|Sketch of water carrier||5|
|Dr. Yehuda Tsvi Fisherman||19|
|Abir, Avraham (see also Biberman)||26|
|Abir*, Manya (see also Biberman)||25|
|Argaman, Avraham (see also Bots, Avrasha)||ii, 2, 7, 9, 11, 21, 22, 25|
|Bar-Mor, Lt. Col.Mordekhay (Moti) (see also Bishbeyn)||25|
|Biberman, Avraham (see also Abir)||26|
|Biberman*, Manya (see also Abir)||26|
|Bishbeyn, Lt. Col.Mordekhay (Moti) (see also Bar-Mor)||25|
|Bots, Avrasha (see also Argaman, Avraham)||ii, 2, 7, 9, 11, 21, 22, 25|
|Chasid, Zev (Vulf)||21|
|Cherlov*, Batya (née Lapidus)||26|
|Desser, Max||ii, 3|
|Desser, Nachman (Norman)||21, 25|
|Doron, A.||6, 9|
|Esderban*, Shoshana (née Mandelblat)||26|
|Fisherman, Yehuda Tsvi, Dr.||19|
|Fuks, Shmuel (Milik)||21|
|Golberg, Yehoshue||ii, 2, 7, 22, 24|
|Goldenberg, Manus||ii, 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 21, 25|
|Kadosh, Chayim Pinchas||4-6|
|Katz, Mordekhay||1, 2|
|Kelman*, Rachel (née Kneler)||26|
|Krits*, Beba (née Rokhel)||26|
|Levinson, Yitschak Ber, Rabbi (RYBL)||9|
|Litev, Pesach||6, 7, 9, 11, 21, 25|
|Mandel, Yisrael||18, 22|
|Mandelblat, Aharon (Munya)||26|
|Margalit, Nachman, R'||4-6|
|Metiuk*, Chagit (née Shachal)||26|
|Milgrom*, Cherna (née Shkurnik)||26|
|Otiker*, Rivka (née Fingerut)||15|
|Otiker, Shalom||14, 16|
|Portnoy, Yitschak||11, 25|
|Rabinovits, Yisrael, Dr.||25|
|Radzinovits*, Sonya (née Aksel)||26|
|Rokhel, Yitschak||ii, 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 14, 25|
|Shapira*, Fanya (née Kneler)||26|
|Shapira*, Aida (née Abramovits)||26|
|Shnayder, Shmuel||7, 13|
|Shnayder, Zev||7, 13|
|Shtern*, Yehudit (Itka)||ii, 2|
|Simonson, S.||6, 9|
|Taytelman, Shmuel||2, 23|
|Teper, Fishel||11, 22|
|Toren*, Dvora (née Feldman)||26|
|Vilderman-Barshap, Leya||11, 18, 22|
|Yishai, M., Dr.||6|
|Zinger*, Sonya (née Velberg)||26|
Today we present the 10th Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklet to our readers. This is a sort of mini-anniversary, and so it is fitting for us to review the booklets published so far including this one in a businesslike and as objective as possible review. And nothing is as objective as numbers, dates, and facts. The booklets were not published on set dates. Their formula and contents varied, and even their size went through changes until we arrived at a certain set scale.
Here is a brief calendar of publication dates:
|Booklet 1||April 17, 1967||32 pages||16 in Hebrew|
|Booklet 2||Dec. 24, 1967||45 ||20 |
|Booklet 3||Aug. 1, 1968||45 ||18 |
|Booklet 4||Dec. 15, 1968||57 ||24 |
|Booklet 5||Aug. 1, 1969||48 ||20 |
|Booklet 6||April 7, 1970||56 ||25 |
|Booklet 7||Dec. 10, 1970||61 ||24 |
|Booklet 8||July 25, 1971||53 ||17 |
|Booklet 9||Feb. 29, 1972||38 ||16 |
|Booklet 10||Dec. 20, 1972||65 ||26 |
We tried to publish the booklet around the date of the annual memorial for the martyrs of Kremenets, but we didn't always manage to do so. We started out by presenting all material in both languages (Hebrew and Yiddish), but as time went by, we stopped insisting on this in order to keep the length reasonable and for other reasons. We note that we never lacked for material, and we often accumulated so much that we used it in the following booklet.
Now, who are the writers? Certainly, board members (particularly Manus and Rokhel) contributed the lion's share, but they weren't the only ones. Twenty-seven members in the Land and abroad contributed the fruit of their pen, and some 117 articles were published in the nine booklets.
The organization's aim is to preserve the memory of the Kremenets community. One of the tools for achieving this is the Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklets. What was presented, then, in those nine booklets?
Sixteen articles were descriptions of the lifestyles and personas of Kremenets Jews. Some were simple in style, and some humorous, but all expressed love and affection for a past that is no more. When we read those articles, noteworthy events and even whole strata of Kremenets Jewry are resurrected in our mind's eye. We note in particular a few long monographs by our members Manus and Mordekhay Katz.
In eight articles, members who visited the town at different times described the Holocaust and the town in its aftermath.
But the Kremenets of the present exists, too as Kremenets emigrants living in the Land and abroad. This reality is reflected in our booklets, specifically in the Mosaic section, which we made sure to include in each booklet and both languages. This reality is also seen in the special articles, such those about Kremenets-born personalities, tributes to elders, Kremenetsers in Israel's wars, Kremenetsers in Argentina, etc. It is worth noting that, in the nine booklets, the Mosaic section contains 70 items dedicated to specific events for today's Kremenetsers.
