The four years of various experiments with establishing agricultural and vocational training groups gave the organizers the knowledge that this country is best suited to agricultural training. As a result, the organizers decided to create a large farm owned entirely by the HeHalutz Centre and develop yearlong training activities there. At the beginning, this plan looked very unrealistic because of the lack of capital, but the courageous efforts of the leaders of HeHalutz, Joseph Barafael and Dov Tabachnick (and after them Shimshon Shechter), and with the help of two friends, this project took off. With the help of Tzvi Turkanovsky, a member of the Zionist Centre and director of the Orient Bank, the organizers secured a bank loan from the Jewish Colonial Trust in London and in the autumn of 1924 purchased a farm in the village of Biliceni near Beltz. The abandoned property measured 116 hectares, including a ninehectare orchard and vineyard and a threehectare lake. Half of the money (about 750.000 Lei) was paid in cash and the rest was taken as a shortterm mortgage. The plans also included construction of a dairy farm and developing the farm to accommodate 120150 trainees per year.
When the deal was sealed, a big celebration took place in Beltz with the participation of the members of the Zionist Executive in Kishinev: Dr. BernsteinCohen, Dr. Joseph Sapir, Tzvi Bonfeld, Shlomo Hilleles, Jacob Waserman, Tzvi Turkanovsky, Michael Landau, and members of the HeHalutz, Joseph Barafael, Leib Glantz, Hilel Giladi (Degania Bet), and Dov Tabachnik. Also present were the editor of Undzer Tzeit, Zalman Rosenfeld, and representatives of the Zionist Federation of Romania (Regat) and Bucovina, Moti Rabinovich from Bucharest, advocate Moshe Shechter (Mishor) from Galatz, and Dr. Fuchs from Chernovits.
The HeHalutz festivities turned into a national holiday when the best leaders spoke about the significance of HeHalutz for building Eretz Israel.
A veteran Zionist from Beltz, Mendel Masis, opened the assembly. The chairman of the assembly, Dr. BernsteinCohen, concluded, We are old, but we are very proud of our young people who work in Eretz Israel. They will now be responsible for the future of the nation.
The assembly finished in very high spirits, and according to Leib Glantz, it was a great daya holiday. After the celebrations, people headed to Biliceni, some walking, some in carsa procession of thousands from Beltz and neighbouring localities.
Undze Tzeit described the festivities: The joy is great in the city…men, women, and children accompanied the Halutzim. The guests are visiting everywhere, receive information, and are full of enthusiasm and admiration. BernsteinCohen is telling about a past experience when a piece of land was purchased by the British Jews, but no one cameso it became dilapidated. Our young people here will transform a neglected farm into a flourishing one. We did not have the money of the British Jews, but the Romania Jewish Community came to our help!
After BernsteinCohen's speech the crowd heard from Advocate Moshe Shechter, the principal of the Hebrew Gymnasium and director of Maccabi in Beltz; advocate B. Dubinsky, who conducted the orchestra; and Leib Glantz, who led the singing. The Halutzim prepared a nice reception, where they served slices of mamaliga (polenta) with butter and feta cheese and wine, according to the local custom. The ceremonies ended in great joy with entertainment by Glantz, Shlomo Hilleles, Waserman, Moti Rabinovich, and singing new songs from Eretz Israel.
In the past, Jewish youth were not united or organized, but the ideas of vocational and selfesteem training on the foundation of communal living provided the motivation to get involved and organize.
The ideas of HeHalutz won over the youth and became a way of life. In the first three years of its existence the HeHalutz membership was mostly from Russia, but this changed by the end of 1924. At the close of 1923 only 5.5% of members were from Bessarabia compared with 94.5% from Russia; and at the end of 1924, however, the Bessarabia membership reached 64.5%, Bucovina 27.5%, and Romania (Regat) 8.0%.
The youth of Bessarabia and even from Bucovina belonged to many local organizations, but only Maccabi, HaTechiya (Rebirth), and HaShomer HaTzair succeeded in establishing branches in many cities and towns. These organizations were not able to present a radical solution to the daily problems faced by the youth and could not help them with the future. Here and there the youth circles were faced with Marxist doctrine and the hope that it will bring equal rights to all, including the Jews. It became necessary to bring together the Jewish youth organizations and connect them with the idea of selfrealization in the rebuilt homeland.
Initiated by Tzeirei Zion and HeHalutz, a national Congress of all youth organizations opened on January 8, 1925. Delegates from HaShomer HaTzair, Maccabi, Ha, and HaHaver HaTzair (The Young Friend) came to the Congress. Dr. BernsteinCohen opened the Congress by urging all Jewish youth organizations to work toward one common goal: rebuilding Eretz Israel.
