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[Page 217]

Our Dead in the Nation

 

English Translation by Sara Mages

[Page 219]

Azriel Kubrik

by Yitschak Ben-Tsvi
Second President of the State of Israel

When I returned home from a conference in London, the sad news about the death of my old friend, a friend who had been close to me since childhood – Azriel Kubrik – was waiting for me. Azriel was a beloved friend, a member of the Second Immigration, who escaped and immigrated to the Land holding the workers' flag in his hand long before the name Pioneer was known in the world. He was born in Podolia (or Vohlin) and came to Poltava during his youth. I met him for the first time when he was a soldier in the Russian army. He settled in that town later on, in 5665, and was active in the Zionist movement. Azriel Kubrik was one the first Russian Labor Zionist activists in Poltava, where the party had been established 40 years earlier, and he took an active part in all the party's doings, which were held in secret during the czar's regime. Azriel devoted himself mostly to matters of Jewish defense, to which Poltava's Labor Zionist activists dedicated their best efforts and resources during the October 1905 (5666) riots against the Jews. With Labor Zionist support, a Jewish defense force was established in Poltava (in 1905-1906), gathering under its flag hundreds of young men and women who were party members and a group of Zionist youth who were not. A dedicated and loyal instructor, gifted with courage and valor, who earned the appropriate technical knowledge during his time in the army – this was member A. Kubrik.

I remember the secret meetings in those days that took place at different synagogues in town, obviously illegally. At the meetings, in which Yakov Plotkin, of blessed memory, also took part, we demanded sacrifice from the Jewish community: we asked for financial donations from the adults, and we asked the young people to join the defense force with their bodies and souls. To many, Azriel Kubrik served as a symbol and an example of a man of good deeds and action.

And as a man of deeds and action, he immigrated to the Land during the Second Immigration, and during his life, he was devoted to the words of our Sages, of blessed memory: “Actions speak louder than words.” He labored in the city, he labored in the settlement, he worked in agriculture, he was a dear and loyal friend – and so he remained until the day he died: modest and kindhearted, dedicated to his idealism. He left us before his time without a replacement, leaving behind a wife, a soldier son, and a daughter.

May his soul be bound up in the bond of everlasting life, and may his memory not be forgotten by his friends or the next generation as a symbol of a dedicated pioneer who was loyal to our concept until his dying day.


[Page 220]

Duvid Roynik,
of Blessed Memory

by Meir Or

 

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Duvid Roynik

 

Duvid came from a family of rabbis and Hasidim. He was full of Torah and good virtues, respectful, and well mannered. He was educated in the Dubno maggid's words and the Vilna Gaon's Law passages. He was a true believer in a Zionist future. His virtue was a revolutionary's virtue: from the pillar of the study hall to the ritual of a settlement laborer, from a rabbi's table to working the land, and from a rich man's estate to a settler's tent.

From a wealthy home, he went to desolate Merhavia and conquered its hill. Together with the first settlers, he clung to the desolate, forgotten earth and rejuvenated it.

Without kibbutz pioneer training and without knowing the younger generation's ways, he outlined a way to fulfill his pioneer duty immediately after immigrating. He found his way in the Land of Israel not according to a prearranged plan, but through an inner force, with his healthy mind and pioneer senses.

When he experienced difficult days of great poverty, he plowed on stubbornly with patience and rare tolerance. He sowed, paved the way for his descendants, and left behind him a generation that continued his pioneer work. All his family members settled in working settlements: Beit She'arim, Kfar Yehoshua, Kfar Chagla, and Kfar Vitkin.

The man knew how to direct different lifestyles and combine them into one main road, how to observe his patriarchs' tradition and sing the younger generation's songs, and how to lay foundations by using the old and the new to build his renewed homeland.

Wherever he turned, he gained friends and admirers, and maintained a seriousness of life and action. He blotted out difficult moments with humor and celebration. He carried his pain during bitter times with a Hasidic fervor. He inspired others with his honesty and trust. Like an experienced diver, he dived to the depth of the fountain of life and raised the good out of the bad. In spite of his old age, his body and soul were young and fresh.

May his memory be blessed.


