|Photo of the Tarbut School in Kremenets||6|
|Drawing by Zina Steshnik||7|
|Sketch by Avraham Argaman||9|
|Leyb the Ritual Slaughterer||16|
|The New Market||16|
|The Water Drawer||16|
|Yitschak Navon and Yehoshue Golberg||38|
|Lusi Garber de Vaynshteyn||45|
|Pinchas Tshudnovski's daughter||45|
|Menya Bleykh Libman||45|
|Abir, Avraham (see also Biberman, Avraham)||31A, 31B|
|Abramovich, Sholem Yakov (Mendele the book peddler)||4|
|Oks, Velvel||41, 48|
|Amburski*, Mara (née Krayzelman)||51|
|Amiel*, Odeda (née Goldenberg)||39|
|Argaman, Avraham||i, 39|
|Atsmon*, Dora (née Leviton)||47, 52|
|Avidar, Yosef (see also Rokhel, Yosef)||42, 52|
|Ayzenferser (not given)||52|
|Barmor*, Sara (see also Bar-Mor*, Sara)||52|
|Bar-Mor*, Sara (see also Barmor*, Sara)||52|
|Bar-Tana*, Tsipora (née Litvak)||51|
|Basis, Pola||30 (photo), 30|
|Berenshteyn, Tsvi||i, 51|
|Biberman, Avraham (see also Abir, Avraham)||31A, 31B|
|Biberman*, Riva||31B, 52|
|Biberman, Shimon||31A, 31B|
|Biberman, Yitschak||31A (photo), 31A, 31B, 51|
|Boris (husband of Leya Chmerinski)||39|
|Brendels, Yeshaye (Idel)||8|
|Byk, Efraim (Fred)||17, 18, 39, 50|
|Byk, Fred (Efraim)||17, 18, 39, 50|
|Chasid, Avraham||19 (photo),19, 21, 51|
|Chasid, Mordekhay||20, 21, 51|
|Chasid*, Shprintse||20, 21|
|Chernovska*, Alina||1, 36|
|Chmerinski (husband of Dvora Pesis; see also Tsmerinski)||39|
|Chmerinski*, Dvora (née Pesis; see also Tsmerinski, Dvora)|
|Chmerinski, Leya (see also Tsmerinski, Dvora)||39|
|Dagim, Avraham (see also Dugi, Dugim)||51|
|Desser*, Miryam (Manya)||26, 28|
|Desser, Nachman||26 (photo), 26-29|
|Elchanen (grandson of Chayim and Feyga Nudel)||46|
|Eli (son of Motsi)||7, 8, 9|
|Engelman*, Baba (née Nudel)||52|
|Fayman*, Miryam (née Shtern)||39|
|Federman*, Dozya (née Rubinfayn)||51|
|Fisher*, Chaya (née Kutsher)||52|
|Frolik, Amrik, Dr.||39|
|Frolik*, Ava (née Shtern)||39|
|Galperin (wife of Osovski)||51|
|Garber, Fani (née Reznik)||45, 48, 50|
|Geva*, Tsipora (née Landsberg)||40|
|Gil (son of Mira Gokun)||40|
|Giladi*, Edya (née Skolski)||39|
|Gilboa, Menucha, Dr.||1|
|Gitele (aunt of Betsalel Goren)||7|
|Giterman*, Rusya (née Fishman)||47|
|Golberg, Yehoshue||i, 32, 36, 38 (photo), 38, 49, 51, 52|
|Goldenberg, Manus||i, 1, 13, 17, 19, 23, 26, 29, 30, 33, 37, 39, 49|
|Goltsberg, Yitschak||40, 51|
|Goren, Betsalel (see also Gorodiner, Alter)||i, 1, 3, 4, 7|
|Gorenshteyn, Azriel (see also Gorin, Azriel)||33-34, 51|
|Gorin, Azriel (see also Gorenshteyn, Azriel)||33-34, 51|
|Gorin*, Liontin (see also Gorinshteyn, Liontin)||33 (photo), 33-34|
|Gorinshteyn*, Liontin (see also Gorin, Liontin)||33 (photo), 33-34|
|Gorodiner, Alter||i, 1, 3, 4, 7|
|Grinberg*, Bela (née Basis)||30|
|Gun* (wife of Shmuel)||47|
|Gurvits*, Rachel (née Fridman)||47|
|Hofshteyn*, Feyga (née Biberman)||52|
|Ichilov, Hadar Ezra||40|
|Kaminski*, Feyga (nee Roytblat)||41|
|Kaminski, Iser||41, 42, 43|
|Katz, Mordekhay||1, 13 (photo), 14 (photo), 13-15, 37, 42, 43, 48, 50, 51|
|Katz*, Tsipora (Tsipa)||1, 13 (photo), 14 (photo), 13-15, 37, 42, 43, 48, 50|
