by B. Tzverdling
Translated by Moshe Kutten
Dr. Yosef Shatkai (Shweig) was born in Ternopil. His parents moved from there to Zloczow, where he studied in high school and received his matriculation certificate. He was one of the founders of the monthly magazine Snunit [Swallow in Hebrew], published in Lviv. He was an enthusiastic Zionist from his youth. When he studied in college in Vianna, he became a member of the Zionist association Kadima [Forward]. During his work as an optometrist in Lodz (Poland), he held various positions in Zionist organizations. He first visited Eretz Israel in 1914. He visited Eretz Israel every year since then and sometimes twice a year, and n 1942, he made Aliya to Eretz Israel. He continued his activities in the medical fields, education, and Zionist publicity more vigorously and with more dedication. He was a member of Kupat Kholim's [health maintenance organization of the labor union] steering committee, head of the Beilinson Hospital, and one of the founders of the Israeli branch of the OSE [an international Jewish physicians' organization active as a humanitarian organization]. His assistance and advisement also contributed to the absorption of immigrants and teaching the youth productive occupations. He was active until his last day.
Dr. Shatkai died on 23 Iyar 5722 [27 May 1962]. May his memory be blessed.
by Kh. Finkelstein
Translated by Moshe Kutten
Eliyahu Schorr studied art in Warsaw and Paris, and his place of residence and cradle of his work was New York. However, the Kheder, Kloiz, crooked alleys, men covered by the shtreimels, women, delightful boys and girls, smiles, and sorrow, were always in front of his eyes. He also always had the domestic fowls that Jews had in their yards in front of his eyes, and he immortalize them in his paintings. His artistic eyes and diligent hands adequately reconstructed the joy and the sorrow [in the Jewish shetl].
The work of Eliyahu Schorr was like a message the glamour and the splendor of Poland Jewry, as reflected by his city Zloczow.
In his eyes, that city served as an example and symbol, and he considered its Jews as the essence, blood, and guts of Judaism.
Eliyahu learned to hold a painter's brush from his father, a pious sign painter. Later on, during his studies in Warsaw, he received a scholarship from the Polish government to further his studies in France and Italy.
Eliyahu was a vivid multi-facet figure. He rejected dogmatic piousness, but his creation was influenced by religion, with which he dazzled the world.
Everybody praised his work, but he did not have an easy and pleasant life. He was the only one who revolted against the modernistic approach to wipe out any memory of the Jewish tradition from art. Schorr did not abandon his principles and remained loyal to himself, despite the adverse effects on his economic state.
He did not deviate from the artistic truth, which drove him as a person, Jew, and artist. He did not betray Zloczow either. He believed with every ounce of his being that a Jewish artist must be nourished from his roots. He believed that the destiny of any Jewish artist is to immortalize the "Ancient Treasure for the benefit of the future generations and to draw his or her artistic vision from the Eternal Well (as he expressed himself in one of his articles). He aimed at building a bridge between Zloczow of the past and the reality of the modern Jew in the present.
During his creation years in America, he painted infinite numbers of pictures and formed many religious tools and ritual articles. His torn soul wished to discover new forms and ideas. He worked feverishly, as if he felt that the time was short and the work was plentiful. He sacrificed his eyes, brain, and nerves on the altar of creation.
His decorations of the bible and the modern Yiddish literature and English translations from Yiddish are the masterpiece of decoration art.
He worked on decorations for the Hagadah and left sketches and drawings but did not manage to publish them.
Acquiring fame did not come easy for Eliyahu Schorr. He struggled for years the gain recognition for his work and creations. In the end, he lived to see that museums and collectors had to wait a year or two, and sometimes even longer, to receive their orders.
He considered his work like worship. He knew how to breathe life into any raw material he handled. His creations are a delight for the eyes, a source of joy, and attractive. They invoke the feeling that they have been created by a godly creator.
As a flawless artist, he did not solicit help from anybody, except his wife, Resha. She served as a loyal companion from the time they studied togather in the Warsaw art academy. [During their marraige] she gave birth to two talented daughters.
Resha was a painter in her own standing. In America she made a name for herself as Resha Ein (short for her maiden name Einstein). However, she preferred to live under the shadow of her husband as if she wanted not to overshadow his fame. Many of their acquaintances in America did not even know that she was a painter until her exhibition opened in New York. After the death of her husband, she began to create in metal. Although her style of work and execution was different, the influence of the man she spent her life with is apparent.
The wealth of Eliyahu Schorr work is astonishing. Pieces of jewelry and ritual articles created by him, can be found in the [Modern] Art Museum in New York, the Jewish Museum, large synagogues in America, and private collections in America, Europe, and Israel.
He designed and created crowns for Torah scrolls, urns,
|A picture from Zloczow of the painter Schorr|
perfume bottles, boxes for Etrog's, dreidels, noisemakers [for Purim], Hannukah menorahs. Passover plates. Lamps, candle holders, Kiddush cups, knives for cutting the challah, and covers for makhzorim [Jewish prayers books]. He particularly liked to decorate mezuzahs in red, blue, and golden colors. Nobody before him elevated the mezuzahs to such a high artistic level as Eliyahu Schorr.
His jewelry attests to a high artistic vision and every product were an artistic masterpiece. He used to cast birds on top of his signature and thereby, imitated the Middle Ages authors, who painted tiny animals or birds under the last line of the manuscript.
