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Religion, Synagogues and Teachers

 

[Page 353 - Hebrew] [Page 357 - Yiddish]

The Great Synagogue

Document from 1878 about its conception

By Mordechai Reicher

Translated from the Hebrew by Yariv Timna

 

Yed0353.jpg
The only photograph of the great synagogue

The photo was taken in 1945 by some young men who had returned to town

From left to right: Yonah Shkolnik, who died in Israel; Yaakov Solomon; Moshe (son of Mechel Toker) Fundik, who died in Chernovitz in 1962; Hirsh Tendrich (the “red”) in Chernovitz.

Today the building is used as a workshop for agricultural machinery.

 

Up until today, I find it hard to understand why they placed the central and largest synagogue of town in the most desolated place, among the poor and wretched allies. How come it was decided that a central house like that, for all the town's residents, would be placed in that corner? Perhaps, in the old days, here was the town center?

Big was the house, high, and rising towards the sky and looking proudly over the lower buildings neighboring it: those walking in it are dwarfed. Its architectural plans are like the “temples” of the large cities.

[Page 354]

And so stood the high building proudly for many years. Stone walls were sturdy without plaster and the windows big, elongated and rounded up, vaulted dome ceiling embedded with colored glass, and when the sunlight fell on the glass, the lights were changing colors inside the house and over the people in it.

[Page 355]

The building itself was erected in the early 1880s, and the full details of its inception were described in “Hatzfira” (Warsaw) newspaper, 1st Kislev 5639, 14 November 1878 (By the old Russian count). Here it is, as it was written – in facsimile.

Hatzfira newspaper article:

Yedinitz, Hotin district, Bessarabia

On 3rd, Parashat “Lech”, Jews in our town were delighted. Whoever did not see such a joy, has never seen joy in his life. Our town has never had a synagogue, all we had were “batei midrash”, eight in all. And now, our good city members opened their hearts to build a great synagogue for glory, brought wood and stones for it, and brought Rabbi Tzvi Heshil Shalit” a rabbi from Mezhbizh, grandson of the holy Rabbi of Apta, who put the first cornerstone for the new house, and on second “Lech”, the gabbaim (collectors) walked around town declaring: Get ready for the house's inauguration!

The next day all the town's people, men, women and, children gathered to see the digging of the first ditches for the house's walls. The Rabbi and the dignitaries, followed by the others, walked seven times around the house to be built. After that, the Tzadik put the first chiseled stone at the North-East corner, and the house was based. Everyone cheered, people played and sang music, 2,700 Rubles were collected from people, apart from 24 seats on the eastern corner, which were sold for 120 Rubles each, amounting to 2,880 Rubles. Everyone was pleased and drank wine all day, thanking God for his blessing.

Signed: Azriel Adilman

[Page 356]

The house building took years to construct, with long pauses. The scaffolding in and out of the house was standing, while birds built their nests in the holes of the walls and ceiling, their tweeting mixed with the prayers.

Even so, the house was the center of the town, and all events, sad and happy ones, occurred there. The furniture was very plain. I often asked myself, where did they find these long benches along the walls, and the simple stands, which never saw a coat of color?

The town's people loved gathering there, to be together, imbued with togetherness feelings, and fear for the event. Even though there were set dates to gather, they looked forward to coming to the synagogue.

20 Tamuz. Late afternoon hours. Getting dark. Silence all around. The teachers Hillel Dobrov, Baruch Yashchikman, and the writer of these words, slowly climbing on the stairs before the Holy Ark, mentioned the noble presence of the great poet (Chaim Nachman Bialik, y.t.) They talked about his spiritual and rich legacy to our generation, and when parts of his songs “About Slaughtering”, “Town of Killing”, and “My Late Mother” were read, many were weeping with tears.

We went out. The house emptied. Silver moon and starry night above. People went home carrying with them some of the poet's spirit, which gave them the strength to carry on with life's hardships.

[Page 357]

As was told by Holocaust survivors, visiting the town after the war. The Soviets got a hold of the synagogue, turning it into an agriculture machinery factory, the largest of its kind in Northern Bessarabia.

 

[Page 363]

The Kinska Synagogue

By Mordechai Reicher

Translated from the Hebrew by Ala Gamulka

Every synagogue in town had its own particular congregation, the greater part of which belonged to a specific professional group and/or social class. For example, at the Sextons (Shamashim Kloiz) synagogue, the members were mostly butchers and leather merchants. At the Tailors (Schneider Kloiz) synagogue, the members were mainly tailors; at the Hosiatin synagogue, they were store owners, the rabbi, rabbinical court judge, and other scholars and intellectuals. At Shaarei Zion and Tarbut the members were progressives, followers of the Enlightenment and Zionists, and similarly for the rest.

The Kinska synagogue was located between the market on top of the hill, and beyond it was the tall Christian Church on the west and the Tailors Street to the north. It was an old building, built with mud bricks and straw. Its floor was wooden and had many depressions and cracks because of old age. On the walls and the ceiling, there were paintings of flowers, fruits, birds, and other fowl, the names of the 12 signs of the zodiac and the ten tribes. An artist drew them. Electric lamps hung from the ceiling and spread light in the middle of the building, especially on Shabbat and holidays.

A few stone steps led to an entrance hall in the building. Its walls were made of wood and had cracks and depressions in them. There was no ceiling, and it was an ideal location for birds' nests. The birds flew at leisure and visited the inside of the synagogue, and nothing stopped them.