|Kiperman, Nuta||46, 48|
|Kiperman, Silfia Lorena||46|
|Kohen*, Rachel (née Kligman)||52|
|Kotkovnik*, Gitel||46, 50|
|Krayzelman, Mara||30, 51|
|Krayzelman*, Pola (née Basis)||30 (photo), 30, 51|
|Kvetsch, Avraham (see also Zak, Avraham)||7, 8, 9|
|Landau, Arye (Leyb)||34-35|
|Landsberg, Avraham||33, 40|
|Landsberg*, Chana (née Medler)||32 (photo), 32-33|
|Lerner, Pesach||22 (photo), 22|
|Levinzon, Yitschak Ber, R' (RYB"L)||10-12|
|Leviten, Moshe||40, 51|
|Leviton, Dora||47, 52|
|Leviton, Monya (see also Liviatan)||47, 52|
|Leyb the Ritual Slaughterer||16 (photo)|
|Libman, Asher Zeylik||45|
|Libman, Barukh Moshe||45|
|Libman, Manya||45 (photo), 45|
|Libman*, Sheyndil (née Bleykh)||45|
|Liten Roykh, family||50|
|Liviatan, Monya (see also Leviton)||47, 52|
|Malke (see also Motsi)||7|
|Mandelblat, Aharon (Munya)||23 (photo), 23-26|
|Medler, Chana||32 (photo), 32-33|
|Medler, Menachem||32, 33|
|Mendele the book peddler||4|
|Mordish, Arye||i, 44, 53|
|Mordish, Avraham||44, 47|
|Mordish, Chayim||44, 47|
|Mordish, Shalom||44, 47|
|Mordish*, Shoshana||44, 47|
|Moti (husband of Ilana Leviten)||40|
|Motsi (see also Malke)||7, 9|
|Navon, Yitschak||38 (photo)|
|Nudel, Chayim||46, 48|
|Nudel*, Sara (née Kiperman)||46|
|Osovski*, Tsipora (née Galperin)||51|
|Pesis* (née Makagun)||37|
|Portsya*, Monya (née Leviton)||47, 52|
|Pundik*, Shula (née Rozen)||39|
|Reviv, Shimon (see also Biberman, Shimon)||51|
|Reznik, Fani||48, 50|
|Rokhel, Yitschak||i, 31A, 51|
|Roytblat, Hersh Vulf||41|
|Shachar (son of Ilana Leviten)||40|
|Shafir, Yakov||5, 6 (photo), 51|
|Shavit*, Hinda (née Shufman)||52|
|Sher (husband of Reyzel Sher*)||50|
|Sher*, Reyzel||48, 50|
|Sheyndil (daughter of Motsi)||7|
|Shikhman Rekhes, Chana||48|
|Shikhman Royt, Mani||48|
|Shimon (son-in-law of Chayim Mordish)||44|
|Shvartsberg*, Eitana (née Byk)||39|
|Skolski, Shlome||i, 39|
|Sofrin*, Veynes (née Byk)||39|
|Spektor*, Naomi (née Fridel)||52|
|Tamri*, Chava (née Taytelman)||49|
|Taytelman, Shmuel||10, 49|
|Tshudnovski (daughter of Pinchas)||45 (photo), 45|
|Tshudnovski, Katia||48, 50|
|Tsizin, Avshalom||31, 40|
|Tsizin*, Chana||31, 40|
|Tsizin, Lipa, R'||30, 31|
|Tsizin, Shmuel||30 (photo), 30-31, 40|
|Tsvi (husband of Mira Gokun)||40|
|Vakman, Yitschak||26, 29, 50|
|Vaynshteyn, Lusi||45 (photo), 45|
|Vaysman, Shraga||i, 34-35, 53|
|Vermus*, Tali (née Goltsberg)||40|
|Yaron*, Sima (née Krementsutski)||52|
|Yergis, Avraham||48, 50|
|Yergis, Brokhe (Porota)||50|
|Yisrael the tailor||8|
|Zak, Avraham (Avraham Kvetsh)||7, 8, 9|
|Zak*, Avromkhe||7, 8|
|Zalmanovits, Yitschak (Izi)||32|
|Zemel, Asher, Rabbi||21|
|Zinger*, Shifra (née Freylikh)||49|
