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[Page 402]

Rabbi Israel Aaron (Aharon) Shelubsky of blessed memory

Born in Lida about the date (1890), to father Rabbi Neta, and to mother Ethel.

Translated by Avivit Jacobson and Hagai Frid

His father was one of the most unique characters in the world of street commerce in commercial Karibia [1] . He was one of the most respected wholesalers in the city. He was energetic, straight and honest. He put a lot of his warm and dynamic temperament into his merchandizing. And at the same time he was always busy in other aspects of his life: his public affairs (he built up a company called Mishmeret Cholim “Guardian of the Sick” to help sick, poor people, and he was the spirit of that organization) and mainly was the Cantor in the Synagogue until his death in 1917. His most famous public quote, “if I didn't have to worry about making a living, just think what I could have done for the city”…

This trait, seeing beyond his own benefits for the good of society he, Rabbi Israel Aaron inherited from his father, together with his mother Ethel's gentle and tender character.

In a (Jewish) traditional religious school and later in the (Jewish) house of study, the young Israel Aaron drank from the fountain of ancient Judaism. Together with that, stuck in his heart the new Hebrew literature opened new horizons for him. New and old together blended together without inner conflict.

There was an atmosphere of Zionism in Lida [2] . And Israel Aaron gave himself with all his heart to action. He opened a Hebrew library and for some time, until he found a permanent resident (for the library) , he stored it in his family apartment (that wasn't very roomy). This act was illegal! He founded, together with his active friend, Rabbi Hikel Vinshnivsky, the modern tutor, a group called “Lovers of Hebrew Theater” and they organized together Hebrew balls (dances) . And primarily he was the living spirit for the Jewish National Fund [3] . When the Tsarist Russian government made the collection for the JNF forbidden the directorate of the JNF was facing a serious problem to continue working within the Russian cities. Collecting money in the major Russian cities became very dangerous because the police had one eye open on all the Zionist businesses [4] . Therefore, it was decided to choose one of the smaller cities near the railway junction. The choice was Lida as a center. And Israel Aaron Shelubsky was the active center for these underground activities. Thousands of boxes came to Lida distributed on trains (camouflaged) somehow hidden, and from there went to every corner of Russia, where there were Jews, under forged documents. After all these actions were extremely dangerous, and more than once Israel Aaron had to leave his house for fear of being arrested. Israel Aaron Shelubsky's name was well known in the Zionist center in Vilna [5] and mainly in Becklan [6] in Germany, which also was the central office of the JNF. In 1913, he participated in the Eleventh Zionist Congress.

It wasn't until 1935 that he fulfilled his childhood dream and immigrated to Israel with his family. The leaders of the Zionists, Alexander Goldstein and Lev Yaffe, remembered his benevolent work and Zionist activities, and by their recommendation he was given a special immigrant certificate to come to Israel. [7] . He succeeded in continuing the work he started in Lida with his great dedication, only now in the new Israel. And there was no end to his happiness and uplifting of his soul [8] . He wasn't satisfied with his usual work routine, but he gave his all above and beyond the call of duty.

He was horrified by the fate of the Jews in Lida. It seems he was the first one who was aware of the need to organize a support organization for the survivors of Lida in Israel. And when it was founded, and even before it was founded, he put all his effort together with the late Rabbi Shlomo Podolsky and the late Yosef Darshan and the rest of the committee (SHIBLA) for the actions of helping the survivors who were displaced persons. He was the first chairman of the organization for the survivors of Lida until his death in 1947.


[Page 406]

Mordecai Dov Yudlevitz of blessed memory

by A. Lando

Translated by Ronald I. Greenberg and Roslyn Sherman Greenberg

The eldest son of Reb Shlomo Yudlevitz ( “Shlomo the Yanover”). He was the brother of the “HaBimah” actress Temima Yudlevitz of blessed memory, of Gershon Yudlevitz of blessed memory from Genigar, and of Joseph Yudlevitz from Kfar Saba, Israel.

His father hoped that he would be a Rabbi in Israel, but the son turned aside to the Haskalah, and in particular did research on the Jews in the days of the Talmud.

