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[Columns 171–172]

Notes on Community Life

By Avraham Vaynboym, may his memory be for a blessing

Translated by Yael Chaver

1) The Po'alei Tziyon Party

The basis for the later development of the Po'alei Tziyon party combined with the Zionist socialist party was laid by the members of the “Dror” and “Tze'irei Tziyon” groups.[1] The two latter groups had previously gathered around the Zionist Club and its work for the Jewish National Fund, the “Shekel” project and other activities.[2] Since the group did not have the funds to rent a location, they held their first meetings in the homes of members.

In the summer of 1925, after our delegate, comrade Leyb Lerer, returned from the conference of the League for Labor Palestine, and gave his report, the work of the party expanded. A locale was rented, where discussions and talks were often held. At that time, there were fervent discussions of the language question, such as YSHO. and the Brenner Board of Trustees.[3]

In 1928, in spite of all the pessimistic opinions, the party decided to publish its own list of candidates for the city council elections. The lively elections were crowned with success. The party's list received over 2000 votes, and two candidates were elected: Yisroel Shrayer and Yitzchok Shmukler became part of the 12 Jewish council members. The League for Labor Palestine contributed to the success. Among the League's members were Ha–Shomer Ha–Tza'ir, He–Halutz, and others.[4] As the party developed further, its sister–organization Frayhayt was established, led by comrades Leyb Lerer and Gedaliyahu Tsukerman.[5]

[Columns 173–174]

12) The Ha–Po'el Jewish Workers' Sports Club

The founders of Ha–Po'el were Po'alei Tziyon members who were sports enthusiasts. They had previously formed the Kraft sports club: its members included A. Vaynboym, A. M. Libers, Elkone Vaysblit, Moyshe Babyude, and others. Ha–Po'el had sections for soccer, ping–pong, and bicycling. The sections participated in various local and inter–city competitions, against Jewish and non–Jewish teams from Hrubyshev, Kowel, Macew, and other places. Ha–Po'el numbered about 200 members and was located in the center of town.

Previously founded in Lublin was an amateur sports club. Its soccer team was in the top category in Volhynia.

13) The Sholem–Aleichem society

During the Austrian invasion (around 1918), a group of teachers from the first two Hebrew elementary schools decided to establish a Hebrew library, named “Young People.” This was the foundation on which the Sholem Aleichem society and library gradually developed. The founders were Moyshe Kukel, Yaakov Kornfeld, Kehas Kliger, Moyshe Babeyude, Shmuel Shatz (may his memory be for a blessing), Benny Karp, Zelig Katz, Vayner Zushe, Mastenboym, Yaakov Bodenshteyn.[6] Among the women were Bineh Cohen, Toybee Shafir, Reyzl Ingber, Pesye Boym, and others,

The small “Young People” library was in a special room in Moyshe–Nune Kokel's house. It later moved to the basement of Yaakov Kornfeld's house. As the reading public grew larger, and demand increased, a section for Yiddish books was opened.

The developing library served as a venue for cultural activities, such as literary conversations, games of checkers, and general political discussions with lecturers from different parties. As the Yiddish readership increased, the Yiddish library organized formally under the name “Sholem–Aleichem Yiddish Culture Society.” The Society developed and was most active during 1930–1939. It moved to larger locations, with a rich reading room. A drama club was also formed. Its first performances were directed by the well–known theater activist Yitzchok Shtern, and later – by Kelner from Lublin and some of the society's members, thanks to Moyshe Babeyude. More recently, Vaynboym, Kluger, Sh. Krishtalke, Tzvi Shtern, Leyb Shrage, and others were active in the leadership.

[Columns 175–176]

14) Retailers' and Artisans' Bank

Before 1933, the most active bank in Ludmir was the Jewish Cooperative People's Bank, managed by Michael Berkner. The bank served mainly the medium– and large–scale merchants of the town. However, much of Jewish commerce was in the hands of poor shopkeepers and tradesmen, who needed credit and bank guarantees. The single people's bank was unable to handle their needs, due to steep guarantee requirements. This was the impetus for the creation of another bank, for small merchants and artisans. This bank was founded in 1933, by neutral community activists. Lozer Shifman, Aharon Noyekh's, Avraham Vaynboym and others were elected to the first board of directors. The director was Hershl Tsuker.