At a meeting on March 21, 1979, after previous negotiations, representatives of the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants and the Organization of Shumsk Emigrants decided to merge the two organizations into one body called the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants and Shumsk Emigrants in Israel. The extended organization will include around 600 members so far, 400 plus 200. As of now, the annual booklet will be called Voice of Kremenets and Shumsk Emigrants. Two members of the Shumsk organization were added to the Editorial Board and the organization board. The treasuries will merge, and the assets of both organization will be held in one account in Bank Hapoalim. This booklet already reflects the addition of Shumsk members (see Wonders of the Town of Kremenets, a review of the book Pathways to the Sky, by Betsalel Goren of Shumsk, which was published two months ago; to our sorrow, see also In Memoriam). We would also like to take this opportunity to mention that emigrants from towns in the vicinity of Kremenets Shumsk and others are members of our organizations in Argentina and New York. Let's hope that the merger is successful and the extended organization opens the door to a wide range of activities.
In February 1979, Mordekhay Katz and his wife, Tsipa, came for a visit from Buenos Aires. Both are leaders of the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants in Argentina. They were welcomed by a large, high-spirited crowd at our club and our branch in Haifa. The couple traveled throughout the country. Short articles by member Manus and member Katz give full descriptions of the visit.
In Voice of Kremenets Emigrants, booklet 15, pages 3638, we told you about the Organization of Polish Kremenets Emigrants in London and its close connection to our organization. Some time ago, Mrs. Chernovska, one of the organization's leaders, visited Israel. She was received in our club, heard about our activities, and told us about her organization's activities. Yehoshue Golberg, the liaison between the two organizations, presents a detailed article on this interesting meeting. He visited them a few months ago while he was in London.
In the next few days, the short novel Don't Scorn a Thief, from the Enlightenment period, will be published by Tel Aviv University. The manuscript was discovered in Warsaw not long ago. The design and introduction are by Dr. Menucha Gilboa. The book contains around 100 pages, and its publication will cost £40,000. The Kremenets Scholarship Fund donated £20,000 toward this target, with the other half covered by the Katz Institute of Tel Aviv University. This is the first grant of this scope given by the fund.
Starting with this issue, our annual booklet will be printed in larger quantities, enough for our Shumsk members.
Also, this booklet includes one article in English. We believe that we should continue this practice in the future to let the young generation of Kremenets emigrants in the United States know about our organization's activities.
In Word from the Editorial Board, we mentioned the book Pathways to the Sky, by Betsalel Goren, a member of the board of the Organization of Kremenets and Shumsk Emigrants.
Below is a short review of this book, signed by S. We note that the book received good reviews in the newspapers, especially by people from Israeli Aerospace Industries.
