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[Page 267]

The last photo of the private school of Mr. Dubrow's school

[Page 269]

The Dubrow School in the 1930s

Teachers: 1. H. Feldman (died in Israel), 2. Hadassah Dubrow-Feldman (Israel), 3. Mina Dubrow (Israel), 4. Clara-Claudia, wife of Likonyuk (Tchubanov), 5. Teacher Gurayevsky, 6. Teacher Likonyuk, 7. Yisrael Toporovsky (died in Israel), 9. Hillel Dubrow (died in Israel)

[Page 272]

Article about the passing away
of the teacher Tziporah Feige Dubrov

Translated from the Yiddish by Asher Szmulewicz

Article about the passing away of the teacher Tziporah Feige Dubrov.

Article from the newspaper “Our Time” (Unzer Zeit) dated October 7th, 1923, in Yedinitz


Before Sukkot eve parted from our Shtetl with great respect and profound sorrow our finest and one of the prettiest Jewish women, Feige Dubrov (the wife of Hillel Dubrov, Zionist activist, and teacher), who died at thirty-two years old after a short disease. She was one of the few precious souls who combined in herself the highest qualities of humanity and Judaism.

She finished the Frebel Hebrew course in Warsaw and spend an amount of time doing pedagogic work, something she loved to do.

With her sudden death we lost the finest exemplary of a delicate and rich minded Jewish woman esteemed by her friends and acquaintances during her life, and whom we mourn now with a heavy sorrow for her young life and early death. May her soul be bound in the bundle of life.

Signed: Lamed Noon-Noon Tsofit (editor's note: these are initials of author; L. N—N in English)

[Page 274]

Senior leaders in Yedinitz in the first decade of the 20th century

The girl wearing the fur hat is Zippora Kaufman, who eventually became Dubrow's wife and the first kindergarten teacher in Yedinitz. She died there in 1923. (See previous page). The other two people are unknown. The style of the photo was typical in those days

[Page 275]

Exemplary Figure

by Eliyahu Naor-Bitchutsky

Translated from the Hebrew by Yossi Lerner

I first met the teacher Hillel Dubrov when I was a child of about thirteen years. Once I heard the voice of rejoicing and children's joy during a school break, it immediately became known to me, and to the other children in the neighborhood, that a new school was opened near us. There, the teacher sang and danced with his pupils. We children went as a group to the new school, and indeed we saw a strange but wonderful sight. A young teacher with his small pupils were in a circle. He danced and sang Hebrew songs with them. At that time, we also learned and even started to speak Hebrew in school, but it was the first time that we heard the melodies of Hebrew songs in public. These songs immediately entered into our young hearts.

If there was a motive for the Zionist youth groups that emerged in the town, if there was a spring from which drank all the youngsters of the pioneering-Zionist wing, we should thank the teacher Hillel Dubrov. He achieved teaching us not with propaganda, but with painstaking educational work. Not only at his school but also his home was a greenhouse for these young Zionist seedlings, which kept growing and evolving because of the vitality that they got at this “greenhouse.”

His pupils constituted most of the activists and operators of the youth groups that were established in town: “The Friend,” “The Hero,” “The Light,” etc. which later developed into branches of the national pioneering youth movements like “Hatchiya” and later “Gordonia”, “Dror”, etc. Many members of these youth movements later made Aliyah to Eretz Israel and joined the settlement movement there.

[Page 276]

I can see in my mind's eyes the teacher Dubrov when he appeared at youth circles during lectures and discussions. Every young boy or young girl saw his home as their own home, as a warm Zionist home, where the spirit and the heart were open for everyone.

His private home was an example of simplicity and modesty. You cannot ignore the fact that there were periods of difficult economic situation in the teacher's life and his family, but in any situation, he was loyal to his Zionist path, and he knew how to make any efforts so that his Zionist activity will not be affected.

Here is one example among others: In 1928 a delegation came to our town from the settlements in Eretz Israel as part of a fundraising campaign for the Eretz Israel Laborers movement (KAPI). The members of the delegation were Haim Shorer and Zeev Shefer (then, he was called Fineshtein). We gathered at the Tarbut building for a meeting and fundraising. I clearly remembered these dramatic moments when the teacher Dubrov had to donate his share, but because of his economic situation, he was unable to donate anything. We looked at him how he got up from his seat and took out from his pocket a cigarette silver case, and with tears in his eyes, and with holy trembling, he gave it to the members of the fundraising delegation as a donation to KAPI. It was a noble act that indeed served as an exemplar to the others.

