One day, when the rabbi of Kaidan visited his father. they began to debate on a Torah's subject, and then he discovered the young man's great talent. Rabbi Moishe Lebakbisk suggested to the richest man of town, Leizer Yzarsky, that the young man who was then 13 years old, should be his daughter Sara's fiancé. The engagement was arranged, and Sara became the faithful and selfless wife of Rabbi Ytzhak Elchanan.
After a while they had to suffer from poverty and hunger. This was in fact his second attempt of marriage. When he was 12 he was engaged to the daughter of the richest man of his town (Rosh), but the marriage was annulled a little time later because of a silly thing. The bridegroom was invited to his father-in-law's house and, together with a group of studious men they began to analyze and get interested in the Torah passages. They put delicacies on the table, but the young man was concentrating on the study, so he was indifferent to all that was served in honor of him. For that reason, the bride and her mother disapproved of him. Ytzhak Elchanan soon forgot about this event but a few years later he came to visit Volkovysk town, when he was already a venerated rabbi of Kovno. Many men and women came over to get his blessings. Among them was his former fiancée of the past, who recognized the fiancé she had rejected
After the wedding Ytzhak Elchanan was very close to his father-in-law's home and he studied Torah with Rab Eliohu Shik, who was later appointed as rabbi in Lida. He also studied with Rab Biniamin Diskin from Volkovysk.
The dowry given to Reb Ytzhak Elchanan was an income was 300 rubles, which he left in the rich man's account in Volkovysk. The rich man went bankrupt and the young couple became "naked" and totally poor. The young wife had asked repeatedly for a part of the money, but was refused saying that the rabbi had to claim the money since it was given to him. The young woman would beg her husband to claim the money. Reb Ytzhak Elchanan was currently very involved in the study of a Talmudic Law chapter, and he failed to heed his wife's words. She started to cry, her father heard it and explained to her that one minute of her husband's studies was worth more than all the dowry he had got
When his father-in-law's situation got worse, Reb Ytzhak Elchanan had no choice but to take the post of rabbi. In 5696 (Jewish calendar) he was appointed as rabbi in Zablin. The salary was 5 polish coins of gold (75 kopecks) per week. People in town appreciated his work and he got an extra golden coin per week, but all this salary wasn't enough to buy a single loaf of bread. His father-in-law would provide them with chalah and meat every Saturday.
The couple suffered from shame and hunger. Every time the wife whispered about their sorrow, he withdrew to a corner of the house, with his book of "Gemarah" (post-bible laws) and studied with enthusiasm to forget their needs. This situation was getting worse every day and the rabbi decided to go to Karlin in order to ask advice from the town's rabbi. He had no warm clothes so he borrowed some from the rich men of town.
When he arrived in the rabbi's house, from a corner he listened at the deep debates between the rabbi and other studious men, as well as their opinions about the Jewish legal norms. Then he took part in the debate and he gave his opinion about the verdict of one of the wisest men on the matter, in the paragraph 75. The men present were astonished for the deep knowledge of Reb Ytzhak Elchanan. When there was a vacant position for rabbi in Bereza, the rabbi of Karlin proposed Reb Ytzhak Elchanan and he was appointed as rabbi of town in 1839, with a salary exceeding one ruble weekly.
He was famous in Bereza, not only because of his knowledge and genius on Torah, but for being as wise and astute in other matters. The traders and contractors from the whole area would visit him to present their litigations, and they accepted his clever rabbinical opinion. The rabbi's situation got better, and he was able to save hundreds of "palatines" (each palatin was 3 roubles).
During that time there was an argument between Reb Eizl from Shavl and Reb Ytzhak Elchanan about the subject of the possession's validity in divorces. Reb Ytzhak Elchanan's opinion was unanimously accepted and made him very famous. The community of Nishvish offered him the rabbinical post, but the Jews of Bereza wouldn't give up their rabbi. Reb Ytzhak Elchanan left Bereza on a dark night and arrived in Nishvish, where he had a salary of 4 roubles per week, which was good enough. He studied and worked as rabbi. One day a resident of the community got angry with the rabbi and demanded of him a guarantee that he had left in the rabbi's power. Finally this charge turned out to be fraudulent, but Ytzhak Elchanan had to go to the gentile authorities and show he was innocent. This incident forced Ytzhak Elchanan to move from Nishvish to Novorodok and from there to Kovno, in 1864, where he stayed until he died in 1896.
Rab Ytzhak Elchanan Spector encouraged emigration to Israel, and, together with the rabbinical leaders of his times, he was one of the greatest celebrities of Russian Judaism. The town "Nachalat Itzhak", a quarter of the way from Tel Aviv to Yaffo, was named after him.
Rabbi Eliohu Klatzkin wrote the following books: "Principles", Warsaw 1887; "Magnifiency words", Warsaw 1895; "The Angular Stone", 1907; "Eliohu's Words", 1915; "Normative Words", Petrekov, 1921; "Complete as the Stone", Lublin, 1925; "Love for the Holy", Jerusalem, 1927; and "Some Words", Jerusalem, 1931. After finishing his rabbinical duties, he left Bereza and his cousin Yehoshua Mordechai Klatzkin assumed the duty.
He also practiced his rabbinical task in the following villages: Sviatash, Horodek (next to Minsk), Kartuz Rasain (Kovno district) and Libui. He died there in 1925.