The praying members came mainly from the low middle class. The minority were grocers and small businesspeople. All were honored with seats on the eastern wall, and each had his own specific place and lectern. The majority were craftsmen, tailors, carpenters, etc. They sat on long benches, with designated seats and compartments for storing their prayer articles.

On weekdays, ten to twenty men came for morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. On Shabbat, the synagogue was fuller. Noah Sandlar was the main gabbai. He was a tall Jew, nice looking, with a long red beard. He was a shoemaker, and he had a shoemaking workshop, one of the best in town. He, himself, did not work. Is this how his surname came to be? It is difficult to know. He was not a scholar, but he was intelligent and was known to be adept at handling matters with the authorities.

Suddenly appeared Shalom Parikmacher (Barber). He was the owner of a barbershop.

[Page 364]

Our theater actors obtained beards and wigs for plays from him. He was said not to be an opponent of liquor. He was rumored to have been involved in unsavory deals, and that is why he was close to the authorities. This Shalom was tall, skinny, and had a pronounced Adam's Apple in his long neck. When he spoke or prayed, his voice could be heard from one end of the synagogue to the other. He was comfortable in the synagogue and walked around like an owner. He fulfilled many tasks during prayer sessions. For many years, he used to stand near the open ark on the eve of Simchat Torah and assign honors during the Hakafot. In addition, he always ascended the tiny Bima on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in the center of the building, rapped on the table, and called out in a loud voice:

“Ladies,” adding names of the specific prayers such as “Le'El Orech Din” or “Nesane Tokef”

Immediately, the participants were fearful, and the women immediately began to cry…

The synagogue was fortunate to have an excellent cantor, one of the best in town. He was Levi Valevitch. Levi had a pleasant and sweet voice, full of emotion. On the High Holidays, when he chanted Hineni or “Do not forsake us in our old age” or Yizkor, many congregants had tears in their eyes.

These plain Jews were good people. They were dedicated and true to their congregation, to its problems, its poverty, and its needs. They were also loyal to the redemption of Eretz Israel and were always prepared to help. No wonder then, that on the eve of Yom Kippur, there were various “bowls” placed on long tables. There were collections for charity, for poor brides, the Talmud Torah school, the Jewish National Fund, Tarbut, etc. The congregants put their contributions into boxes and bowls. Some gave more than others according to their means. No one refused to give.

They loved to listen to the speeches of the emissaries of the Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod, or other organizations tied to Eretz Israel.

I recall that in those days, I was mostly away from home. It was well-known that I was knowledgeable about and connected to matters pertaining to Eretz Israel. When I came home during the holidays, I went to synagogue with my late father. I was always asked to relate news of Eretz Israel. I could never refuse.

It was during the 1929 clashes, and in the Diaspora, there was a special fundraising event for the Jewish National Fund under the name “The Galilee”.

[Page 365]

I came to the synagogue, and I was asked to speak. I went up on the tiny Bima. The prayers stopped. It was complete silence. I told them about the clashes, the victims in Jaffa, the settlements in distress, the redemption of the Galilee, and the founding of (Kibbutz) Hanita. I told them that among the founders of Hanita there were five members from our town. They were Yitzhak, son of Moshe Shteinburtz, the appointed rabbi, and Pinchas, Buma, and Rachel, children of Kalman Meidelman. One could feel the awe that enveloped the listeners, and one could feel their heartbeats.

Unfortunately, these good Jews did not feel that the Holocaust was approaching and that a terrible fate awaited them.

[Page 366]

May these lines serve as memorial candles to this poor congregation on their day of remembrance.

Where did the name Kinska originate?

It was said that once, in the place where the synagogue was located, there stood a horse stable that belonged to a wealthy man. The Jews bought the stable, razed it, and built a synagogue in its place. The word “Kini” in Ukrainian means horses, and that is why the synagogue was given the name Kinska, the synagogue of the horses, i.e., in the place where once there were horses.

 

[Page 365]

The Old Synagogue

by Moshe Furman

Translated from the Yiddish by Ala Gamulka

As far as I know, the first small synagogue in Yedinitz was the Old Synagogue. I heard it was founded after the 1850s, or even earlier.

The praying members belonged to all layers of society. The elder Gabbai in the synagogue, that I remember, was Alter Tchernolipker, z”l. He was strict, but a respectable man and a good person. He used to share the places and distribute the Torah honors and the Hakafot on Simchat Torah. He always recognized the importance and the standing of the people involved. No one remembers any dispute in the synagogue. The first cantor that I remember was named Shmuel-Yosef. He was a tenor. His son, Avraham Tzurlik, helped him on Yom Kippur during the Musaf.

The Great Synagogue was erected at the end of the 1870s. It was followed by the Stepaner synagogue, the Hosiatiner Synagogue, the Zalman's Synagogue, and the Tchortkover Synagogue. In 1906, the Zionists founded their Shaarei Zion synagogue together with a Talmud Torah.

After the death of Gabbai Alter, my grandfather, Mordechai-Nissan, z”l, became the Gabbai.

[Page 366]

He was followed by Avraham Harlap, z”l, and Zvi Grobman, z”l. In the last years before the war, the Gabbai was Yitzhak, son of Reuven-Yosef Schwartz.

After Shmuel-Yosef, the cantor in the synagogue was Moshe Oziser. His unique occupation was making honey. Other cantors in the synagogue were Baruch Saltzman and Moshe-Ber Hahamovitch. The latter's rendition of “Ledavid Mizmor” always drew the crowd.