Obviously, the booklets fully reported the organization's regular activities: the RYBL Library and the club attached to it, annual memorials, gatherings with our friends from abroad who come to visit, social events (Chanukah and Purim parties, etc.), aid, contributions from abroad, etc.
During the past five or six years, dozens of Kremenetsers have passed away in the Land and abroad. The nine booklets included 58 obituaries and condolences, most with photos attached. In booklet 7, a section dedicated to Argentina was introduced. About 150 families from Kremenets live there, maintaining a vital and united organization that has proved itself and even published a memorial book in 1965.
This is the yield of the 9 or 10 Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklets from April 1967 to August 1972. A Kremenetser who doesn't want to forget the town's past or its Holocaust and who is interested in what is happening among Kremenetsers in the Land and abroad can draw a handful from those booklets. Indeed, after each booklet, the editors have received warm, sometimes even enthusiastic responses from members in the Land and abroad. At times like these, the editorial board members tell each other: there is a reward for our labor; our efforts were well worth it.
But this is not so when it comes to the financial side of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants. A member receives the booklet, reads it, enjoys it, and is enthused, but postpones payment for later. Of the approximately 400 members here in the Land, only half regularly pay on time. The rest pay later, or still owe. To make it easier for members, we have opened an account in the post office bank, and since then the collection has improved, but only slightly.
As for our members abroad: Argentina pays regularly and on time, one sum for all members and from time to time even adds a bonus. On the other hand, Canada lags far behind in payments, and only a few members from the United States, which gets 75 copies, pay.
True, those few send a good amount that covers the missing payments, but the dozens of members who receive booklets directly at their personal addresses don't find the means to pay for the them, either with the society's help or in some other way.
Now, we introduce to you the members who do the work, and this time not in alphabetical order but by contribution: (1) Manus Goldenberg, (2) Yitschak Rokhel, (3) Shmuel Taytelman, (4) Yehoshue Golberg, (5) Rachel Nadir, (6) Mordekhay Katz (Argentina), and last, (7) Avraham Argaman, who gives the booklets an artistic look and is in charge of printing. The translators are Rachel Nadir, Chana Goldenberg, and Yehudit (Itka) Shtern. For a time, while he was in Israel, our member David Rapoport participated in the editing.
700 copies of the booklet are printed and are distributed as follows:
|375||in Israel, to members of the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants|
|75||in Israel, to libraries, institutes, and individuals|
|100||in Argentina, by the Landsmanschaft|
|25||in the United States, by the Society|
|50||in the United States, directly to private addresses|
|25||in Canada, by member Max Desser|
|25||in various countries, to libraries and individuals|
|25||held in reserve|
With this, we conclude the opening words to the 10th Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklet. Whether this will be the final booklet or the start of a new era is up to the members. The Editors
Because of the unusual scope of this booklet, which is sort of an anniversary edition, and the high price of printing and shipping, we were forced to set a price (for this booklet only) of I£5 and $1.50 overseas.
Everyone in our town knew Chayim Pinchas Kadosh, and every one of them could tell funny stories about him, even today. Our member Mordekhay Katz has already written about him with flair in the memorial book published by our members in Argentina. I'll add something about this original character with whom our town, like many other towns, was blessed.
Much was said about Chayim Pinchas's great weakness for watches. Weakness, shmeakness, said the older folks this is a serious sickness, worse than alcoholism, and will destroy his family.
The house of my grandfather, R' Nachman Margalit the watchmaker, was like a miniature temple in Chayim Pinchas's eyes. He was attracted to it by the magical force of the shining silver and gold watches, which gazed at him with desire in their eyes from behind the cabinet glass and awoke his insatiable desire for them.
Before dawn, with the help of his son, Chayim Pinchas would distribute water to dozens of households. With giant steps, the two would make their way through the twisting alleys in the early morning, lit by the moon in winter and when the chill of predawn sent shivers into their bodies in summer.
Arriving home, Chayim Pinchas would gulp his lunch down rapidly, change his work clothes to dressy ones, spread tar on his thigh-high boots, insert clean absorbent cotton in his ears, and walk slowly to his temple, R' Nachman's house. Shopkeepers yawning at the doors of their empty stores and people who passed him on the way knew very well where he was going and looked at him with forgiving smiles. The wagon drivers, who regularly sat close together on the steps of my grandfather's store, would grudgingly open a narrow space for him while blurting out vulgar jokes about him. Chayim Pinchas didn't hold back from giving back twice as many.
A wave of cold with strong smell of tar would penetrate the store at his entrance. The people who happened to be there seemed Lilliputian next to his large, solid body. Warm smiles on their faces, they waited to see what would happen. Chayim Pinchas's face became serious, and it seemed as if he at any moment would erupt angrily at the group of ridiculers across from him, but then his eyes rested on the yearned-for cabinet, and his face lit up with a great, wide smile. The only one in the store whose face was grumpy was my grandfather's; he knew what was coming. R' Nachman, Chayim Pinchas turned to him innocently and sweetly and said, Why are you so angry? What have I done to you? Did I tear your kapota?