His son Yakov Klatzkin was born in Kartuz Bereza, in March 10th 1882, who was later a famous Hebrew writer and thinker. He studied in Marbug at Herman Cohen's and later he continued his philosophy studies in Bern, Switzerland. From 1909 to 1911 Yakov Klatzkin was editor of the Zionist German newspaper called "Ha'Olam" (The World). Later he worked at the head office of the KKL in Cologne. Between 1915-1918 he published the French "Jewish Bulletin" in Switzerland, and between 1921-1922 he published in Heidelberg the "Free Zionist Pages" (in German) with Nachum Goldman. With Goldman, he founded Eshkol Publishing House, that began to publish the "Judaic Encyclopedia" in 1926, and he was the General Editor. Before Hitler came to power, he had published 10 volumes of this encyclopedia.
During his youth he began to comment on and make some revisions to the Torah. When he was 21 he received the honor of "Rabbinical Authority" from the wise man Naftaly Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, and from Reb Ytzhak Elchanan Spector.
At first he practiced his rabbinical authority in Turek a little village, and then in 1896 he moved to Farezave. In 1904 he worked as rabbi in Vakshne, where he founded a "Yeshiva".
With the expulsion of Lithuania Jews by Nikolai Nikolaievich during World War I, Rabbi Fainsilber arrived in Minsk, where he was the Great Rabbi of the Great Temple, and there he founded a Yeshiva. In 1920 he returned to Vakshne and four years later he was elected rabbi of Kaidan. Also there he founded a Yeshiva, and Rab Shimen Dubiansky was the Director.
For many years, Rab Fainsilber was chairman of the Rabbis Union of "Lite". At the beginnings of World War II when Lithuania was conquered by the Red Army, many refugees arrived in Kaidan, among them young men from the yeshiva. For a while, the Yeshiva "Mir" was concentrated in Kaidan. Some of its disciples were able to leave through Japan and Shangai to the United States. The rest were expelled to Siberia by the soviet authorities. Rabbi Fainsilber always cared about the refugees.
When the Germans exterminated the Jews of Kaidan in August 28th 1941, Rav Fainsilber was shot with the others, among them Rav Zalman Permut, general director of the Yeshiva of Kovno, Rav Abraham Shloime Kavitzky from Lukenik in Lita, and Rab Galin, judge of Kaidan. It is said that before he was shot, he called the nazis and said "the innocent blood spread will never be silenced".
The book "Historic Treatise on the rabbinical noble records" has references from many sources. Unfortunately we don't have enough material about the rabbis that practiced their duties for hundreds of years, but, by chance, the "Rabbi's Book" that was in Bereza came to our hands, and from its references we were able to learn about local lifestyle.
In the cover of the book "Oil Paintings of Joy", there were questions and answers of Reb Biniomin Dovid Levin, Reb Shimshon Raphael's son. These works were written while the author was rabbi of the Holy Community in Bereza and in Kapulie. Now he lives in Kalne. "Now" means 1904. The book was published by the author's son and disciple, Reb Arie Dov Levin, and his father-in-law, Reb Shmuel Arieh Zaidenberg. The book was printed in Mordechai Sederboim's printing house in Pietrekov, and published by Levin Epshtein brothers in Warsaw.
The prologue was written by the author's father-in-law, and we deduce this was his second book. The first one was titled "Honeycomb", released in 1900, and its success encouraged the author to write "Oil Paintings of Joy".
It was obvious: the fiancé lived at his father-in-law's place, and in order to publish the book, he needed to ask for a loan from the wealthy and outstanding man Zeev Ben Itzhak Meltzersky. In the prologue, the author says the name "Oil Paintings of Joy" goes to eternize his father's name Shimshon. The first book, "Honeycomb", comes from the biblical book paragraph "Mishli", according to which "honeycomb" are nice words. "Honeycomb" (TZUPH in Hebrew) in "Gimatria" (TN: addition of the numerical value of the Hebrew alphabet letters, frequently used in the Kabala) comes to the same value as the name Biniamin Dovid. The word "honey" (D. VA. SH. in Hebrew) is the acronym of Dovid Ben Shimshon, which is the author's and his father's names. On the other hand, the sentence "Nice words" has in Gimatria the same value than the letters of his mother's name Reizl.
After the preface comes the treaty on family references, and here also we can know something about Bereza. His father was the seventh generation of a great wise man M. H.R.SH.A., died on 22 Elul 5867 and buried in Bereza near Brest Litovsk. His grandfather was an outstanding wealthy man, called Pinchas Ha'levy Levin, who had four children and a daughter. All performed important functions in Karlin, Vienna and Warsaw. The siblings Levin-Epshtein were known in Warsaw, and they are also included in this family.
The author's mother, Reizl, was daughter of the famous wealthy man Yosef Averbach, nicknamed Yoseph Leiptziker. When he died, he was buried in the old cemetery. He was the son of Reb Hilel from Chomsk and grandson of Rabbi Nechemia Amstybave. The author's mother died in 1879 and she was buried in Bereza. The author had four siblings rabbis: Rabbi Moishe Menachem who performed as rabbi in Seratzk and Ratzianzsh and died in Warsaw. Reb Baruch Mordechai, the second of the siblings, was rabbi in Yvenitz, Stavisk, Stalftze, Moscow and now (1904) he is a judge in Vilna. The other two siblings received rabbinical title, but never practiced it, and they are: Reb Yosef Yakov and Reb Eliezer Leib. Their only daughter died young and she was buried in Bereza. He also had other three children and three daughters. One of the children - Eliezer Levy - performed as rabbi in the town of Charny (near Lomze).
The book includes 48 answers, thoughts and corrections of the book "Learning of thought", of the "Shulchan Aruch" (synthesis of normative laws). It has 92 pages. The last five pages include the names of the signatories that lived in 30 cities and towns, but there is no one from Bereza. From this we deduce that the author's relationship in the past with his community, was not so good, and more, all answers were written in Kalne. A part of the answers, especially those that treat the issues: "Claim of debts through witness" and "Special approval to women abandoned by their husbands", are written in Yiddish. Among other things, it includes interesting details about the Jewish form of life in those days.