The synagogue was financed by “bowl” donations on the eve of Yom Kippur. The Gabbai and some leaders stood by the bowl on that evening. At the end of Yom Kippur, they divided the money among the morning and afternoon cantors. They did not forget the Shofar blower and the sexton. The Shofar blower, all his life, was Yonah, the ritual slaughterer, z”l. The Torah reader, all his life, was Shmulikel Dayan. His son, Baruchel Dayan, assisted him in the readings. The Shofar blower then was Meir-Ber, son of Baruch-Zalman. The sexton was also Nahum-Zalman. He was followed by his son- Shmuel-Leib, z”l.

The Russians came into town in 1940 and changed the synagogue into a meat warehouse. They did the same with all our other synagogues, including the Great Synagogue as they usually did everywhere.

Holon

[Pages 367-368]

A Unique Document
About the Jews of Yedinitz (1913)

by Moshe Furman

Translated from the Yiddish by Ala Gamulka

We bring to you here a copy of a special document about the Jewish community of Yedinitz. The document was found in the bequest of Baruch Blank, z”l. (He made Aliyah in 1931 and died in Tel Aviv in 1945). It was given to us by Dr. Elimelech Blank, son of Baruch Blank. The name of the document is: “Donations made on the eve of Yom Kippur 1913 for the purchase of lands in Eretz Israel”. The document had been published in a brochure of a Zionist Center (probably Jewish National Fund) in Odessa. These donations were collected in the “bowls” placed in various synagogues on the eve of Yom Kippur in all the settlements of southern Tsarist Russia: Kherson, Bessarabia, and Tovaria. The document contains the names of most of the donors according to the synagogues where the “bowls” had been placed.

Afterward, we were left with a list of close to 360 heads of families who attended synagogues in Yedinitz. The list contains names of well-known members of the Jewish community and its leaders. Unfortunately, those who gave the report cut the list by listing “Small donations” and “Various donations” without including the names.

In total, 131.51 rubles were donated then in Yedinitz. (At that time, Baruch Blank oversaw the Jewish National Fund). The amount collected was quite respectable. It was larger than the one collected in larger towns.

[Page 369]

An interesting fact: in Shaarei Zion, the donations were also collected in the women's section; in the Yaakov Lerner Minyan, near one of the bowls, Sarah (wife of Baruch Blank) sat, probably in the women's section.

Many names were misspelled, e.g., A.L. Yamelnitser (Yogolnitser, teacher, and poet), Varman (Weisman), Veisminer synagogue (Hosiatiner), etc.

The synagogues in the accounting can be found in the list of synagogues in Yedinitz (in Yiddish).

 

Yedinitz

Yaakov Lerner Synagogue

Collected by Baruch Blank

Rubles Kopecs
Yaakov Lerner 1
Baruch Lerner 1
Leibush Lerner 1
Avraham Lerner 1
Baruch Blank 1
Nuta Morgenstern 1
I.Sh. Rozentalier 50
Leib Fichman 50
Zeev Soninshtein 25
A. Tsonastrovsky 50
Alter Roitman 25
Small donations 25
Total 8 25
 
Old Synagogue

Collected by A. Levitas

Rubles Kopecs
Meir Boim 50
Zvi Zilberman 50
Zvi Fichman 20
Avraham Levits 23
Israel Fichman 20
Avraham Levitis 20
Yechiel Kleinman 20
Pinchas Foks 20
Yosef Finebaum 20
Yaakov Rabin 20
Meir Finebaum 20
Meir Helfand 20
A. Gandilman 20
Small donations 2 27
Total 5 50
 
Collected by Pinchas Heilperin
Rubles Kopecs
Pinchas Halperin 20
Shlomo Halperin 20
A. Halperin 20
Shabtai Rotman 20
Aharon Vineshenker 20
Yosef Ginsberg 20
Nuta Shor 20
Lippe Shor 20
Betzalel Grinshpan 20
Israel Elkir 20
Yosef Fishman 20
Yaakov Roizinblat 20
Pinchas Roizinblat 20
Dov Berl Rabin 20
Yosef Shpeyer 20
Berel Rabinovitch 20
Shlomo Vetmir 20
Motel Kertzman 20
Yosef Rabinovitch 20
Zeev Kalibalsky 20
Total 4 0
 
In Shaarei Zion Synagogue

Collected by Ben Zion Veiman

Rubles Kopecs
Ben Zion Veiman 50
Aharon Denman 50
Shmuel Pradis 50
Yitzhak Zelman 20
Kh. I. Boimelshteyn 50
Yitzhak Melvzon 20
Yaakov Kirshner 20
Moshe Trachtenberg 30
Simcha Garber 20
Yitzhak Shadirman 20
A. Rabinovitch 20
I.L. Shuster 30
Aharon Weitzman 30
Israel Grabard 25
Yosef Kamenetzky 20
Meir Heidelman 30
Avraham Lerner 20
Pinchas Shatz 20
A. Freilich 50
Moshe Rosenthal 30
Zalman Gelman 40
Haim Weintraub 30
Lipa Felberg 40
Israel Kargman 50
Nahum Hochman 30
Yeshayahu Rosenberg 30
Moshe Weksler 20
Yechiel Nemitshinitser 50
Yosef Koifman 30
Dov Rosenfeld 20
Meir Blank 20
Yitzhak Hoichman 20
A.L. Yamelnitser 20
David Koifman 30
Haim Rabinovitch 30
Yechiel Shochat 20
Feibish Lerner 50
Yosef Zanis 30
Yosef Yitzhak 20
Shmuel Forman 30
Asher Koifman 25
Shmuel Vineshenker 20
Shimon Shor 50
Yeshayahu Meilfaler 40
Sendel Teitelman 20
Tn. Feivel Vareta 50
Moshe Gicherman 50
Small donation 25
Total 14 95
 
