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[Page 89]

Who is Who among Kamenetzer


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Zvee Scooler


Zvee Scooler


Zvee Scooler is the most distinguished personality to come to this country from Kamenetz-Podolsk. He is a celebrity widely known for his activity in theatre, radio, television and Jewish cultural life.

Zvee came to the United States with his family when he was thirteen years old. As a Yeshiva student at the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, he continued his studies of the Bible, the Talmud and the Hebrew language, excelling in these studies as well as in English and the other required high school subjects.

Joining the Jewish Art Theatre as a young man, Zvee proved to be a born actor. He displayed great talent and rare acting versatility playing a wide range of parts from youths to bearded men. After his triumphs on the Yiddish stage, Zvee felt the challenge of the English Theatre and Broadway. Here again he met with success. He acted in the hit shows: “She Loves Me Not”; “We Americans”; “Forward March” and “The Theatre of Peretz”. Currently, he is playing in “Fiddler on the Roof”. His performance in this show has received the critical acclaim of the New York press, both English and Yiddish.

Zvee has had numerous television appearances and he has played in both Yiddish and English movies, the most current being: “The Pawnbroker” and “Andy”. As the brilliant “Grammeister” on radio station WEVD's Sunday morning, “Forward Hour”, he has endeared himself to the Jewish radio audiences both young and old.

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Zvee has always been intensely interested in making Jewish culture a living heritage for young people. First, as a Hebrew teacher then as camp director of Camp Kindervelt, he inspired countless young people to learn about Jewish culture and to study both Jewish and Hebrew. He is also active in many cultural and charitable organizations, giving freely of his time and talents.

Zvee Scooler's warm outgoing personality makes everyone who comes into contact with him feel as though he has gained a friend.

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Morris J. (Moische Yoins) Kaplun


Morris J. Kaplun


Morris was born in Kamenetz-Podolsk to very religious parents and received a traditional Hebrew education.

To get a secular education, Morris studied in the evenings while working during the day. As a youth, he joined the secret Social-Democrat-Poale-Zion Party. He took part in founding the Yiddish library and in organizing the textile employees. World War I interfered with his plan to travel to France to study agronomy. With the occupation of Kamenetz-Podolsk by the Red Army in 1920, Morris left the Ukraine and went into the textile business. Before the start of World War II, Morris, his wife and son came to New York where he successfully continued in business.

His practical work for Palestine started in 1933 when Morris was on a visit there to investigate the textile business. Instead of doing business with Palestine, Kaplun became a large contributor to the building of the country. His first deed was to plant a mile of trees. During the 1948 Liberation War, Kaplun sent an ambulance to Israel for the Mogen David Adom. Since then, he donated three more ambulances. In 1959, Morris and his late wife Betty endowed an auditorium for 180 students to the Tel-Aviv University and established a scholarship fund of $10,000.

His biggest contributions in Israel have been made since the death of his wife and of his only son. In memory of his wife, Kaplun built a Youth Centre in Kfar Ata. In memory of his son, the young distinguished scientist, Dr. Saul

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Kaplun, the father, recently dedicated two institutions: the Institute of Applied Mathematics and Space Physics at the Tel-Aviv University and the Institute of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the Jerusalem University.

In recognition of his devotion to Israel, the Labour Zionist, Farband, gave Morris Kaplun a testimonial dinner. The large auditorium of the Hotel Pierre was filled with hundreds of his friends. Kaplun, who was buying Israeli Bonds each year, on this occasion purchased $20,000 in bonds; following his example, the assembled bought $80,000 more.

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Leon Solomon (Schloimo) Blatman


Mr. and Mrs. Leon S. Blatman


Leon, born in Kamenetz-Podolsk, studied in High schools and at the University in Kamenetz and in Odessa. He continued his education on arrival in New York in 1920 at C.C.N.Y. (engineering) and at L.I. University (pharmacy and since graduation, still practices his profession as pharmacist.

Since early youth, Leon showed a talent as an organizer and the ability in writing and public speaking. In 1912, he organized a secret student Zionist society. After the 1917 Revolution, Leon became very active in the Zeire-Zion party, founded the Zionist sport club “Maccabee” and was secretary of the students' council 'Rada) at the local university. In 1919, he worked at the ministry of Jewish Affairs under Pinchos Krasny; and a year later, as secretary to the late Professor Israel Friedlander of the J.D.C. Leon left for America. In New York, he was associated with the poet Menachem Boreischo in the publicity department of the Joint Distribution Committee. While studying at C.C.N.Y. Leon wrote for the Jewish newspaper “The Day” and was a contributor to the Zeire-Zion party magazine, “Far'n Folk”. In 1923, he married Sylvia Rosenblatt, bought a pharmacy and settled in Brooklyn.

Writing became Leon's hobby. For many years he was a contributor to a number of pharmaceutical publications and for seven years, he was editorial board member and feature writer for “1199 Drug News”. He also wrote two books and for a year was editor of the “Hudson Herald” in New

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Rochelle. At the end of World War II, Leon founded the Kamenetz-Podolsk Relief Organization of which he was president for three years. In 1952, the Blatmans moved to New Rochelle where they opened a pharmacy.

Sylvia Blatman (Rosenblatt) was born in Kamenetz-Podolsk to religious but modern parents. The Rosenblatts were of the first to join the Zionist organization and brought up their children in the Zionist spirit. As a child, Sylvia belonged to the “Hatchia” and to the “Beth Am” where she studied Hebrew. She finished her secondary education in Kamenetz-Podolsk and in New York she supplemented her studies by taking courses at Hunter College. All her married life, Sylvia worked side-by-side with Leon in the pharmacy. Due to her magnetic personality and her way with people, Sylvia gained hundreds of friends in New York and in New Rochelle.

