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{289}

The Zamir Literary and Musical Club

by V. F.

It is possible that Hazamir was the first secular general Jewish cultural institution that was permitted in our city by the Russian government official. Its founders were part of a group of cultural activists from the national Jewish intelligentsia. Its heads were certainly included Messrs. Yeshayahu Szapiro, Beirech Kohn and Aharon Kaltgrad.

In order to understand the tasks and objectives of the organization, I will bring down a few of the most important paragraphs of its statutes that are included in the request to the authorities to register the “Zgierz Literary Musical Dramatic Organization 'Muza'” (the name was later changed to Hazamir). The request was signed by the three aforementioned people and was dated November 2, 1909.

The aims and rights of the society:

1. Muza has the aim of developing and spreading literature and music among the Jewish population in Zgierz and environs, and familiarizing its members with the best Jewish literary creations by means of the following: 1) Studying primary Jewish composers on Jewish themes. 2) Conducting open Jewish concerts with recitals and declamations. 3) Providing material help to those who wish to dedicate themselves to literary or musical study. 4) Organizing contests on better literary, musical or dramatic Jewish creations. 5) Organizing free discussions for our members. And 6) Giving the members of the society opportunities to spend their free time together.

2. The activity in Zgierz and environs.

5. The society has the rights to open a library and reading hall for its members.

7. Members of the society can be people of either sex, of Jewish origin, with appropriate parents, who agree with the aims of the society. The number of members is not limited.

8. The members of the society consist of: a) honorary members, b) true members, c) sympathizers (sorewnowateli).

1) Honorary members are elected at a general meeting with a majority of 2/3 of the ballots. They are people who play an important role in Jewish music, science or who have served in various services for the society.

2) True members of the society are those who take part in singing, the orchestra of the society, in readings and declamations.

3) Sympathizers (sorewnowateli) of the society are those who support the activities of the society, and help the intellectual and material existence of the society in accordance with their ability.

18. Regarding the income of the society: distribution of the work to the various committees: for literature, music, library, secretary, finance; organizing evenings in order to develop the various fields of art; concern about the material wellbeing of the society; forging contact with other similar societies, etc.
In 1913, the society was already known as Hazamir.

{Photocopy page 290: The request to the governor (“Gubernator”) for authorization of the Hazamir organization in Zgierz, 1909.
Translator's note: the text of the document is in Russian.}

{Photo page 291: The Hazamir mandolin band.}

{Photo page 292: A group of children of the sports organization (1916) with the counselors P. Leczycki, K Eiger, and G. Lipowicz.}

As we can see from these paragraphs, the aims were of broad horizon and deeply rooted in national, Jewish folk creativity, with the clear will to emphasize, live and enrich our spiritual treasures. We also, in Hazamir, took on a popular character, and had the primary goal of introducing our youth to the best of our folk creations.

Fabian Grynberg, who was certainly very familiar with the activity of Hazamir, writes to us.

“Hazamir conducted very lively activities for a certain time. The choir sung Hebrew and Yiddish songs. There were readings with the participation of well-known writers – Hillel Cytlin, Yitzchak Kacenelson, Dr. Mokdoni, the editor Oger, and others.”

With time, Hazamir became a noticeable factor in the cultural and educational life of the Zgierz community. It had a library at its disposition, and there were even filing devices in the spacious rooms of its own location in Bretsznejder's house on Dolga Street.

Almost all of the creative powers with a national conscience of the sophisticated Jewish population grouped around Hazamir. These especially included: Naftali, Michowski, Hendeles, M. Szidlowski, Avraham Szlumiel, Dr. Zalcwasser, Dr. Weicman, Herman Szwarc, Pesach Kempinski and others.


{293}

Dramatic Circle

by Even-Aryeh

{Photo page 293: The dramatic group performing "Al Saf Haosher" ("On the Threshold of Happiness"). Participating are Z. Fogel, B. Fogel, Hanower, H. Gross, S. Frejberg, W. Klejnman, Korczej.}

Without considering the fact that Zgierz is situation close to Lodz and that the Zgierz Jewish population had the possibility of visiting the Lodz Jewish theater, they had the ambition of creating their own Jewish dramatic circle.