In the synagogue of Zalman Bronshteyn

Collected by I.Ts. Feldman and V. Zingman

Rubles Kopecs
Zalman Bronshteyn 20
Yaakov Zvi Feldman 20
Veide Zingman 20
Yoel Liverman 20
Israel Shor 20
Yosef Fishman 25
Baruch Schneiderman 20
Leibush Rothstein 20
Israel Kuperman 20
Shlomo Heller 20
Melech Finebaum 20
Yehuda L. Akerman 20
Shmuel Bronshteyn 30
Haim Ekshteyn 20
Moti Bronshteyn 20
L. Randishansky 20
Avraham Roitman 30
Moshe Shkolnik 25
Shlomo Feldboim 20
Dov Koifman 20
Moshe Foks 20
Avraham Bronshteyn 50
Yosef Edelman 20
David Finkel 20
Avraham Libman 20
Hune Rosenthal 20
Yaakov Forman 20
Shmuel Schechter 20
Yosef Harriman 20
Zvi Vartikovsky 20
Zvi Branishter 20
Zvi Cohen 20
Meir Rosenberg 20
Shmuel Reder 20
Yosef Shteinman 20
A. Arenvitsik 20
Shmuel Groman 20
M. Lamatchinsky 20
Moshe Eidelman 20
Israel Akerman 20
Zeev Povitchevitch\ 20
Yehoshua Pinkovsky 20
Yehuda Leib Sagalnik 20
Nissan Kolker 20
Haim Schechtman 20
Zvi Koifman 20
Shmuel Weismann 20
Michel Glezman 20
Natan Parnas 20
Yeshayahu Teiberg 20
Small donations 1
Total 11 37
 
In the Roshkov synagogue

Collected by Eliezer Hasid

Rubles Kopecs
Eliezer Hasid 20
Shlomo, son of Nahum 20
Shmuel Buxbaum 20
Haim Feldman 20
Mordechai Rosenberg 20
Zvi Bekerman 20
Israel Shteinin 20
Leib Palavnik 25
Mendel Dorf 20
Leib Schwartzman 20
Feivel Katshir 20
Zvi Rosenblit 20
Small donations 2 55
Total 5 0
 
In the Veisminer synagogue

Collected by Yitzhak Rosenthal and Shlomo Kligman

Rubles Kopecs
Yitzhak Rosenthal 50
Shlomo Kligman 50
Shalom Weisman 20
A. Wolfensohn 20
Tsalik Nimirman 20
Yehuda Shapiro 20
M. Weintraub 20
Meir Goldinov 20
Yosef Gechman 20
Noah Leiderman 20
Zvi Weinstein 20
David Bimsheisky 20
Yeh. A. Snitkovsky 20
Yosef Shteif 20
At. B. Vilenky 20
Azriel Hapirman 20
Israel Weintraub 20
Moshe Shkolnik 20
A. Leivitch 20
Shoel Harmein 20
Shabtai Veinevitch 20
Aharon Rabeich 20
B. Weinstein 20
Moshe Axelrod 20
Moshe Shits 20
Avraham Schwartzman 20
Moshe Bitsheisky 20
Yaakov Kuperschmid 20
Moshe Vineshenker 20
Yitzhak Livisuk 20
Meir Volevitch 20
Yeshaya Bernstein 70
Moshe Heindelman 20
Pinhas Bronshteyn 21
Moshe Rabinovitch 20
Machel Havisovitch 20
Zeev Schwartzman 20
Haim Vineshenker 20
Naftali Rotershteyn 20
Small donations 1 84
Total 10 45
 
In the Great Synagogue

Collected by Nahum Hahamovitch and Moshe Meir Sakalenir?

Rubles Kopecs
Moshe Meir Sakalenir 25
Meir Shimon Feldman 30
Shmuel Fishman 20
Koppel Feldman 20
Moshe Lerner 20
Yekhezkel Kovirman 20
Moshe Kerik 20
Machel Ritter 20
A.Ts. Koifman 20
Moshe Roitbard 20
Gedaliah Fishman 20
Avraham Fishman 20
Moshe Melir 20
Shmuel Shmulevitch 20
Avraham Sagalnik 20
Yosef Fishman 20
Hanina Shindir 20
Moshe Stelmich 20
Yaakov Schechter 20
Haim Grossman 30
Gershon Vitsir 20
Avraham Babir 20
Small Donations 20
Total 4 85
 
Synagogue near the Great Synagogue
Rubles Kopecs
Zvi Rosenberg 20
Hannah (Hune) Lerner 20
Sh. Ts. Sapir 20
Tuvia Fichman 20
Yaakov Kleinman 60
Small Donations 20
Total 1 60
 
In Sidig shul

Collected by Yitzhak Boim

Rubles Kopecs
V. Milgram 20
Al. Brein 20
Shmuel Kramansky 25
I. Boim 44
Small Donations 1 56
Total 2 65
 