Betsalel Goren is Alter Gorodiner, a native of Shumsk, near Kremenets. In his book, Pathways to the Sky (Bronfman Publishing, Tel Aviv), he places an interesting life story before us: on one hand, the typical lifestyle of members of his generation and, on the other, his own life story. As an emigrant from a Ukrainian-Polish town, he tells us in simple, clear, and picturesque language about his childhood and upbringing in difficult, degrading, and humiliating surroundings. His description of his family home is not Mendele's dark and gloomy description of his Jews from Kiselin, Matelon, and Kavtsiel. The writer describes them with openness and honesty, telling us how he was able to struggle with this gloomy way of life. In the difficult period between the two world wars, he learned to find his own path and overcome circumstances until he reached the same pathways meaning effectiveness and spiritual loftiness that many children from these small towns encountered when they joined a Zionist youth movement in this case, the Pioneer movement. After arduous efforts, they immigrated to Israel, the same pathway lived by the 1930s pioneer-builder in the Land. The pioneer-builder believed that, with each day of his life and each small deed he performed, he was doing something for his nation's revival in his homeland. And the last pathway the path of the nation's air force became the legacy of the founders of the Israeli Air Force.
However, in his book, the author does not mention another stormy period of his life: the Holocaust and heroism.
In a letter to the reader, he explains his reasons for writing the book:
To bring to the public, the young generation, the powerless, and numerous families authentic facts about the thousands of Eastern European Jewish children of his generation And he briefly enumerates the difficult and oppressive financial conditions and sociocultural milieu in which they grew up and how they managed to row toward 'the peaks' in spite of it all.
Indeed, this is one of many life stories written by the children of the destruction-and-revival generation. Yet the one before us also has a goal not only a strong educational goal, but a goal of proving what a man with vision and belief can do.
In a number of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklets, we have published articles about the meetings in Yakov's home. Each one left a deep impression on us. His lamentation poem about our destroyed town was published in booklet 13, and to our great sorrow, we mourned him in the last booklet.
But that is not enough. For us, he was not only an educator, Zionist leader, and rousing speaker. Shafir identified himself with a unique era that was full of extraordinary events our town's golden era. His name is linked with the young, enthusiastic, vigorous leaders of the town's national movement: Binyamin Landsberg, Meir Goldring, Gorngut, Verthaym, Kornits, Leybke, Rozental, of blessed memory, and others.
In this booklet, we were planning to publish a comprehensive piece on him and the other personalities who stood with him at the center of our town's civic life, but for a variety of reasons, we did not have time to do so. We hope to publish this work in the next booklet.
Yakov was a founder of our town's Tarbut Hebrew School and its leader for many years. His talent, educational experience, and organizational skills helped him establish an educational institution in our town, the magnificent Hebrew workshop known as the Tarbut School.
It is worth mentioning his brave, tenacious struggle against the harassment of Polish authorities who wanted to close the school.
Here we present excerpts from journals published by his 10- and 11-year old students under his guidance.
Tarbut School in Kremenets, on the Steps of the Institution
Adults in the photo, on the right: Shafir in the front row, and Katsner, the teacher, in the second row.
Some of the children are no longer alive, but a good number have survived, and they will recognize themselves.
The Passover festival is the festival of spring,
it is very good and pleasant.
We eat a lot of matzah,
drink wine and beverages.
The children, who are happy with the guests,
go outside to play.
Outside the sun is shining
and the flowers are starting to bloom.
Spring is already here
and summer is coming.
When you walked down Jewish streets in the middle of the month of Nisan, you saw an amazing sight. There was not a single house that wasn't tidied up, painted, scrubbed, and washed. Obviously, a good question came to mind: What was all this work for? And if you had an appetite for knowledge and asked one of the Jews, he would no doubt answer you, Surely, any small Jewish child should know that the Passover festival is coming: that's the answer to your question.