The bank, which started off with 50 members, grew in the course of two years and enjoyed high credit. Moyshe Henich later became bank director. The bank existed until 1938, at the onset of the economic crisis in Poland.

 

Footnotes
  1. Translator's note: I was not able to clarify what “Zionist socialist party” refers to. Po'alei Tziyon (“Workers of Zion”) was the major socialist Jewish party during the interwar period, which the “Tze'irei Tziyon” (“Youth of Zion”) party later joined. Dror was another Jewish socialist youth group. Return
  2. Translator's note: The mission of the Jewish National Fund (founded in 1901) was to buy land in Palestine and develop it for Jewish settlement. The Shekel was a membership contribution to the Zionist movement. Return
  3. Translator's note: The acronym YSHO refers to a local arm of the Central Jewish School Organization (TSYSHO), a secular Yiddish school system active in Poland from 1921 to ca. 1940. I have not been able to determine what the “Brenner Board of Trustees” was and what their connection was to the “language question.” The “language question” most likely referss to the debate over Hebrew vs. Yiddish as the “official” language of the party. Return
  4. Translator's note: Ha–Shomer Ha–Tza'ir was a leftist Zionist youth movement.. He–Halutz was a socialist youth organization that trained young people to settle as farmers in Palestine. Return
  5. Translator's note: Frayhayt was a socialist–Zionist youth movement Return
  6. Translator's note: Kehas Kliger (1904–1985) was a well–known Yiddish poet Return


[Columns 175/176]

About the Hebrew Education in Wladimir (Ludmir)

S. Rosenhek

Translated by Sara Mages

Edited by Jack Bader

In the period between the two world wars Ludmir was blessed with diligent students. However, the Hassidut light also hinted to guests, because the local people didn't tell much about the greatness of the author of “Tosafot Yom-Tov[1] or the author of “Turei Zahav[2] who were there, as they mentioned, from time to time, Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin, the founder of the Karliner dynasty, and pointed to the “Shtiebel[3] of the “Maiden of Ludmir”[4] as witnesses. This Hassidut was first seen in the nearby forests of Wolyn, like Trisk [Turiysk], Ołyka, Brezhna [Berëzno], where the Admorim[5] of other dynasties resided.

It had a blending of Polish Jewry spirit, Russian Jewry spirit, and the Jewry of nearby Galicia.

The elections to the Sejm[6] or to the city – and also to the Zionist Congress – were done publicly and big and small mobilized to advertise their side, and when it was time to establish a Hebrew School, its public activists invested their souls with great devotion and sincerity.

By the number of her Jews, Ludmir was the sixth among the cities of Polish Wolyn – after Równe, Lutsk, Kovel, Kremenets and Dubno, and also in public opinion. In trading, Ludmir was tied to nearby Lvov, more than to Warsaw. The affluent class showed a tendency for general education, while the other classes - the continuation of traditional education.

The Polish language was spoken by many merchants and store keepers, even before theannexation of Ludmir to renewed Poland (after the First World War). Out of this, quite a few difficulties piled up on the road to the establishment of a “Tarbut” Hebrew School[7]. The Polish authorities saw Ludmir as a semi-Polish city, and made it difficult for a non-Polish speaking school to exist. Indeed, the Polish authorities favored the national education of minorities in the eastern border district (at the beginning, immediately after the annexation of these districts to Poland). By doing so, it decreased the influence of the Russian language which was used there as the language of education first, and the spoken language later. At the same time, more than eighty percent of the Jewish children in the district of Wolyn and east of it, received their education from Jewish public institutions. But, as the Polish regime grew stronger, it added decree atop a decree, in order to constrain the minorities' national education. Under the pressure of the authorities, the Ukrainian schools became bilingual despite the legal foundation of the national education that was placed in the peace conference in Versailles.

According to the minority contract between Poland and the League of Nations (June 1919), the state had to establish and maintain, at its expense, schools for territorial minorities (meaning, the Ukrainians, the Belarusian and the like) in their own language.