At the People's-House, which was founded in 1916 by Shlomo Praszker, Chaim Itche Segal, Hirsch Gross, and Moshe Librach – the Jewish dramatic circle was founded in 1917, thanks to the following active members: Hirsch Gross, Zelig Fogel, Moshe, Yitzchak and Mordechai Grand.

After the first three months of rehearsals, the Zgierz Jews watched the opening performance of the dramatic circle: “Chasha the Orphan Girl” by Yaakov Gordon.

After the first performance, the dramatic group enlarged. New amateurs came in. At the home of Zelig Fogel, with the participation of his wife Bella (who already had a great deal of experience in an actor in the dramatic circle of Pultusk, where she had played for a few years) – regular rehearsals took place. Later, they performed the following theatrical pieces in the large Lutnia hall: King Lear, the Stepmother, God of Vengeance, The Empty Tavern, The Yeshiva Student, and others. The director was the actor Nathan Reichenberg.

The dramatic circle brought a great deal of life into Zgierz. It was very popular and beloved by the Jewish population.

The entire income from the performances went to voluntary causes [1]. A symphony orchestra of over twenty men was also created by the dramatic circle.


{294}

The Symphonia Singing Group

by V. F.

In the year 1934, the Symphonia singing group was founded by a youth group of the worker's circle. Its task was to develop the feeling for singing and acting among the working youth. A choir and an orchestra were founded under the direction of Rubin, the well-known director of the Lodzer Old City School. They developed in their own location, in the house of Szymanski on Pilsudskega Street, and conducted daily practices.

The choir, accompanied by the orchestra, put on performances in the same location. These performances were received by the audience with applause and appreciation.

The initiators and founders were Leib Sczupak (son-in-law of Gedalyahu Roizenman), Eliahu Finkelsztejn, Leib Gelbard, Rotkop, and others. Symphonia was a place of cultural life for a portion of our working youth.


{295}

The Zionist Federation (“Agudat Hatzionim”) in Zgierz

by Yosef Kac and Yehuda Wajnsztejn

{Photo page 295: Yosef Meir Harun, one of the founders of the group “Chovevei Sfat Ever” (“Lovers of the Hebrew Language”), and the final chairman of the Zionist Federation.}

Already at the beginning of the 20th century, immediately after the death of the Zionist seer Dr. Herzl of blessed memory, a group of Maskilim in our city – people immersed in Judaism and the wisdom of Israel – and founded “The Organization of the Lovers of the Hebrew Language”. The organization was headed by Isuchar Szwarc, Tovia Lifszitz, Moshe Eiger, Yosef Meir Harun, Avraham Klorfeld, Y. A. Rosinow, the two brothers-in-law Zeev Eliahu and Zeev Michael Reichert, and others. These were from among the Maskilim and notables of the city, who were committed to the idea of the renaissance of the nation and the Hebrew language. This group acted strongly and diligently within the Jewish community in order to spread Zionism and its objective to establish the Jewish nation. They did their work in the Beis Midrash, the Great Synagogue, and the Hassidic shtibels. Afterward, they turned themselves toward the secular studying youth, and also to those who occupied the benches of the Beis Midrash. These included: Chaim Pinchas Poznerson, Menashe Szwarcbard, Mordechai Szapszowicz, Avraham Skosowski, Menachem (Mendel) Berliner, Tovia Grynfarb, Yosef Krasnopolski, Yaakov Nekricz, Yitzchak Berliner, Fabian Grynberg, Yosef Kac, and others.

As the group grew, it work branched out and it broadened its field of activity. They occupied themselves with distributing publications of the Zionist movement and Hebrew newspapers such as Hatzefira, arranging collections and systematic contributions to the Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund), and with games and performances whose intake was dedicated to the Keren Kayemet. They also arranged memorial evenings for Dr. Herzl, and conducted every task that a Zionist organization was expected to do. Of course, they did this in place of a Zionist organization, whose existence was not permitted by law during the time of the Czarist rule. They conducted their work without excess publicity, for fear of the government.

The first of the members of this group to make aliya was Menachem Berliner, who made aliya in 1909. After him, Asher Klorfeld, his sister Lea, and their family followed.