[Page 221]

More about Shimon Ayzenberg

(As Told by the People of His Town and His Era)

…When his father died, Shimon continued with his life's work. He packed small bags of flour and packages of live fish and delivered them to the town's needy.

The people of Vishnevets saw the poor waiting and marking their places in line at the Ayzenbergs' store.

…The material and spiritual help he gave Duvid Roynik in the Land was the most famous of all, and all Vishnevetsers were blessed by it.

…When Shimon was in Beersheba, a Jew by the name of Gordon built a flourmill and became rich. When Gordon found out that Shimon was a great expert in grinding flour from abroad, he asked him to stay with him, with the intention of having him marry his young daughter, who was beautiful and …spoiled.

Shimon was not tempted and went up to settle in Merhavia.

A while later, Gordon sent his daughter to Merhavia, hoping that she could succeed in what she'd failed to do in Beersheba.

Shimon welcomed her and showed her the marvels of Jewish farming. When the beautiful youngster saw a tender calf after it was born, she told everyone how “the mule gave birth to the little mule.” That's when Shimon decided she was not for him.

And so Shimon was saved from a successful “matchmaking.”


[Page 222]

A Time to Mourn…
From a Memorial Service Eulogy

by Meir Or

We mourn here this evening a group of friends who were uprooted from us for eternity. Only a few of us were left after Hitler's flood and the terror of his days. When they came from our town, little by little, one family, one soul, and arrived in a safe harbor, we blessed each family, and we were happy with each soul. We hugged the survivors with happiness, respect, and brotherly love, because we saw the remnants of our brothers and our precious families in them, and now we are mourning again.

The heart grieves; in one year we have had to memorialize five of our loving friends. Chaye Marchbeyn, Yitschak Rabin, Yehoshue Zeyger, and the sisters Henye and Sime.

***

Chaye Marchbeyn passed through all the stages of suffering during the conflict between the hostile regimes. When she arrived in our homeland, she immediately poured out her bitter heart during our first conversation and told a horrifying story of how she had struggled for her life under each regime and the foreign regimes' never-ending, humiliating afflictions. More than once, she had to submit herself to the rulers' state of mind during her day-to-day push for survival. In our conversation, she talked about personal acts of heroism by people who lived in hell. Like “pierced-ear” slaves, they were beaten and tortured at the hands of the beasts of prey. She was happy that it was behind her, she was happy for the great blessing of finally being in the Land and for the fact that she could celebrate her freedom and liberty in the Land of Israel every day. But Chaye was not credited with many years of happiness in her homeland.

May her memory be blessed,

***

Yitschak Rabin was a loyal friend. He was full of energy and worked confidently. He always cared for others – with advice and instructions, and with their livelihood. I know at least three incidents when Yitschak helped a number of families settle and get established, caring for them like a dedicated father. It is possible that sometimes we were unkind to him and caused him grief by pointing out his mistakes. But this was his power, the power that forced us to listen to him. He had a sort of active core that stimulated him to think. With the power of his serious, kindhearted personality and his good sense of humor and cheerfulness, he took the sting out of every argument and directed the words to the topic and the essence of the subject. Yitschak knew how to be strong-minded, but at times, without a shadow of ambition, he gave in and accepted the words of those who argued with him, even though he remained firm in his victorious opinion and he had trouble adapting to others' opinions.

The late Yitschak could inspire trust in his fellow man's heart and in the hearts of the desperate and disappointed. He had a maturity of thought and the ability to understand a man in need. He always had a kind approach and always responded to the sufferings of others with charm and a friendly expression.

He worked as a board member in our organization without favoritism, and with sincerity and the naked truth. He was as consistent and firm as a rock.

[Page 223]

He excelled in his work at Hameshakem [1], because his character and virtues were appropriate for a job that required him to understand those who had failed, encourage the elderly, and rehabilitate human beings.

There was a sort of inner strength in the way Yitschak approached a target he had set for himself. I visited him for the first time in Bat Yam right after it was established. He lived in a dilapidated hut. He dug himself in in Bat Yam, grasping the place with his fingernails. He worked harder and harder, brick by brick, with diligence and great dedication, until he had a splendid and well-built home.