The following people were elected to the Executive: Dr. BernsteinCohen, Honorary Chairman, and Meir Albert, Tzvi Bonfeld, A. Trachtenbroit, Chaim LernerLior, Pinchas Mesharet (Mishori), I. Skwirsky, H. Feinboim, Z. Fratkin, and David (Borya) Perlmuter. The Standing Committee members were Itzchak Nusboim (Ben_Aharon), I. Pek, Polsky, Itzchak Ripesman, Shmuel Shapira, A.Z. Shochetman (Al_Iagur), L. Glantz, I. Skwirsky, I. Fisher (Ariel) from the Keren Kayemet, H. Feiboim, and Sh. Shapira.
The main concern of the Congress was the question of youth education and the two conflicting philosophies: 1) from the Shomer HaTzair, which maintained that the youth should be immersed in Eretz Israel culture and the Hebrew language and break from the Diaspora, and 2) from the rest of the organizations, which suggested advancing both cultures together.
At the close of the Congress, the Shomer HaTzair conceded to some of the demands and the Congress decided the following.
At the Seventh Congress of the Zionist Youth in Bucharest 1925, the future and the contributions of HeHalutz to the youth movement got a lot of attention and received clarifications from the secretary, Dov Perlmuter, from Kishinev, about the position of the organization in integrating the youth of the pioneer movement.
The next Youth Council meeting took place on March 67, 1926 in Bucharest with participants Itzchak Nusboim and Musberg from HaShomer HaTzair, Dikman and Cohen from the Zionist Youth, and Chaim LernerLior and B. Yedidya from the HaTechiya of Bessarabia. The Council approved the following motions.
HaShomer HaTzair seized an important role in the Union of the Pioneer Youth, but at the same time, many obstacles appeared when members from other organizations were not accepted. Also at that time, Gordonia, founded by Aharon David Gordon, attracted several youth organizations with the aim to form a strong and united organization. Gordonia became the symbol of working life, of belief in national ideals, and friendly cooperation.
Gordonia merged with HeHaver from Bucovina, HaTechiya and the HeHalutz HaTzair (The Young Pioneer) from Bessarabia. In the middle of 1929, Gordonia had 2,000 members, 75% from Bessarabia, 15% from Bucovina, and 10% from Romania (Regat). The head office was in Kishinev and the first executive included Abraham Bronshtein, Dov Mushinsky (Mishali), and Menachem Rolel. In February 1927 Gordonia and HaShomer HaTzair joined the Zionist Youth Organization (Asociaţia Tineretului Sionist A.T.S) from Romania (Regat) and became the pillars of HeHalutz in Romania.
In the middle of the 1930s, Poalei Zion and its youth branch, Dror (Freedom); Tzeirei Zion and its youth branch, Bosliya; Maccabi; Brisiya in Transilvania; and BneiAvoda also joined the HeHalutz.
In the summer of 1926, Maccabi joined in pioneer training. Its first training branch opened at the Buyokan vineyard near Kishinev. This group of 24 people from Kishinev continued its training in the village Pereval. The training of Maccabi members became regular after the events of Av 5689 (1929). At the initiative of the Palestinian Division and the
|Photograph no. 67: The Visit of Joseph Baratz at the training farm in Buyokan, near Kishinev 5683 (1923)
1.Joseph Baratz, 2. Nachum Tulchinsky (Tal), 3. Nachum Cohen (Tardion) 4. Agronomist Fikhandler
|Photograph no. 68: Immigrant group no. 14, Kishinev, 1923|
From right to left: sitting: A. Drachlis, T. Postilnik (Midbari), Sh. Givoni (Keren Kayemet representative), B. Tulchinsky, Chaim Lerner (Lior), Borya Perlmuter
Standing: A. Danishevsky, A. Rabinovich, Alper, Alexandrovsky, Shteinberg, Hirshhorn
From bottom to top, from right to left: on the floor: H. Alon (Kotzer), V. Erlich (Levanon)
Sitting on the right side: S. Chervinskaya (Brachiahu), on the left: Sh. Drabindiner (Rachmani)
Row 2 sitting: B. Fridman, Sh. Marlin, G. Podvisotzky (Brachiahu), Tzvi Bonfeld, I. Weisman (Levanon), Z. Nudelman (Alon), Sh. Rosenfeld
Row 3, standing: P. Frostzenskaya, I. Nudelman (Alon), H. Weinberg, D. Weinshtein (Guberman), A. Shor, R. Strotzovskaya, Unkown, I. Perlman (Libne)
Row 4, standing: Akiva Barun, I. Lampert, I. Marshensky, Al. Zeltzer, I. Gershanuk, M. Shor, A. Gershanuk
From Right to left, sitting: David Weisman, Dr. Yefim Goldshtein, Ishayachu Vinitzky, Rosenfeld, Simcha Rosenfeld, V. Alterman
Standing: Sasha Kalichshtein, Unknown, Genya Madritz, Jenya Averbuch, Ichiel Boiukner, Haya Weishman (Djenish), Frida Kushnitzkaya, David Roshko
From right to left: H. Diukman (Sinai), Sh. Sharf, D. Sinai, I. Shamban, M. Frank (from the book Orgheiev, its sons and daughters, Tel Aviv, 5719 (1959)
efforts of Ichiel Weisman (Levanon) it was decided to gear the education towards the pioneers training.