We will always remember his pure figure that served as an example to us all. We hope that our daily life will fit in his way of life and the knowledge that we learned from him. May his soul be part of our life project in the state of Israel, something that we were lucky to see its revival, and to live there during his last years.

Part of a eulogy on the first remembrance day after the death of the teacher Hillel Dubrov, z”l

[Page 277]

The Teacher Baruch Yeshchikman

Yosef Magen-Shitz

Translated from the Hebrew by Yossi Lerner

The teacher Baruch Yeshchikman was for 21 years one of the central figures of the Hebrew education of the town's young generation. For most of these years, he worked at Talmud Torah school which was located at Shaarey Zion (gates of Zion) Synagogue. After that, the teachers Toporov, Hillel Dubrov, and others made Aliyah, the teacher Baruch Yeshchikman took most of the burden of the Hebrew and National education to the young generation.

Baruch Yeshchikman z”l was born in Vinkovitz, Ukraine. When he was still young, his family moved to the county town Proskurov. While studying at the Yeshiva, he learned by himself a general non-religious education. After WW I while Ukraine was the battlefield of the bloody civil war, and while the Jewish population in all Ukraine, and especially in Proskurov was wallowing in its blood, the Yeshchikman family moved to Bessarabia. In the beginning, the family lived in Lipikan, where the young genius started to teach Hebrew.

After his marriage Rivka Apelbaum, the daughter of the Rabi from Bericheva, the young family moved to Yedinitz, where he was invited, to serve as a teacher for the Hebrew subject studies at Talmud Torah school. Very famous teachers taught Hebrew at this school: The poet Eliezer Steinberg (for a short period), Hillel Dubrov, Toporov, and others. Yeshchikman served longer than all the other teachers in this school.

But Yeshchikman was not only a teacher. His soul was tied to the local youth, and he escorted all the youth's cultural activities outside the school. He guided and lectured at the youth movements halls. His home was the meeting point for the local drama circle, which he led and guided.

In 1938-1939 he worked in Chernowitz. During the first Soviet occupation, Yeshchikman moved to teach at the state school, where the teaching language was Yiddish.

Yeshchikman passed away suddenly while eulogizing a fellow teacher. He felt bad and lost his consciousness forever (on 1.1.1941, please see the article written by Frida Meital in this book). It was about half a year before the German invasion of Bessarabia, which involved so much blood for the Jewish people and Jewish community of Bessarabia and the town. He was about 50 years old when he died. His wife, the two daughters Lea and Pessia, and the son Moshe escaped to Russia and spent the years of the war at Novosibirsk. After the war, the family moved to Chernovitz.

[Page 278]

Only the daughter Lea made Aliyah to Israel (in 1974), and she lives with her husband Professor Cochva, from the University of Tel Aviv, and her two daughters in Holon, Israel. The wife Rivka passed away in 1970 in Chernovitz. Two of the brothers of Baruch and his sister with their families live in Israel.

It was known that the teacher Yeshchikman used to write touching songs in Hebrew and Yiddish, and he used to read them loudly on several occasions. His writings were lost during the horrible days of the war, but one rhyme was left engraved on his gravestone, at the Jewish cemetery in Yedinitz.

His gravestone survived the destruction and became a pilgrimage place for the local Jews and visitors. Many people quote this rhyme and even photograph the gravestone.

Here is the rhyme as was quoted by Eliyahu Rosenberg z”l, who also took the photo of the gravestone (translated from Yiddish to Hebrew):

When you have only a spark of hope in your heart
Don't give up my dear friend
Believe that tomorrow will come
And yesterday will be today

The gravestone of the teacher Baruch Yeshchikman

On the right – Eliyahu Rosenberg z”l; on the left – The shochet Rabi Yeshaaya Elkis (made Aliyah in 1972)

[Page 279]

Eliyahu Rosenberg z”l (on the circumstances of his death in Hanita, Israel you may read in a different article) added on the other side of the photograph of the gravestone (translated from Yiddish to Hebrew): “A hole dug below the gravestone by evil people, who desecrated the grave, looking for gold near the skull of youngsters' friend Baruch Yeshchikman z”l”

[Page 280]

Lea the daughter of Baruch wrote about the origin of the rhyme: These lines were written by my father to my mother in one of the letters that he sent from Chernovitz to Yedinitz.

The gravestone was erected right after his death during the first Soviet occupation.





Education and Health in 1920

These are two reports from Yedinitz that were published in the first daily newspaper in Bessarabia (Der Yid). In the report from 9.1.1920 the reporter writes that the public school (Talmud Torah) “was established on pure public foundations”, a team of supervisors was elected with the leadership of Dr. Zilberman, a “good teacher” was invited, and there are 120 pupils in the school, 70 of them study for free.