{Photo page 296 top: A reception in honor of Mr. Yitzchak Grynbaum, at the Zionist Federation of Zgierz. Sitting from right to left: P. Grynberg, M. Eiger, Y. Grynbaum, Isuchar Szwarc, A. Morgensztern.}

{Photo page 296 bottom: Chalutzim (pioneers) from Zgierz on the occasion of their making aliya to the Land of Israel in 1920: A. Kuperman, A. Gotsztadt, L. Gotsztadt, Sh. Gorner, W. Kac.}

In the year 5676 (1916) towards the end of the First World War, a branch of the Zionist movement was officially founded in Zgierz. It was called “Agudat Hatzionim” (The Federation of Zionists). This organization spread out broadly with the uplifting of Zionism and great activity. The head of the Zionist Federation and its activists included Tovia Lipszicz, Isuchar Szwarc, the brothers-in-law / cousins Reichert [2], Moshe Glicksman, Yosef Kac, Leon Rosinow, and Moshe Siedlowski. Some of the youth joined them: L. Wajnsztejn, R. Szapszowicz, Y. L. Gotsztadt, Yaakov Gotsztadt, Shlomo Gorner, Herman Garzon, Leibel Sirkis, Wolf Fiszer, Moshe Landau and others from amongst the Hassidim and town residents.

In December, 1929, the Zionist Federation organized an enthusiastic reception for the leader of Polish Jewry and one of the heads of Zionism, Mr. Yitzchak Grynbaum. This was a spontaneous demonstration, in which the city notables and representatives of all local factions of Zionism participated. In a lecture full of content, he described the situation in the land of Israel with respect to the events that were taking place at that time. At this opportunity, a warm appreciation was extended to two veteran Zionist leaders in Zgierz, who were among the founders of the Zionist Federation – the late Tovia Lipszicz and Isuchar Szwarc of blessed memories. At that meeting, they decided to recognize both of them in the Golden Book [3].

The library that was founded by Chovevei Zion and transferred to the Zionist Federation in the house of the Reichert family broadened, and turned into a cultural and educational center for the local youth. The library was tended and conducted by Fabian Grynberg, Menashe Szarcbard, Aharon Cincinatus, and others. It served the Zionist Federation in a blessed fashion. It supplied reading material and also served as a venue for lectures and Zionist meetings, especially for the youth who saw it as the center of their spiritual world. Evening classes, friendly conversations, conventions, and festive gatherings took place there.

The library also served as a venue for speakers who came from outside Zgierz, from Lodz and Warsaw. It was called by the name of the writer David Friszman on the anniversary of the death of this writer, who was a native of our city.

The Zionist camp branched off at this point, and strengthened itself. It performed its role strongly and with many branches in its Zionist work. The numbers of members of the Zionist Federation reached approximately 500. Its members came from all strata of society.

{Photo page 298 top: Representatives of the Zionist factions on the Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) committee. Standing are D. Baum, H. Cincinatus, Brzowski, M. Glezer. Sitting are P. Szapszowicz, L. Gotstadt, D. Berger, A. Bornsztejn, S. Tamerzon.}

{Photo page 298 bottom: The committee for the arranging celebration of the opening of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Standing: Y. M. Harun, A. Reichert, A. Ch. Michelson, Y. Wajsbaum. Sitting: Y. Kac, N. Troczki, A. Morgensztern, F. Grynberg, N. Fajnngold, and L. Wajnsztejn.}

The Zionist Federation penetrated to all realms of life in the city, and it had representatives on the communal council and city council, including Morgansztern, Isuchar Szwarc, Fabian Grynberg, Noach Troczki, and Wolf Reichert, who served terms on these institutions. Yosef Kac was the representative on the council for the building of cities. He was diligent in Zionist activity already from the days of participation in the group of Menachem Berliner. He continued on until he made aliya to the land of Israel in the year 1935.

Fabian Grynberg served as chairman also on the committee for the Land of Israel, the Zionist founds, and other public institutions that had representation in the federation. The members of the federation penetrated into all public institutions that existed in the city, in the sport organizations, the orphanages, the soup kitchen that distributed meals and assistance to the poor and children, and to the charitable fund that was run by Moshe Eiger, Noach Troczki and Leibush Wajnsztejn. The latter was active in the Zionist Federation until he founded the Revisionist Zionist movement, and transferred his activities there.

The Zionist Federation gathered into its ranks a recognizable segment of the youth of Zgierz. It also was active in the public and Jewish realms in our city. The final chairman of the federation was Reb Yosef Meir Harun, who was active in it and its committees until the Holocaust, when the grave was covered upon all expressions of organized Jewish life.