Fate was so cruel to him and his family. Just when Yitschak was ready to end the first page of his life and get ready for his son's wedding, standing at the entrance of a new period in his life when he could enjoy the rewards of his hard work, Yitschak was snatched suddenly and shockingly.

Last, Yitschak was dedicated to and responsible toward his family. He was a wonderful father to his children, talking to them like a friend. He knew how to live well in all conditions and situations. He knew how to enjoy life as the offspring of a good family. Happiness flowed in his circle of family and friends.

We honor him, and his loving memory will remain in our hearts.

***

Yehoshue Zeyger. The day before the accident, Yehoshue Zeyger stood before me, strong and clear-minded. It was impossible to think that death was hovering between us and that it would kill him so suddenly, in only 20 hours. Who would think something like this could happen – that the next day, in the middle of a meeting in Tel Aviv, I would receive the sad news about Yehoshue's death?

Yehoshue walked among us without a sound and without a swing, but with peace and tranquility. His words were well measured, actual and not painted. Everything he said was said in simple words with inner weight and mature thought. He didn't push to be in the lead because he didn't like “rowdy” public work. But he had a clear mind when it came to public matters and a clear inner conviction.

When Yehoshue saw himself without a future or purpose in the busy town of Vishnevets, which was immersed in its gray life, he broke out into the big world, got up, and immigrated to America to build a new life. But over there he, like many others, couldn't adjust to a new life in a foreign country that was flooded with materialism. Although the man could live in difficult situations with patience and great tolerance, his soul couldn't cope with a “peddler's” difficult work. With the outbreak of World War I, Yehoshue returned to Vishnevets like a wounded animal returning to its cave. The man was very disappointed until he could overcome his crisis. Thanks to his vigor, peaceful personality, and calm soul, he was able to continue as if nothing had happened.

When he saw an empty void before him in a life full of struggle for honor, a burning love for the Land of Israel and the will to immigrate overtook him. What caused him to immigrate wasn't just his Zionist recognition, but also the new rising culture, the original Jewish culture acquired diligently through dedication to its origin, because Yehoshue was an educated man.

[Page 224]

Ever since he had equipped himself with a “graduation certificate” from the praised Rabbi Simche Ayzik, of blessed memory, Yehoshue had dived to the recesses of human spirit and scientific achievement. By himself, and also with the help of our teacher Mordekhay Blekh-Ben-Tsvi, of blessed memory, he drew knowledge from universal science journals, and with great diligence and a dedication to reading, he accumulated common knowledge.

He was quiet by nature, but he expressed himself powerfully in writing. His beautiful, picturesque articles, in which he wrote about general matters and our town, are loyal testimonies. In his articles, we find lifestyles described as if they're pictures of the local people in words, as well as a review of various organizations and institutions. He was the archivist of various events and historical periods of life in Vishnevets.

His path in the Land of Israel was one of the hardest. He had difficulty putting down roots and adjusting to hard labor. Only his strong will sustained him, helping him overcome these difficult tests. He didn't trust people or donors. He fought with his own fingers, strengthening himself and reaching the age of retirement, prosperity, rest, and tranquility.

Yehoshue was educated according to the Zeyger family tradition, which opposed splendor and self-promotion. They were rich, but they didn't brag about their wealth. Although they were members of the local upper class, they lived simply and modestly, resisting dishonesty.

He reacted logically to public affairs. For many years, he was loyal to his outlook and took a stand without deviation because he was solid and firm in his opinions.

May his image be bound in our memory.

***

The sisters Henye and Sime. Henye kept her distance from the center of our life and our organization. She appeared only every once in a while, and then we saw her as continuing the Chachkis tradition as one of the first immigrants who dared to fulfill their Zionist duty. So she's not a stranger to us, and we remain privileged to have her as one of us. Henye was saturated with Zionist spirit, went through the strengthening melting pot, and endured the pain of absorption. When her situation in the country was uncertain, without the security to survive from day to day, she endured it all through self-sacrifice by giving up her social life, including her friends from Vishnevets.

May her memory be for a blessing and be engraved in the hearts of her family, friends, and loved ones.