In addition, it also had to allow the establishment and the maintenance of special schools for ethnic minorities, religious and linguistic –the Jews included – at its expense. And more, also to guarantee that these minority schools would receive “a suitable portion of enjoyment and use” from sums of money that the state will allocate and the cities would designate to educational institutions.

And indeed, before the occupation and immediately after, Hebrew elementary and high schools were established, mostly in the border sub-districts. Despite all the political and financial difficulties the Zionist community was able to win the public trust, and paved the road for new education. The Hebrew School (founded by “Tarbut”) aspired to prepare the young generation towards his pioneer duty in the full Hebrew revival spirit. The National Council, led by the forceful leadership of Yitzhak Greenbaum, struggled for the rights of Hebrew School, and managed to establish a unified Jewish block of all the Zionist parties with “Agudat Israel[8].

As stated, the attitude of the Polish government towards the national schools in the border districts, was more lenient than to the same schools in the districts of central Poland, and a uniform curriculum was also approved. But, the ministry of education only cared for the studies that were taught in Polish, and almost didn't care for those taught in Hebrew. The financial situation of the Hebrew education system weakened day by day,

[Columns 177/178]

especially after the American Jewish Joint ended its support. A large Hebrew movement was established in the cities: Równe, Lutsk, Kovel, Kremenets and its surroundings, under the influence of “Tarbut” activists, authors and important teachers, who fled from federalist Russia and used Równe as a passage to Warsaw and later to Israel and other countries. They brought with them from the energy of “Tarbut” federation in Ukraine and White Russia, and aided the first schools and kindergartens in Poland.

It was not so in Ludmir which was located on a roadside close to the heart of Poland. The delegates of the temporary central council of “Tarbut” in Równe found there a “revised Heder”. A number of Zionists, like David Bokser, Lev, Birman, Sheinbaum and Yelin, decided to work for a full Hebrew education. The first school principals and teachers were: Korenfeld (who is now in the U.S.), Koplek (immigrated to the U. S. and changed his name to Kaplan. He died a few years ago), and also the secretary Gruska, approached it with great energy and managed to turn it into a modern institution. It is fitting to mention the difficult road of “Tarbut” in objective and subjective perspective.

The live Hebrew language didn't have a real foothold in a home where it was only a product of an abstract idea, but within the Zionist atmosphere and in the street. Opponents pointed to the school as an artificial creature, which surrounded the Jewish community in Ludmir and all of Wolyn between the two world wars. This school was quite natural. The sons and daughters of the middle class, who were banished from their economic and political positions, accounted for the vast majority of the students in “Tarbut” school, because they saw Israel as the only refuge for the young generation. With the arrival of the graduates of “Tarbut” seminar in Vilna to Ludmir, and the arrival of other experienced teachers, like Zeitzik and Podlis, especially during the management of Yosef Okon (who is now in Israel and works as a superintended for the Ministry of Education), the school got closer to educational ideology in all aspects, and was widely used as an example for the rest of the schools in Poland. The trend increased in all “Tarbut” schools, following the Zionist aspirations to also educate their students for productive work, but few succeeded as well as the institute in Ludmir.

At first, most of the activists wanted to follow the footsteps of Równe and Kovel, and continue with a Hebrew High School. However, it was not approved by the excellent educational staff, who were devoted to the idea of labor and the foundation of work in the new education. In fact, the governmental vocational and communal schools were almost forbidden to Jewish children, and only a few Jewish students were included in them. In all of Poland (outside Galicia), there wasn't a single Jewish student in the agricultural schools.

In 1935, due to the strengthening of the pioneering movement that educated the youth toward work and trade, and because of the aspiration of “Tarbut” teachers and officials, “Tarbut” central in Warsaw opened a Hebrew agricultural school in Ludmir. In the years 1938/1939, around forty students were educated there.

The engineer, Snitzki, was the school's principal during its last years. He shaped the school's character with the help of his institutes and local officials, and with the assistance of the central office. This educational-vocational school that gathered students from all corners of Poland, was supposed to be the turning point in Hebrew education in the whole country. But the war put an end to the Jews of Poland along with their aspirations.