The synagogue in Zloczow served as a never-ending source of inspiration for his creations. He painted on the Holy Ark, the Parokhet (the ark curtain), the Bimah [raised platform with the Torah reading desk], and the walls. The synagogue was crowded with praying people on Shabbat and holidays (like Yom Kippur, Simkhat Torah, and Purim).
In his eulogy, Professor Avraham Heschel said among other things: "Eliyahu Schorr was a Jewish artist who knew the essence of Judaism: How to hold a Torah scroll, how to hold a Lulav [a closed frond of the date palm tree. It is one of the Four Species used during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot], how to tie Tefillin, and put on a Talit.
Eliyahu Schorr painted the devoutness and enthusiasm of a G-d-fearing Jew and the quiver he experiences when the ark is opened. He painted the rich man at the synagogue eastern wall and the suffering of Amkha [Common people].
Various figures are revealed in his paintings: the rabbi, butcher, matchmaker, musicians playing on their instruments, kloiz students, comedians wearing their flat caps holding Purim flags, haggling, cart owners pulling their merchandise, A Jew leading his horse to the water, a melamed teaching Torah to his students, Jews in a succah, a groom and bride under the canopy, and Zloczow's Jews walking around on Shabbat after their afternoon nap, encountering a cat jumping at them.
There are no dogs in Schorr's pictures since Zloczow's Jews did not like dogs.
Eliyahu Schorr's paintings shine with humor, filled with tenderness and beauty with not a drop of mockery.
As aforesaid, Eliyahu Schorr's art spans many fields graphic art, decorative art, design, painting, and toward the end of his life sculpturing.
His creations depict other than just Jewish subjects. He also expressed in his work the inanimate and the blooming. In his sculptures, he conveyed the expressionistic abstract.
His design and technical implementation, such as a Torah scroll crown or a Hannukah menorah, were as good as any creation on a canvas.
The impression of their creator was imprinted on all of his creations.
Every piece of paper or a wood board served clay in the potter's hands. One of his miniatures describes a typical Galitsian boy wearing a round cap on his head, under which his black and curling locks are revealed. His fiery eyes, watching in awe and fear ahead to the future. Another miniature portrays the synagogue: brilliant light around, the sun rays dancing around joyfully and festivity, descend over the Torah scroll and the praying people.
He never walked around idle. Paper and pencil accompanied him everywhere. He sketched tirelessly and always collected material for his work.
Eliyahu was not only an artist but also a family man for whom his wife and daughters, Meomi and Mira'le, were the essence of his life. It was them who encouraged him to create and overcome agitation and doubts, common to all artists. He always spent his time, after the workday, with his family, listening to music or reading in English, French, German, Polish, or Yiddish.
The Schorr family was known for its hospitality. The home was open to anybody, and Eliyahu used to immerse himself in long arguments with his guests filled with flowery language, proverbs, and rhetoric.
Despite knowing and mastering many languages, Yiddish was his favorite.
Everybody was fascinated by Schorr's house. The paintings and antics on the walls, the tables and shelves, and the pleasant manners of the hosts created an exceptional atmosphere.
However, his life was cut short. The wife and daughters were orphaned, and the artist's hands ceased to create forever.
In the modern period, new, different, and strange styles pop up in art. These styles change form, pass, and disappear while still young. For these passing styles, tradition does not have any meaning.
Schorr's merit comes from his art rigidity and disapproval of the conventions of short-lived artistic styles for all their upheavals. He disregarded and stayed away from the global trends of progress, which he found blighted and lucking soul. Against these trends, he possessed a Jewish soul, which gushed out like a perennial spring in all of his creations. His subjects were drilled and rose from the Eternal Well, and were imbued with Jewish content and spirit, while the framework, conception, style, and technical knowledge were always fresh and flowing.
About 12 years ago [12 only years before the publishing year of the Yizkor book 1967], the Lamed Vav Tzadikim served as a subject for a holy ark's door made of silver. The Tzadikim depicted a semi-abstractive way, a style that is being developed now.
In the future, when no trace would remain from the modern experiments and the art's false prophets, the creations of Eliyahu Schorr will provide a momentous eternal testimony, in memory of the wonderous Zloczow native.
by B. Zalkai
Translated by Moshe Kutten
Dr. Khaim Zalkai ZL was born on 21 December 1896, in Zloczow, to a large family. He received his first education in the Kheder of a tuberculosis patient. Later on, he studied at the Jewish school, Safah Brura [Clear Language], of Rabbi Rohatyn ZL. After completing four classes of the elementary school, he was admitted to the state gymnasium in Zloczow. From a young age, he was forced to tutor other students to continue his studies.
When he graduated from the seventh class of the gymnasium in 1914, he was recruited to the Austrian army upon the breakout of the [First World] War]. He passed through all of the service's Seven Departments of Hell on the front.
In 1915, he passed the state matriculation exams with honors and in 1918, he was accepted to the university in Lviv, where he was forced to make a living by tutoring. Thanks to an application, written in flowery Hebrew, which he submitted to the management of the [Jewish] Academic House in Lviv, he received a room there, sharing it with another student. He was attracted by the medical profession, and possessed the required attributes for that, as he understood the human soul and how to access it.
On 22 January 1925, he graduated, with high honors, from his studies at the Lviv University, earning a medical doctorate. In a very short time, he acquired a name for himself in his native city of Zloczow as a physician and a man of conscience.