In the Skladny (market) synagogue

Collected by Asher Sheinberg

Rubles Kopecs
Yaakov B. Schwartz 20
Shaul Steinberg 20
Michel Steinberg 20
Asher Steinberg 20
Shimshon Koifman 20
Zusi Gleizman 20
Eliezer Gatman 20
Yoel Gatman 20
Berel Rosenberg 20
Yosef Karen 20
Yosef Shtarkenberg 20
Ben Zion Weintraub 20
Motel Schwartzman 20
Haim Shkolnik 20
Yaakov Schechtman 20
Yosef Schwartz 20
N. Rosenthal 20
Zvi Bronshteyn 20
Yekhezkel Tatar 20
Aharon Zvi Valchman 20
N.Z. Klarman 20
Pinhas Litwin 20
Moshe Koifman 20
Mordechai Rosenberg 20
Mani Gapman 20
Meir Shrentsus 25
Yaakov Abramovitch 20
Eliyahu Segal 20
Noah Shternberg 20
Yitzhak Schwartzman 20
Yosef Goldenshteyn 20
Small donations 75
Total 7 00
 
In the House of Prayer of Shmuel Loibman

Collected by Yeshaya Plotnick and Yeshaya Kleinman

Rubles Kopecs
Yeshaya Plotnick 50
Moshe Brafman 20
Yeshaya Kleinman 20
Shmuel Loibman 1 0
Shalom Zaidman 20
Yitzhak Wolfensohn 20
David Goridetsky 20
Zvi Elbrach 20
Aharon Promislow 50
Yitzhak Feldman 20
Meir Winerober 20
Koppel Shteinik 20
Shmuel Millman 25
Yeshayahu Shternberg 20
Yitzhak Nokovsky 20
Getsi Postilnik 20
Yitzhak Mayansky 20
Small Donations 1 10
Total 5 95
 
From Ner Mitzvah synagogue

Collected by Isr. Steinberg and Mordechai Genir

Rubles Kopecs
Meir Gitelman 20
Dov Vovolki 20
David Sherman 20
Mani Genir 20
Shmuel Millman 20
Leib Barshefsky 20
Moshe Roitman 20
Avraham Handler 20
A. Yosef Kisilevitch 20
M. Yoel Frohman 20
Noah Sandlar 20
M. Schneiderman 20
Sh. Millman 20
Pessach Rapaport 20
L. Magalnik 20
Yehoshua Frenkel 20
I. Kofman 20
Zvi Harin 20
Koppel Millman 20
Aharon Koifman 20
David Landman 20
Pinchas Grossman 20
Gershon Handelman 20
Isr. A. Broitman 20
Isr. Steinberg 20
Small Donations 2 01
Total 7 01
 
The Stepanester synagogue

Collected by Isr. Rosenthal

Rubles Kopecs
Avraham Rosenthal 20
Zvi Zaidman 30
Israel Rosenthal 30
Eliyahu Castleman 20
Yaakov Helfant 20
Yaakov Roitman 25
Simcha Roitman 20
M.V. Grinstein 25
Naftali Shochat 20
Asher Rosenberg 20
Nahum Chachamovitch 20
Naftali Livak 20
Shlomo Gutman 20
Mendel Livak 20
Mordechai Castleman 20
Hune Castleman 20
Shlomo Rosenthal 20
Yekhezkel Birman 20
Leib Heltser 20
I. Rabinovitch 20
I. Feldman 20
Aharon Zamora 20
Yosef Hertzman 20
M.D. Steinberg 20
Shmuel Shpeyer 20
Ben Zion Schechtman 20
Isr. Feferholtz 20
David Gershinzon 20
Small Donations 1 35
Total 7 25
 
From the Sextons synagogue

Collected by Mordechai Sheindelman and Mordechai Leichtermacher

Rubles Kopecs
Mordechai Sheindelman 30
Shmuel Sheindelman 20
Yaakov Ts. Sheindelman 20
Yosef Friedman 20
Yaakov Arbitman 20
Meir Fishman 20
Simcha Fishman 20
Zacharia Katz 20
Yankel Broitman 20
Michel Friedman 20
Mordechai Gitman 20
A.M. Friedman 20
Yosef Moshe Simis 20
Sh.M. Shkolnik 20
Yechiel Broitman 20
Moti Simis 20
Wolf Haim Broitman 20
Feivel Simis 20
Efraim Akselhorn 20
Moti Grinberg 20
Meir Millman 20
Yaakov Shkolnik 20
Gershon Brickman 20
Avraham Zitser 20
Zvi Dobis 20
Shimon Blank 20
Yosef Horovitz 20
Meir Popovsky 20
Pinhas Goldenshteyn 20
Yaakov Wasserman 20
Sh.A. Doris 20
Avraham Akerman 20
Yaakov Malir 20
David Grauman 20
Nissan Weinberg 20
Pessach Kofman 20
Elchanan Akerman 20
David Schechter 20
Shmuel Bekerman 20
Small donations 2 12
Total 10 02
 
From the Tchortkover Hassidim synagogue

Collected by A. Abba Grauman

Rubles Kopecs
Various donations 5 20
 
From the Patishtove synagogue

Collected by Leib Gochberg

Rubles Kopecs
Various donations 3 50
 
From the Tailors synagogue

Collected by Leib Sapir

Rubles Kopecs
Various donations 3 00
 
From Pat Lechem House of Prayer

Collected by Alter Roizman and Zeev Tchernostravsky

Rubles Kopecs
Various donations 2 06
 
From the Nissan Varman Minyan

Collected by A. Axelrod

Rubles Kopecs
Various donations 2 00
 
In Shmuelikel’s House of Prayer

Collected by Yosef Zweik

Rubles Kopecs
Various donations 30
 
In the minyan of Dondivshony village

Collected by Aharon the ritual Slaughterer

Rubles Kopecs
Various donations 1 50
 
From Shaarei Zion House of Prayer (Zvi Kremer)
Rubles Kopecs
Small Donations 1 20
 
From the Nissan Bronshteyn House of Worship

Collected by Zvi Kremer

Rubles Kopecs
Small donations 5 50
 
From the Yaakov Lerner Minyan

Collected by Shaya Blank

Rubles Kopecs
Various donations 1 50

[Page 369]

Report On Contributions from Yom Kippur Eve 1913

We are presenting here a photocopy of a unique document of information about the Jews of Yedinitz in 1913.