May our memories be a memorial to their actions.

 

Tarbut School in 1932
vol178.jpg
Sitting: Members of the school administration and the teachers.
From the right, Chaim Kaufman, Pinchas Sheinkastel, Shalit, the principal Zeitzik, Rozenhak the superintendent of Tarbut Schools in Poland, Yakov Yelin, Chaim Kleinmintz, Zitrinel.
Standing from the right: Avraham Ingber - - - B. Goldberg, Ms. Podlis-Shalit, Leibel Gruska, Mordechai Apter, Moshe Boikt, Tzas, Moshe Sheinbaum

 

Footnotes
  1. “Tosafot Yom-Tov” - commentaries on the Mishnah by Rabbi Yom Tov Lippmann Heller Return
  2. “Turei Zahav” - “Rows of Gold”- commentary on the Shulchan Aruch by Rabbi David Halevi Segal (the TaZ) Return
  3. Shtiebel – “little house” or “little room”- a place used for communal Jewish prayer in contrast to a formal synagogue Return
  4. The “Maiden of Ludmir” - Hannah Rachel Verbermacher also known as the “Ludmirer Moyd”, the only female rabbi in the history of the Hasidic Movement Return
  5. Admor – “Our Master, Our Teacher, and Our Rabbi”- title of a Hassidic Rabbi Return
  6. Sejm – the lower house of the Polish Parliament Return
  7. “Tarbut”- culture- was a Zionist network of Hebrew-language educational institutions Return
  8. Agudat Israel” - “Union of Israel” - organization for observant Jews who opposed the Zionist Movement Return


[Columns 179/180]

Jewish Wladimir (Ludmir)

Yosef Okon

Translated by Sara Mages

Edited by Jack Bader

 

A.

The beginning of the Jewish community in Ludmir lies deep in the dark Middle Ages. Battalions of rioters and hostile countries roamed over it and plowed it to heaps. Ludmir was uprooted and rebuilt a number of times.

In the 18th century, the righteous “Maiden of Ludmir” [Hannah Rachel Verbermacher], became famous. She left the secular life and totally devoted herself to piety. She awakened a strong religious movement in Wolyn whose slogan was: “To return to the ancestral homeland.” She immigrated to Israel, all traces of her were lost and her burial place is unknown.

A living testimony from the same period, the end of the 18th century, was the house of Rabbi R' Avraham'ale, a Karlin descendant. It leaned on flimsy dark posts, and by miracle, the descendants of the righteous lived there generation after generation, to the last Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust.

A rich web of wonderful legends surrounded this modest holy temple. One of them was common to the local elders. When the Haidamakas [Cossacks] troops invaded the city, Rabbi Avraham'ale stood by the window wrapped in his Tallit and Tefillin and his arms were outstretched towards the sky. The murderers fixed their evil eyes on him and pulled him by his payot [sidelocks] to the field of slaughter. One of his legs bumped into a corner of a church that stood on the side of the road, and immediately, it collapsed from shame and was swallowed by the earth. Only a central pillar and its cross survived as a protest for the next generations. Maybe this sign of Cain is still standing there today.

Ludmir's cemetery, which extends to an area of square kilometers in the center of town, is seeded with the Ohels[1] of the righteous and tombstones of wood and stone, worn and torn from two distant periods of seven hundred years or more. On top of them are the broken crowns of the priesthood and kingship, which testify that the ancestors of prominent families from the periods of Israel's kings fled here. This cemetery attracted the eyes of historians like Ansky and Schiffer, May the Lord avenge his blood.

In the 16th century, the Jewish community of Ludmir was considered to be one of the most magnificent communities to be included in “Va'ad Arba' Aratzot” [Council of the Four Lands]. Ludmir's last Rabbi, the Holy Rabbi Morgenstern, May the Lord avenge his blood, kept a copy of the Jewish communities set of rules that Ludmir's community leaders proposed to “Va'ad Arba' Aratzot” .