Sime. Along with Sime, the image of a dedicated and loyal friend has gone. She was a Jewish mother in all her qualities and a loyal wife to our teacher and rabbi Mordekhay Ben-Tsvi, of blessed memory. With their immigration came the pains of new beginnings, days of financial distress, and hard physical labor. The Ben-Tsvi family experienced difficult times. Mordekhay, of blessed memory, worked at unskilled labor. He had to explain the lyrics to the song “To the Bird” and the mask from “The Talmud Student," by Chayim Nachman Bialik, with the black coal he worked with at the rail yard. He was happy with his lot and rejoiced in the joy of creation. Sime took part in his daily struggle and suffered greatly. Even so, she could listen to others' troubles, and because of that, she aroused respect and admiration.

She was an actress by nature. During a meeting, she would sit in a corner on the side and listen to every sound and whisper; she was far away but so close to us, like a sister.

[Page 225]

She gained a place in our organization with modesty and a deep understanding of her duty. And while she experienced financial difficulties, she possessed a limitless love for her country. Like a good Jewish mother, she spread her wings beyond the boundaries of her family, kept in touch with the organization, and took care of those in need.

It was the time of the riots. Heavy clouds covered the sky in the Land of Israel. The murderers' bullets buzzed and killed. Our young people fell here and there, in each corner of the country. Hatred spread after the Arabs' wild provocation.

Gangs of murderers swarmed the fields, vineyards, and roads, and ambushed the to be a watchman in the most dangerous locations in Samaria. Our young men risked their lives to prevent the riots and protect people and property. During the ceasefire, Azriel came to visit us in Hadera and stayed with us. I visited Sime then to bring her a message from her only son. Who can explain the agony and tears that Sime endured night after night waiting for her son Azriel, wanting to see him alive, making sure the murderers' bullets didn't touch him? But when I spoke to her, she was calm, suffocating her pain and restraining herself silently. With silent pain and great courage, she fortified herself so she could fulfill her civic duty as a Jewish mother in the renewed country. She drew her courage from her love of Zion and was ready with all her existence for physical and emotional pain on behalf of what was dear to all of us.

We appreciated her during her life, we admired her and her simplicity, and we'll also remember her after her death.

 

Translator's Note:
  1. Hameshakem is an organization that arranges employment for the elderly and the physically challenged. return

 


[Page 226]

Chayim Zev Barkay

by Meir Or

 

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Chayim Zev Barkay

 

When it happened that Chayim Volf Brik, of blessed memory, from Pochayev, married Leyeke Shpigelman, may she be set apart for long life, it was said that Vishnevets was blessed with one fine young man.

And so it was.

With his appearance, it was clear to everyone on first impression that a star had stepped down from the sky and promised to sprout. And indeed, he promised, and he didn't let us down.

Barkay volunteered and added to our public life from his great resources as a promoter of cultural projects: the Jewish National Fund, the Foundation Fund, and other cultural fields.

He was dedicated to the Tarbut School, which was the spiritual center of Vishnevets, and helped found it.

When the town was alive with many streams of Zionism, Barkay also belonged to a certain Zionist party. But Barkay wasn't like the others. While Zionist activity occurred within the town's political structure, Barkay always chose a broad line for himself, not like the zealots who enslaved themselves to their narrow limits. He regarded political struggle with disgust; he was kind and showed moderation toward each segment in order to draw the best and most helpful from each fragment of the tribes of Israel, taking the point of view: “pick the best from everywhere.” I can't remember seeing Barkay angry, irritated, or annoying others. He was always kind to people and kept away from quarrels and disputes.

My meetings with Barkay always left an impression on me because he knew how to radiate friendship and companionship toward those he encountered. There were contrasts in him that complemented each other: Hasidic enthusiasm, quiet deeds, modesty, the setting of others in motion, inner peace, and storming of crowds.

Barkay's immigration to Israel with his young children was a sort of adventure that came from his spiritual need to fulfill his life's wish.

[Page 227]

He did it with a daring Zionist leap into an unknown future, with a clear decision to disassemble yesterday's chains, no matter what.

When he arrived in the Land of Israel, he settled in a work camp and neglected his former occupation in trade because he saw labor as a way to connect with his nation in his homeland.