He was a dedicated Zionist from his youth and was depressed by the need to reside in the diaspora among the gentiles. His will to make Aliya was strong. He dared to give up on the comfortable physician life residing among his people in the diaspora and exchange them with a life of poverty and distress.
Dr. Zalkai made Aliya in 1934. The first years were a period of suffering and scarcity since the state of the physicians at that time was poor. He served as a teacher for a while since he was a linguist with a witty style and an excellent educator for teaching the Hebrew language. A few years later, he was accepted as a physician in Kibbutz Giv'at Khaim, where he had a difficult time. The individualist Zalkai was not a good fit as a man and physician in a communal setting.
In 1937, he accepted the position of the secretary of the physicians' organization of Kupat Kholim [the health maintenance organization of the labor movement]. He worked there until his last day.
In 1956, he originated the publication of a bulletin of Kupat Kholim's physicians, HaRofeh BaMosad [The Physician in an Institution]. He devoted all of his energy to that magazine, where he could set free to his witty pen. Zalkai's fight for the improvements in the physicians' working conditions bore fruit but he did not live to witness that.
He dreamt all his life about issuing a memorial book for Zloczow. He did not live to see his dream materialize either.
May his memory be blessed.
by Yehoshua Sherletzki
Translated by Moshe Kutten
Mrs. Frida Kreger, approaching 80, is still showing undiminished rigor. When she raised the memory of Zloczow, which does not exist anymore, it seems that she is young again. She was in Vienna, the Austrian capital, at the break of the First War World. After two years of wandering around, she succeeded in reaching her native town Zloczow. She often got stuck on the way, after she was forcefully pulled out, along with other civilians, from a train destined to transport soldiers to the front. When she returned to Zloczow, she found everything destroyed to the ground and began to build her life anew. Thanks to her immense energy, she succeeded to reestablish herself and was active in extenuating the suffering of the residents who were left with nothing and needed support.
She continued with her effort until the breakout of the Second War World when the communists loaded many onto rickety train carts and transported them to Siberia. Among them, there were many Poles whose fate remains unknown. Her husband, R' Nakhum Kreger, was one of the few who survived after endless tortures and interrogations by the communists.
Shae made Aliya to Eretz Israel with her husband in 1937, with a certificate sent to her by her son-in-law, Mr. Davidsen. Her husband passed away two years later, as he was feeble from the suffering in Stalin's Russia.
by Mrs. Kh. Laks
Translated by Moshe Kutten
R' Shalom Mendel was loved and admired by all, secular and religious alike because he also understood people whose views were different from his. He acquired friends from the intellectual circles since he had a common language, was a good listener, and gave wise advice. He was a scholar, an agreeable person, full of humor, and a dedicated friend, who was always ready to help others as much as he could afford and even beyond.
He fought hard to make a living and feed his large family but was not always successful. His wife was always helpful and assisted in making ends meet. When R' Shalom Mendel had the opportunity to better his situation and become a slaughterer, he had to give it up because he was soft-hearted and kind. That happened after the death of slaughterer Gedalyahu. The community offered him to be tested and become a slaughterer. He studied day and night to prepare. However, when he took the exam, he was disqualified since he could not bring himself to slaughter a chicken. His hands trembled, and he felt sick. He went home joyful and announced, to his wife's disappointment, who expected a relief, that he would not have to slaughter living animals.
Despite the difficulties, he was content with what he had. He never complained to people, and certainly not to G-d, to whom he was dedicated in his heart and soul and had total faith in him.
|From right to left: R' Shalom Mendel, R' Baumgarten, and Rabbi Hollander|
Gita Mendel ZL
Gita Mendel ZL was Shalom Mendel's wife. She was a simple and quiet woman who had her hands filled with her household chores and making a living. As the wife of a scholar student, she had to manage a small store to earn a living for her big family.
She was an exemplary Jewish mother, dedicated and loyal, for whom the well-being of the children and husband was her first and foremost worry. She was content with very little and indeed did not have much. She was content with the difficult situation without any complaints or jealousy about the success of others.
I recall what she told me after she lost her eight-year-old daughter when the neighbors came to console her: May earth be shut for other small children, so no other Jewish woman would experience the suffering that I have endured.
Grandmother Meita Tennenbaum ZL
There is one fact, which has no precedent, that can attest to the greatness of grandmother Meita's soul and generosity: After the death of her daughter, the first wife of Shlomo Meites, she remained in his home, welcomed his second wife with open arms, and became like a mother to her. Grandmother Meita continued to help the family by supplementing their income with money she received from her dairy. She also helped take care of the household chores.
People thought that Meita was Shlomo Meites' mother. The truth is that she was his mother-in-law, and he was named after her. It was very rare for a man to be named after his mother-in-law.
In addition to managing the dairy, she found time to fulfill the commandment of visiting the sick. Since she was poor, she would collect many things from rich people and bring them to the sick. She often visited the fame philanthrope, Mrs. Ofer, and never left empty-handed.
by Yehoshua Sherletzki
Translated by Moshe Kutten
When I remember Zloczow, I think that every one of its Jews, poor and wealthy, or those who pretended to make a good living (these people were the majority), was up to their neck in their day-to-day struggles and efforts. However, everyone tried their best to hide their everyday worries and not display them in public (many did it for business reasons )
Relatively to other places, the city had many educated people and people who held free professions. Some of them did not complete their high school education but studied there for several years. Others acquired their education in other ways. That had an effect on the customs, manners, and appearance of Zloczow's Jews.