Chayim Pinchas remembered well, as did everyone else there, how many times he had come and gone the previous week to negotiate the exchange of a gold Omegale for a Zenithl (he lovingly pronounced the brand of each watch in the diminutive), the kind that rings each hour when the proper knob is pressed. This was just one link in a long chain of watch exchanges that continued for years, and my grandfather had lost patience quite some time ago. This time, Chayim Pinchas's request was absolutely denied.
This watch is not for your coarse hands, he said. At your first touch, this delicate mechanism will cease to exist. Against such claims, Chayim Pinchas had some of his own, and he used them efficiently against my grandfather at every confrontation, as he did this time. No one noticed how the yearned-for Zenithl came to be in his bony hand, where it quivered like a fish out of water. But no earthly power would pry it away from Chayim Pinchas's possession. With complete dismissal, he returned the Omega to its resting place, added whatever he did to its price, and exited the store radiant with happiness, followed as usual by my grandfather's dire warning never to show his face there again. Only a week later, Chayim Pinchas showed up again, this time not defending himself but acting like a man whose innocence is not in question: Please, don't be angry, R' Nachman, he said, when met with the my grandfather's angry glares. Don't worry; I didn't bring back the Zenith'l. We all knew that his time had surely come. But, indeed, that day Chayim Pinchas had his eye on something else. The week before, when he was negotiating over the Zenith'l, he had noticed a tiny golden whistle lying in a corner among other decorative pieces meant to hang on a watch chain. Since then, the whistle had preoccupied him restlessly. Only his fear of my grandfather had kept him from coming back the next day.
He started to negotiate with his usual maneuvers: My dear R' Nachman, may you live to 120 years, just let me hold it in my hand. No harm will come to it, I swear, as surely I am a Jew. Hold what? my grandfather thundered with a voice quivering from anger. That one, the whistle, begged Chayim Pinchas. Go to hell! Are you out of your mind? What does a Jew need a whistle for? shouted my grandfather. This time, Chayim Pinchas had to work very hard on my grandfather, and this time, as always, he came out the winner. With sure steps, he left the store with the whistle in his pocket and a shrewd smile on his face.
The following Sabbath, Chayim Pinchas showed up at the Great Synagogue, his black vest exhibiting a gold chain stretched between his right pocket, where the gold watch reposed, and the left pocket, where the silver one was, and on the chain, the whistle dangled joyfully. All during the prayers, Chayim Pinchas did not let go of the whistle, his bony fingers caressing it as if it were a beautiful baby. The urchins that surrounded him looked at it with jealous eyes. Chayim Pinchas made sure that all the men, who were supposedly occupied with their heavenly duty, saw the whistle and appreciated it just as much as he did.
Two weeks later, at twilight, during a terrible snowstorm, my grandfather's door opened quickly, shoved forcefully by the rampaging wind, There was Chayim Pinchas in boots covered with snow. At that time, the store was filled with storekeepers who had come in from their cold and empty stores to get warm by the stove. They whispered among themselves that a new surprise was coming.
My grandfather's face blanched, and it looked like he was fighting hard to keep control over his anger, which was about to erupt with full force. Suddenly, a complete quiet fell the calm before the storm.
The first to break it was Chayim Pinchas. In the low, hesitant voice of one who is repentant, he turned to my grandfather: R' Nachman, dear heart, I have sinned and transgressed. You were correct why, really, does a Jew need a whistle? It was my natural passion, may it be cursed, that incited me. I owe 99 atonements for it. And before my grandfather managed to open his mouth, Chayim Pinchas quickly pulled the absorbent cotton from his ears, squeezed his nose shut with his thumb and forefinger, and puffed out his cheeks. His face turned very red, and an ear-splitting whistle, like a train's, escaped from his left ear. Chayim Pinchas had scared the recruiting board of the czar's army with such a whistle when he was young, and as a result, he was let go. The experts had done a nice job when they punctured his eardrum.
Well, I ask you, Chayim Pinchas asked the shocked shopkeepers, laughing. Do I need this lousy whistle? The loud laughter of the assembled confirmed his words. Heaven had provided them with this show on this cold, dreary day. But my grandfather, who often claimed to his family members that this Kadoshke would be the end of him before his time, did not participate in this joy but fell weakly onto his chair. The business of the new exchange was handled by my grandmother, who expressed her sadness at his poor wife's ill luck. Chayim Pinchas reacted to that with a baby's sweet smile.
Outside, the fierce storm had calmed down. The darkness of evening had descended on the town. Only the ringing of horses' neck bells pulling a lonely winter carriage disturbed the peaceful street, the vapor emanating from their mouths heralding a hard frost. The scraping of Chayim Pinchas' heavy boots on the snow as he returned home with a new treasure in his pocket echoed in the distance.
In booklet 9 of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants, we wrote about the library's move to Tel Aviv University and the chain of events that preceded it. The books were moved over a year ago according to a preliminary verbal agreement. The negotiations took a few months, and only on March 8, 1972, was the formal, detailed agreement signed by the representatives of the university (the rector, S. Simonson; the general manager, A. Doron; and the legal adviser, Dr. M. Yishai) and the organization (Y. Rokhel, M. Goldenberg, P. Litev, and A. Argaman). Most involved in formulating the agreement was member Pesach Litev. Since the text of the agreement is given in full in the booklet, we will not repeat it here. The books were housed in a special room at the Museum of the Diaspora under the auspices of the Research Institute for Hebrew Literature, but it has not been decided as yet whether this will be their permanent home or they will be shifted to a different, suitable room in that institution. Receiving the books entails listing and cataloging them, rebinding some, sorting and organizing them on the shelves, etc. All this work is being done by the Museum of the Diaspora's library staff.