[Translation above]

Yed0369.jpgYed0367.jpg
Accounting of funds collected on the eve of Yom Kippur 1913. Donations towards the purchase of lands in Eretz Israel and for supporting Jews working the land and craftsmen in the Holy Land.

List of donors from Kherson, Bessarabia, Tovaria

[Page 371]

Cantors in and from Yedinitz

by Moshe Furman

Translated from the Yiddish by Ala Gamulka

Yeshayahu Vinitsky, in his survey Cantorial Art in Bessarabia (in the book “The Jews of Bessarabia” from the series “Encyclopedia of the Diaspora”, Jerusalem, 1971), presents an entire group of cantors born in Yedinitz or those who served there and who became famous out of town.

*Yosef Shternberg (Yossele from Karpatch), born in Karpatch in 1884. He was a student of Piny Minkovsky, from Odessa, and was a cantor in Yedinitz for a long time. He has been in America since 1923. The writer Moshe Altman (from Lipcany) describes him in his novel.

* Nissan Weisman He was the son of Yosef-Zeev Weisman (nicknamed the old whistler) from Hotin. Father and son were wealthy on their own, and music was their hobby. They did not earn their living from it. Nissan Weisman used his house for cantorial concerts, which were well known.

* Avraham-Leib Weisman He was also a ritual slaughterer. He was famous as a prayer leader in Yedinitz at the beginning of the previous century.

* Yaakov-Yosef Gershteyn (1874-1942). He was the son of Yonah Shoichet (ritual slaughterer) from Yedinitz. After Yonah's death, he moved to Yedinitz. He was a cantor and a ritual slaughterer there and was murdered in Transnistria.

* Baruch-Zeev Zaltsman (1866-1939). He was nicknamed Baruch, belonging to Velvel Getzel.

[Page 372]

Born in Yedinitz, he was a famous leader of the Musaf prayers in the Old Synagogue, where Yonah Shoichet did the morning prayers. He died in Yedinitz.

* Reuven Weisman (1877-1917). He was a grandson of the ritual slaughterer Avraham-Leib Weisman. He was the cantor at the Stepanester Synagogue and died during the plague of 1917 (probably the “cufflinks”).

* Dov Einis, nicknamed Berele, the ritual slaughterer. His father was well known as a cantor in Kamenetz-Podolsk. He was also a ritual slaughterer in Yedinitz.

* Efraim, son of Dov He was nicknamed “Froike the pleasant singer”. In Yedinitz he was a poet, a concert singer, and a teacher of singing. His family immigrated to America, and Froike became a well-known cantor there.

* Shlomo Akerman He was born in 1902 in Yedinitz and became an outstanding cantor at the age of 13. He immigrated to America as a young boy and there he studied music and cantorial chanting. He became a famous cantor.

* * *

This is an opportunity to mention a young man from our town, Naftali (Tuli) Lenkovsky. He made Aliyah from Russia in 1971. Tuli survived Transnistria and studied music in the Red Army. He then studied in the Moscow Yeshiva. He became a well-known cantor. He led services in Leningrad and spent some years in Georgia. He came to Israel from there. Recently, he was hired for two years as the cantor in the American city of Columbus, Ohio.

 

[Page 373]

Synagogues in Yedinitz

by Yosef Magen-Shitz

Translated from Yiddish by Ala Gamulka

According to town lore, the first synagogue in Yedinitz was the Old Synagogue (see the article by M. Furman). The most important synagogue was “The Shul” or “The Great Synagogue”, as it was so called in Hebrew, our sacred language. It was founded in 1878 (see the article by M. Reicher and the report by Azriel Eidelman in “Hatsfira”).

According to the report by Azriel Eidelman in “Hatsfira” (1878), there were at that time eight houses of worship. He refers to them as Houses of Learning and synagogues, which add up to eight.

A second testimonial about the synagogues of Yedinitz is given to us by a document from 1913,[a] which was found in the private archive of the veteran businessman from Yedinitz, Baruch Blank, z”l. (He made Aliyah in 1932 and died in Tel Aviv in 1945). It was given to us by his son, Dr. Elimelech Blank. It was the “Report on Contributions from Yom Kippur Eve 1913… for purchasing land in Eretz Israel.” This report was published by the Odessa Zionist Center. It contains the lists of the donors from every town, by synagogue. Bowls were placed for the purpose of collecting funds for the purchase of land in Eretz Israel. We received a list of all the synagogues in Yedinitz in 1913. There were 20 in all.

  1. Lerner House of Worship The synagogue was located near that of Shmuel Loibman. After the death of Yaakov Lerner, the synagogue no longer existed.
  2. The Old Synagogue It was located in between the other synagogues.
  3. Shaarei Zion Synagogue It was located near the post office and was called the Zionist Synagogue. The Talmud Torah was in the same building.
  4. Zalman Bronshteyn's House of Worship It was called Zalman's synagogue.
  5. Roshkov House of Worship It was called the Roshkover Synagogue or the Volost Synagogue. It was situated near the house of Naftali Kormansky.
  6. The Veistiner Synagogue This is an error. It should be the Hosiatiner synagogue. Some Jews called it the Satanic synagogue.