However, the intelligentsia was not necessarily wealthy. On the contrary, the educated people lived modestly and scantly. Some were real paupers. But they all knew how to maintain a respectable appearance. They also contributed, from their meager income to the public needs.
In Zloczow, the intelligentsia was rooted in the national spirit in the broadest sense of the word. It was not defined by speaking Polish, as was customary in other small towns. The intelligentsia was proud to speak Yiddish, the language of the masses. In addition to the Zionist newspaper, which was published in Polish in Warsaw, they read Warsaw's Yiddish and Hebrew newspaper Haynt [Today].
Almost everybody was a Zionist volunteer without any aloofness, arrogance, or competition. People were loyal to the national revival idea. Their standing was apparent outwardly and meant dedication and zealous devotion inwardly.
Trembling and with a feeling of sorrow, which would accompany me until my last day, I mention the name of my dear friend, Yaakov Warlig. I can still see him running around the corridors of the local magistrate [City Hall], followed by an old Jewish woman, on whom the evil municipal officials imposed an unbearable heavy tax or another harsh decree. He would make her bitter argument before the authority officials, using his refined Polish and articulated and fiery speech, while supporting the claim with his astute and shiny eyes.
He always wore a serious expression on his face. He used to joke and even throw a stinging remark, with his sharp tongue, at anybody who talked to him. However, his expression and manners would quickly change when the topic of discussion changed to his favorite subjects, namely a Zionist-National topic or a topic related to the eternal troubles of old Jewish women.
Another role model that grew, and rose to greatness within the ethical and spiritual atmosphere of Jewish Zloczow, was that of Dr. Avraham Sharon. All his life, he loved Zionism, the Hebrew language, and his autographs collection. Toward the end of his life, he became a zealous and eccentric figure. He was an oddity among the conciliatory and indifferent Jerusalem academists.
Another Zionist idealist was Dr. David Werpel. He was a prominent jurist, a pleasant person who loved Hebrew and the bible. He used to wake up his only son, very early at dawn, to teach him several chapters from the bible.
Although Zloczow suffered from a cold climate, it served as a greenhouse for that sort of zealous people.
They were some people among commoners that should also be mentioned. For example, a Jew named Beltzer. He was an old man, a remnant of the enlightened generation. He was loyal to his point of view until his last day. Yet, he was one of the people who visited the synagogue regularly and probably did not miss any of the public Minkha [afternoon] or Maariv [evening] prayers. However, he would always rage about and mock the Hasidim. When we met, he used to grant me the privilege of listening to some of his fables and phrases and would proudly take credit for his creativity. He did not consider me a person who was worried much about the next world or as a person who followed commandments zealously. However, he found it necessary to empower me so that my intellectual side would not be harmed.
There was another person there by the name of Tzukerkendel. He was a commoner who was one of the wealthiest people in the city, although I am not really sure that he was actually rich. He dressed very simply, wearing heavy peasant boots. He wore them in the cold days of the winter and the hot days of the summers. If I am not mistaken, he was a construction contractor. He was clever, diligent, and innovative.
He once had a clever idea,
to improve transportation in the state. He immediately wrote a detailed memorandum about his idea to the transportation minister in Warsaw. A short while later, the district governor received a letter in which he was requested to urgently summon Mr. Tzukerkendel to the capital about an urgent matter. Mr. Tzukerkendel was honorably invited by the district governor. Then governor surveyed him from head to toe, and his eyes grew dim.
Do you expect to appear before the minister in Warsaw in these boots? Asked the governor. He immediately put the wheels in motion. A shoemaker and a tailor were called in and ordered to supply Mr. Tzukerkendel, elegant shoes and clothing.
The minister accepted Mr. Tzukerkendel in his office and discussed his proposal with him (Mr. Tzukerkendel was a well-spoken man who could explain himself cleverly and logically). Later on, the man returned to his home in Zloczow. However, nobody ever saw him in his elegant suit again. That was representative of the simple people in Zloczow.
There was another Jewish person in Zloczow by the name of Tzukerkendel Wilhelm Tzuketrkendel who was one of the most known figures in Polish publishing history. He founded and managed a publishing house that owned numerous publishing rights. The publishing house was active throughout Poland, but it was headquartered in Zloczow.
The city was also the birthplace of some of the Torah greats, poets, educated scholars, artists, and others.
Located on the border, or close to it, between the Russian and the Austrian empires, Zloczow Jews embodied the ardor, innocence of faith, and inner joy of the Hasidism in the east, and the delicate taste, pleasant manners, and refined culture of Vienna in the west.
A Jewish community sprouted and grew, between these two poles, an ancient and rooted in folklore, soaked with the tradition of its ancestors, although there were only a few Haredim in the city. The Jews were loyal to the ideal of national revival, although most people, particularly the youths, were educated in the Polish school and other foreign school systems.
I remember well the time I spent as an educator in Zloczow. I will keep in my heart the grace and dignity that emanated from the youth when I stood among them, teaching an ancient with strange grammar and impossible writing. Not once, I felt powerless against a living, fluid, and flexible [foreign] language that attracted and conquered a momentum-filled culture. [We had to fight against] a language that had an answer for every question, sweeping everything, rising and ascending in its assertive, seductive, and overwhelming approach.
It was the youth's great love, which encouraged me in my modest and multi-experiences fight.