In its culture, Ludmir showed the influences of the area between Eastern and Western Europe, and as such, the city served as a meeting point for different languages and cultures: Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Austrian-German. Indeed, Ludmir was hundreds of years behind the centers of Torah and traditional Hebrew education that the Polish Jewry excelled in.

 

B.

Ludmir reached a healthy cultural bloom during the last decades of Polish rule.

After the First World War, Ludmir accounted for more than half of the general population.

 

vol180.jpg
The Hebrew school in Ludmir in the year 1916/1917

[Columns 181/182]

The Zionist Federation, with its various factions and classes, gathered within it most of the population and carried on its shoulders, with pride and pure dedication, the burden of the local public life. Naturally, it dedicated most of its energy to Hebrew education and the fulfillment of pioneering. So, “Tarbut[2] with its educational institutes, was the arm and backbone of the Zionist Federation. More than 400 boys and girls, from the age of 4 to 14, received their full education in the “Tarbut” kindergarten and elementary school.

A respected place in the program was allocated to work and farming. A children's farm was located next to the school: vegetable garden, fruit trees, greenhouse for growing silkworms, rabbitry for angora rabbits (for the wool and, God-forbid, not for the non-kosher meat). The children also learned to comb and weave the wool. All this was managed by a well organized children society that shared the profits equally with “Keren HaKayemet Le Israel[3]. The society's funds were mostly used for field trips and summer camps.

The school produced nine graduating classes, approximately 360 graduates. Most of them were integrated in the “Hakhshara[4]. Indeed, only a few managed to squeeze through the narrow cracks of the [British] mandate immigration gate and fulfilled their dream. Where are our loyal plants?

Indeed, it was not impossible. The crown of the Zionist Federation and “Tarbut” in Ludmir was the agricultural school. It was founded with great efforts in 1935 in a leased farm close to the city. This school existed until the Soviet occupation when the community took its last national breath

The agricultural education in Poland stood on a very high level. The formal requirements for an agricultural government school were many, and we weren't able to meet them. Indeed, there were a few exceptional individuals in the advanced Polish public, who understood the anguish of the Jewish youth, and willingly helped us to obtain a license for a small scale agricultural school: the first and only for Poland's Jewry. Immediately, students began to flock from all over Poland. The institute exceeded its local limit and was transferred to the ownership of “Tarbut” center with the cooperation of the orphan council organization in Warsaw. The institute expended, improved and flourished from year to year. Its state of security and its Hebrew-pioneering direction were strong until the Soviet occupation in October 1939. Since then, the connection between us and the institute was severed.

Only once, a ray of light flickered, penetrated the darkness for a moment, and faded.

The writer of these lines innocently tried, during the days of the Soviets, to influence those in charge of Ludmir's public education to slow the transition from Hebrew to another language in the“Tarbut” educational institutes. At the beginning, the education commissar, a famous educator from Kiev, was surprised to hear that the Hebrew language demands its own rights in the Jewish street. In the universities in Russia, he said, the Hebrew language is remembered as the language of ancient prayers of Kohanim and important rabbis.

I succeeded to draw him for a visit to the agricultural school. At that time the fields were plowed and seeded, and our young men also turned to the working animals in Hebrew. The commissar agreed to establish a temporary compromised plan also in the elementary school, and the Hebrew language will be used until the matter will clear up in high places.

 

Footnotes
  1. Ohel” – tent - a structure built over the resting place of a righteous person Return
  2. The “Tarbut” movement was a network of secular Hebrew-language schools Return
  3. Keren HaKayemet Le Israel” - The Jewish National Fund Return
  4. Hakhshara” - preparation - agricultural institutes similar to kibbutzim where Zionist youth learnt technical skills necessary for their emigration to Israel Return


The Establishment of the “Tarbut” School

Yakov Yelin

Translated by Sara Mages

Edited by Jack Bader

 

In 1925, when the Hebrew University was opened in Jerusalem, the Zionist Federation council in Ludmir decided to open cultural institutions in our city. A “Tarbut” committee was elected: the chairman – Michael Brekner, vice chairman - Yakov Yelin, the committee members – M. Schnebaum, Chaim Kaufman, Chaim Klinmintz, Avraham Ingber, Pinchas Scheinkestel, Yehusua Kleiner, Chaim Peril, Zev Apeldman.

