. He worked at various jobs during the early years. He traveled to Germany and completed his studies in engineering. As an expert engineer in statics and building, he erected rows of large houses in Tel Aviv and its environs. Today he is active as a responsible engineer in The Union of Kibbutzim.

 

Meir Sokolovsky

He was a native of Ruzhany, the son of Yitzchak-Izak and Chana (nee Rosenfeld). He studied in the Tarbut Hebrew School in Ruzhany. He continued and completed his course of studies in the Poznansky government seminary for Hebrew teachers in Warsaw. He worked as a teacher in Poland. He made aliya at his first opportunity, in 1934. He completed additional studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and worked in the capital as a building worker, and in the Sharon as an agricultural worker. In 1935, he was again called to teaching. From that time on, he worked as a teacher. With the arrival of the large wave of aliya after the War of Independence, he directed the school in the Gelilot transit camp. Today he is the principal of a government school in Tel Aviv.

[Page 183]

Zeev Rushkin

He was a native of Ruzhany. He studied in the Tarbut Hebrew School. He continued his studies in the Yavneh School in Lodz. He was active in the youth organizations and dedicated to the funds. He was active in Hechalutz. He completed his Hachsharah in Janow and made aliya to the Land in 1931. He lived for two years in a field camp in Rishon LeZion. He then moved to Tel Aviv and worked in building. Today, he is a driver and a partner in the Beit Hamischar.

 

Yudel Sokolovsky

He is a native of Ruzhany. He studied in the Tarbut Hebrew School. He was the head of the Hashomer Hatzair chapter in the town from 1926 to 1932, the year of his aliya. He worked in the orchards of Petach Tikva. He studied agriculture in Italy in 1934-1935. Today, he is the director of the Yatur touring company.

 

Elka Rubinowich-Ines

She was the daughter of a family of teachers in Ruzhany. She studied in the Tarbut Hebrew School. She was one of the heads of the Hashomer Hatzair chapter in the town from 1926-1932, the year of her aliya. She was a member of the Nes Ziona Hashomer Hatzair Kibbutz for some time. She worked in paving roads, building, and agriculture. She completed her studies in the Halpern seminary. She was one of the first residents of Givat Rambam.

 

Rafael Gamerman

He was a native of Ruzhany, the son of Aharon and Alta (the daughter of Avigdor Michel Goldberg). He studied in the Tarbut Hebrew School, and was a member of Hashomer Hatzair in the town, and active for the funds. He made aliya to the Land in 1934. He lives in Tel Aviv, and works as an accountant. He serves as the volunteer secretary of the Gemilut Chasadim fund of the Organization of Ruzhany Natives.

 

Rafael Karlits

Rafael (Zeidel) Karlits the son of Eliezer Chaim was born in Kosow Polski in 1912. He moved to Pavlova near Ruzhany. For all the time, he studied and was educated in the Tarbut Hebrew School in Ruzhany. He made aliya in 1932. He studied plumbing. He suffered no small amount. Today he is the owner of a private business for installation needs.

 

Yitzchak Einstein

ruz183.jpg- Yitzchak Einstein
Yitzchak Einstein

He was a native of Ruzhany. He studied in the Tarbut Hebrew School. During the Russian occupation in 1942, he served as the accountant for the city bank. After the tribulations of various camps, he arrived in Israel. Today he is an official of the audit office in the country.

 

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