Only some of that youths were fortunate to reach the shores of our homeland. It is with awe and reverence that I write these pale recollections in holy memory for all who perished. We should never forget them
by Member of the Knesset, Y. Katz
Translated by Moshe Kutten
R' Mordekhi (Markus) Baumgarten ZL was a distinguished and noble figure. He was the husband of the praised activist, Mrs. Sabina Baumgarten, may she set apart for long life, who heads the organization of Zolochiv's natives [Zloczower Relief Verband of America].
The life of Mordekhai Baumgarten ZL was cut short when he was only 52, in the prime of his vitality and vigor. With his personality, he represented the deep-rooted-folksy Jew. Despite being immersed in his businesses in the big metropolis of New York, he did not abandon his father's tradition linked with all his heart and soul to his native country people.
He was blessed with virtuous attributes and prerequisite qualifications. He was imbued with an unlimited love of Israel, wise and clever, diligent and modest. He excelled in his affection for Eretz Israel from his youth. The national revival in the homeland of his ancestors was an inseparable part of his being and his life's vision.
He established himself economically under his own initiative and with the help of his distinguished wife and managed many affiliated businesses. He was known for his honesty, skills, and exemplary generosity. As an activist in Zionist and social institutions, he always volunteered for any activity that benefited the public. He contributed substantial sums to the various Israeli fundraisings. He also took it on himself to solicit contributions, despite being busy with his private and family affairs. He did not spare any effort to help others and along with his wife, contributed tremendously to the Zloczow landsmen organization in Israel.
He grew up in his distinguished parents' home, who rooted in him the commitment to tradition and Judaism. During the years of the First World War and beyond, and later on in Columbia, he kept the lifestyle that he absorbed in his youth and continued to adhere to his father's heritage. When he settled in the USA, he continued with his exemplary behavior. He was liked by all of his acquaintances and loved ones. He acquired many friends, and his home was always open. He was always ready to help the fallen or needy.
The distinguished deceased headed the Zloczow's Makhzikei HaDat[supporters and promoters of the religion] organization which is famous for its activities and unique character. The organization had the grace of our city rests on it. In the synagogue where he regularly prayed, he was considered one of the individuals of virtue and one of the leading philanthropists. He was known as a person of wisdom and reason who helped many.
When the state of Israel was established, he followed it intensely and with interest after the development of Israel's independence. He fulfilled his longing to see the homeland with his own eyes when he visited Israel with his wife. He toured the country through its length and breadth and was elated to see the wonderful creation with his own eyes. He was particularly pleased to see that his donations to the various Israeli fundraising efforts were utilized wisely and efficiently.
May the man have remembered for his good deeds. May his name be remembered forever. May his memory be blessed.
by Mina Mamber
Translated by Moshe Kutten
My father, R' Shmuel Tenenbaum, known by his nickname R' Shmuel Mershlek[?]. was a known figure in Zloczow and the neighboring towns as a scholar, immersed in the Torah and observant. He had a patriarchic image adorning a sizable neat and tidy beard. He devoted his free time to studying the Torah and writing. He wrote poems and articles for a Lviv newspaper, and his writings were at a high level. He was respected and admired by people from all classes, and despite strictly adhering to the Torah's commandment, he was far from religious zealotry. My uncle, Shlomi Meites, said about him: It is a pity that R' Shmuel who is so knowledgeable of the Torah and he is an Apikores. Many people stopped by to consult with him because he had a sharp and profound mind. The rabbi of Zloczow, Rabbi Rohatyn, and the rabbinical judge, R' Mendeleh, often came to consult with him about an awkward.
He has been sought-after at weddings because he instilled a joyful atmosphere with his jokes and life-filled sayings. Despite hating unclean circumstances, he always hosted guests for Shabbat. The guests were miserable and wore tattered clothes. When he was asked why he brought such guests home, he said that those people were hungry and that other homeowners refused to host them.
He was always ready to help others, as he had an understanding and warm heart. Once the neighbor, tailor Israel, became sick with typhus. A guard was positioned by the house, but my father sneaked in and took care of him. When other neighbors scolded him, he responded: Could we just abandon the man to take care of himself?
R' Shmuel also used to teach, but he chose only talented students. At the synagogue, he often served as Ba'al Tefilah [cantor, leading the prayer]. His voice was pleasant, and it was considered a great honor if he agreed to pray the Musaf [additional service] on Yom Kippur in the big synagogue.
He also worked as a real estate agent to make a living. A merchant from Ternopil wished once to purchase a house in Zloczow. My father traveled to Ternopil, received a large sum of money, and came back to Zloczow to close to deal. During the transfer of the house, going over the deed books, my father noticed a flaw, which could have thwarted the buyer. He canceled the deal immediately. When the merchant appeared and wanted to pay him for the effort, my father refused to receive any payment.
My mother, a righteous and quiet woman, accepted everything in a good spirit. She did not make his life difficult, as she was gentle-minded and understood him well. She helped the needy as much as she could. Very often, she did not eat, claiming she was not hungry. Later on, people found out that she gave her meals to a poor person who came to her house. She was a Jewish woman and a mother in the full sense of the word. Her devotion to the children and her husband was exemplary.
|The gravestone on Shmuel Tenenbaum's grave|
by Leah Raviv
Translated by Moshe Kutten
I loved my city, Zloczow, with its small with red-roof houses and narrow streets.
The smell of the lilac, and the green of the chestnut trees, flowering in the spring, accompanied that memory.