In 1896 he immigrated to the US and was a trade man, in a town near New York. Then he was glazier, and later worked in a shop making clothing.
In 1901 began to publish humor stories in the " Herald ", at the beginning without pay. In 1902 was named permanent collaborator of the Herald, being then Redactor in Chief Y. Hermalin. Then he worked in " Worhait " that replaced the Herald. One year later, he went to work in the "Morning Journal."
Egoz published a series of stories and rehearsals of humor that were very well accepted by readers. His published books include "Answers of Chana Pesl" (217 pages), "Tuvia Chaitl, luck delegate" (274 pages), "Pleasant stories for festival days" that included jokes, humorous legends for all the festivities of the year and for all social levels, New York, 1921 (283 pages). Egoz translated from English to Yiddish Jule Verne's books entitled "20,000 leagues Under the Sea" and "The Island of Mysteries."
Aaron David Egoz translated to Yiddish our rabbi and teacher Bechai's book entitled "Duties of soul". The translation appeared first in New York in 1925, and an improved edition was published in 1929.
Aaron David Egoz died in June, 1943
Up until that time, daily life had lapsed into a calm and gentle form, especially in the religious and traditional sense. The places most affected by the change were the five batie midrashim (study academies) of the town. During the morning hours, you could hear the voices of those that prayed, of readers of psalms, of specialists of sacred texts. At other times of the day, youths studied in Yeshivas. Each one studied Gemará with his own style and intonation
Jews converged to the batei midrashim and they didn't care if it was windy, stormy, snowing, or raining. The bet medresh was not completely warm, but a sacred atmosphere reigned, which influenced like magic cure to Jewish soul. Among those that came were merchants who waited all day for customers but none crossed the threshold of the business, or workers hoping to get some work, and many others that didn't have any fixed work.
There was also in the town the following groups: "Study of the six post biblical treaties of laws" and "Students of the book Shulchan Aruch". Every Jew in town tried to belong to some of these groups, each one according to his knowledge and possibilities. They considered that this was the gateway to the world of the future.
The youth of Bereza lived in that traditional spirit. Up to a certain age, children spent their days in cheder and then - sooner or later - they left town to go to yeshivas in the larger cities. They stayed there for several years until becoming 18 when they married.
Not every youth was this way. There were children who during their childhood, and directly after cheder, needed to help their father in the business or in work. Not all males that left to study, continued until marriage age; some interrupted their studies for lack of ability, or for lack of interest, or for having to help support their families. These returned to their homes in the town.
All had only one place in which could spend their leisure and free time; each one went to father's bet medresh.
The revolutionary spirit that reigned in all Russia, also brought its seeds to the distant Bereza. Many homes were infected by this illness called "revolution" and it began to be felt more and more every moment. During the evening and night prayer hours, Jews spoke about the political news, the homes "poisoned" by these ideas, and of danger that spread throughout the whole population. To be honest, Bereza was not the place for social class fights, because they didn't have either proletarians or big capitalists. We were a small town, far from a commercial, industrial and cultural center. If a Jew found "black work" near his house or in his orchard, It was a success. In general, he was helped by a peasant, or a gentile of the area who worked from the dawn to dusk for a few coins even in extremely hot days. And in spite of everything they were not caught by revolutionary ideologies.
When community leaders foresaw the epidemic that spread through the town, they all united, and decided to call for a general assembly to take preventive measures against the fire that began to expand and to sow panic.
In this sacred assembly were seated besides each other for the first time, the two rabbis that always argued with each other because the community was divided in two antagonistic groups. Next to them were the two judges, Reb Azikl Ha'melamed and Reb Mendl Rishes.
Their faces expressed the seriousness of the issue to discuss, and the deep suffering that nested their hearts. With voice drowned by the cry, the Rabbis described the heavy clouds that covered the sky of Bereza, and the terrible danger that lurked especially on the youth, since revolution meant assimilation and negation of traditional values, which was a danger for Judaism.
All were seated and petrified. They spilled tears, and their sighs filled the entire bet medresh; especially the women, who were seated in their remote place, sobbed and groaned. The Rabbis concluded their sermons but they remained seated. Nobody suggested any concrete proposal.
In a corner was seated Reb Tzadok. His whole body trembled, his face was pale, his movements were witness to the great tempest that whipped his soul. While the rabbis spoke, he paid a lot of attention to their words, but when he noticed that the high authorities and the public gathered there didn't gave any concrete alternative, he could not control himself. He stood up and with trembling voice addressed the public saying:
"My rabbis and teachers! I assume the great responsibility of watching over our vineyard; I have absolute faith that the Master of the Universe will drive me for this road ."
Tazdok son of Reb Itshe was a tall man with a wide back, and a round and reddish face, full with peel, beard and peyot (long curled sideburns). Even his image was strong and manliness, his aspect was delicate. His house was located beside the Kadisha bet medresh. He spent most of his time there and very little time in his house. In the mornings he covered himself with a talit (prayer shawl) and phylacteries, and did not take them off until evening. After the morning prayers he began religious studies, singing in a low and pleasant voice the pages of the "Gemara" and it's interpretations.
In his house he had a small inn, which was how his family made their living. In the first room there were tables and seats for gentiles, and next to the wall was a counter with drinks: liquor, beer and lemonade. In a foyer there were freshly baked homemade rolls, as well as black and white breads.
One of the doors led toward guests rooms that were used by Jews of the area who came to town for the market days or for the monthly fairs.