The “Tarbut” School was opened with 33 children. There were 3 classes, and also two nursery schools were opened. The principal and two teachers were invited from the center in Warsaw.

The school's situation was very difficult. It had a constant deficit of 400 Zehuvim [golden coins] a month.

For the school's existence the committee organized various activities; fundraisers, balls, and they also collected donations to cover part of the deficit.

The school developed well and earned a reputation for the quality of its education.

During its last years, the school also received financial help from the city. In 1934, the school reached 500 students, and it was also decided to establish an agricultural school.

How good are your tents, Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel


[Columns 183/184]

The Agricultural “Tarbut” School

Y. Sinizki, Haifa

Translated by Sara Mages

Edited by Jack Bader

 

1. Introduction

Between the two world wars, the Zionist Movement in Poland made many attempts to attract the Jewish youth to productive work, primarily to agriculture, to prepare them for absorption and to all forms of agricultural work when they immigrated to Israel.

There were many agricultural training programs that were organized by the HeHalutz [pioneer] Youth Movement in private agricultural farms (mostly Jewish), and in the farms of JCA [Jewish Colonization Association]. Important farms like Grochów near Warsaw, (Częstochowa) Chenstoniv (a JCA farm), and others were well developed.

There were also attempts to link the agricultural training with agricultural theoretical studies in places like Jerozolimka near Vilna in 1932/1933 and in Halnowok near £ódŸ in 1933/1934. These attempts did not last long because the established public educational body wasn't supporting them.

 

2. The Goal

The school set itself a goal - to train the Jewish youth for farming life, and to create a new type of a young Jew – an educated farmer with Zionist recognition that will work in his/hers profession with practical and theoretical knowledge. The intention, of course, was to train the youth for agricultural life in Israel, and give them all the necessary data to put down roots in their future farming work, and to improve the agriculture standards of the country.

 

3. The parties who founded the school

In 1936, after the “Tarbut” center, which was led at that time by Mr. Rozenhak, took the initiative in its hands and founded the first agricultural school in Ludmir Poland. It was called: “The bi-annual agricultural “Tarbut” School in Ludmir”.

An active part in establishing the school and its development can be attributed to Ludmir's people – enthusiastic dedicated Zionists who gave their time, energy and fortune for this pioneering project.

The names of the principal activists, who formed the school's committee, should be mentioned here. They were: Yosef Okon – the principal of the “Tarbut” Elementary School in Ludmir (now in Israel), Bubes, D. Boxer, Dr. Birman, Dr. Bebczuk, A Geller, Libres, Kuproser, and Scheinkestel.

It should be emphasized, that an important factor to the school's establishment and success was the teaching staff who invested a lot of energy, initiative, and pioneering work in managing and promoting the school.

 

4. The Curriculum

According to the school's goals and the age of the students admitted (at least elementary school graduates), a practical curriculum was formed according to the following principles:

  1. The working day included theoretical studies and practical work in the school's farm. The practical work was conducted before noon and the theoretical studies in the afternoon.
  2. As a principle, there was a match between the theoretical studies and practical work. All the work conducted in the farm was accompanied by an explanation in the vocational class.
  3. The students were organized in their work into four groups according to the various farm branches: farming, gardening, raising livestock and stewardship (jobs in the yard and in the dormitory). At the head of each group stood a person in charge that was called “group leader”, and at the head of all the group leaders stood the person who was in charge of the whole farm.
  4. The groups mentioned above were replaced every week or two, depending on the seasonal work. At the end of the seasonal work, each group gave the work to the next group in a general meeting. At the same time, a discussion took place and the work of the departing group was reviewed.
  5. The curriculum consisted of vocational, general and Jewish studies.

The vocational studies included: General agriculture (cultivation), gardening, planting, raising livestock and beekeeping.

The general studies in the high-school included: arithmetic, chemistry, physics, history, geography, Polish etc.

The Jewish studies included: Hebrew, the Bible, and knowledge about Israel.

The program was approved by the Polish board of governors, and the students enjoyed the same rights that the students of the government schools received.