We lived in the city, in a crowded but unified Jewish settlement.
In my childhood, my father told me stories about the heroism of our ancestors, and I dreamt about giving my life to our people.
We studied with the non-Jews in the Polish school, but how different was our world from theirs.
My father's home, the home of the Yosefsbergs, was like the other Jewish homes, where our generation was imbued with the fondness of Judaism in its heart and soul.
In the big and long dining room, a large table was placed, enabling many guests to sit down comfortably and be served a meal.
The phrase: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning [Psalms 137:5] was written in big letters above the door.
My big brother, Dr. Yehoshua Yosefsberg (who lived later on in Petach Tikva), was like a container into which maximum Torah and secular studies were pushed.
Melamed, Rabbi Meir Kapon, was a regular in our house like a family member. His Torah teaching was conveyed to us day and night. My brother learned the secular subjects from the teachers of the state high school who prepared him for the external matriculation exams for a hefty wage. That was done because it was unimaginable for him to sit down in school with the gentile students.
When my brother passed the matriculation exams (our father was already dead by then), the high school principal summoned my mother and told her: Your son is destined to be the Mendelssohn of his generation. Despite being busy with his studies, my brother took care of pigeons, bees, and alike, which were considered a waste of time at that time.
As a physician, he respected human life and fulfilled his dream of loving the fauna and the Torah.
My older sister, Shnetzia, was 13 years old when Father chose a groom for her, the son of an Admor. To get engaged to a Haredi boy was considered a tragedy for the girl who possessed modern views. However, she did not want to resist Father's will and cause him sorrow. When Father died, Mother told Shnetzia: My dear daughter, you are free to do as you wish. Nobody is forcing you to marry that boy, who was chosen for you by Father. Shnetzia did not respond. She married the Admor's son, and they were happily married. They had good sons and grandchildren.
The traditional spirit and keeping the laws of the tradition, were supreme laws in our home. When Father died on the Seder night, none of the Seder customs and holiday were changed. My brother led the Seder instead of Father, and we sang the same Nigun as we did every year. Only Mother cried and wiped out her tears quietly.
Mother had an important role in our education. Her many stories about our ancestors and the Tzadikim who gave their lives in acts of heroism, were etched in my memory.
I allow myself to bring here her description of the death of our grandfather, Rabbi Yehoshua Wolf Z L, who was a rabbinical judge in the city of Zloczow. This is what my mother said:
I was in a delivery bed when people came to call me. I knew that Saba [grandfather] was sick, so, despite my weakness, I ran to him. I saw Saba lying in bed, surrounded by the elders of the community. Saba said to Savta [grandmother]: Go fetch me a clean shirt". Savta brought him a clean shirt that had a patch sewn on it by her. Saba, who never paid attention to a patch before, said: "I would not wear that shirt now, as I am about to stand before G-d. Savta brought him another shirt. Saba then called the members of his community and shook the hand of one after the other. He then said Vidui [confession], and at the end of the prayer, his soul departed.
In 1914, during the First World War, we left Zloczow as war refugees and moved the Vienna, Austria's capital. We found many values in the big world, however, the seed of the love for our nation, sewn in our souls during our childhood, brought us to Eretz Israel.
by Rabbi David Eizen
Translated by Moshe Kutten
A quarter of a century passed since the Nazis and their collaborators, the Ukrainians, murdered my brother, Dr. Mozes Eizen ZL. According to the rumors of those days, his head was chopped off with an ax.
In his youth, he used to read to my mother about the pogroms that took place during Petliura's reign. He himself was murdered in a pogrom.
Since the exact day of the murder is unknown, we are in perpetual mourning, even though we did not pray Kadish and did not sit Shiv'ah. He was not buried according to the Jewish laws, and his burial place is unknown. He was our Moshe Rabeinu.
Only a Jew could have excelled in so much humanity and kindness. He was liked by Jews and non-Jews alike.
He was born in 1898 and received a secular and religious education. He made his mark on our family and was the main breadwinner during the years after the break of the First World War. In 1916 he was recruited to the Austrian army, where he reached the rank of a lieutenant. The returning soldiers said that during the battle on the Italian border he allocated time for the Jewish soldiers for the Ma'ariv and Minkha prayers.
When returned to Zloczow after the war he became an active member of the Bar Kokhba group, a Zionist academic organization. During the Polish-Ukrainian riots in 1919, he was a member of the Jewish self-defense force.
When Poland experienced an economic crisis and a wave of antisemitism, he spent several years as a teacher in the Yavne school, first in Wloclawek and later in Stolin. It was a school affiliated with the HaMizrakhi [Religious Zionist movement], under the management of Moshe Shorer ZL. When he returned from Stolin, he decided to complete his law school studies, which he had to stop due to the need to support a family with nine children.
He studied day and night (under candlelight), and under conditions of hunger. He had a slice of bread in his pocket and the law book in his hand. These were his material and spiritual food for several years. He finally received his law doctorate in 1930.
During his short life, he was an active Zionist and participated in fundraising for the JNF and the Foundation Fund. His dream was Israel. However, the [British] White Paper [Policy], and family connections put an end to his dream.
Our older brother, who introduced us to the worlds of culture and religion, did not get himself a grave. May these few words serve as an eternal memorial for him. May his soul be bound in the bundle of the living. Amen.