{299}

The Young People's Organization (Agudat Tzeirim)
and Young Zionists (Tzeirei Zion)

by Yosef Kac

The “Zionist winds” already began to blow through Zgierz at the beginning of the 20th century, and a number of youths dreamed about formalizing an organization around their nationalistic outlook and tendencies. The awakening of the youth began to take form. Avraham Skosowski, Menashe Szwarcbard, Leon Rusinow, Chaim Pinchas Poznerson, Menachem Berliner, Fabian Grynberg, Marek Szwarc, Asher Klorfeld, Wajsbaum, Szapsowicz, Tovia Grynfarb, Aharon Cincinatus, Yitzchak Glicksman, and the writer of these lines – decided to found “Agudat Tzeirim” (The Young People's Organization) and to design a clear agenda for the activities of the organization: to study the Hebrew language, to spread the Jewish book and the Hatzefira newspaper, to understand all of the problems surrounding and within the Land of Israel, to maintain a connection with the Zionist organization, to assist the Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund), and to organize interest groups.

In later years, the number of members reached 100. Michael Siedlowski was very active. The frequent lectures, with the assistance of local powers [4] as well as those from Lodz and Warsaw, drew a large crowd.

The members of Tzeirei Zion distributed shekalim (tokens of membership in the Zionist organization) prior to Zionist congresses, collected monetary pledges to the Keren Kayemet from the houses of the city, and educated the youth in the spirit of pioneering Zionism – towards actualization and aliya.

The influence of this organization in our city was particularly strong due to the multiple relationships of its members. We worked together with Maccabee, the Dvora women's Zionist organization, Hazamir, and others.

Several founders and activists of the organizations excelled during that timeframe. They had great influence upon us with their speeches, their spirit, and their dedication to the issue. These included Menachem Berliner, Yehoshua Ru (known in Israel as a writer and one of the founders of Degania Aleph, known there as Yehoshua Manoach [5], Leon Rusinow, Asher Klorfeld, and others.

{Photo page 300: Members of “Tzeirei Zion” (“Young Zion”) with Menachem Berliner prior to his aliya to the Land in 1910.
From right, in the upper row: G. Lipowicz, Yakir, Y. Kac, T. Grynfarb, A. Klorfeld, Y. Wajsbaum, Y. H. Waldman.
In the middle row: P. Leczyski, F. Grynberg, G. Wajsbaum, Y. Glicksman, A. Skosowski, Wajsberg, L. Rusinow. Sitting: M. Szwarcberg, M. Szapszowicz, M. Berliner, Dawidowicz, and Y. Krasnopolski.}


{301}

The Mizrachi Organization in Zgierz

by Yehoshua Berliner (Baniel)

{Photo page 301 right: Reb Yisrael Frugel, one of the heads of Mizrachi of Zgierz.)

{Photo page 301 left: Reb Nathan David Kac, one of the founders of Mizrachi in Zgierz.}

The Mizrachi organization was founded in Zgierz in 19115, during the time of the German occupation, after an arousal by the religious preacher Rabbi Yechiel Rappaport of blessed memory (who was later appointed as the rabbi of Jadziow [6]). Reb Gedalya Yedidya Zwiklowski was elected as chairman of the interim committee. The members of the committee were Reb Yitzchak Meir Halperin, Reb Yisrael Frugel, Reb Nathan David Kac, Reb Yosel Cohen, Reb Eliahu Wronoski, and the writer of these lines.

Reb Daniel Sirkis joined Mizrachi in 1917. He was immediately elected as head of the faction. During the elections to the communal council in 1918, the national block (Zionists, Mizrachi, and religious householders) attained a great majority. Reb Daniel Sirkis was chosen as chairman of the communal council, which was run with inspiration of religious Zionism.