 

5. The Farm

The farm covered an area of around 50 Acers, which is around 250 Dunam. It was located in Anusin, a village about 4km NNW the city of Ludmir. The land belonged to a Police officer by the name of Koskowski who leased it to the school. The school's soil excelled in its fertility thanks to its good quality (most of it was black soil).

[Columns 185/186]

The farm included: cultivated fields around 190 Dunam, orchards and a vegetable garden around 50 Dunam, a 10 Dunam yard that included the dormitories, classrooms, kitchen, dining hall, housing for teachers, and farm buildings - cowshed, stable, chicken-coop, rabbit pen, straw barn, a cellar for preservatives, other similar buildings and a sheep pen.

The fields were cultivated by a seed cycle as follows:

  1. Potatoes and turnips on organic manure.
  2. Summer barley and wheat.
  3. Clover and vetch.
  4. Rye.

 

5. Oats

The vegetable garden also included ornamental plants and greenhouses. The students were allocated individual plots that they used as experimental fields.

The agricultural farm was an important factor in balancing the school budget, because the crops were tall and excelled in their quality. Thanks to this the fact, the school acquired a reputation and appreciation from the neighboring Christian farms in the area.

 

6. The Dormitory

All the school children lived in the dormitory, only the students from Ludmir returned home every day.

The tuition fees also included the dormitory and students without means were given a discount or released from payments. The tuition was the main source of the school's budget.

A self service regime prevailed in the dormitory to accustom the students to order and cleanliness

 

7. The Teachers

The faculty was made up of professionals (engineers and general teachers).

The school principal, from the day the school was founded, was the farmer Nachum Sinizki, who taught farming, planting, and raising livestock.

The teachers: The engineer Segen Yosef - gardening and ornamental plants
  The engineer Rachel Liberman - gardening and ornamental plants
  The engineer Kopitz - farming instructor
  The engineer Kagan - farming instructor
  Janka Snitzki - beekeeping instructor
  Huberman - general studies and Judaism
  Lendsberg - general studies

 

8. The Students

The students arrived from different cities and towns, and from different social classes (children of rich and poor parents). Most of them were the sons and daughters of merchants and independent professionals. These students didn't have any connection to farming, and it is necessary to emphasize, that the school's influence gave astonishing results. In a very short period of time almost all the students were accepted to jobs and schools. They tied close ties to agricultural work and established a pioneering youth society.

The school was closed at the outbreak of the war, and only the first graduating class was able to finish its studies. The number of students in each graduating class was around 35. The total number of students who attended the school reached to over 100.

Unfortunately, only a small number of students and graduates of this school remained alive and rewarded to immigrate to Israel.

Only a few were saved from the hands of the killers and they are now in Israel.

 

vol186.jpg
Tarbut” regional agricultural school in Ludmir


[Column 187]

“Tarbut” Agriculture Classes

by Y. Babitski[1]

Translated by Yael Chaver

(Excerpt from “Jewish agriculture in Volhynia,” published in Yivo–shriftn, “Di Yidishe Ekonomik,” 5–6, October–December 1937.)

This educational institution was opened on June 15, 1936. The founders aimed to educate independent farmers and instructors for medium–sized farms. However, they admit that this goal is difficult to achieve within the promised two years, as the students do not come from farming families.[2] These two years would be followed by two more years to become proficient in farming.. The students were graduates of the regular Jewish schools who knew Hebrew, as all classes were taught in that language. This was also the language spoken in school. The program was practical. Any theory studies were, first and foremost, aimed at elucidating the school's daily farm tasks.

The year was divided into four segments:

  1. July 7–Nov. 11: Preparatory period. Full day's work. 3 classes a week devoted to theoretical background.
  2. Nov. 11 – Dec. 22: Intensive hands–on work. Theory studies 12 hours a week.
  3. Dec. 22 – April 1: Less hands–on work. Theory studies 25 hours a week.
  4. April 1 – July 1: Intensive work. Theory studies 13 hours a week. In addition to vocational studies, there were classes in Bible, Hebrew, Polish, Jewish and Polish history, mathematics, geography – continuing the regular school curriculum.
Students were divided into the following four groups: 1) animal husbandry 2) agriculture 3) gardening 4) organizing.