This training became firmly rooted in the Maccabi organization and despite events such as the 19271928 economic crisis, the emigration from Eretz Israel and the slowdown in the Zionist movement, thousands of talented people were not deterred from making Aliyah to Eretz Israel.
Bnei Israel organization, a local national youth organization, was founded at the beginning of 1920s in the Orgheiev region (Jewish population of 7,000 in 1930) with most of its members coming from the graduate high school students. Its cultural activities, mostly in line with the Keren Kayemet, clashed with the Kultur Lige (Culture League). The organization supported a big library; its building also serving as a youth club. It organized a drama group, a choir, and a sport group (under the Maccabi leadership). They put together concerts and shows with national topics.
The main scope of the organization was to instill in the hearts of the youth the ideals of building the Jewish nation. The Bnei Israel members started their lives in the training (hachshara) program at the outskirts of the city and then in a nearby vineyard. The members who could not fully participate formed a group named Friends of HeHalutz who helped the Bnei Israel and assisted them to immigrate to Eretz Israel. In 1925, Mordechai Frank was the first member who immigrated, followed by four more people in the summer of 1926. As a result of the crisis, the immigration stopped. Only two years after, when the situation improved in Eretz Israel, 7 more people immigrated. In Eretz Israel they worked together with the Gordonia members, but did not join in. D. Sinai explains in his book we did not join Gordonia because we wanted to be independent. Even though we had the same beliefs, we wanted to keep our group intact, but at the end the group split up and 23 people left.
The Bnei Israel was known as the group from Orgheiev. Organizationally, it did not constitute a separate group and at the end they joined the group from Gan Shmuel.
Bnei Israel had a big influence on the Jewish street and deterred many young people from joining the communist organizations.
When the Rogojeni farm was in the process of closing, the equipment and products were transferred to the Bilicheni farm. In order to develop the Bilicheni farm, 19 horses, 8 cows and 100 poultry and additional agricultural equipment were purchased. They received help from Hilel Giladi (Degania Bet), the Federation representative from Eretz Israel.
The 40 existing members and the 100 who joined later started working full speed. Rapidly, the farm became a symbol of Eretz Israel life and a model
for the patriotic youth who desired to build the new nation. Since that time, a tradition was born to visit Bilicheni on Lag B'Omer and later to visit Massada on the 2021 of Tamuz.
Keren Kayemet of Beltz also participated in the Bilicheni trips and even organized an exhibit of Hebrew books and newspapers published by the Labour Movement.
The second training farm was organized on the outskirts of Jassy, on Pacurari Street. It consisted of a dairy farm, a vegetable garden and a poultry farm. Its produce was sold on the Jassy market. The farm had about 70 hectares 22 hectares of agricultural land, 20 hectares which were not suitable for agriculture and served to graze animals and the rest a terrain full of sand pits which provided important income for the farm. The farm was leased by the Jewish Community of Jassy.
The participation of the Zionist Youth (A.T.S. Associatia Tineretului Sionist) at the HeHalutz camp encouraged the Yedidei HeHalutz (Friends of HeHalutz) of Romania (Regat) to support the establishment of the farm. The final decision was taken at the meeting of 25 October 1925 in Bucharest under the leadership of Dr. I. Bauberg and with the participation of Joseph Barpal, a member of the Executive.
The Zionist Federation tasked the Friends HeHalutz in Jassy to make the farm operational.
In a short time they assembled the necessary funds of about one million Lei to set up and develop the farm. The farm functioned well and in no time it had 30 thoroughbred cows, 7 horses and a flock of sheep.
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