Work in the inn was carried out by his wife and daughters. He personally, Reb Tzadok, was far from all commercial matters. Only on fair days did he entered the inn, especially to register guests. Those days were disturbing ones for him, a kind of a punishment for some involuntary sin. He stayed behind the counter and remained silent. In general he was a quiet man. He always said that the man who remains silent, freckles less than those who speak. "Of an open mouth rude words can come out, also curses or lies ".
In bet medresh he tried not to begin a conversation. Only when somebody asked him, he answered slowly and directly to the topic. Even during his adolescence, the years that he spent in the Yeshivas, he had a good name. He had a correct moral attitudes and a "pure soul". Also people of the town respected him. Reb Tzadok son of Itshe never used to interfere in community issues, but this time he felt the misfortune that was approaching, and he decided to leave his privacy and put himself on to the front, to turn off the great fire, when he saw that nobody else dared to do it.
In those years, there suddenly appeared a new star in the religious sky in Russia, the Chafetz Chaim. He was the well-known Rabbi Reb Israel Meir Ha'cohen. In the town of Radom he founded the well-known ethics school, and many Jewish youths flocked toward it. The origin of his nickname is in the book that the rabbi wrote, which was consecrated to the painful problems of Jewish life in Russia.
Besides this book the Chafetz Chaim wrote many others, written in a popular and understandable language for the town people. Each book was accompanied by its translation to Yiddish, not only for those who did not know Hebrew, but also for the women that didn't understand what was written. He also published the book "Shulchan Aruch" in Yiddish, together with its interpretations. He founded an organization with instructors and teachers who visited the cities and towns, disclosed his books, and taught and guided people.
After the great assembly was held out in the great temple, Reb Tzadok wrote an extensive letter to the Chafetz Chaim, requesting that he send to Bereza a distinguished person to save its children from the "revolutionary danger". A few days later he received a reply from the Chafetz Chaim bearing his signature and giving the day of his arrival to Bereza. When receiving this answer, Reb Tzadok held the Gemara, kissed it and placed it in the library. He went out into the street, repeating the verse "when it is necessary to complete a precept, an immediate action, men are allowed to stop the study of the Torah"!.
With quick steps he went to see the two rabbis and told them with happiness about the arrival of the Chafetz Chaim's reply. He decided to call a special meeting with the important leaders of the town. He read from a paper the detailed program that he prepared, as well as how to begin to activate it immediately. Rabbi Tzadok went personally to each Jewish house and announced with happiness the great event for the special arrival to Bereza of the Chefetz Chaim. He prepared the atmosphere that should reign in Jewish homes and in the batei midrashim, so that they receive their guest with warmth and an open heart.
The arrival day was declared to be a holiday in the town. Reb Tazdok headed the delegation, and they left toward the Bluden train station to receive the guest. The two cart drivers, Reb Dovid and his son Yehoshua brought to the town the delegation and the guest. They brought big packages that contained the books of the Chafetz Chaim. During the seven days that he remained in Bereza, the whole town was excited. Every evening, between the evening and night prayers, one of the batei midrashim was filled with people. Also the room in which the women prayed was filled.
The Chafetz Chaim, a plump Jew, burning eyes, black beard as tar, moved the audience with his sermons, especially when he described the paradise reserved for pious men and the hell to which sinners and evil people would be sent. He brought tears to the women.
During those days Reb Tzadok, along with the delegation and accompanied by honorable Jews, visited each house and requested that they buy the book of the sacred Chafetz Chaim.
Reb Tzadok didn't stop with just the visit. He used that to found a Chafetz Chaim group in town, to which many workers and merchants went. He made one of the rooms of his house available for these activities, and each evening they read from the books of the Chafetz Chaim.
Reb Tzadok, the quiet man became a popular speaker and an exemplary teacher. The Chafetz Chaim group was famous in town, and the number of supporters grew without interruption. The room became a bet medresh and the voices of prayers were heard in the distance. People pronounced the name of Reb Tzadok with reverential fear. His authority was as high as that of the judges and local rabbis. A large number of youth continued believing in the red flag, but also among the Jews reigned the word of G-d, from the house of Tzadok son of Itshe.
Modest and simple Jews came to drink thirsty each one of his words, and to be perfumed with his oratory.
The Chafetz Chaim group existed until the outbreak of World War I. At that moment Bereza was destroyed, and Reb Tzadok escaped and arrived in the US. He lived his last years in Israel, and he felt that G-d had privileged him. He could see with his own eyes the beginning of the redemption, and the realization of the dream of the Chafetz Chaim, because he exhorted the Cohanim to get ready to carry out their service in the temple, that would be reconstructed as soon as possible, in our days.
Molodvsky wrote a novel in diary format titled "From Lublin to New York". In 1942 she wrote a collection of short stories called "A house with seven windows", and in 1957 she published a novel about the life in Israel. In 1967 she published "In front of the hall door". She was considered a literary analyzer and a talented editor, publishing in 1950/52 "The house". Also published in New York in 1943/44 "The society" which was reissued again in the 50's and it is still being published.
Later she was an outstanding poet. Her style was influenced by expressionist poetry of the 20's. Most of her poems were written with free rhythm and without rhymes. Her lyrical poems express her personal world, being modeled on the Jewish system of life. In her final years she make poems of the proverbs of our sages: in "Jerusalem Celestial" a kind of a messianic dream.
Her first book of poems was "Nights of the month of Cheshvan" which appeared in 1927, and her second was "Dzike" in 1933; both strengthened her name as a poet. Her poems written with beautiful simplicity, were full with understanding and pity. The later poems are: "In the Country of my Bones" in 1937; "The King David is alone" in 1946; "Poems about the Holocaust" in 1962; "The light of the bramble" in 1965. Very few writers can equal the warm style of her children's stories. Her children's story "The shoes walk until the end of the world" is wonderful for its popular simplicity, for its humor and rich imagination, and it was very dear for young readers. Her children's poems are written in rhyme, and with rhythmic accent close to daily language. They possess a theme and a style that reminds us of popular poems.