The assumption was that the work would be finished by the start of the 5733 school year, but it looks like it will actually take a few months longer.
According to the agreement, a joint committee was formed: Prof. G. Alkoshi, chairman of Enlightenment Literature; Prof. Y. Lovin, chairman of the Hebrew Literature Department; and Prof. D. Karpi, dean of the Faculty of Humanities, from the university; and A. Argaman, P. Litev, and Y. Rokhel from the organization. Most involved from the university is Prof. G. Alkoshi. On the technical-organizational side is Mr. B. Arbel, head librarian of the Museum of the Diaspora. Prof. Alkoshi's assistant, Mr. Bar-Tana, is slated to give professional instruction to students and researchers who need to use the library.
Since the move, 73 books have been added to the RYBL Library (39 through purchase and 34 as gifts from institutions and members). The books were chosen according to Prof. Alkoshi's instruction, and some of them are rare, increasing the value of the library. We spent close to I£1,000 on the books and are ready to buy more if only we can find valuable ones. It is worth noting that, in this case, we have accumulated quite a reserve for this purpose from earmarked donations, as in the past few years we have spent very little in this department.
Also, the joint committee took the first steps in the matter of scholarships for research on Enlightenment literature and confirmed a scholarship in the sum of I£1,250, donated by our member Zev Shnayder from Detroit in memory of his father Shmuel Shnayder, of blessed memory. The money was given to Mr. Bar-Tana for the college student who wrote on the topic The Hebrew Novel during the Enlightenment Period: Y.L.G. and Brandshteter for a master's degree. The dissertation is 120 pages long.
As stated, soon the permanent room for the library will be determined. At that time, our member Argaman will handle the room's interior design in order to commemorate Jewish Kremenets appropriately.
Between the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel (this party to be called the Organization), Tel Aviv, 67 La Guardia Street, c/o Yehoshue Golberg
And Tel Aviv University, the Ben-Tsion Katz Institute for Research in Hebrew Literature (this party to be called the University and/or the Institute), Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv
The Organization The exclusive owner of the library dedicated to Hebrew literature of the Enlightenment period, called the RYBL Library (herein to be called the library)
The Organization is interested in having the library used properly, and enlarged and developed for the benefit of the public, particularly to assist researchers, writers, students, etc.
The University is interested in transferring the library to its jurisdiction for the purpose of its being used by researchers and their assistants, teachers, and students in their scholarly work.
According to those, the two parties stipulate and agree as follows:
The list of books is attached here and constitutes an inseparable part.
All these signs and marks, which make this library unique within the University walls and/or in the Museum of the Diaspora, will forever be as detailed above.
The Organization would like to host Kremenetser guests who live in other countries in the library at times to show and explain to them the areas and links with Tel Aviv University. And the University should help as it finds desirable and useful.
The dates for the occasions (which will entail reservations) and the arrangements involved will be made by agreement, as long as at least 15 days' notice is given. Receptions for guests may take place in a different part of the University, with a visit to the library only.
On this both parties signed:
|in Tel Aviv, on March 7, 1972
Organization of Kremenets Emigrants
67 La Guardia St., Tel Aviv
|S. Simonson||Y. Rokhel||P. Litev|
|A. Doron||M. Goldenberg||A. Argaman|
|For the university||For the organization|
Tel Aviv University
March 3, 1972
Hundreds of books with historical, literary, and documentary value have been donated to Tel Aviv University by the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants. The donation is a memorial project to the town, which was annihilated during the Nazi Holocaust.
The books were donated to the university for the purpose of establishing an independently functioning unit, while noting its special identity within the framework of the Ben-Tsion Katz Institute for Research in Hebrew Literature.
The library will be named for RYBL Rabbi Yitschak Ber Levinson (1788-1860), a Jewish writer of the Enlightenment era, a Kremenetser who was called the Russian Mendelssohn. Many of his books in the collection are first editions and unavailable in other libraries. The library is intended for use by researchers, teachers, and students in their scholarly work.
The organization will mobilize funds for scholarships and prizes for students and researchers engaged with Enlightenment literature.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the annihilation of the martyrs of Kremenets by the Nazis and the 26th annual memorial to them held in Israel. This time, also, in the Kibbutzim College square in Tel Aviv, a few hundred people gathered from all over the country. Many came early, and as we do every year, we witnessed emotional meetings of relatives, friends, and acquaintances. This outpouring of emotion is repeated at every annual memorial. Let's hope it continues until the last one of our townspeople is gone.
This time, the master of ceremonies was our member Yosef Zalts of Akko, who by age should be counted as a member of the survivor generation. He eulogized our martyrs in a well-written, impressive speech. Member Yitschak Portnoy eulogized the members who had passed away during the year, and every name he mentioned was accompanied with sadness and grief on the part of the assembled. Cantor Shapira recited God, Full of Compassion, the Kaddish, and suitable verses from Psalms.