[Page 374]

  1. The Great Synagogue. Also “the shul”. (See article by M. Reicher)
  2. The Synagogue near the Great Synagogue. Also called the “pocket little shul”.
  3. Sidig Synagogue. Meant to be the Sadigura Synagogue.
  4. Skladny (marketplace) Synagogue. It was located among the stalls inside the marketplace.
  5. Shmuel Loibman's House of Worship. The most beautiful synagogue in Yedinitz. (See article by P. Man, Rabbi Burshteyn)
  6. Ner Mitzvah Synagogue. It was the official name of the Kinska Synagogue. (See article by M. Reicher)
  7. Stepanester House of Worship. It was located among the synagogues.
  8. The Sextons Synagogue. It was used by the Chevra Kadisha.
  9. The Synagogue of the Hassidim of Tchertkov. It was the Tchertkover synagogue.
  10. The Post Office Synagogue. Probably just a Minyan.
  11. The Tailors Synagogue. It was situated on Tailors Street.
  12. Pat Lechem Synagogue.
  13. Minyan of Nissan Varman. It should be Niessl Weisman.
  14. Shmuelikel's House of Worship.

Missing from the list is the Vayaner Synagogue.

Haim Horovitz indicates that the Vayaner Synagogue was founded after 1913 by Jews who had formerly prayed in the Old Synagogue. This is also shown in the “List of Pledges.” There were two collection bowls in the Old Synagogue.

* * *

It is recalled that eventually there was also a Minyan in the Tarbut Library. It was only used on Shabbat and Holy days.

 

Original footnote:

  1. Look up a few pages earlier. Return

 

[Page 375]

The Gaon R' Yechiel Michel Burstein, z”l

by Mordechai Reicher

Translated from the Hebrew by Naomi Gal

Yed0375.jpg
Rabbi Yechiel Michel Burstein z”l

 

When R' Shmuel, nicknamed R' Shmilkel, passed away and his son R' Brouchel inherited his place, the village leaders debated: should they let R' Brouchel despite his young age continue his late father's legacy and serve as a Rabbi and Dayan, or, since the village grew bigger and more prominent with time and there were more multifaceted problems, maybe it would be better to bring to the village a new Rabbi and Dayan who would be more suitable to its new size.

The argument between both sides, to bring or not to bring a new rabbi to the village, was not an easy nor comfortable one and became sometimes quite volatile. Finally, those who wanted a new Rabbi won and by the majority vote for becoming one of the messengers from the village as representatives to travel to Falesti, Bessarabia, to invite the Rabbi Gaon Yechiel Michel Burstein and his wife to his new nomination in Yedinitz in the summer of 1920, was Avraham Weissman.

Haim Horovitz tells this interesting detail, heard from people who knew about the discussion between the two opposing sides, for and against a new Rabbi, that one of the fierce opponents to the new Rabbi was R' Yaakov Kozlover (Darf). R' Yaakov was a respectful, patriarchal-looking Jew, with a long white beard, always dressed to the nines, befitting to a yeshiva scholar. And indeed, he was educated and brilliant; he was also strict hence he did not hesitate to disqualify the skills of the new intended Rabbi.

While the argument lasted, the village was chaotic. Friends turned to be a nemesis. Neighbors who were living amicably all their lives quarreled. In the synagogues, they argued for and against until midnight. The artisans and the butchers shook their fists and announced that they would boycott the new rabbi and would not acknowledge him.

[Page 376]

When the rabbi finally arrived, he went on his first Saturday to pray in the synagogue of the Husiatyn Hassidic Dynasty and, of course, all the village's “who and who” were among the congregating. R' Yaakov Darf was present, too. The rabbi climbed the podium and preached about current affairs. R' Yaakov listened carefully, all stressed out, and when the speech was over, he got up and said only one word: “AHHH!” and left the synagogue. This one and only syllable coming from R' Yaakov's mouth was enough to disqualify the new rabbi. And although the rabbi got his tenure, people still spoke about this syllable for many years. Despite his serving as the rabbi, Yaakov Darf never accepted him and stayed loyal to R' Brouchel, who inherited the qualities and qualifications of his righteous father.

The legacy of R' Shmulikel the Dayan was divided between the two: R' Yechiel Michel would serve as a rabbi and the presiding chief dayan for the Yedinitz community and its surroundings, while R' Brouchel the Dayan would inherit his father's officiation.

The pedigree of the new rabbi was quite impressive. He was a descendant of a rabbinical family as was his wife, who granted more respect and security to his elevated position.

Rabbi Burstein was born in 1872. On his father's side, he was the grandson of the late righteous Gaon Rabbi Yosef, and on his mother's side, he was the grandson of the late Gaon Leibush from Stanislav, the uncle of Meir Margaliot, who wrote “Meir Netivim”.

[Page 377]

He got his teaching certificate from Rabbi Alter from Old Constantin and many other distinguished rabbis. In 1895, he was nominated as the Rabbi of Falesti. His wife was the granddaughter of the late Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid from Mezeritch, and the family of Rabbi Nahum from Chernobyl.[a]

The rabbi's appearance was impressive, befitted to a man carrying the Torah crown. He was wise, had good common sense, was upright, and good-looking. He showed a lot of wisdom in arbitration and money matters and hence, was very popular amid his community and in the near and far surroundings.

His house on the village main street, the Post Street, was wide open to whoever needed God's word or the rabbi's help. Non-Jews would seek his advice, too, since he was known as a wise and personable man.

