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[Page 80]

Hebrew School

By Dr. Mentsakh, Eng. Tishler

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

A unique and significant chapter in the history of the Jews of our town was the founding of a Hebrew School by the organization “Safa Brura” [Clear Language] in the month of Iyar 5664 (May 1903). That was a great and important event in the gray daily life of Brzezany's Jews. Zionists, homeowners, and just regular Jews along with the children's parents, gathered on one of the weekdays to celebrate the opening of the school. Teacher Superman z”l, the chairman of Galitsia's teacher association, opened the ceremony with an enthusiastic speech. After him, teacher Abuhav, an educated, learned, and skilled speaker, spoke. Teacher Abuhav taught adults, and teacher Rakhovski taught youngsters.

The school “Safa Brura Group, Brzezany” was founded by the following people: Yehuda Zarvintzer, and Zalman Zauer. Adolf Horn was elected president of the school. The teaching staff included: Abuhav, Cohen, Rakhovski, Naphtali Zigel, Dlugach, and Tzvi Scharfstein. The latter arrived in our city in 1907. Upon his arrival, the school's education level rose, new classes were established, and new students appeared. Under the management of teacher Tzvi Scharfstein, the school was repaired and improved, the number of students increased to more than a hundred, and the number of classes reached eleven.

Courses for high school students and lessons for adults were held. The school arranged special lessons for the Beit HaMidrash students interested in modern Hebrew literature. In addition to Hebrew, the school taught [Hebrew] grammar, Bible, Jewish history, and modern Hebrew literature. Special courses for academics and teaching candidates were also arranged. The influence of the Hebrew School's teachers on our people was substantial.

The club “Ivriya” was revived. It existed before, but its activity was limited. A library and a reading hall were arranged in the club. Friends, students, and educated homeowners met there to listen, talk, read, and enjoy Hebrew culture. An “Oneg Shabbat” [literally Delight of Shabbat, Friday evening or Shabbat cultural gathering] was held there on Shabbat afternoon – a lecture about modern Hebrew literature followed by a lively debate that ended with public singing. The driving force behind those lectures was teacher Tzvi Scharfstein. The Glazer brothers, Shomer, Mentzakh, Halbertal, and others were also among the participants.

An important event in those days was the visit by the Hebrew author Reuven Brainin. A big ball was arranged in his honor, where hundreds of people participated, including the city's dignitaries. His lecture made a big impression, not forgotten for a long time. The author and participants did not forget the ball itself either.

The school experienced upheavals, ups, and downs, and even though it closed for a short period, it was an established fact until the eruption of the Second World War. It taught and educated our youth and spiritually prepared it for Aliyah.

During the First World War, teacher Feld organized and managed the school. He was a talented person, knowledgeable and educated. Like teacher Scharfstein in his time, he pushed for the teaching of the [Hebrew] language and planted in our hearts the love of the Hebrew word.

Thanks to the youth movements, participation in the studies was lively, a phenomenon that greatly influenced the Jewish street.

[Page 81]

Teacher Feld wrote Hebrew songs topical to those days and matched melodies for them. These songs expressed our feelings responding to events in the nation's life. I will mention two of his songs; the first song - “Kuma ami, am hanetzakh, goy niflah, u'maleh raz” [Rise my people, the eternal nation, magnificent and full of mystery”], and the second song – “Shiru nah shir khadash, ami Israel hakat” [Sing a new song, my tiny nation Israel]. The echo of these songs continued to resonate for many years after teacher Feld left our city (in 1921) and moved to Lviv to teach Hebrew at the high school there. That was an immense loss for us and caused an interruption in the school's operation. However, we did not forget Hebrew despite that interruption.

We continued to study, on our own, in private lessons, and as a compulsory duty at the youth movements. We advanced the language using all means available to us. Only in 1926, the school was reopened. Two teachers renewed the learning in the school: Yitzkhak Biterman and Avraham Halperin. The school program was revitalized a year and a half later when teacher Halperin left. The school brought a new principal, Mr. Komorovski, and Mr. Biterman served as the second teacher. A pedagogic committee was established, and it developed the curriculum for several classes. The high school teachers Horovitz, Shleikher, and Shekhter, and the Hebrew teachers, Shlomo Redlikh, Komorovski, and Biterman, were elected to the committee.

A second school was founded in 1929 by the Organization “Tarbut” [Culture]. The principal of the school was A. Mansfeld. Sara Gross and Biterman taught in that school.