In many cases she uses the children's world that inhabited the poor neighborhoods of Warsaw before World Ware II. She was able to introduce in those poems, the happiness of the life of a boy who finds comfort in his games even when he comes from a poor household. In the US she continued writing for children, publishing "On the mountain" in 1935; "Jewish Children" in 1945; and "On the roads of Zion" in 1947. "Open the hall doors" is a Hebrew translation carried out by Leah Goldberg, Natan Alterman and others that still is dear to tens of thousands of children in Israel. Many of her poems have music, and in many schools, especially in kibbutzim, this material is used as a study issue.
Also translated were her poems "On the rivers", carried out by Sh. Meltzer, in the edition of the Selection of poems in Yiddish published by M. Basuk in 1963, and "Of here and close" published by M. Chalamish in 1967.
(Extracted of the General Hebrew Encyclopedia, Jewish and of Eretz Israel, company carried out for the edition of Encyclopedias Corp. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv volume XXII , page 427)
Born in October of 1913, he was one of the graduates of the Tarbut School of Kartuz Bereza.. Then he studied in the Hebrew Teachers Seminar in Vilna. In 1936 he emigrated to Israel, and began to study in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dov taught in schools in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Chomsky was a member of the Haganá (army for the defense of Israel) and during the events of 1936/39 he was in its active section and in the surveillance of the area of Jerusalem.. In World War II he was mobilized in the Jewish brigade, and lent services in North Africa and in Europe.
In 1948 he was a correspondent for the Keren Ha'yesod in Poland. He remained there for six months and he was the point of contact for the refugees and survivors of the Holocaust.
In 1931 he began to publish in newspapers and in Hebrew literary collections both in Israel and in the outside world. Among them "Currents" (Vilna), "The Youth" (New York), "The world" (London), " In the road" (Warsaw), as well as and in the periodicals of Davar and Ha'aretz, Scale, Pages, and Gazit (names of towns in Israel).
Dov Chomsky was President of the Hebrew Writers Union in Israel from 1958 until 1974.
He died January 20 1976.
(Extracted from to the Encyclopedia, Section "Pioneers and Constructors of Israel" written by David Tidhar, volume IV, Tel Aviv).
AIt's evening, golden carpets
They extend slowly in silent emotion
The olive tree in its rough cracks
Thousands of old inexplicable thoughts
The tired olive tree, without bark and inclined
Sinks it's roots in the stony earth
Becomes agitated begging mercy, mercy
And rises with each awful and wandering wind
I will see you from my cloud, my store this shaken
In the threshold, shades extend as they would be in a ball.
The horizon is reddish as flames
You came closer, even being far
How did you come to me? The road is so long
I remember that you always told me:
Being baby even walking "on my four"
Your knew that I would be for you a wild son.
I remember, I felt fear for a very serious father
That suddenly lights his anger
Was this my childhood, could I erase it forever?
Will we never go for a walk together?
Your name murmurs in my drowned voice,
And I admit that now very little can I tell
My father prevented me, is forbidden to pamper,
Because the end is only sadness
Anger and rage
BWhen leaving the house, a rainy autumn day
Your voice prevented me:
"Cover with a scarf and an overcoat
G-d will keep you from catching a cold and getting sick"
Your voice follows me, even behind the door
I still listen to it very well
When returning home you received me with an anger expression
That it caresses me smiling
And when the sprinkle, the anger, the chaos, finishes
Will you reprehend me again as before?
I admit myself: there is not anything better than the melody
That sprang from your angry voice
How many are the days of terror and fright among our people
Nights of death and scaffold?
Will you come, mother? You will tell me
If suddenly you found me?
If you came, if you came, in tempests and storms
Would you return again to reproach your wild son?
Still I remember your angry and good voice
This one, your voice I will remember until the end
CThe river, the river of my small town
Invited me to wake up to the dawn
I prepared the net secretly
And hoped the fish would come
Toward the river, toward the river I escaped in silence
As a colorful game the hours passed;
Wave after wave, and meanwhile the evening arrived
But fish, I was not able to catch
How dark, powerful and deep the forest,
Wrapped together with it flames and fears
Perturbed and confused you looked for me, to the lost boy
The whole day absent from home
But the mischievous boy returned, he didn't lose
How much you worried then, mother, for him
Surround me until today the days I enjoyed
Next to the river in my native town.
The river, who pulled up the secret of papyrus rush?
How reddened it's waters? How silenced it's laugh!
Your image, observes me without saying anything
It walks toward me from far.
AFriends, each one of you had a nickname
And nobody knows when from
And, certainly: neither I could avoid
Names and nicknames: "dreamer" and "arrogant"
Friends, I still remember you all, do you believe me?
Still sound in my hearings the melodies
I extend my tearful and silent hand
To get up for an instant the curtain of years
Beside the river, between the forge and an old mill
Did we play to the war, do you remember, friends?
Oh! how painful, wars extended until here
But it was not a game, neither a laugh, neither a fortuitous amusement
We enjoyed a lot now in our surroundings there are destruction and death
Maybe, the river continuous flowing?
To lift the curtain of the years for an instant and to see
As from the gallery of the theater
BWhere are you friends? Again your remembrance enter
As the golden sun fills the dawn
Maybe one of you has calmed the way of life?
Tense and without fright?
There is maybe one who is complete
Without aging before time
If you were with me, then together
We would be surprised on the ashes of dreams
If you were with me! Happy but not drunk of wine
Again to sweeten this and that
The thread of magic that was not yet cut off,
And with that thread, to intertwine legends.