In New York, as in New Rochelle, Sylvia was active in Hadassah where she held many important offices and where she was a life member. Together with Leon, she was very active in the Kamenetz-Podolsk Relief and was responsible for bringing the Leff family to America from a concentration camp.

The Blatmans were very proud of their daughter, Florence, their son-in-law Alex and their three grandchildren.

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Samuel Drachler


Samuel, Lottie and Louis Drachler


In 1915, the Drachler family was exiled from their home near the Galician border by the Czarist government. The family settled in Kamenetz-Podolsk where the older son, Louis, helped the father in business while the younger son, Samuel, continued his education.

Samuel joined an illegal Zionist youth group and after the 1917 Revolution became very active in a few organizations. He helped organize the sport club “Maccabee” and played on the football team. He showed talent in acting in a newly-formed dramatic society, even directing a few plays. He joined a Chalutzim group planning to leave for Palestine, but was prevented from fulfilling his plan by the Rumanian police while illegally crossing the border.

In May 1919, as an auxiliary policeman, Samuel took part in the “March on Orinin” where, in a pitched battle with a Petliura's military detachment, his friend Avner Korman was killed.

When the Drachlers came to Canada, Samuel and Louis helped organize a branch of the Labour Zionist Farband. After 5 years in Canada, both Louis and Samuel came to New York. Here they were engaged in a number of business ventures. Samuel tried to continue his theatrical hobby by attending the Dramatic School of Modern Art. He also enrolled in the Jewish Teachers Institute.

In 1940, Samuel, who was already married to Lottier, settled in New Jersey where he was engaged in poultry farming. In 1951, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Drachler visited

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Israel and their relatives that were there. On their return, the Drachlers intensified their work for Israel. Lottie Drachler became the chairlady for the Israeli Bonds of the Lakewood Leah Rosenstein Branch of the Pioneer Women. Lottie distinguished herself by work and leadership. In recognition for their community work and activity in the Bond Drive, a testimonial dinner was given for Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Drachler and Mr. Louis Drachler. The Drachlers proved to be worthy of the Zionist Tradition of the family.

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Morris Schleifman


Morris and Celia Schleifman


Morris and Celia, both natives of Kamenetz-Podolsk, were married there shortly after the 1917 Revolution. Young Morris displayed business ability but when the Bolsheviks occupied the city, he realized that there was no future for an aspiring businessman in Kamenetz-Podolsk. Morris and Celia managed to escape to America.

In New York, Morris opened a small hand laundry and after years of hard work, he succeeded in enlarging his enterprise. Eventually, Morris became the owner of a five-story building where he had one of the larger steam laundries.

During World War II, two of the four Schleifmans' sons served honourably in the American Armed Forces while the younger sons continued their education. After the war, Schleifman sold his business and went into real estate in Rockland County where he made his home for some time in Congers.

From the early days in New York, Morris became very active in Branch 15 of the Jewish Labour Zionist Farband. He showed ability in leadership and became an outstanding speaker for the organization. In recognition of his work, the Farband celebrated Morris' 50th birthday with a banquet to which many members and friends came to pay their respect.

Morris is responsible for a number of projects for the Histadruth and is also very active in the Kamenetz-Podolier Relief organization of which he is now the President.

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Morris is also a charter member of Rockland County Chapter of B'nai-B'rith. Celia and Morris are very proud of their four married sons and grandchildren. Celia Schleifman won recognition among the Pioneer Women for her activities in the New York and Spring Valley chapters of the Zionist Women Labour Organization. Together with Morris, Celia is working for the Kamenetz-Podolier Relief Organization which is now building a clinic in Israel in memory of the Kamenetzer who were annihilated by the Nazi.

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Aaron Ashman


Aaron Ashman


Ashman was born in Balin, a town not far from Kamenetz-Podolsk. His traditional Jewish education was supplemented by private tutors and attending lectures at the University in Kamenetz-Podolsk. Here he spent the first three years of the Revolution of 1917. While working as a Hebrew teacher, Ashman was engaged in cultural activities and was a dynamic force in turning a great number of the youth in Kamenetz-Podolsk into Hebrew activists. He was also occupied in organizing the Hagana to fight the Petliura pogrom bandits. He was one of the heroes who went to the nearby town of Orinin and fought a pitched battle with a Petliura regiment, which was believed to be making a pogrom in that town. Although the Hagana had only a small contingent at the time, nevertheless, they killed sixty Petliura soldiers with only one Jewish casualty. Two weeks later, the Petliura army entered Kamenetz-Podolsk and made a pogrom with dozens of Jews killed and maimed.

During his youth, Ashman wrote but did not publish his literary efforts. It was only after 1921, when Ashman settled in Palestine, was he recognized as a writer. In time, Ashman became the outstanding Israeli play writer whose dramas, comedies and other plays were staged by the “Habima” and the “Heohel” in Israel, in America Argentina and Canada. Two of Ashman's works – the trilogy “This Land” and “Saul's Daughter” won prizes in Israel and in other countries.

Ashman translated from Yiddish into Hebrew, Mendele's “Menachem Mendel the Dreamer” and “The Travels

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of Benjamin the Third”; also some of the works of Sholom Aleichem and other classics.

Ashman achieved recognition among writers, especially for his work on the copyright law.

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Maurice Kass


Maurice Kass, editor of “Jewish World” in Philadelphia. In 1926 Kass, together with Prof. Israel Friedlander and Dr. M. Leff, came to Kamenetz-Podolsk as a relief mission of the J.D.C. Kass also was the delegate of the Ukrainian Jews of America


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