The school had its own farm, four kilometers from Ludmir, in Anisin.[3] It was leased for 6 years, and consisted of 50 acres (44 acres field crops, 3 acres garden, 1 acre pasture, 2 acres yard with structures). The soil was good (partly black soil, partly sand–clay).[4] The fields were contiguous, in a square shape, with the school and the farming structures in the middle. The school was supplied with a rich living and non–living inventory: 4 horses, 4 cows, 10 sheep, 34 fowl (chickens, turkeys, guinea–fowl), 10 angora goats, rabbits, 50 doves, etc. There were also a harvester, a horse–drawn rake, a thresher, a manège, a cultivator, two double plows, 3 single plows, 4 harrows, a “planet”, a greenhouse, a “shetshkarne,” hand tools, etc.[5]

 

Footnotes
  1. Translator's note: “Tarbut” (Hebrew; “culture” ) was a network of secular Zionist educational institutions in Poland in the interwar period. Return
  2. Translator's note: The text does not clarify the mention of two years. Return
  3. Translator's note: I have not been able to find this location. Return
  4. Translator's note: “Black soil” is the literal translation of the Russian term “chernozem”: a fertile black soil.rich in humus, suitable for grain. Return
  5. Translator's note: I have not been able to determine the meanings of ‘planet’ in this context and of ‘shetshkarne.’ Return


[Columns 191-192]

The Vocational School “ORT”

by Bina Tabak

Translated by Sara Mages

The tremendous productive movement of broad sectors of the Jewish people didn't pass our little city of Ludmir.

As much as I know, a branch of “ORT” was established in Ludmir at the end of the First World War (WWI). It was headed by the well-known public activist, Michael Brekner. At that time, “ORT” was operating under very difficult conditions and maintained two departments: Sewing for girls and carpentry. The carpentry department failed and the machinery and equipment were transfered to a diffrent location.

However, the sewing school continued to exist and experienced periods of growth and decline. Everything, of course, was up to the economic situation of the Jews and the attitude of the local government.

I had the opportunity to follow the development of the institution from 1935 until the outbreak of the Second World War (WWII). Until that time, the institution was struggling badly for its existence. The local Polish authotities didn't approve a school for Jewish youth that wasn't under their supervision. The school was about to close and strong measures were needed to save the situation. Mrs. Sabina Liberson organized a broad comittee of public activists. The committee included people from all walks of life: Chairperson Sabina Liberson, Yisrael Schreier, Yitzchak Stern, Tzvi Yosman, Yehiel Lerner, Yakov Barad, Bichmecher, Michael Brekner and others.

In 1937, after great efforts, in which I also pariticpated., we were able to obtain a license to open a vocational sewing school, and the school in Ludmir started to flourish. Close to 80 girls studied in this school and a few of them are now in Israel. The school expenses also increased. It is necessary to mention here the dedication of Ludmir's public activist, Sabina Liberson, who organized dances, collected donations from the city's rich and didn't ignore an oportunity to help the school. Among the school's staff were also people from Ludmir. It is necessary to mention that the school's secretary Yisrael Spiegel, the sewing teachers Sonia Stern and Chana Reider were graduates of this school. Also, the music teacher, Leib Kliger who organized a choir and helped to organize the school plays which had great success in the city. The girls received not only vocational training but also general education.

The school and “ORT” company were closed in 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War (WWII), when the city passed into the hands of the Russians. The school's machinery and furniture were transferred to government workshops, and the girls were transferred to general schools.

As the school's principal, I want to mention the fact that the girls who studied at the school excelled in their work and in their studies. It is difficult to accept that this youth doesn't exist anymore.

 

vol192.jpg
ORT School in 1932

Sitting from right to left: Natan Stern ----- -----Yisrael Schreier, Yitzchak Bobis, Michael Brekner, Kilbord, Sendelstein ------------ Finkelstein
Standing in the first row: From the right: Yitzchak Stern - From the left: Spiegel

 

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