The thread of magic, a thousand miracles and marvels
Until the eternity would united us with force
Without pity they murdered our mischief
How much I love you, my friends, from then on.
When he was 14 year-old, he studied in the yeshiva Mir and immediately he stood out as a prodigious youth. He finished secondary studies in a state school, and then began the Teachers Seminar Tarbut in Vilna. After he finished these studies he began to teach, but a year later, in 1935, he was mobilized to serve in the Polish army. When he completed those services, he again taught in High School Tarbut.
When World War II broke out, he returned and was mobilized in the Polish army, and was captured by the Germans. He was able to escape, returned to Kartuz Bereza, and from there went to Vilna. In Vilna he could obtain a certificate and in February 1941 arrived to Israel. In Israel he dedicated himself to teaching in Nes Tizona, Hadera and Tel Aviv. In 1949 enlisted himself in the "Defense of Israel Army", and served as an officer.
In 1950 he began to study education, psychology and bible in the Hebrew University. In 1954 after obtaining a degree, he received a scholarship to continue studing psychology at Michigan University in the US. When he concluded these studies he obtained a PhD, and became an instructor at Michigan University.
In 1959 he returned to Israel. He was an instructor in Education Schools, and of Psychology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
He wrote several important works of social research, and in 1968 was designated consultant in the Department of "Studies Programs" in the Ministry of Education and Culture. In 1969 he received an appointment as professor in the Hebrew University, and in 1977 highlights his research about "Achievements of Students in Primary Schools in Israel."
In 1972 he was designated as the first consultant of the Ministry of Education and Culture. In 1977 he integrated the professors group in the Hebrew University. He died November 8 1979. During his life he wrote and published dozens of books and articles.
(Taken from the book "Between education and psychology" Ed. Y. L. Magnes, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1982).
In his youth he joined the Zionist movement, and collaborated in Kartuz Bereza in Zionist and Hebrew activities. In 1922, with the recommendation of Yakov Goraly (Grozalka), he entered the Seminar of Hebrew Teachers Tarbut in Vilna, where he studied for 5 years. In his fourth year of studies, the Seminar sent him for a year to the village Vasilishky to work as Director and substitute teacher of general studies of the Hebrew School, because its Director had been mobilized to the army.
After he concluded his studies in the Seminar Tarbut of Vilna, he was authorized to act as a teacher. For three years he taught in Kltetzk and in Dombrowska, and then directed the Tarbut School in Pulaby. Then he passed to the Tarbut School in Rovna, and there he taught Hebrew subjects. Towards the end of October 1939, when Poland was defeated by Germany, he returned to Vilna and remained there for a year and a half. Then he came out toward Israel, and arrived in January 1941.
In Israel he worked in the teachers organization and then he acted as teacher. At the same time he studied in the Hebrew University and received an M. A degree. With the instruction of Professor Yosef Klauzner, he wrote his thesis about Hebrew Education in the work of Peretz Smolensky. In 1957 he published his thesis which he later enlarged and completed. The book was published by the Editorial Dvir, and he received the Klauzner prize of the Municipality of Tel Aviv.
He later settled down in Haifa and was accepted as a teacher in the Bet Sefer Ha'realy School, as language and literature professor. He remained in this position until retirement.
Noach Peniel was one of the founders of the Writers Union in Haifa and its Secretary for 30 years. He also concentrated efforts in the "Writers of Haifa" organization that published about 20 books, fruits of their efforts.
He also published in newspapers, among them: Pages, Scale, Young Laborer, Davar, Davar for children, Alert, Futures and Carmelit.
He published many research papers and books. The following are among his books:
"Red skies", Vilna
"On the threshold of abyss", Jerusalem
"Hidden panoramas", Tel Aviv
"White path", Haifa
"Evening talks", Haifa
" Poems ", Jerusalem
"Silhouettes procession ", Tel Aviv.
Series "Education Issues"
"History of Tarbut educational institutions in Poland", Jerusalem
"History of Jewish Education in Poland", Jerusalem
"The Hebrew Education in Peretz Smolensky", Tel Aviv
"Reflections on literature and education", Tel Aviv
"Chapters on the history of Hebrew Education" Tel Aviv.
"For the teacher and instructor (educational chapters)", Haifa
Series "Stories for children"
"Spending the night in an empty tavern" Haifa
I remember your landscape, and over my cheek are farewell tears
They spilled out on your distant tombs, there abroad
Of your burnt trunk, the winds and tempests dispersed
The ashes on the fields and over a silent, betrayed community,
With look ups of fright, walking over a watered blood path,
With steps of alive skeletons, frozen of pain.
Your atmosphere trembles for the last lament
And clouds of smoke rise in front of a powdered man.
I was truncated of life, you are no longer there, you are not over the earth,
But inside me you are alive, your panorama in me is reflected
Your happiness sings in me and your sadness consumes me,
From deep of my heart, I murmur for you a farewell greeting
You rested on the plains of Polesia, your limits were signaled
The silent waters of the Yasolda flowed, inside your fields
And rafts weighed anchor where of and where from
From the green forest toward other horizons
And a white route, divided your short back streets,
The houses soaked by the shades of chestnut trees
Each house was surrounded by an orchard
And to the side of the fence plants and flowers grew
In your villages Russian and Pole peasants
Plowed their fields, their flocks pastured on the grassland
And their wild and noisy children,
Chased on the fields of the other side of the monastery
But your hearings hardly listened their voices
As if the cross of the roof of the church didn't run off
As if the light of the other side of the curtain exclaimed His Name
And from the sky, a supreme and hidden light sprinkled you
It is Jewish divinity, she is reflected as
A grandmother, as the smiles of a boy's face
As the studious pupil's bread
As the boots of the water carrier that there inhabits
As the morning darkness in spring festivity
A day of Av 9 from the green of the cemetery
The sadness that soaks the fields in the month of Elul
And the Saturday glorious say, the cold, and the transparent and white snow
For the first time in your look is illuminated with the light of East
And the dawn of the East brought me astonishment and consternation
Surroundings somber green where lilacs flourished,
Then sealed and hidden in the deep of my heart
I will remember the willows near to my house, in the garden,
In the noisy storm, and in the calm of their height.