The second part was devoted to the organization's everyday business. Member Pesach Litev presented the plan for establishing a scholarship fund on behalf of Kremenets emigrants at Tel Aviv University, as a codicil project to the RYBL Library, which was housed at the university last year. The main sections of his speech are in a separate article in this booklet. Member Avraham Argaman (Avrasha Bots) suggested forming a control board, as is done in every responsible public organization, and members Portnoy and Litev were charged with setting it up. Also, Argaman appealed to the members to help the small group that carries the burden of the organization's activities, including the booklet; some members, the younger ones, should volunteer to serve on the organization's board (so far only members Lea Vilderman-Barshap and Fishel Teper have come forward).
Quite a few members who were not limited by the schedule of the evening's last bus stayed on after the end of the formalities and continued conversing and exchanging impressions and memories. This reminded us of our parents' habit of staying for a while in the synagogue after the concluding prayer on Yom Kippur, so as to add from the mundane to the holy .
|Current Bank Hapoalim account||4,514||747|
|In securities and short time loans||--||3,034|
|In dollars, foreign deposit account, $379||--||4,514||1,325||5,106|
|Income from members in the Land|
|Membership fees paid at the Memorial Day||587||653|
|Payments for Voice of Kremenets Emigrants||840||374|
|Payments for obituaries in the booklet||--||100|
|Donations for the library and other projects||118||--|
|Interest from Bank Hapoalim account||20||5|
|Interest from securities||--||269|
|Income from other countries (dollars converted to I£)|
|Payments for the booklet||1690||630|
|For the RYBL Library||385||892|
|For the purchase of AMS books for the library||--||455|
|From Argentina, for the library and other projects, $500||--||1,750|
|For aid, assistance||595||420|
|For various organizational functions||--||2,670||100||4,247|
|Voice of Kremenets Emigrants||1,421||1,939|
|Memorial to the martyrs of Kremenets||377||416|
|RYBL Library: books||46||262|
|Shmuel Shnayder scholarship for research on RYBL
(donated by his son, Zev, of Detroit)
|Welfare for the needy||672||1,245|
|Loans to immigrating members||--||672||200||1,445|
|Scholarship contributions in the name of a deceased member||100|
|Hall for Chanukah party||200||--|
|Rosh Hashanah greeting cards||26||--|
|Receptions for visitors and board meetings||163||389||312||312|
|Commission to Bank Hapoalim (for handling securities)||25|
|Remainder balance for year end|
|In the current Bank Hapoalim account||747||1,326|
|In securities and short-term loans:||3,034|
|In dollars, foreign deposit account: 1969 $379; 1970 $1,114||1,325||5,106||3,897||5,223|
Happy Are the Innocent
Yisrael Otiker was an upright, straightforward man, secure within himself and in the pioneer and kibbutz way of life he chose. He trusted people and the movement, and he was a born optimist who tended to see the good, bright side of everything. An intense believer up to his last day, he identified himself with the world of the values with which he started on his way a long time ago, the halo of wholeness and trust undimmed.
As time went by, Yisrael increased his knowledge and enriched his sources, encompassing the world of Jewish history and researching the fate of the Diaspora. But to his dying day, he was still as modest and innocent as a child, full of plans and hopes for the future.
He spent his early days in the Land in Kibbutz Ein Hayam, given completely to earning great recognition as a Stakhanovite worker: driving wheelbarrows loaded with salt in Atlit, working with a hoe, and achieving great heights. Those may have been the happiest days of his life. In later years, when earning academic degrees easily came to him, he used to joke, You see, we were not meant to be woodcutters and water carriers only, though that was our goal when we took our first steps.
Yisrael was inflicted with Jewishness. His love of Jews wherever they are and his sense of curiosity about knowing and understanding this nation in its many wanderings and phases impelled him toward Jewish history and bound him with cables of endless enchantment and love. The miracle that the number of Jews had increased from 3 million to 15 million in 100 years strengthened his belief in the vitality of this people and the vision of many millions in the Land.
Indeed, in his spiritual world, Jewish history and demographic research on the Jewish people throughout the generations were a central cause. One of his students said, Yisrael knew how to enliven the chapters of history in each period we dealt with, and it revealed a personality that aroused a passion to love history and the Jewish people. His lectures proved to us all over again the strength and ability of analysis; Yisrael was gifted.
In Poland, his great love was Pioneer as he knew it in the 1930s, the decade before World War II and the decade of trouble and breakthrough that changed Pioneer into a flag bearer for the national-social-personal revolution in the nation. It was natural that he was called to the Pioneer center in Warsaw to participate in editing HeAtid, and he gave the movement his best willingly and wholeheartedly. To every call he answered, I am willing and ready. Lately, Yisrael was working diligently on research on Pioneer in Poland. His aim was to give the subject a historical dimension and this movement its rightful place in the Jewish history of our times.
In Kibbutz Naan's Members' School, Yisrael led a Hebrew history club for five years. One of his students writes, We loved and admired our teacher Yisrael, but we felt that the teacher loved his students, too. He was the image of an outstanding teacher and a good friend to every human being.