In the year 5666, the “Haskalah Distributing Company” in Peterburg published his book “The Lives of the Jews in Neherdaa.” On the advice of Professor Harkavy from Peterburg, he went to Berlin to complete his studies in history and archeology. On the heels of the outbreak of WWI, his studies were disrupted, and since he was a Russian citizen in Germany he was considered a prisoner of war. Despite this, he was able to devote a lot of his time to doing research in libraries and institutions of learning. After the war, in Warsaw, he taught in a Hebrew religious school. He then returned to the city of his birth, Lida. He married a daughter of the city, MALKA from the LANDO family. Just before the outbreak of WWII, he made aliyah to the Land of Israel. Here he continued his research in history and published his writings through the observant press “Sinai”, and also books. Among them:

The City Sura, its environs, the economic and industrial life, the workers – “Sinai”, 5697, Part 2
The Pompadita Yeshiva – Tel Aviv, 5695
The City Pompadita in the time of the Amoraim – Jerusalem, 5699
The City Kitrin – “Sinai”, 5701, Part 8
The City Acco in the days of the Tenaim and the Amoraim –“Sinai” 5703, Part 13
The City Lod – “Sinai” 5702, Part 11
The City Neresh (in Babylonia) in the time of the Talmud – “Sinai” 5704, Part 14
The Messianic Age – “Sinai” 5703, Part 12
Tiberias – Jerusalem, 5710
Mechuzah -- Jerusalem, 5707

He didn't have the means to bring his wife to the Land of Israel, and in the meantime the war broke out, so he stayed with my relatives who were also his relatives. Alone, away from the tumult of the outside world, he sat and worked on his research. He didn't make demands on the world (Torah was his remuneration). He didn't ask much of life, and all his happiness was that he was given the chance to see the fruits of his research, history books appropriate to Zion. He died in Tel Aviv in 5711.


Avraham (Abrasha) Steinberg of blessed memory

by Abraham Gelman

Translated by Roslyn Sherman Greenberg

He was born in 1909 to his father Zalman and his mother Gerta (nee Podzimsky). His father was a prosperous industrialist, but Avrasha did not take to commerce. After he completed his studies in the high school of MOSHE DEVORETSKY of blessed memory, he delivered himself to the political activities of “Poalei Zion”, “HeHalutz”, “Dror”; and he immersed himself in working for Keren Kayemet, Keren HaYisod, the work collective in Lida, etc. Understandably, all this he did without expecting to receive any reward and without any thought for his own comfort. Even so, he didn't like to put himself forward in order to open or to manage collections. Members of the central Boursha or messengers from the Land of Israel who visited Lida, benefited extensively from the actions of Avrashah.

He reached the Land of Israel on the eve of WWII and entered the kibbutz Tel-Yosef. During the time of the war, when it became known to him that friends and acquaintances from Lida had been sent to exile in Russia in concentration camps, he urged that institutions give copious donations and he sent many parcels to help friends in distress.

Several years later he left the kibbutz for Ber Sheva. Here he had his last illness. In spite of his condition, he bore his pains quietly.

On Friday, May 8, 1969, he died in Ber Sheva leaving a wife, a teacher in the high school; a married son who was an engineer (of Army age); a married daughter, and grandchildren.

On the 8th of June, when the thirty days of mourning ended, his friends from Lida gathered, together with his family, to remove the cover from the tombstone on his grave. Eliahu Demshek prayed with moving words for his repose, and called the work he did to collect money in Lida a miracle. May his memory be blessed!


TRANSLATOR'S FOOTNOTES

1. Spelled phonetically – we weren't able to find a reference to this place in our atlas, and don't know whether it as a neighborhood in the city/town of Lida or a separate city/town/village and can only assume that it is also in Belarus. Back

2. Lita is/was a City/town located near the Northwestern part of Belarus and near the boarder to Lithuania. Back

3. The JNF founded in Palestine to help establish the Jewish State and is still an active organization today in Israel. Back

4. The boarders between many "Soviet" countries changed OFTEN. What was Belarus was then probably part of Russia at the time, as was with the Ukraine, Lithuania, and Latvia. Back

5. Vilna, the capital city of Lithuania, now called Vilnius, which is located to the Southeaster part of Lithuania and close to the boarder to Belarus. Back

6. We were only able to find a town called Beckum in Germany. Back

7. They obviously pulled some strings with the then British Mandate in Palestine. Briefly, influenced by Zionist ideologies, the Balfour Declaration was written in 1917 and promoted Jewish settlement in the National Homeland, sponsored by Old Testament loving Christians, as were Lord Balfour, President Wilson, General Smuts, and the Lloyd George cabinet. The Balfour Declaration was in due time endorsed by the League of Nations, which charged Great Britain to carry out the promise by acting as a Mandatory Power under international supervision. By the early 1920's the mood and mandated government was changing it's tune, so that by 1930 the Ramsey MacDonald Government issued a White Paper reneging on the original British Government policy toward Jewish settlement in Palestine. The policies bonced back and forth a few times until, finally, the British Mandated Government then tried to prevent additional immigration to the Jewish homeland. Back

8. This sentence is a perfect example of trying to translate old style Hebrew essay to modern English. Back

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