Flourished light blue cherry trees,
And their fruits filled the branches together with autumn pears
I will remember your springs on the grassland,
White islands where still hides the ash
Puddles that sinks under the snow
They are happy and they shine in front of the wind.
And slowly it descends, the river sinks on the fields,
And it ascends day by day a colorful carpet,
A wide green field, embroidery of light blue and white
I will still remember the happiness and also the suffering
My heart burned when I left for the first time;
As a perfume surrounded me the panorama, golden,
That will glow in my heart in all paths of my life
And when descending summer on the fields of mature cereals,
I liked to go for a walk day by day among high shafts
With a celestial sympathy winked me cereals,
And the grasshopper disappeared among the furrows
The abundant apples waited with their greenery
And then the fruit reddened and it gilded on its loaded branches
How good to climb to the apples tree
And to flail on the grass under the shade
With songs of happiness we will take a bath
In the waters of the Yasolda, next to it's greens banks,
We swam in the clear river, with brilliant waves,
We leaned back on a mirror of deep water
And during Sabbath afternoons
We went toward the railroad
We went away until arriving to the pine groves.
We returned when the sky in West was covered of flames
When the shades extended on water currents who sang.
Finally summer caresses with farewell love
Still heats summer sun from celestial skies
But sadness ascends, and from the fields observes
The autumnal sadness in the gardens, the withered flowers
Little by little clouds over the sky, it gets gray
The field darkens and from a cloud a sprinkle drips
Sadness and melancholy on the fields, loaded with sadness
Cloudy waters of the river, arrived autumn
And a sprinkle that doesn't cease, and continuous the cloudburst
Falling on puddles of mud sunk on sidewalks.
Lakes of rain water, cover gardens and grasslands,
And the willows beside house, fallen and tearful
The howl of the tempest shakes the trees
And until the anger passes, the houses in silence will groan
And covered with coats youths run
And a humid sharp cold penetrates the blood
After the first snow, the world is transformed in white
A white world, glowed in the horizon
The trees of the garden got dressed of party
And a fresh splendor whitens the grasslands
Suddenly, froze the waters of the river, and a bridge
Renovated crosses the field.
How good to run, to slip on the refined ice
To sink your eyes in autumnal transparent target,
And by the light of the sun, they shine for me as sapphires
The crystalline and transparent snow appears with its splendor
The earth is a single block, the powerful in her
Are affirmed, and the man is also nurtured
The voices of those that go for a walk in the garden mix with the happiness
And of a tree to other, the scream of the crow is listened.
A group of children throws balls of snow here,
And their laughs mixes with cracking of snow
It is good to navigate very far in a moon night
To fly in a sled which has more rails of snow
And they are linked in a clear night as chat of lovers, as laugh,
The young burning vibration, as a magic song
And during generations you harbored Jews,
That during the week make an effort in getting their bread;
Work and effort to see grow each son,
Because their parents take the heavy load of sustenance
From the sun begins to shine until hides in weekdays
In the month of Tamuz with heat, in month of Cheshvan with tempests,
In the month of Tevet with cold
Or in the month of flourished Yyar,
work, drag the yoke
They give their children daily a piece of bread
Stopped on the scaffold and in his hand the plumb line
Bent over in his humble work shop
Stuck in his business, selling and buying
Each father gives his boy with the fruit of his work
Parents that take the sustenance in their callous hands
For not waiting people's gift;
Because the mothers want the daily sustenance
And they work without pause to prepare the food
In weekdays they cover their body with deteriorated clothes
The powder of the shop and of the market fell on them
It is observed in all street corners during working days
And even in their humble habitations the din is felt
But on Friday, when it descends on Saturday when twilight
A fine nobility invades each home, covers each corner;
And a splendor that is not of this world, in each look
Of the Jew seated next to his Sabbath table
I loved your Saturdays, brilliant and quiet
The flames of consecrated candles
The happiness and the pride of the soul with the morning prayers
And the sweet sadness of last Sabbath dinner
They even shine in me, your festivities there
The redemption songs in the nights of Pesach
The days of Shavuot invaded the greenery soul
The days of regret came closer with fear
The hurt soul waited the verdict
And the festivity of Sucot calmed, consoled, stimulated,
Waiting the arrival of the guests
The flames of heroism burned in the candles of Chanuka
And the giant shades of the past filled your hole
And in "Purim" festivity entered a contained happiness,
And with infantile happiness you forgot your efforts
In this climate became agitated hidden nostalgias,
On your floor a stairway with angels ascended
In calm hours, my hearing captures your wonderful songs
They embroidered your hole, a homeland and many nostalgias
The shine of a rosy twilight, with Venus in east
And lit in West a purple splendor
A moon that spreads its delicate splendor appears
Were discovered for me worlds, but far in time and space
And all my life is fruit of those nostalgias
I nurtured myself of your transparent sources, in the dawn of my days
I will take your image in it, deep of my being,
I won't forget them,
And with your light I will level the road
While the blood flows in me
From then on I went away of your limits,
My feet stepped the peaks and the deep abyss
Your grace disappeared in the noise of my lost days,
As if I didn't know your name of past times
But when the enemy lifts the axe with wickedness against you
Woke up my pity but I will see again all dear that contained
I see again for last time your lost beauty
My eyes spilled farewell tears on the powder of the road
As they truncated you impure hands of an alive world
As your children were taken to the slaughterhouse by the light of the day
Their voices still rise in their last walk
In my hearings sound last screams in front of their tombs
In 1935 he studied in the Art High School in Vilna until war broke out in 1939. Then he returned to his town, and from there he went to Byalistok, an important Jewish center of culture and art. When the German required that the Jews of Byalistok be gathered into a ghetto, he escaped to Russia and wandered around suffering setbacks, hunger, and was hurt until he arriving in Russia to a kolhoz, in the city of Saratov. There he worked as a painter in a great manufacturing company.