When Yisrael embarked on the wide-open road outside his native town first in Pioneer in Poland, then in Israel in the kibbutz movement, his studies, cultural activities, and missions to Italy and Argentina he retained his warmth toward his town, Kremenets, and its Jewry during all those periods. An emissary from Israel relates, When I visited Kremenets, Yisrael received me with an open, warm heart. His first act was to show me his beautiful town so I would learn about its treasures: Mount Bona cloaked in secrets, the Lyceum, and the seminary for priests. And obviously, its great treasure for the Jewish community was the RYBL, the torch carrier of the Enlightenment to Russian Jews. Yisrael was involved in his town's life and was active in many and various fields. Each corner of his town and every detail in the history of the Jewish community for generations were known and dear to him. Yisrael participated faithfully in the annual memorial to the martyrs of Kremenets and followed the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants' activities. When the organization took steps to establish the RYBL Library as a memorial project to the martyrs of Kremenets, it was Yisrael Otiker who suggested establishing this project within the framework of the Kibbutzim College, and it was he who negotiated with the college.
Here are some biographical details.
Yisrael was born in Kremenets on November 22, 1911, to Yakov Otiker and Rivka (née Fingerut), who had a leather business. Theirs was a traditional Jewish home but far from religiously fanatic. He studied in a Polish elementary school in Kremenets and received his Jewish education at home and at the Hebrew Club under the guidance of Leybchik Feldman. At the age of 12, he joined the Zionist youth group Sons of Zion and then Flowers of Zion, and joined Pioneer at the age of 17. In the years 1929-1931, he was a member of the editorial board of the local paper Kremenitser Lebn and, after that, of Kremenitser Shtime. At the same time, he served as the Tarbut School's secretary and took an active part in the local Zionist Organization. Starting in 1932, he functioned as a representative of Pioneer in Poland, first in the Lublin district and during 1935-1938 in the Pioneer center as a member of the editorial board of the newspaper Yediot Hachaluts and in other essential roles.
When he immigrated to the Land in September 1938, he joined the socialist group in Shekhunat Borokhov and worked as a stevedore at the Port of Tel Aviv. His second place in the Land was Kibbutz Ein Hayam (today called Ein Karmel) near Atlit, where he worked driving wheelbarrows at the salt company and working in the Atlit farmers' vineyards. At the same time, he carried out public roles for the farm (internal and external secretary).
In 1944, he married Lotke, a member of Kibbutz Naan, and joined that kibbutz. In 1945, he was sent to Italy, where Holocaust refugees gathered on their way to the Land, as an emissary of the United Kibbutz secretariat, and he worked there until 1947. After returning from Italy (by then his health was not conducive to physical labor anymore), he was occupied for several years with instructing new immigrants, first within the framework of his own kibbutz, Naan, and later he represented the United Kibbutz secretariat on the National Youth Board. Concurrently, he prepared the Dovrot series of booklets for publication; published by the United Kibbutz, they were slated for schools and youth groups.
From 1955 to 1957, Yisrael took a two-year course at Ef'al (the central college of the United Kibbutz), and starting in 1958, he took an active role there as a lecturer, instructor, and member of the administration. His specialty was Jewish history and the demography of the Jewish people.
From 1962 to 1964, he served as the emissary to Argentina from the United Kibbutz and the Jewish Agency. Through his activities, he formed a close link with dispersed Kremenetsers in Buenos Aires.
His friends in Ef'al urged him to take a formal university course, and from 1967 to 1970, he studied Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (majoring in contemporary Judaism) and Russian studies. He received a BA and then a certificate in humanities, with honors. His thesis for an MA degree was research on the subject The Pioneer Movement in Poland. Bet Yitschak Katsnelson and the United Kibbutz will soon publish this work in book form. He had planned to continue with that subject toward a doctoral degree, but cruel fate cut his life short before his time.
A series of his research papers and articles were published in Mibifnim and other periodicals. Some of them were translated into English and Spanish.
In September 1958, a tragedy suddenly occurred when his eldest daughter, Ada, died at the age of 13.
Yisrael died on May 16, 1972, after a malignant disease. He left his wife, Lotke, and his son, Yosef, of Kibbutz Naan, and his brother, Shalom, a member of Kibbutz Glil Yam.
After a discussion with Yisrael, Tabenkin used to say, Do you know what Otiker is? He is a genius. Every discussion with him teaches.
This is the life story of our fellow townsman, the distinguished Yisrael Otiker, one of the pioneers among us.
He went to his maker before his time, at the age of only 60 years.
We feel sadness for the loss, but he will not be forgotten.
May his memory be honored.
A few months ago, Yisrael Mandel passed away in Kremenets. It was he who cared for and guarded our graves and who, with the help of the small remnant of survivors from our town and with our help, had a monument erected over the mass grave of our martyrs and then had a fence built around it.
Yisrael Mandel was the son of Simche and Frida Mandel, who were known in our town as owners of the brush workshop, where all their family members worked. Filled with all sorts of brushes, this workshop was in their crowded apartment. But during the Sabbath and holidays, all the goods were hidden under special holiday covers, and the apartment took on the look of regular living quarters.
Yisrael was a soldier in the czar's army during World War I and returned home after an injury and the loss of his right thumb.
At that time, he was about 21 years old. Three years later, he married the eldest daughter of a Jewish yishuvnik in the large village of Zahaytsi and settled there. Being an enterprising and energetic person by nature, he had many dealings in manufacturing and commerce. Eventually, he was very successful there, and the gentiles of the village respected him for his good nature and willingness to help them in times of need.