He worked at the Israel Electric Company with dedication and cared about the organization's growth. For that reason, he was promoted by his superiors with recognition and respect.

Barkay was blessed with a family of rare quality. With his wife, Leyeke, he turned their home into a cocoon of love that was full of mutual respect and understanding. The family members were united, holding onto each other with loyalty. It was a pleasure to visit Barkay's home to absorb the calm that prevailed there.

While still in the Diaspora, Barkay cared for his children's Jewish education, training them for good citizenship and loyalty to their nation and homeland.

It isn't by chance that two of his sons serve as generals in the Israel Defense Forces, giving themselves to their country's needs and the demands of the era. We bless his offspring, and we'll remember his glorious name for eternity.


[Page 228]

Simche Zak,
of Blessed Memory

by Meir Or

 

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Simche Zak,
of Blessed Memory

 

Simche was one of the fine young men of our town who, under the patronage of their teacher and rabbi Mordekhay Blekh (Bentsvi, of blessed memory), dug deep into the Bible to cultivate the Hebrew-in-Hebrew method to teach the language of the past to the nation.

He was modest and dedicated himself to his reading and studies, but no one noticed that in his calm, his active soul was yearning for Zion, action, and fulfillment. When he got up and immigrated, it was discovered that Simche was also a man of decision and action.

He was a pioneer in everything. To all appearances, he was a publisher, but in fact he was more than that. He published literature for the pleasure of many, and “produced” literature readers. In the course of time, he published books of substance.

I had the opportunity to stay at his home a number of times and watch him proofread. Simche Zak didn't trust other proofreaders, since he wanted to leave his mark on the subject, the language, and the style.

Simche also knew how to respect his masters and show kindness toward a writer, encourage him (to appreciate his literary work), and give him the fair profit he deserved.

It seems to me that there aren't many publishers like him in the nation. He accompanied a book from the time it was in the writers' belly, fathered it with encouragement, and escorted it with his expert eye through all stages until it was printed.

I visited his home after the blockade on Jerusalem was lifted and found him happy with the partial liberation of Jerusalem. He tied his fate to our Jerusalem, escorting his sons with happiness when they left for a battle, and he counted each battle as a battle for Jerusalem, even if it was in the Negev, the North, or the desert.

With his death and during his struggle with death, it was discovered that Simche was a proud member of his generation, and that's how we'll remember him.


[Page 229]

Yitschak Rabin

by Meir Or

We knew him as a boy with curly hair and red cheeks, the oldest of three orphaned brothers who came from the town of Tshan to our town Vishnevets as refugees from Petliura's camps after the riots in Ukraine. Like other refugees from Tshan, they brought an advanced, fresh style to our town's monotonous way of life. According to everyone, he was like a child prodigy, with a splendid face, beauty, and charm. He grew in front of our eyes, attaching himself to the Pioneer movement in our town and setting out on his own road to pioneer training and immigration in order to fulfill his Zionist duty.

I remember when I visited him for the first time in Bat-Yam, being one of its first settlers. The town, which is blooming now, was still in its infancy. He laid in front of me a selection of stories about the struggles of the first days. He spoke with joy about his adventures during the first years, his intermediate stations, and the many different jobs he worked in before he settled there – and all with the special joy he used to influence everyone who came into contact with him, asking for his advice and instructions.

He cared for his brothers in trouble with dedication and without weariness, and assisted new immigrants with their arrangements. It's no wonder that he excelled in his job at Hameshakem, because his qualities and virtues suited that work: a soft heart, the ability to understand those who stumbled with diligence and dedication, and the ability to encourage the elderly and rehabilitate people. He also had the talent to plant confidence in his fellow man's heart and trust in the desperate and disappointed. Because he understood a man in need, he responded to him with warmth, grace, and happiness. He accepted a person's qualities and deficiencies, and because of that, he was willing to carry the suffering of others on his shoulders out of personal responsibility.

He was an active committee member for our organization and performed properly, with sincerity and without bias or compromise. A year ago, when it was time for him to receive a reward for his work, he was snatched from us at the best time of his life, a few days before his son's wedding.