In 1945 when the war ended, he returned to Poland and entered a farm for future emigrants to Israel. He began to wander together with refugees, in Germany and Italy, and from there he traveled on the ship Hatikva to Israel together with illegal immigrants.
When arriving to the costs of Israel, the ship was captured by the British, and they were sent to the island of Cyprus. There they remained two years in detention camps.
In August 1948, he arrived in Israel and he mobilized in the defense army. For this services he was honored with the "Order of the Independence".
After finishing with the army, he began to organize his road by his own means, and developed his painting expectations. He lived for several years in the Kibbutz Ein Charod and there he started his family, being the father of two daughters.
In 1949 he presented paintings for the first time in an exhibition of immigrant painters in Tel Aviv. From then on, his works were presented in 44 exhibitions, in their majority as individual exhibitor, in different places of the country and abroad, as Amsterdam, Paris and Caracas (Venezuela). His works are exhibited in museums and in private collections, many of them in the country and abroad.
Up to the present time, there appeared ten albums and books, fruit of his work. In them he painted Jewish images and described the characteristic of a missing Jewish town, and he wrote poems in Yiddish accompanied by illustrations.
Moshe Bernshtein obtained the prize Manger (1982) and the prize Shalom Aleichem (1990).
In 1992 he received the distinction of the Municipality Tel Aviv-Yaffo as "Illustrious and Dear Citizen."
About the painter's work, Dr. M. Basuk wrote in "Retrospective 1947-90": "the paintings of Moishele highlight a deep and even authenticate vivid experience for those who haven't met those towns, their leaders and their images. He invested in it an "ant work" for its accuracy, cleaning, and aesthetics, and at the same time romantic, mystic, and symbolic. There is a renovation in this exhibition. Moishele returned to the color, changed the technique and with this the expression form changed, but the content is there. The town in physical form goes moving away from us, but in the same measure, the spirituality comes closer every time. The pictures of Moishele transmit communication, feeling, ownership, and love to a past that won't return, The roots of our existence and our Jewish identity."
The writer Aba Kovner wrote about the works of Moshe Bernshtein:
"Under the deep celestial sky of Israel, innocent people ask: who is Jewish? Observe the interior of the figures that appear in the illustrations of Moishele, and you will find the answer. Who takes on his backs a house, who keeps in his eyes that observe far away in time and space the reverential fear and the sadness, who locks in his eyes the light of the lost back streets, the light of the bereavement tears, and the light of the hope? Something warm and vibrant of a Jewish home that is finished but not silenced, flows and rises in his works"
"School? Old or modern painting? To which do the paintings of Bernshtein belong? I don't know, maybe also, to it's own melody, at morning and night, years and years, line to line, point to point, faithful to his conscience, to the image of his life with his solitude and stubbornness. Vilna, the Jerusalem of Lithuania, the city where the painter's art grew. He used to say: to lift the rolls of the Torah after it's reading in front of the public you had to have have the power of a gentile. To rise the warm sadness of Jewish world that was and no longer exists, you need needed the power of Moishele Bernshtein"
Should he continue with much power. ("Yeasher Choach")
May 17 1992
Ref: 24- 1065
To Moshe and dear family Bernshtein
I am pleased to hear about the decision to grant you the "Illustrious and Dear Citizen's distinction" of Tel Aviv, for the year 5742 - 1992.
The city of Tel Aviv and the art of Israel had the privilege that an artist such as you has been active here for many years, and that in your works you drew the lines that not only were in the materials but also in the conscience and the memory of a stage that already happened. Your paintings and drawings are witness, some sad, some cheerful, and with humor, about Jewish towns, their images and their features. Tel Aviv had the privilege of giving you lodging and you the privilege of its appreciation and recognition.
I wish you to continue in your fruitful work.
My golden Bereza consumed in flames,
You return to me in solitary wondering
With the affection that I keep for my missing mother,
Taken on bloodstained wings.
I see your face Bereza, in gray dawns,
In the happiness and sadness of your curved streets
You didn't lose a minimum of your image
The same melody sounds in my hearings
Here this the market, the synagogue, the public bathroom,
The main road like a docile and nice tape
Here is my house, the orchard,
It filled the air with its aroma of apples and flowers.
The Jews, I knew them by their names and them to me
The mischievous children, reflected in their eyes dreams and marvels
We went for a walk together,
Toward the river, toward the forest
And these greeted us
Grandparents and grandmothers sat down next to the threshold
Telling exaggerated distant passed years
Being young came out to have a good time.
Who died and who was born
And during the night when Bereza collapses in the silence,
Even very late couples went for a walk down the street
But they are as drunk
It breaks the silence a melody of those that study Talmud.
I would like to continue telling a lot about that legend
How the Jews lived lived, they lived and they died
Only to remember them, is very painful, I should conclude
Because it is difficult to tell in a single time
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