The German invasion forced him, as it did all the area's Jews, to enter the ghetto in Kremenets. In one of his letters to Manus, he wrote of the horrible conditions in the ghetto.
When rumors that the end was near reached him, he and his two sons escaped from the ghetto. Yisrael succeeded in joining the partisans, while his two young sons were moved to the rear in Russia. His wife, his daughter, his parents, his younger brother, and his sisters were murdered with the rest of the town's martyrs.
After the war, Yisrael returned to Kremenets with his second wife. His sons settled in Russia and often came to visit him in Kremenets.
Yisrael could not relax all those years as he witnessed our martyrs' grave being abandoned to the area's predators and their children. He urged the few other Jews who had returned to Kremenets to do something about the desecration of the graves. They demanded action and help from the town council and wrote to the then-president of the USSR, Voroshilov. All their efforts bore fruit. To complete his life's project, Yisrael corresponded with his townspeople in New York and Israel. He received packages of expensive items from both places, which he sold to finance his project the erecting of the memorial monument and the fence around it. The details of this effort and a photo of the monument were published in booklet 1, and an article about him was published in booklet 2.
Yisrael was 76 years old at his passing.
May his memory be blessed!
In February of this year, at the age of 64, Dr. Y. Ts. Fisherman passed away. He was the son of Frida and Avraham Fisherman, of blessed memory, owners of a soap factory in Kremenets and Israel.
Dr. Fisherman, a member of the Youth Guard, immigrated to Israel in 1925. From there he went to study in France and graduated from the University of Strasbourg with degrees in bacteriology, chemistry, biology, and pharmacology. In Paris, he established and managed a successful bacteriology laboratory for close to 10 years.
In 1937, he returned to the Land, working in the Weizmann Institute and the pharmaceutical industry. For the last 24 years of his life, he owned a pharmacy in Givatayim.
He was a conscientious pharmacist, making his profession a mission. He was well liked by his customers; he listened to their complaints, helped them with advice and instructions, and secretly gave money or medication to those seeking his help. His generous heart was open to all who were needy, particularly among new immigrants, the remnant of the Holocaust, whom he helped to become established in the Land.
May his memory be blessed.
One day in February 1972, we were horrified to learn of the tragic death of Asher Kagan, son of our fellow townsman, the painter Moshe Kagan of Kibbutz Shamir.
On a hike with a youth group in the Golan Heights, he left the group to try to get to their destination on a new road he wanted to find, but he did not achieve his goal; he lost his footing on a high cliff and plunged to the bottom of a deep gorge. After a three-day search, he was found lifeless. He died before his 19th year.
A pitiful loss.
Kibbutz Shamir published a booklet in his memory, from which we have chosen to print the heartfelt words of his childhood friend Yaron.
Up to the last moment, I was hoping. I could not believe that this could happen to you. And here, you, the man who had hiking in his blood, of all people .
Asher! Do you remember all those hikes when you, I, and others chose our own roads sometimes better and shorter, sometimes meandering and dangerous, but a thousand times more beautiful than those known and well-traveled paths where everyone walks. We detested the endless line of heads and feet walking one after another without a shadow of initiative, imagination, or resourcefulness. We found our own roads in spite of all the reprimands and warnings, as we surely knew we would not fail! We trusted our trained feet and sharp eyes, which never let us down. And if we were sometimes caught in some complication or made a small mistake, we always, always, knew how to find a way to get out of it and make our way back. We knew that a true hike is one that we create with our own feet and use all our senses to guide ourselves on unknown roads among wondrous scenery toward that point to which the others go in one straight line . And here, we were born in this scenic place, among the basalt rocks, the enormous pillars and wonderful waterfalls, the stiff reeds, and the raspberry thickets.
Yes, these are the hills of Shamir. This is the scenery that we all know and have breathed in every day since our early childhood.
And you, who left us before your time, are returning to the earth you loved and knew so well, to the basalt rocks and the black clods of earth.
And we your parents, relatives, and friends helplessly face the cruel edict.
We will remember you forever as you were.
At the Kremenets Club. With the transfer of the RYBL Library to Tel Aviv University (see the article in this booklet), some changes have taken place in the Kremenets Club, which still exists in the same room as before at the Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv. At the initiative of member Argaman, the photograph display was changed, while adhering strictly to the atmosphere of old Kremenets. The bookcase was not left empty but has changed its contents: instead of books from the Enlightenment period, we made it a collection of memorial books from the destroyed Jewish communities of Vohlin and other books in memory of the Holocaust. Some of the books were purchased, and some were gifts. All the meetings and receptions for Kremenetsers and foreign visitors are held in that club, which feels just like home to any Kremenetser who happens to go there.
Guests from the United States. Recently, a few of our townspeople who live in New York have visited us. Some were received affectionately in the Kremenets Club, and others in private homes, according to the circumstances. The guests were (1) Professor Zev (Vulf) Chasid, of Berkeley, California (see the article about him in booklet 3); (2) Nachman (Norman) Desser and his wife, of New York; and (3) Shmuel (Milik) Fuks and his wife, of New York. At a festive party in the Kremenets Club, our member Manus reviewed all three occasions. You can read his words in the Yiddish section of this booklet.
Shorter visits in the Land were recently made by Polye Rubin, of Paris (daughter of David Rubin, of blessed memory), and Yonye Bernshteyn's son, who lives in Denmark. Both attended the memorial ceremony.