[Page 230]

Moshe Goldshub,
of Blessed Memory

by Meir Or

 

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Moshe Goldshub,
of Blessed Memory

 

This man's eyes saw murder and destruction. He carried pain in his soul and scars on his flesh from two periods of destruction that passed through Vishnevets and the people who lived there.

The man was filled with bitterness by two cruel regimes: the Nazi and the Soviet, which left their marks on his body and soul.

It's understandable that he, too, a hero among men, shattered. His death cast sorrow on us.

Moshe was lively in his deeds and emotions. He listened to his fellow man's sufferings, shaking himself like a lion to answer his Jewish brothers.

We had the impression that he kept to himself, but his heart was open to every request for help at any time it came to him.

During the Russian regime in our town, he was appointed administrator of the flourmill. Many received their bread from his hands, and he did this with difficulty and by putting himself in danger.

After the beastly storm that took over the world, when the war ended, he returned to Vishnevets knowing that there was nothing for him there. He went to avenge the blood of our town's Jewish martyrs. Strong and powerful, he took revenge with his own hands on the leaders of those who spilled our blood and killed many of our disloyal neighbors. He took revenge at their homes, sending his holy bullets in front of their family members and bringing honor to our slaughtered nation.

I remember visiting him after he arrived in the Land. We sat for hour after hour, and like a burning torch, he spoke about the misfortune of his community, his friends, his parents, and our parents. He was completely fire with revenge and didn't hold back.

He was a righteous man, and when we met, he never ceased to demand just one favor, an act of true kindness for the martyrs of Vishnevets. He who had taken care of the mass graves day after day was driven to build a memorial for them here in our country. When he found out about the book that was to be published, his wounds healed, and his tension eased.

He was an honest, well-established working man in our country who saw blessing in his work and looked forward to a little satisfaction, but suddenly, he was snatched by death.

May his memory be carved in this book, which he eagerly awaited.


[Page 231]

My Father, Yehuda,
and My Mother, Sore

by Tikve (Rozental) Sklod

I see an obligation, not only as a daughter but also as a partner in the Vishnevets organization and its memorial book, to mention my parents, Yehuda and Sore Rozental, who were among the first immigrants from the town.

They immigrated in 1922, after dreaming for years about returning to Zion and after persistent conversations at home about immigrating to the Land.

Our uncle, Duvid Roynik, who never stopped engaging all members of his family in this thought, planted the concrete will to immigrate in them. In their imagination, they saw themselves settling in the country, sitting under their own vine and fig tree.

Their rich father, who listened to the whispers of his sons' hearts, bought them property in Israel, and the road to fulfilling their dream was open. But when they arrived in the Land, they found out that their property was registered in the name of the “trustworthy” buyer. They were naked and in great poverty, and had no way to support themselves.

My uncle, Duvid Roynik, was not at a loss. He bought mules and cows, and the two of them, he and my father, got jobs as cart drivers while the women took care of the cow shed. Many days later, my father felt that he couldn't cope with the work and opened a grocery store in Tel Aviv. But his practical Zionist conscience bothered him, so he sold his store and went to work as a hired hand.

In Heshvan 1945, my father died, full of bitterness and disappointment that he couldn't fulfill even half of his dream, but he was consoled by the fact that he was one of the first to return to the homeland, a privilege that a man should not dismiss. A few years later, my mother, Sore Rozental, also died.

May their souls and their memory be bound within us.

 

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Yehuda and Sore Rozental –
Roaming the Villages to Earn a Living after World War I


[Page 232]

Sore, Duvid Roynik's Daughter
(Words Said at Her Graveside)

by Mikhael Goldberg

A real friendship existed between us for many years, from the time she arrived in the Land with her family in 1922.

Before she came, I was a friend of her father, R' Duvid, of blessed memory (he immigrated to the Land a year before the family arrived). I greatly admired R' Duvid's loving personality.

He was descended from a family of rabbis and was learned, with a noble soul, and along with that, he was imbued with a pioneer spirit.

We were young pioneers – excited and wild.

And here before us was a dignified, handsome Jew with a long beard who reflected respect and nobility. He also worked with us in construction and public work, full of enthusiasm for building the land. He spoke in pure Hebrew, and his soul sought a laborer's life of honesty and justice.