The youngest among Eizen's children was Malka. She married Moshe Greenspan. The year she gave her soul up for the sanctification of G-d is unknown. Likewise, the year when her husband and daughter were murdered is unknown. They lived in Lviv, and Malka was purity in its incarnation.
A third of our family was annihilated, as was the third of our nation.
May G-d avenge their blood!
by Dov Sadan
Translated by Moshe Kutten
(In memory of Rivka Bar'am nee Yeger)
During the days of our distanced childhood, the days of innocent calm, which did not foresee the coming of the thunders, it was not a prevalent event in our area, under the shadow of the Habsburg regime, that youth from among those who dreamt about Zion, would rise up and fulfilled his dream. Perhaps one young man from the city or two from the district would be infected by the Second Aliya bug, touched by the wave that had arrived from beyond the border, and swept away by it. A young man, but not a young woman. Not that the second Aliya had a shortage of young Galitsia native women. On the contrary, we are obliged to mention the few young women who rose up and made Aliya during those days, with a veil of wonder and affection spread over them. Case and point: our city native, Sara Brakha, who went along with Khaim Tzimmerman, the native of Berestechko, the neighboring town; Another Zloczow native, Linah Andoman, who went along with Yehoshua Aker; Lviv native, Dvora Shpinner, who went with Yehoshua Feldman (R' Binyamin); A native of another town, Sara Brant, who went with Yaa'akov Tahun; A native of another town, Dinah Reitzis, who went with Eliezer-Meir Lifshits; A native of Snyatyn, Leah Rosenkrantz, who went with Yosef Zelinger; and many others. The common thread among them was that they all built a home in Eretz Israel. Some built their home in the Galilee region, some in the coastal plain, and some in Jerusalem. Those homes made that small [Second] Aliya, a reality.
If the chronicles of those women would have been written down, it would span a long scroll. Thes chronicles were based on heroism, which embodied the force of being uprooted from one environment and planted in another. The energy of creating a new environment was a life-changing process that burdened mainly the woman the housewife and the mother of the sons. Even if it was not explicitly stated in that scroll that a certain woman went with that certain man, it is true that, in most cases, women went with their men. However, the bold decision about making Aliya and the courage to make Aliya should be attributed to the women.
During the calm days of our childhood, it was rare in our area for a single woman to dare and make Aliya on her own, as was the case across the border in Lithuania and Belarus. Even if there was one unusual woman, the exceptionality was just proof of the usual.
Unlike our childhood, the calm was disturbed during our youth and we were exasperated, even more than the youths across the border, one generation before us. The young women from our area became the driving force behind the revival of the Aliya process and perhaps even its foundation. World war I was one of the factors that encouraged the renewed process. Not less excruciating were the uprooting and wanderings. Then came the two revolutions - the one amid the war and the one just after it. These factors and the innocent teaching of the youth movement gave rise to an enormous youth wave. In a storm, it carried the young man with his power and the young woman with her brightness, all the way to the shores of our land.
Like a sketch of a thought or a memory revealing itself when drawn, the idea that the circle of life of the wives of our youth was nearing its end revealed itself at the sight of the silent and mourning crowd that stood around the coffin of Rivka nee Yeger.
Rivkah was among the first pioneers of that [Third] Aliya. Unfortunately, she died prematurely, a year ago, at the end of her fiftieth year. Like many of the people who walked behind her coffin last year, she made that life-changing decision about making Aliya during the same period of a year and a half, between the tail end of World War I and the start of the Third Aliya. During that same period, the Jewish communities in Eastern Galitsia lived like lonely brigades of poverty and isolation. During those days of the Ukrainian Republic, the Zionists became the rulers in the Jewish Street. While the adults, who still deceived themselves with the idea of autonomy, found the Jewish Street to be a strait within a strait, the youths, the real innocent children, naïvely managed to create a whole world for themselves within that strait. The Local, as the meeting hall of the branch of the HaShomer HaTzair movement, was called, was not only a refuge from the present. It also, in its essence, served as a refuge into the future. The Local also served as a place for gaining strength. For the Zionist adults, the Local was like the verse Let the young men now arise for a contest before us [Shmuel 2 2:14. In Hebrew - an expression of contempt for inexperienced people trying to engage in matters they do not understand]. In time, they were surprised to find out that the game that the young ones were playing was not like their own old game namely, the local activities such as the school - Safa Brurah [Clear Language], stamps of the JNF, or its collection box, the Betsalel exhibition, the reading of the
The youth acted according to the expression: The fool takes the matter seriously. The young pioneers wandered to Vienna and Bratislava [Pressburg]. There, they were tormented until they boarded the ships that sailed toward Eretz Israel. In short, they went [fulfilling their dream], and more importantly, the young women went.
Whatever was accomplished at the Local of my city [Brody], during that same period of a year and a half, was also was accomplished at the Local of the neighboring city of Zloczow. However, in Zloczow, some additional factors resulted in more vigorous activity, the echoes about which reached our city. A Jewish weekly newspaper was founded in Zloczow. A Jewish high school was also established there. And more importantly, pioneering activities were also carried out there by people who were not that young. The master of the doings and the head of the doers was Dr. Schwadron. He nominated himself as the school caretaker and served as a role model for people who followed their talk by actual deeds. He also taught other people how to distinguish between informed Zionism and zealous Zionism. His essays, which helped in sharpening that line of distinction, also shaped the spirit and decisiveness of the young generation. He and people like him left their significant or minor marks on the character of the young men and women. These youths applied their Zionist theory in practice, not only decisively and thoroughly but also simplistically and modestly. That simplicity and modesty were evident in that group of pioneers from Zloczow, and it is still is evident today in most of its individuals. It was more apparent in its women the daughters of Israel, for whom the traditional calm of their ancestors was swallowed by the storm of their revival.