{Photo page 302 top: Reb Kalman Rosenblat, one of the Mizrachi activists in Zgierz.}

(Photo page 302 bottom: Activists of Young Mizrachi. Standing: L Trajanowski, Y. Wajndler, Rubin, A. Cohen, and A. Zajdel.
Sitting: Z. Cohen, Rozenfeld, M. Zakon, Ch. Zakon, Pantel, and Klaski.
In the front row: Rozenshein, Niszkowski, A. Konski, and B. Blank.}

Many Hassidim and other townsfolk joined Mizrachi as time went on. These included: Reb Yehoshua Kaufman (the uncle of Daniel Sirkis) who was a scholarly Jew and a Hasid of Czortkow, who sat all of his days with Torah. His house was open to the nationalist religious youth thanks to his valiant wife Reizel; Reb Yitzchak Mendel HaKohen, the brother of the rabbi of the city and an Admor of his own right; Reb Aharon Parizer one of the veterans of Zionism in Russia; Reb Kalman Rozenblatt, a Hassid of Sokolow, Reb Meir Wajnik, Reb Michel Kuperman (an Aleksandrow Hassid, who was known by the name of Michel Endzis); Reb Chaim Cohen and others.

The Mizrachi organization, which reached 170 members with the passage of time, at first was headquartered in the home of Reb Isuchar Szwarc. The rabbi of the city would visit us on occasion. From there, we moved to the home of Reichert, where we had two spacious rooms. One of the activists was Reb Mendel Zakon, who died in the Land. We founded our own Beis Midrash, and we gathered together our members who worshipped in all of the shtibels of the city. The Torah reader was Reb Nathan Domnakowicz (who made aliya). We arranged evening classes and were active in all areas of communal life in our city.

A branch of Young Mizrachi was founded in Zgierz. It was one of the active forces in the city.


{303}

Agudas Yisroel and its founders

{Photo page 303: The committee for Israel affairs of the Agudas Yisrael movement of Zgierz, including the founders and activists of the "Keren Hayishuv" ("The fund for the settlement"). Standing: Kompel, Bandkowski, Bomes, Niszkowski. Sitting: Glicksman, Hollander, Y. M. Zylberberg, A. Mankita, Rozenzweig, Kompel.}

With the organization of Orthodox Jewry in Poland under the name of “Agudas Haorthodoxim” a branch of the Aguda was also founded in Zgierz. Its founders included: Reb Shlomo Sirkis and his son Eliezer, Reb Yosef Hirsch Szapiro, Reb Noach Mendelson, Reb Binyamin Szaranski, Reb Nathan Elberg, Reb Eliahu Tenenbaum, Reb Chaim Boaz, Reb Yisrael Moshe Rabinowicz, Reb Ezriel Cuker, and others.

{Photo page 304 top: Agudas Yisrael Youth in Zgierz.
Top row: Domnakowicz, Sh. Glicksman. Sh. Kompel.
Second row: Kotek, L. Wechsler, A. Frankel, Y. Adler, Y. Tenenbaum, P. Glicksman, N. Mendelson.
Third row: Praszker, M. Boaz, Frankel, A. Bekershpigel, Y. Przeworski, P. Szapszowicz, P. Mendelman, M. Mankita.
Sitting: A. Ajsensczmidt, Boaz, M. Rosznblat, Sh. Przeworski, and Domnakowicz.}

{Photo page 304 bottom: Children of the Talmud Torah Cheder with the teacher Hershele Wajlsenfelner.}

{Photo page 305: Students and teachers of the Yesod Hatorah Cheder.}

The Aguda was founded in the year 5676 (1916). With time, it changed its name. Earlier, it was known as “Shlomei Emunei Yisroel” (The whole believers of Israel), and later Agudas Yisroel. Reb Eliezer Sirkis served as the president from the day of its founded until the year 5685 (1934). He was the living spirit of all its activities. After he made aliya, the following people filled his position: Reb Berish Bechler, Reb Aharon Hirsch Kompel, and the final one (until the outbreak of the world war) Reb Leibel Wyszogrodski. Reb Shimshon Wolf Glicksman served as secretary during the final years. Its active members included Reb Yitzchak Aryeh Minc, Reb Yechiel Meir Mankita, Reb Eliahu Tenenbaum, and others.

Agudas Yisroel also had a delegate to the city council. Reb Eliezer Sirkis served this role from the year 5676 (1925). From the year 5695 (1935) Reb Leibel Wyszogrodski served.