My family, relatives, and neighbors told many stories about the town of Kremenets and its wonders: Sheroka Street, the Bona, the Potik, and the Dubno and Vishnevets suburbs. Every month when my aunt Gitele returned from Kremenets, where she received her monthly pension as the wife of a soldier killed during World War I, she retold the stories about the wonders of the town of Kremenets. And when her sons grew up, they visited Kremenets to look for brides there. And, thank God, there was a good selection of Jewish girls in the Polish Kingdom, which was blessed with girls, a lot more than there were boys. And I, the boy, listened and swallowed the stories about the town of Kremenets and its wonders, and my soul longed to go there for a visit, just once. But who could travel for no reason to see a town without having something to do there? Where would I get the money to travel? And with whom would I go? Surely, a boy couldn't travel on his own, without an adult. All my thoughts centered on the town of Kremenets and its wonders, and I nearly became despondent. In two years, I would already be a bar mitzvah, and I had not seen Kremenets. In every case of lost hope, salvation suddenly arrives and so it happened to me.
Fate saw to it that the Motsi family started an argument with Avraham Kvetsh's family, because they were neighbors. This is the tale of how it happened.
For many years, Mr. Avraham Zak that was his name was a leather merchant and respected homeowner in the large Jewish community of Shumsk. His nickname was Kvetsh may that not happen to us because he had a hernia. Apparently, he used to press his hernia, and press is kvetsh in Yiddish, so he was called Avraham Kvetsh in Shumsk. Motsi was Avraham Kvetsh's neighbor. Her name was Malke, but they called her Motsi because she was short. Her husband had traveled to the United States before World War I and left her with two children: a son, Eli, and a daughter, Sheyndil. Motsi supported her family by selling the milk produced by her two cows, and Eli, the son, who was lame, cared for the cows and took them out to pasture during the summer. Then World War I ended, and the father began to send dollars. Eli, who meanwhile was growing up, wanted to do something with the money. And what was easier than trading in leather, like his neighbor Kvetsh? And so a competition arose and accelerated between them, until a fight took place. The dispute started between Avromkhe, Avraham Kvetsh's wife, and Motsi's daughter, Sheyndil. Maybe at that time Eli was praying the morning prayers, and maybe he was wrapped in his tefillin.
To support his mother in the battle, he jumped on his one good leg until he collided with them. Meanwhile, Avromkhe was also getting reinforcement from her daughter, who appeared with a broom, which she brought down on Eli's head, causing his tefillin to fall on the ground. In a way, it was a defamation of God's name. Then the neighbors became involved and separated the disputers. Eli was apparently the only man who had taken part in the battle, and Avraham Kvetsh pressed charges against him for attacking his wife. Eli searched for witnesses to prove his alibi.
Fate saw to it that I, a child of 10 or 12, witnessed the battle. And who is more credible in a court of law than a child? So I became a witness at the trial between Eli and Avromkhe. On those days, there was no courthouse in Shumsk, only in Kremenets, the district seat.
Salvation came, and I traveled to Kremenets testify in the trial and, at the same time, see the town and its wonders. The trial took place in the winter, when it was cold and snowy outside. Although Eli wrapped me in a sheepskin, I did not enjoy the trip, but the thought that I was traveling to Kremenets and would very soon see all the wonders of the world helped me cope with the cold. And then we arrived in town going directly to the courthouse. We waited all day until they informed us that the trial had been postponed.
Before evening, we arrived at Shumsk Station, as they called the old building with the big stable. They left me at the station while the rest of the witnesses went to run their errands in town. Against their instructions, I left the station and went to see the town that my soul was longing for. First of all was Sheroka Street. It was already evening, and there was daylight in the town, electric light, and people were walking on the sidewalks as if it were a festival. Was today a holiday? What were we celebrating? I didn't stop; I continued to wander. There was a man walking on the other side of the street with a paper trumpet in his hand. He was singing in a pleasant baritone voice, and the people in the street greeted him with silver horn. I saw the town's crazy man. Surely, each town has its own crazy man I returned to the station, and the people were angry at me: A boy walking alone at night in a big city that he doesn't know, and he's not afraid? But what was there to be afraid of? There was light in the street, not darkness.
We traveled back home. On the way, the winter cart turned over twice. Yisrael the tailor, the second witness, sprained his hand. Yeshaye Idel Brendels, the third witness, swore at the coachmen. I was the only one in a festive mood. I was in Kremenets. Surely, I did not see the Bona, the Potik, or the suburbs, but there was a chance that I would see them, because if the trial were to be postponed, then it would take place in a few months, in the summer. And, indeed, we traveled to Kremenets for the second time on a spring day. How beautiful! What a pleasure to travel on a spring day to see the wonders of Kremenets.