Rivka Yeger was a member of that group of joyful youths who disembarked from the ship Karniyola at the harbor of Haifa during the heat of the [Hebrew] month of Tamuz. Like then, she embodied that incredible character of a daughter of Israel during the thirty-four years until her death. Her journey began in kibbutz Bait Gan, in the lower Galilee [Today part of the Moshava Yavniel]. It continued with the group of Zloczow pioneers [50 people out of that group joined Kibbutz Upper Beitania. The rest joined the Shomria Work Battalion, which constructed the road between Haifa and Jeda (today - the town of Ramat Yishai)]. That group preserved the idyllic atmosphere. The views in the group were not necessarily suffragist, although people were careful not to offend women. Rivka was not ashamed to work in the kitchen, preparing meals or patching clothing, like her mother and grandmother before her. A brief description of her character during those days, an image of a soft and brave young woman, was provided in the compilation Kehilateinu [Our Community - a journal first published by the Work Battalion in Upper Beitania, 1921- 22], and more broadly in the book by Yehuda Ya'ari - Ke'Or Yahel [Like an Illuminating Light].
Insomuch as one could wonder about the connection between Rivka's concealed simplicity and the asserted pride of the dozen extra-ordinary pioneers (who described themselves as sitting on an eagles' nest), one could not question why did Rivka rise, along with some of her friends, and left the group for kibbutz Makhanaim. That departure happened following some misfortunes and difficulties: the head of the Zloczow group, Dov Ofer, was killed by Arabs. The group also experienced some unemployment. That led to internal adversities (resulting in a selection- forcing people to leave like a sieve that selects only the best). Rivka, in her self-explained, left as a protest against the selection, as she considered it a game people played with the lives of other people. With the same self-explained simplicity, she rejoined the group upon its subsequent expansion when the first kibbutzim of the HaShomer Hatzair movement were formed. She was with the group throughout all of its wanderings: starting with the road construction (on the fifth kilometer) through the establishment of the kibbutzim - Nahalal, Gevah, and Beit Alpha (participated as a member). Through all of these wanderings, her soul and body fought a disease, overcoming and surrendering alternately. The swamp fever that she dragged with her from Bet Gan weakened her body. However, she was forced to return to the diaspora and spend six years there against her will. Her longing for our land was eating her from the inside. It was more than she was willing to admit outright, but it was evident through the voraciousness of her interest in any news coming from Eretz Israel. The whiteness of the snow surrounded the city of Zloczow. I recall a trip with her to the center of her city. The truncated spoken words between us, carried away by the chilled breath, were like a scorching heatwave descending on [kibbutz] Ein Kharod in Jezreel Valley. Even the consolation of being able to plant a piece of Israel in the diaspora she conducted fruitful educational work in Lodz (after completing studies as a kindergarten teacher in Vienna), did not satisfy her. She continued her fight, which only ended with her return to Israel. Loyal to her longing, she first tried to settle in a kibbutz. She returned to Beit Alpha. Later on, she moved to Jerusalem and worked as a kindergarten teacher at the school established by Dvorah Kallen. At that school, she was able to show her unique virtues by dedicating her soul to the children and soaking them in an atmosphere of clarity and kindness. From that period, which we spent together, I recall the mornings, which she brightened by the freshness of a folk song. I also remember the Shabbat evenings, which she sweetened with delicacies of [Shabbat] Three Meals.
In that connection, I still remember the amusing affair about a search after a spice, which ended at an alchemist store in Meah Shearim. Rivka was a person who induced an incredible calm around her, which embodied more of a subdued mental turmoil than spiritual cool. At the end of her wanderings, she moved to Haifa, built her own house, and raised her children. The house was shrouded by the brightness and warmth of her grace. However, even in Haifa, she was drawn to the village, and she traveled to kibbutzim Beit Alpha and Ramat Yokhanan, and in her latest years, to kibbutz Dorot in the Negev, any time she could. Those who have not seen her during her travels have not witnessed a human being absorbing the beauty of natural scenery - a human being with a soul which was tangled between the vigor spirit and the wearied body.
Somewhere around [kibbutz] Alonim, she leaned against a tree trunk, tired, and her body was like a light butterfly absorbing the allure of the entire world.
The people who stood by her casket in a semicircle about a year ago formed a kaleidoscopic crowd. They came from different corners: a farmer and a cropper, a shepherd and a herdsman, an activist and a manager, an official and a teacher. They were all unified by the same feeling - that it was their sister in front of them. She was the essence and a reminder of their childhood. In their thoughts, they probably passed in front of their eyes their encounter with her. Every meeting with her felt like a budding holiday sprouting in the soil of the mundane daily life. At fifty, she was as vigor as a 20-years-old. Her tall and vulnerable stature and the warm brown eyes, which sufferings and disease could not dim, emanating a modest light, virtuous and benevolent light of wisdom that comes from the heart. That was the image of a Daughter of Israel embodied by the verse from King Solomon's song - The mandrakes have given off fragrance, and over our door is every choice fruit, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover. [Song of Songs, 7:14].
(Published in Dvar HaPoelet [ Female Worker Word], January 1955)
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