Two hundred students studied in the two schools. In addition to the Hebrew language, these students acquired knowledge about Jewish history,


The Hebrew School with its executive committee

[Page 82]

Teacher Biterman with a mixed class


geography of Eretz Israel, the Bible, and modern Hebrew literature. All of these subjects were taught in Hebrew. The studies were on a high level.

The elected executive committee managed the school and took care of its needs. The following people were elected to the committee:

The chairman was Karp, his deputy was Immanuel Friedman, the secretary was - Khaim Reiner, the treasurer was – Dr. Vilner, and the members were - Hirshhorn, Dr. Grossman, Moshe Lebel, Dr. Glazer, Dr. Shomer, Dr. Klarer, Natan Lebel (the son), M. Taler, Sh. Fogelman, Veisberg, Eliyahu-David Rot, Yitzkhak Nadelr, and Avraham Katz. Thanks to the school's management, who ensured the budget was secured, the school did not suffer from financial problems. The executive committee secured financial support from the Jewish community and the municipality.

The school was eliminated by the occupying Soviet regime!

The Hebrew-speaking people were eliminated by the Nazi occupiers!


The “Tarbut” school's extended executive committee

[Page 83]

The Management team of the school

Sitting from left to right: Teacher Mansfeld, Mr. Karp, and M. Fridman with one of the classes


Teachers H. Biterman (left) and Mansfeld with a group of girl students


Teacher Halperin with a class on a La”g Ba'Omer trip – May 1926

[Page 84]

“Mizrakhi” School

By Menakhem son of Shimon Katz

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

Another Hebrew school was founded by the movement “Mizrakhi” and [its youth movement] “Bnei Akiva.” The scope of that school was more far-reaching than the one for “Tarbut” Hebrew School (if one can call these individual classes a school). It did not have a permanent home. Every few years, those in charge would rent a building or a few rooms in different locations in the city where the studies were conducted.

Initially, the classes were taught in a house adjacent to the orphanage. Later on, two rooms were rented in the “Natzional Hoiz” [National House-People's Center]. When that location became too small, the upper floor of Widow Feieron's home on Koliyova (Train) Street, was arranged where studies were held in three parallel classes until World War II. The teachers were city residents: Shmuel Arazi (Tanenbaum) z”l (killed in Kfar Etzion [1948]), Volf Reikhshtein (among the graduates of the seminar in Vienna), Mr. Shlezinger (from the neighboring city of Naryov), and others.

The management team consisted of elected people of the “Mizrakhi-Bnei Akiva” movement in the city. The team managed the school affairs voluntarily. The teachers received wages.

The studies were conducted every day in the afternoon hours, and on Sunday, classes were held in the mornings. The studies were more intensive and at a higher level than at the “Tarbut” school. In that school, mainly the basic concepts of the language for lower classes were taught, while in the “Mizrakhi” school, they taught higher levels of the Bible, grammar, and Hebrew literature aimed at the upper classes.

That institution was eliminated with the outbreak of the Second World War, and its students had the same fate as the rest of the six million Jews who were annihilated.



A kindergarten under the management of Mrs. Felk-Reitman opened in the 1930s. The kindergarten was managed so successfully, that within a short period, it was too small to contain all the children who wanted to be admitted. In the beginning, the kindergarten was located in the community house, and later on, when it grew, it moved to a dedicated building on Zhezhnitsa Street, In addition to general education, an emphasis was placed on instilling a Hebrew-Zionist education, in preparation for the Hebrew School.


Purim party at the kindergarten – 20 March, 1932

[Page 85]

Training course for men tailoring


A call for support of the Hakhshara Kibbutzim


Hakhshara Kibbutzim

By Arch. Menakhem Katz

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

With the establishment of the Hakhshara Kibbutzim in the 1920s, where groups of various youth movements prepared themselves for commune life and physical work in Eretz Israel, financial distress was apparent. Lack of work on one side and the indifference of the Jewish public to supply jobs to the pioneers on the other undermined the kibbutz movement.

Those groups of pioneers did not shy away from any work, starting with cleaning jobs, digging, cutting trees for heating in private homes, and ending with work at the sawmills. Despite the willingness of the youth to work in any job, the lack of jobs undermined the existence of the work camps. Zionist groups and some individuals woke up, once and a while, and addressed the general public to provide places of work for the pioneers in the kibbutzim. The above proclamation [Ofrouf in Yiddish] published in our city, serves as a testimony to that struggle.


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