The family arrived: the mother and children. The oldest daughter, Sore, spoke pure Hebrew and was learned in literature, educated, and clever, with a clear mind.

The period of adjustment was not long, and in a short time, she entered the working life, turned to her studies at a teacher's college, and also carried the load of helping at home.

We were neighbors (we lived in a hut neighborhood) and good friends. We saw our residency in Tel Aviv as temporary. The yearning to settle had followed us from the Diaspora. When I offered to join the group of settlers who were going up to the Merhavia settlement, R' Duvid enthusiastically accepted the offer, and the family moved there.

Sore had to stop her studies at the teacher's college. She accepted the decision willingly. She gave up her career as a teacher and dedicated herself to agriculture and farming.

Conditions were very difficult.

The land was barren, and there was no water (barely enough for drinking). Life was difficult due to lack of experience, dilapidated housing, and a difficult climate.

It was difficult to support a large family in such conditions. The entire family worked diligently, like a community of ants in a field, in the garden and cow shed.

Sore worked hard, as all of us did, quietly, seriously, and without grumbling. She never complained about the difficult situation; she didn't hesitate or despair.

[Page 233]

She loved farming and the village. From her father, she inherited a desire for justice and the dedication to pursue and fulfill an idea.

Some years later, she married her heart's choice, and together they moved to build Kfar Yehoshua.

Here, a difficult life began again, but Sore, who was used to suffering, set about creating a farm with all her energy.

Those were the pangs of creation, and she was greatly satisfied.

Her friends appreciated and liked her. She was active in the community, dedicated, diligent, and enthusiastic – and again without grumbling. A wide smile always covered her face, even if fate brought her bitterness.

Because of a difficult situation, she had to leave her beloved village and move to the Tel Aviv area (Ramat Gan).

I saw sadness and longing on her face, and she was restless, but on the outside she was quite as she had always been.

“How are you? Good, everything is fine!” And the same lovely smile.

She started to recover, found a job, and was also active in public life. During the blood riots before World War II, she dedicated herself to her activities in the Haganah. [1]

I met her at dawn, running through the lanes of the orange groves and instructing a group of young people (even now I don't know what kind of job she held in the Haganah). A secret! She said to me, “Where are you running to, Sore! Is it necessary …yes …necessary.”

This was the line of her character: dedication to a social idea and dedication without boundaries.

And everything was done with modesty, with humility, and without the desire to stand out.

She didn't find satisfaction in city life. “I long for Kfar Yehoshua and my friends.”

She told me, what meaning is there in this life? It has no foundation or roots…

In the end, she returned to the village and her beloved group of friends, who welcomed her with love and warmth. Again, she dedicated herself to public work and her auxiliary farm.

With love, she nourished each plant and tree in her ornamental garden with talent and knowledge.

In this case, it looked as if the family had reached a state of peace and security. Member Ben-Chayim was working at village institutions, Sore was also working, and their son was growing up and getting an education with the village children. Here he was enlisting in the army, and here there was a wedding for the son. What a blessing! Faces beamed with happiness, a mother's blessing! The wedding party was modest, and friends and relatives met. How pleasant it was to meet after not seeing each other for so many years. What intimacy. We kissed, hugged, and brought up memories of our teenage years.

Sore beamed with happiness.

We didn't want to tire her out. We knew she was suffering from heart disease, but she didn't want to submit to it.

She had great charm and a strong will to live, work, and create.

I remember that when I visited her at the hospital, I witnessed a conversation between her and her family members. She inquired about each detail of her farm, including the chicks in the chicken coop, the trees, and the flowers.

[Page 234]

She gave various instructions on how to run her farm.

Is it true that she didn't know about her serious illness? I asked her, “How are you, Sore?” “All right! I'm in a good mood today. I have a very interesting book, and I completely forgot that I'm in a hospital.” She liked books very much. They were like good friends throughout her life.

When we left her, she said (again with the same smile!), “It's going to be all right! Don't worry.”

She showed optimism and the will to live even though her life was full of suffering and struggle.

Her loving image will remain engraved on our hearts forever.

 

Translator's Note:
  1. Haganah (literally, defense) was a paramilitary organization during the British Mandate. return

 

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