A youth faction called “Tzeirei Agudas Yisroel” (Youth of Agudas Yisroel) existed alongside Agudas Yisroel. It was very active in our city. It assisted Agudas Yisroel with its national activities, and also organized Torah study classes. The classes were given in the Beis Midrash by the rabbi of the city, and in the 1930s by Reb Mendel Wechsler and others. For a certain period of time, it also published a monthly in hectograph called “Unzer Vort” (“Our Word”) (5686 – 1926). Its founders included Rabbi David Szapiro, Pinchas Sirkis, Meir Sczaranski, Feivel Mendel Cuker, Avraham Aharonson, Shlomo Bialostocki, Avigdor Rozenblat, Mordechai Sirkis, Leibel Librach, Leibel Bomes and others. From the late 1920s until the outbreak of the war, the following people were active in it: Shlomo David Przeworski (who was chosen as chairman in 5691 – 1931), Sender Poznerson (who served as treasurer, and supported the activities of the Aguda from his pocket), Yosef Korczej, Moshe Rozenblat, David Wechsler, Avraham Ajzenszmidt, Mendel Boaz, Meir Boaz, Avraham Boaz, Binyamin Sztechelberg, Yechiel Yosef Zeida, Yaakov Banda, Nota Bomes, Mendel Mankita, Eliahu Feivel Przeworski, Shlomo Glicksman, Shmuel Ajzenszmidt, Avraham Kompel, Shalom Kompel, Yehuda Leib Zeida, Chaim Eliezer Domnakowicz, Mordechai Meir Krol, Yitzchak Przeworski, Avraham Bakerszpigiel, Feivel Szatszowicz and others.

The young people also were involved in economic activity. They established a committee called “Shomrei Shabbas” (Sabbath observers) whose members included also members of Agudas Yisroel. The members of the committee were: Reb Yosef Bialostocki (who was nicknamed Reb Yosef Shmuel Chasides), Daniel Lenczyski, Wolf Zelmanowicz, Leibel Wyszogrodski, Shlomo David Przeworski, Meir Boaz, Mendel Niszkowski, Chaim Eliezer Domnakowicz, Hershel Tenenbaum, Chaim Zeev Hoizszpigiel, and Shalom Kompel. The tasks of the committee were not restricted to matters of Sabbath observance, but also included the putting of pressure on the Orthodox manufacturers in our city to cancel the “document of sale” for work on Sabbaths [7] and to employ Jewish and observant employees. They delayed the reading of the Torah in the Hassidic shtibels [8], and at the end, they succeeded.

The following people were appointed to the committee for the “Keren Hayishuv” (“Settlement Fund”): Yechiel Meir Mankita (chairman), Shalom Kompel (secretary), Shlomo Glicksman, Shmuel Ajzenszmidt, Yosef Bendekowski, Avraham Kompel, Hillel Moshe Bomes, and Mendel Niszkowski. The founders of a branch of the benefit organization for the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva included Meir Sczaranski, David Wechsler, and Avraham Ajzenszmidt.

An Agudas Yisroel Women's organization existed alongside Agudas Yisroel. It was engaged primarily in philanthropic activities. It was headed by the following women: Chaya Sirkis (the wife of Reb Eliezer), and Chana Szlaser (the daughter of Reb Binyamin Sczaranski). The Orthodox girls were organized into a Batya organization for young religious girls.

Agudas Yisroel was represented by the following people on the communal council: Reb Eliezer Sirkis (who served as chairman until 5693 – 1933), Reb Chaim Boaz, Reb Aharon Hirsch Kompel, Reb Berish Bechler and others.

a) Beit Ulpana (House of Learning)

The first institution that was established by the Orthodox group in our city (with the participation of observant householders) was “Beit Ulpana LeTorah Vederech Eretz” (“The House of Learning for Torah and the Ways of the World).

On account of the closing of the cheders in the year 5676 (1916) by the German occupation government, a modern cheder was founded in Lodz, called “Beit Ulpana LeTorah Vederech Eretz”. It included secular studies as well. A modern cheder, patterned after that one, was founded in our city with that name in 5676 (1916). Several rooms were rented on Blotene Street for that purpose.

The following people were chosen for the first committee of the institution: Reb Daniel Sirkis as chairman, Reb Avraham Nathan Elberg as secretary, and Reb Aharon Yosef Berger, Reb Chaim Boaz, Reb Henech Ehrzon, Reb Noach Mendelson, and Reb Yisrael Moshe Rabinowicz as members of the committee.