This time the trial took place, and I excelled in my testimony. I saw all the wonders of Kremenets and returned to Shumsk, my town, as a hero, because the news passed from mouth to ear that a child had been a witness in court, that he had testified without awe or fear, and that the judge had been impressed with his testimony. I succeeded in everything: I was popular, and I also traveled to the town of Kremenets twice.
Certainly, you want to know the verdict. The two sides reconciled, God willing. So who profited from the trial? Without a doubt, it was I who benefited from Avraham Kvetsh and Motsi's trial, and Eli didn't limp to jail. And you should also know that Shumsk didn't have a prison: it was located in Kremenets, the town of wonders.
How sorry I am that you were destroyed and that you are empty of Jews.
We will remember you, Kremenets, to the end of our days.
Summary of the Introduction by Emanuel Etkes*
*[note in the original] This is a summary of the introduction to the photocopied edition of Testimony in Israel, by RYBL. Mr. Emanuel Etkes is blessed, and we thank him.
In 5737, the Zalman Shazar Center published a photocopied edition of Testimony in Israel, by RYBL, the Vilna-Horodna 5568 edition, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the book's publication. An introduction by researcher Emanuel Etkes, Testimony in Israel Between Changes and Tradition, was added to this anniversary edition. In it, the researcher places before us a renewed evaluation of the contribution of RYBL and his composition to the history of Jewish culture.
Due to the length of the review, we bring you here only a collection of quotations, with the assumption that those who came from Kremenets, the birthplace of RYBL, who is also known as the Russian Mendelssohn, will take a great interest in this research, mostly because of its renewal and the significance of its deep glimpse into the past. It examines and clarifies RYBL's influence on the many changes in East European Jewry's cultural life since then.
RYBL, R' Yitschak Ber Levinzon, worked to change the image of Russian Jews from the spiritual point of view of the Enlightenment movement. During his congregational activities, two of his objectives worked side by side: one was his literary propaganda, which tried to convince readers themselves to adapt Enlightenment views. This literary preaching was nourished by the typical intellectual belief and the hidden influence of the literary application. But RYBL was not satisfied with literary propaganda. From the beginning of his congregational work, he approached different individuals within the Russian government with letters and memos, asking them to use the kingdom's power to bring the necessary changes to the Jews' lives
RYBL was of the opinion that Jewish society in Russia was in a state of distress from which it could not extract itself under its own power. He saw this in the Jews' legal status, the tall partition that separated them from the country and society around them, and mostly in their severe economic distress, with its social results. He wanted to find the roots of evil not in the authorities' restrictive and punitive policies but in the failure of traditional Jewish education and the shortcomings of traditional leadership and its distorted attitude toward productive ways of earning a living. RYBL was convinced that the medicines that could cure the troubles of Russian Jewry were to be found in the Enlightenment's bag.
However, the intellectual class in Russia was a small minority, and there was only a slim possibility that the Jewish community would accept its methods. Therefore, the only solution was to approach the monarchy. Probably, the sense that there was no other alternative caused RYBL and many other Russian intellectuals like him to create for themselves the image of a monarchy inspired by their desires and supported by a model of absolute culture in the light of the monarchy's treatment of the Jews.
The place of the book Testimony in Israel in the history of the Enlightenment movement in Russia is determined first of all by the fact that it is this movement's first programmed composition. To a large extent, this composition represented the Enlightenment's direction in Russia until the second half of the 19th century.
At first glance, the cultural program that RYBL outlines in his introduction to the book centers on five questions: (1) Is it necessary for a Jew to study the correct grammar of the holy language? (2) Is he allowed to study the languages of other nations? (3) Will he study the traditions of others? (4) What are we going to gain by knowing these languages and wisdom traditions, if they are allowed? (5) And if we are to benefit, maybe the gain is not worth the damage that these studies will cause to our religious beliefs
Frankly speaking, the program presented in Testimony in Israel aims for far-reaching change in three areas of Russian-Jewish life: (1) spiritual and cultural life, (2) economic activities, and (3) the relationship between the Jews on one side and the authorities and society on the other.