But, a year later (on 21.12.1920) another reporter (L. Shwartz) writes that the sanitary situation became worse and that the school Talmud Torah is at the lowest situation. The teacher H. Dubrov was fired since he dared to criticize the supervisors who were the “General Zionists” movement. Other teachers were invited, and they do not get their salaries. The reporter complained that the Zionist activities and fundraising are disturbed. This last report describes the conflicts between the public leaders of the town.

[Page 281]

The Researcher and Linguist Yisrael Toporovsky

By Yisrael Zamora

Translated from the Hebrew by Asher Szmulewicz

He went from one ancient book bookstore to the other in all major cities. He regularly corresponded with many international, ancient book dealers, inquiring, examining, and checking each source in order to get all the references of all editions of a book, solely to obtain the first and updated editions of a particular book. He was profoundly happy if he succeeded in fixing a typo, removing an error, and stating things logically. He was surprised and astonished to see, not only that he was ready to pay any price for an ancient book of a rare edition, but moreover, any price was not expensive in his eyes, and he felt the book was given to him as a present.

And not from his love and dedication to the ancient literature he earned for himself the knowledge of the Hebrew language, but with diligence, perseverance, and a lot of toil.

He read dozens of Hebrew books from the Middle Ages to find their influences on the modern authors, in order to discover the thought process of various types of modern writers and to learn the style and language of the poets, rhyming prosers, philosophers, and commentators, etc. From the strength of this love, he succeeded in becoming a scholar, and he understood and discovered as much as researchers and professional scientists.


“Yisrael Toporovsky - his biography”

Yisrael Toporovsky, the typical teacher, was active for almost fifteen years in Yedinitz, teaching Torah and the Hebrew language to the many scholars, researchers, and linguists who came to our town with the flow of refugees from Ukraine after the Russian revolution.

Yisrael Toporovsky was born in Tomashpol, Ukraine in April 1889. His grandfather was one of the leading Chasidim of the Rabbi of Telna, who sent his young grandson to the Rabbi's court where he spent a few years until his Bar Mitzvah. At age 16, he left his hometown and went to Kishinev in 1905. There, he finished his high school studies as an extern. While in Kishinev he taught Hebrew and was one of the first modern teachers to teach this language in this town.

In 1909, at age twenty, he moved to Kiev and became a member of its major Jewish Zionist center and a member of this modern Hebrew center. During this period, he was involved in the Hebrew writer circles and his close friend was the writer Yehudah Leib Levin. He also corresponded with Dr. Yosef Kloyzner, z”l, asking about the Hebrew language research and development.

After the revolution broke in Russia, he moved with his family to Bessarabia (Romania). He changed his family name from Toporover to Toporovsky (in Yedinitz he was nicknamed Toporov) and settled in Yedinitz. There he taught Hebrew, together with other Hebrew teachers in town, including his old friends Hillel Dobrov,

[Page 282]

Baruch Yashtshikman and others. They built generations of Hebrew-speaking and true Zionist students.

In the year 1933, he emigrated to Israel with his family and settled in Tel Aviv. During his first years in Israel, he made a living from the trade. Nevertheless, he continued to learn and research in the fields of the Hebrew language and grammar, the scriptures, Hebrew poetry, and philosophy of the Spanish period and the Middle Ages. He learned and earned to speak fluently Hebrew, which helped him in his research of the origins of the Hebrew language.

From 1942 on, he left the trade and dedicated himself entirely to research and learning. To make a living, he worked as a proofreader and punctuator. He worked for years at the publishing company “Machbarot lesifrut” (literature notebooks), on the editorial staff in the newspaper “Davar”, at the publishing company “Am Oved”, and the editorial staff of the monthly “Bamachaneh”. Furthermore, he worked on punctuating books for both old and new manuscripts. Also, he compared various sources of Sephardic poetry and literature of the Middle Ages. Among other writings, he published articles about the Islam culture.

He corresponded and was in touch with famous contemporary researchers, authors, and poets. His works received an extremely enthusiastic appreciation. He re-edited the Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato) scripts with a comparison of the sources, Kalonymus son of Kalonymus, Abraham ben Samuel Chasdai, Rabbi Yehudah Alharizi, Maimonides, and others. He punctuated the writings of Yehudah Halevy, Rabbeinu Bachaye, Bahya ibn Paquda, and others. He passed away on Shevat 17 Tashach (February 15, 1960) at age 71.