There were five classes in the Beit Ulpana for students of ages 7 – 13. The first educators included Reb Rafael Henech Blausztejn (who taught the upper class), Reb Yaakov the son of Yaakov Milichewicki who taught Hebrew and grammar in all of the classes, Reb Yitzchak Eksztejn, Reb Shimshon Wolf Glicksman (the son of Reb Fishel the teacher), Reb Moshe Zeida and others.

They studied primarily religious studies, but they dedicated about two hours of the day to secular education. German language, which was a requirement, was also taught.

When the Germans left the State of Poland, the name of the institution was changed to Yesodei Hatorah. The patrons of the institution were Reb Shlomo Sirkis, Reb Moshe Aharonson, and Reb Shalom Henech Bomes. New leaders became involved, such as Reb Mendel Wechsler and others, and the institution continued to develop from year to year. Hundreds of students studied there. It continued to exist until the outbreak of the final war in 5699 (1939), when destruction overtook the institution.

{Photo page 308 top: Teachers of the Beis Yaakov girl's school. Standing: Mrs. Bialostocki, unidentified, Tuchman, Zaszlichowski. Sitting: A. Milichewicki, Zaszlichowski, Tuchman, and Banda.}

{Photo page 308 bottom: The Yesod Hatorah Cheder [9] of Agudas Yisroel (1935) with the activists Reb Shalom Chanoch Bomes and Reb Eliahu Tenenbaum.}

b) Beis Yaakov

The second institution that was established by Agudas Yisroel during the 1920s was a school for Orthodox girls called Bais Yaakov. It was established in the year 5686 (1926). Among others, Reb Shlomo Sirkis and his son Reb Eliezer Sirkis worked for its establishment. The first principal was Reb Meir Sczaranski. After him, Reb Yaakov Angel and Reb Leibel Wyszogrodski served in this position. The teachers included Mrs. Chajmowicz, who was helped by the following members of the Batya organization: Esther Rus and Gittel Goldwasser, the daughters of Reb Avraham Przeworski. This school graduated hundreds of Orthodox girls during the era of its existence, and developed well. It also existed until the outbreak of the war in 1939.

c) Miscellaneous

In addition to the Yagdil Torah Yeshiva that was founded and directed by the Hassidim before the First World War (it ceased its activities in the year 1914, with the outbreak of the world war), a Yeshiva existed in Zgierz alongside the Beis Midrash of the Admor of Strykow. Aside from the older youths of the city who completed their studies at Yesodei Hatorah, students from outside the city studied there. The Jews of our town supported them and fed them at their tables on a rotation system.

In the evenings, Reb Hershel Klejnman and Reb Yaakov Meir Torczinski, the son of Reb Zisha Glazer, taught Ein Yaakov to the lay people.

The following people represented Agudas Yisroel on the Chevra Kadisha: Reb Meir Klaski, Reb Eli Tenenbaum Reb Yaakov Rosenstrauch, and Reb Shalom Henech Bomes. The following women were active: Chana (the wife of Reb Mendel) Wechsler, Chava Ita (the wife of Reb Shalom Henech) Bomes, Chana Rachel (the mother-in-law of Reb Shimshon Wolf Glicksman) Birnsztock, and the veteran from among them, Machla Woronski (who was called in our town as Machla the Heaven's Gazer), who merited to make aliya to the Land and to be buried in its soil.


TRANSLATOR'S FOOTNOTES

1. I believe that this refers to 'volunteer organizations'. Back

2. Cousins who were also brothers-in-law. Back

3. The Jewish National Fund maintains a Golden Book in which people can be inscribed for honorary occasions. Back

4. Literally “independent powers”. Back

5. Ru is 'rest' in Yiddish, and 'manoach' comes from the root 'nach' meaning rest in Hebrew. Back

6. I am not sure of the identity of this town. Back

7. A document formally selling the business to a non-Jew for the duration of the Sabbath each week (with the obvious understanding that it would be repurchased after the Sabbath). This type of document enabled the Jew to continue running the business on the Sabbath through the labor of non-Jews. It seems as if the Orthodox employers therefore preferred to hire non-Jews. Back

8. As an act of protest. Back

9. In the text, the name of the institution is given as Yesodei Hatorah. I am not sure why it is different in the photo caption. (In both the Hebrew and English captions, it is listed as Yesod Hatorah.) Back

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