The educational reform outlined by RYBL is not limited to changes in the goals and method of studying the subjects included in traditional education; it also demands the addition and inclusion of new fields of study.
RYBL explains the importance of studying fields of scholarship and science and their benefits. These fields form an important tool for teaching an understanding of the Bible and the literature of Jewish law, while the laws of nature enable the person to recognize the greatness of the Creator. This pragmatic standpoint approves of the use of scholarly learning as an aid in the service of traditional values, even if they are not common in Orthodox society and are foreign to its spirit. Yet RYBL brings up additional reasons that reveal his hidden, nonsecular outlook. These scholarly traditions are a source of usefulness and happiness in the life of the individual and society. Their meaning is meant for the general population and is not limited to the boundaries of religious life.
Testimony in Israel was intended to serve as a defensive manuscript for intellectuals and the Enlightenment in the eyes of the local conservative society of the time. The document mainly was intended to address opposing forces in society. RYBL could not foresee that Hasidism would change its stand toward the Enlightenment and intellectuals. But he made an effort to present the Enlightenment in a formula that would speak to the hearts of those who opposed it.
It appears to us that there is an additional factor in the foundation of RYBL's composition. That factor is different from the tactical defense of the Enlightenment in the eyes of traditional society. In Testimony in Israel, RYBL laid a detailed base for an assumption that played a great part in his spiritual world: that there is no contradiction between the purpose of the Enlightenment and the purpose of tradition! RYBL rejected the allegation that learning and science are foreign plants in the Jewish vineyard. The opposite is true; Judaism is the source of wisdom, and the Greeks borrowed it
At this point, an additional clarification is needed: the justification of the Enlightenment before tradition and, at the same time, the justification of tradition before the Enlightenment. In other words, in Testimony in Israel, RYBL draws out an image of tradition that those loyal to the Enlightenment can identify with and of which they can see themselves as loyal followers.
Without a doubt, the four editions awarded to Testimony in Israel between 5585 and 5561 are witnesses to the part it played within the intellectual class. As a result, the book was selected as a teaching tool in a number of the schools established in the spirit of the Enlightenment. But it looks as if the greatest mission of this work by RYBL took place in the years just after it was published. Therefore, those years were when the Enlightenment movement in Russia took its first steps, and the book Testimony in Israel increased the confidence of those few lonely intellectuals and strengthened of their position.
Leyb the Ritual Slaughterer
The New Market
The Water Drawer
And when nature grants you her most precious gift, and this is life itself, you would want to reflect on your childhood, good or bad. These are the best recorded experiences in our minds. It is impossible to comprehend these experiences without being part of them. By telling my children about the mountain called Bona or our Parade on the third of May, Constitution Day in Poland, or the dances in the different halls, or the overflow of the Potek in the spring and in the fall, or the long three mile walk to school in the bitter cold, or the fine Jewish Wodwill with the plays like a Yiddishe Mama or kim-arois-mein-shane-Kalah, or the rivalry between the Hashomer-Hazair and the Baitar, and the filled synagogue on the High Holidays, or the natural beauty of the town itself. They may visualize it all. But we who lived it will not forget it till the last day of our lives. But the years in between, when we started to scatter all over this planet, with the large percentage of our brethren who were so bestially destroyed and the remnances whose determination was to never again turn our cheeks to the enemy of our people. And this has been accomplished.
How grateful I am to G-d for granting me years to witness the fall of our enemies and be privileged to make my small contributions in many ways. My wish is that hopefully our children and our childrens' children shall experience their lives with vast possibilities to reflect on their childhood saying, "Lets go visit places of our past and brothers and sisters and cousins," and relive days of their past and, perhaps, the past of their fathers and forefathers whereever they took place.
These are blessed wishes that I wish on all of our future generations.
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