[Page 283]

His path was marked by learning science and the research from great university scholars.

He helped every compiler, every researcher, every editor, every Hebrew literature lover if asked for, and was ready, not to receive an award, to help to draft, to proofread, to lend books, and if not asked for, he suggested assisting, to advise, to remove typos and fix errors. Every effort was important to him, every toil was not a toil for him. Instead, it was a commandment, and he was very happy to perform his duty, to teach, to influence, and to prove.

Each time he was asked to compile and proofread short writings, he became young, fast and his studiousness was doubled, even tripled. He did not know any limit except that he had to publish a fully edited version of a poem, rhyming prose, an ancient book of Jewish thoughts, etc.

He also helped Chaim Nachman Bialik with his research work about Sephardic poetry and exchanged letters with him, and he was also a welcomed guest in Bialik's house.

He was a friend and humble adviser of all the contemporary Hebrew literature researchers and the ancient book editors who published new editions. His input, knowledge, and his name were seldom credited with a mention.

Tel Aviv


Teachers of the Talmud Torah

From right: Chanshe Ludmir-Fishman (Israel), Yisrael Toporovsky (deceased in Israel), Baruch Yashtshikman (deceased in Yedinitz), Moshe Kopit (New York), Adela Gokowsky

[Page 284]

Farewell picture of Tziporah Toporovsky before her Aliyah to Israel (1935)

From left to right standing: Mina Dobrov (Israel), Antshel Wolfenson Hy”d[1], Pika Milgrom-Kormansky (deceased in Israel), Nechama Lerner (South America), Chava Shpilberg Hy”d[1], Fradya Wolfenson Hy”d[1], Hillel Dobrov (deceased in Israel)
Sitting: Chaya Eisenberg, Yeva Bronshtein Hy”d[1], Sheva Kliger z”l, Tzipah Toporovsky (Tel Aviv), Tzeitel Pradis Hy”d[1], Henya Ludmir-Epelman z”l, Sarah Fried
Sitting below: Raze Goychberg-Hurwitz (Brasil), Henya Shteinwortz (deceased in Haifa), Ita Bronshtein (Menashe's wife) Hy”d[1], Leahke Shwartzman Hy”d[1]

Translator's footnote:

  1. Hy”d: G-d avenge his/her blood

[Page 285]

The Gymnasia - 10 year anniversary

Teacher: 1. Georgy Ivanovich Bakunsky (Physics) 2. Feodor Ivanovich Kasher (Superintendent) 3. Alexander Nikolayevich Vinogradov (Math) 4. Zalman Zisselman (Hebrew) 5. Solomon Davidovich Greenberg (Inspector, History) 6. ------- 7. Nina Grigorovna Feldman (Classical Drama) 8. ----- 9. Gregory Gregorovich Wilensky (Director) 10. Valentina Alexandrovna Wilensky (Clerk) 11. Father Spiney 12. Olga Ivanovna Tushinsky-Bahy (the “German”) 13. Alexander Ernestovich Bahy (the “Frenchman”) 14. Dr. Sobolevsky (Hygiene)
Students: (apparently includes both students and graduates):
1. Breina Parnes-Bordman (South America) 2. Vera Shatz 3. ----- 4. Ita Grobman (South America 5. Moshe Kupit (New York) 6. Sheindel Kuzminer-Eidelman 7. Sioma Bernstein 8. Izzia Bronstein 9. Sioma Tolfoler 10. Misha Feinbaum 11. Khazin 12. David Reider 13. Yitzchak Gertzman 14. Mina Parnes-Cohen (Tel Aviv) 15. Teibele Blank (Israel) 16. Hadassah Dubrow (Tel Aviv) 17. Kassel Fradiss 18. Manya Bronfman 19. Tsili Schwartz 20. Esther Lerner 21. Chaya Mayansky (Haifa) 22. Sonya Greenberg 23. Yitzchak Fuks (South America) 24. Esther Gandelman-Kaufman (Tel Aviv) 25. Fishel Malay (South America) 26. Manya Silberman-Malay (South America) 27. Mendel Rabin (Tel Aviv) 28. David Lerner 29. Sonya Gandelman-Sazhman (Tel Aviv) 30. (error 32) Manya Baron 31. Itele Bronstein-Gurvitz 32. ------- 33. Adella Gukovsky 34. Tsilia Goldstein-Rosenbaum 35. Rosa Goichberg-Gurvitz (South America) 36. Sioma Freilich 37. Dobele Jampolsky (South America) 38. Bella Kormansky 39. ------ 40. Peretz Kliger (Israel)


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