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[Page 126]

Documents for summing up of the year 1932 (cont.)

 

A religious school for girls of Agudat Yisroel
Sitting in middle row, Resler, Brandt, Wiener, the teacher, Zsilber
Standing Kahn, Yakubowitz, Rosenthal, Brandt, Himmel


Friday November 18th A speech by the local medical doctor H. Feffer on the subject “Lung Disease.” The speech took place in the Culture League building.
Friday November 18th A speech by the engineer Anshel Reis in the “Tel Chai” building.
Saturday November 20th A speech by the messenger from Eretz Yisroel Shneerson in the building of the society “Friends of the working Palestine” on the subject “From Dreams to Reality.”
Friday November 25th A speech by the local medical doctor Zuchowitz (a Gentile) on the subject “Venereal Diseases.”
Saturday November 26th A theatrical play “Rasputin” directed by I. Barkowski, performed by the drama club of the society “Friends of the Worker's Palestine.”
Friday December 2nd A speech by Dr. Zuchowitz on the subject “The Stages in a Child's Development” sponsored by the “Friends of the Worker's Palestine Society.”
Friday December 2nd A speech by Dr. Rudetzki on the subject “A Healthy Diet” sponsored by the Culture League.
Saturday December 3rd A festive opening of the “Maccabbi” Club building.
Saturday Dec. 3rd A speech by the journalist B. Shefer (from Warsaw) in the building of the “Culture League” on the subject “The Importance of Laughter.”
Friday December 16th A speech by Dr. Bialostotzki on the subject “Scarlet Fever” sponsored by the society “Friends of the Workers of Palestine.”
Friday December 16th The Academy marked the 15th anniversary of Ber Borochov in the building of the sports club “Hapoel” sponsored by the “Poalei Zion” (right wing.)
Monday December 26th In the building of the “Friends of the Worker's Palestine” the Ber Borochov Academy sponsered by the “Poalei Zion” (left wing.)
Tuesday December 27th A Children's play in the town's theater sponsored by the Hebrew School “Yavne.”
Saturday September (December?) 31st A recital by the actor Glavinsky (from Kutno) in the building of the “Culture League.”
Saturday September (December?) 31st The festive opening of the Kibbutz preparation (course) of the “Hechalutz Haklali.”

The writer of this list belonged to the youth circles who were collecting people's documents for the Jewish Research Institute in Vilna. The founder of the group was the literary critic Naphtali Weinig a teacher in the local Jewish High School, later a citizen of this town – Hezia Frankel's son-in-law.

During Hannukah of 1931 the first meeting of the YIVO society took place. After they had received clarifications as to the purpose of the Institute six young people started working.

The chronicle-like list will be only a small introduction of a much greater work about the activities in Koło in the towns and small towns (shtetls) of Poland on the eve of the Great Tragedy.

 

The members of “Hapoel Hatzair” and the “Borohov Youth” saying
goodbye to their comrade Zvi Nadir (Yalovski) before his aliyah to Eretz Yisroel


[Page 129]

The Yavne School

by Aaron Pashedetzki

Edited by Yocheved Klausner

In 1929 two Jewish Schools in Kolo were on the verge of collapse: the Hebrew high school and the religious Etz Chaim school. This was not the result of the Jewish economic situation, or of some financial crisis.

Every change has its own reason. The Hebrew school was not to the liking of the Polish authorities, and they deliberately undermined it. They preferred that the Jewish children study in state public schools. And, in spite of donations from expatriate organizations in England and America, the Etz Chaim School as well did not have enough money to pay teachers their meager salaries. The school belonged to Agudat Yisrael, which had few supporters in town. It was difficult to define the objective of their education. In any case, parents with Zionistic leanings wanted their children to be brought up in the Zionistic spirit.

Kolo residents tried to establish a school to answer the needs of the time and would be a state school. The existing “chederim” were not well established, maybe because they were founded by individuals and did not have any commercial interest to support them. The teachers were the only masters of the school; the community did not have any control.

In 1928, several parents gathered in a Zionist establishment to discuss their children's education options. In the introductory speech, someone suggested establishing a school supported by all the Zionist movements.

After long discussions, it was decided to establish a religious-Zionist school that would be approved of by most of the Jewish population. The school opened with no management and no curriculum, but it functioned.

The founders were Z. Bresler, I. Zalkind and A. Pashedetzki . They visited parents to sign up their children for the next school year for the still-unbuilt Yavne school. The most difficult question they faced was whether the school would be for boys only, for girls only or for both genders together?

Only a few parents were swept up in the founders' enthusiasm. The school was opened in 1929 with just eight students: six boys and two girls in first grade. Thechildren were: two sons of Zalman Bresler, a son and daughter of Aaron Pashedetzki , a son of Joseph Avigdor Zalkind, a son and daughter of Yete Yakubowitz and a son of Himmel Schneider.

The curriculum was taken from the Yavne schools' center in Warsaw, and teachers were hired locally. The two main forces in teaching Hebrew and bringing the children up in the spirit of Zionism were Moshe Kott and Katriel Shalodovsky. To save money, classes were held in the big room of the Zionist organization that was separated into two sections by a curtain. The children sat around long tables because there were no funds to buy proper school desks. The only thing that gave the room the feel of a school was a blackboard.

The second year was already more hopeful. Approximately 15 students signed up. The sympathetic attitude towards Yavne grew. Two teachers were brought in from Krinki, a father and son, but they did not last long. With the arrival of Starozinsky, a teacher from the “Tarbut” school, the first results started to be seen, and the school acquired a good reputation. Teachers of the general subjects — Vonhotzker, a relative of the Yabloner rabbi, Sara Barkowska and Grossman Lisak — fulfilled their assignments to perfection. Alumni of the Warsaw seminary “Tahkamoni, they taught Hebrew, Bible and the history and geography of Palestine.”

From year to year, the school grew to the point that a run-down building was rented and renovated at a large cost. It has to be mentioned positively here: A member of the school committee had lent the money to the school with the understanding that little by little, as the school became more economically viable, the money would be returned to him. The school acquired two new rooms to go with the three rooms it already had.

Just four years after the establishment of the Yavne school, 150 pupils were attending. The management of the school was transferred to Rabbi Yaakov Litman z”l, who was also a community activist. With his arrival, grounds were laid for a religious education, and a number of teachers left. The financial foundation of the school was strong and the community supported it in every way; plays and concerts brought in revenue. Teachers included a young playwright who had directed a historical drama in Yiddish. Shalom Asch sent the writer a warm letter in which he greatly praised his work.

In 1933, the school celebrated the arrival of its flag in an impressive celebration that left an unforgettable impression on participants. Guests who filled the theater included the town's most prominent Jews and gentiles. The event featured a huge children's presentation and a procession that went from Michael Leib Rauf's place to the old and new market and then to the city center.

A great moment was the hammering of silver nails into the flag's holding rail. On each nail was engraved a name of a benefactor. The nails brought in a great sum for the school.

Those remaining in Kolo tell the following:

In 1936, the school made great progress, and they then started constructing their own school building.

Moshe Leib Levin, a rich and generous man, donated a plot for the school where a two-story house would be built (12 rooms), and around it there would be a big playground and a garden.

There were great celebrations for the laying of the cornerstone, in which large numbers of the Jewish population took part. The members of the school management, Salomea Izshwitzka and Resler, then went to the big city to visit the rich people who used to live in Kolo, and collected donations to complete the construction plan.


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