He set his place in the synagogue, not a simple feat for a rabbi, among the Husiatyn and Chortkov, where he belonged, as well.

He was best at teaching and was an expert on divorce Halachic law. To this fact, the Gaon from Brejin testified in his book “Questions and Answers”. Rabbi Burstein himself left a book titled “The Shiloh Water” about divorce Halacha.

He excelled also in speaking. He had a witty and captivating scholarly language. No wonder that when it was announced that the rabbi was going to give a speech about actual events at the synagogue, something he did not do often, many flocked to hear his words, and between them, were many not synagogue regulars including some who were even non-religious.

Rabbi Michel Burstein had an only son, Rabbi Dov, a brilliant Torah scholar who was the Chief Rabbi of Boto?ani in Romania. He used to often visit his parents and his visits became a special event among the village inhabitants, especially amid the Torah scholars and the learned.

 

Yed0377.jpg
Rabbi Michel Burstein z”l, at the head of the delegation, welcoming the rebbe on his visit to Yedinitz. This was apparently the Vizhnitz rebbe, who would stay in the home of R. Akiva Fradess.

[Page 378]

About these visits, Rabbi Dov Burstein wrote himself:

I used to visit my father's home once a year. Sometimes I visited it twice a year, be it during Holydays or for family affairs. My father's home was an open one for many who addressed him in different matters. I used to accompany him often to the synagogue where he prayed, amid Torah learners and scholars. I had a feeling, that I am at a place where many Yeshiva students, Hassidic Jews, book lovers, and public activists, which did their job wholeheartedly. He used to pray in two synagogues: in the Husiatyn and the Chortkov, but the one he preferred for some reason was the Husiatyn one, hence, I got to know some of the people praying there, and I remember our meetings to this day despite the dozens of years that had passed.[b]

Rabbi Michel's wife was devoted to public affairs and was very active in the “Dressing the Naked” establishment that provided clothes to the village poor.

The son was famous as a Torah expert and was also immersed in modern science. He published several important papers about wisdom and morals while he was still in Romania when there were discussions about the Jewish ways of slaughter and the attempts to negate them. He wrote a book in Romanian about kosher slaughter. In the publication “The Arbiters Treasure” published in America, he wrote articles about fingerprints that help to release Agunah, articles that were novelties in the world of Torah and science. Nowadays, he still publishes articles in religious newspapers in Israel and America.

Rabbi Dov Burstein Jr. served twenty-nine years as the Rabbi and Dayan in Boto?ani and since 1950 he lives in Israel. For the last fourteen years, he serves as the regional Rabbi and Dayan in the Chief Rabbinate in Tel Aviv.[c]

Rabbi Michel Burstein, the father, was doomed to pass the forty-first years of the Regime change in Yedinitz. As was told, he died in 1940, and according to the same source, many attended his funeral. (See next page) [Page 379]

Yed0379.jpg
The gravestone of Rabbi Michel Burstein z”l. The grave was discovered, and the stone was repaired by R. Yeshayahu Elkis, the ritual slaughterer.

 

Original footnotes:

  1. These details are taken from the book “Ohalai Shem, the Histories and Lineage of the Rabbis and the Generation's Greatest from all the Jewish Diaspora” by Shmuel Noah, the late Dover, Gottlieb, Pinsk 1911. M.R. Return
  2. About these meetings see Rabbi Dov Burstein's writings. Return
  3. While writing this article M. Reicher and Rabbi Dov and Yechiel-Michel Burstein were still alive. Return
[Page 380]

The Rabbinical Judge R. Shmuel

by Ephraim Schwartzman

Translated from Hebrew by Naomi Gal

The rabbinical judge Rabbi Shmuel, z”l, inherited his chair from his father, the Dayan R' Moshe Baer. R' Shmuel died when he was 70 years old and left an honorary legacy. His nickname was “Shmulikel the Dayan”.

I can still recall the funeral of R' Shmuel, the Dayan. As a sign of mourning, all work stopped in town; the shops were closed and the young students were released from school classes so that they could take part in the funeral.

My father, the late Rabbi Yaakov, and the judge's grandchildren had already detailed his story and his outstanding qualities. Here is what was said about the judge's attitude toward arbitrary fees. The debating sides paid as much as they could, but he never allowed one side to pay more than the other.

He was poor himself and broke all his life. Still, from his meager income, he would donate, especially on Shabbat eve and on Holydays, to the village needy. When he heard impoverished parents could not pay the salaries of a Melamed, and that their children may, God Forbid, be deprived of Torah, R' Shmulikel summoned all the town wealthy citizens to his house and forced them to establish a “Talmud Torah” and to sustain it with donations. And indeed, the rich inhabitants accepted his demand. And it happened often that he paid from his skimpy pocket the Talmud Torah teachers' salaries when they complained that they were not paid for many months.

Although he lived a dire life, he never complained to anyone. His youngest son, R' Brouchel, received his rabbinical ordination in one of Poland's Yeshivas. When he inherited his father's rabbinical judge chair, he followed his righteous father's footsteps. He perished in the Holocaust, z”l.

Jerusalem

Yed0380.jpg
The gravestone on the graves of the rabbinical judges

On right: R' Shmuel, son of R. Moshe-Dov Chachamovitz, z”l (died on February 5, 1920)
On left: R' Moshe-Dov, son of R. Zvi, z”l (died on January 16, 1871). The gravestone was discovered and repaired by R. Yeshayahu Elkis (in the photo)

 

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