Settlers. Our townsman Yosef Katz, son of Avraham Katz, the tailor, arrived some time ago from Toronto, Canada, to settle here. We wish him a speedy and easy adjustment.
Mr. Pak arrived from Buenos Aires to settle in the Land. He is living temporarily in an apartment in Bat Yam. We bless his arrival and wish him a good settling-in according to his inclinations.
Pesach Litev is 75. The Tel Aviv branch of B'nai Brith festively celebrated the 75th birthday of our member Pesach Litev (Litvak), who is also a veteran member of B'nai Brith. About 200 people sat at the well-laden tables, and the emcee delivered a long biography of the guest of honor and his large part in developing social (the Organization for the Care of Handicapped Immigrants), cultural (Shalom Aleichem House), and settlement (Jewish Colonization Association) institutions. The speaker noted member Litev's superior qualities as a friendly man to associate with and as a pleasant and cultured man.
There were also musical and literary selections, and when the guests Kremenetsers among them said their farewells to their honored friend, all were in high spirits.
Litev has been a member of the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants since its inception, and for two years he has taken an active role in our organization: negotiating with Tel Aviv University, setting up the Scholarship Fund, etc.
We, too, congratulate our dear friend on his birthday and wish him and his family a healthy, long life and pleasure from his offspring.
We hope that his great experience with the public and his good nature will help him and us to develop useful activities within the framework of our organization.
A parenthetical note: Maybe it is a good idea for our organization to learn from B'nai Brith and note properly the landmark birthdays of our maturing members for their enjoyment and ours, too. Maybe this will also be a way to unite the Kremenets emigrant community.
Member Leya Vilderman-Barshap, who lives in Holon, has joined our board, and we wish her fruitful and beneficial work. The board needs renewal and refreshing of its composition from time to time, and we bless each member who is willing to give a helping hand. At the last memorial, our member Argaman expressed the same sentiment in his speech. Member Leya is a working woman (she works in a factory) and a mother, and in spite of this, she found it worthwhile and found herself able to carry some of the burden of our public social activity. And for that she will be blessed. In this booklet is the obituary she wrote for her uncle, Yisrael Mandel.
Member Fishil Teper, who lives in Tel Aviv, agreed to join the board, and in time his area of activity will be decided. We wish him fruitful and beneficial work.
Kremenetsers receive immigrants. Two of our members in Tel Aviv, each in their own way, are active in the absorption of immigrants from Russia. These are Yehuda Kaufman and his wife, and Yehoshue Golberg. The Kaufmans are active in the social arena. Mainly, they meet the immigrants at the airport as they disembark, make their acquaintance, invite them to visit their home from time to time (as we know, they are famous for how warmly they receive guests), and bring them into Israeli society by trying to create a circle of friends for them. Yehoshue Golberg, on the other hand, has taken it upon himself to take care of two immigrant families individually and completely until they are settled in a home of their own, their children's education is arranged, and they have had a job briefing. He guides them in all ways of life in the Land and contacts the institutions that the immigrants need (including health care providers, the tax office, the immigration office, etc.), and, when necessary, he accompanies them to any of those institutions and gives them advice on changes of profession/vocation, etc.
Much honor to our members for their blessed work, and they are definitely not the only Kremenetsers who do this voluntarily. We write about them because we were informed about their activities in this area.
Financial report. In this booklet, we publish our organization's financial report for 1969-1970. The 1969 report was prepared by member Taytelman, and the 1970 report, by Mr. Yakov Kendel, the bookkeeper we hired. Both were prepared for publication by member Rokhel, who determined the categories in the income and expenditure sections. For some years, Mr. Taytelman took care of the accounts, but lately there have been delays because of health problems, so the board decided to hire a bookkeeper. In the next booklet, we hope to publish the reports for 1971 and 1972. Our monetary turnover is not large, but it demands a proper accounting as befits a public institution. The organization's funds are held at Bank Hapoalim in two separate accounts: one for Israel pounds and the other for American dollars, yielding 6% interest. The devaluation of the currency gave us some gains, which upcoming reports will show. Previously, part of the fund reserve was held in securities that also gained some interest (I£269 in 1970). Most of the income was received from members living in other countries, and that is not an honor to our members in Israel. The main expense item is Voice of Kremenets Emigrants, which is also a losing item because members do not pay properly. Now that we have arranged for the post office bank to handle collections for VKE, we have opened an account there, too. But we also will write about this in upcoming reports.
During the annual memorial, it was decided to elect a control board, as is done in public institutions, and the election of the board was delegated to members Litev and Portnoy.
Letters to the editors. It is clear to see that not just Kremenetsers read the Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklets, but also others, who sometime take a great interest in them. Here is what Mr. Dov Aloni from Tel Aviv, who is active in the schools' commemoration of the communities, wrote to us:
Each time the postman hands me the Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklet, I snatch it out of his hand, attack it, and immediately read the dozens of pages and nourish my eyes with the graphic design and the drawings that are, without exaggeration, like grapes in the desert. I take a great interest in each article and every project and good deed of yours. Your last project, moving your RYBL Library to Tel Aviv University, is a true miracle! Indeed, you have done great things.
I wish you continued good luck with your activities all the days of your lives.
Yours in friendship and with blessings,
Here is a translation of a letter we received about the massacre in Munich from the Polish Organization of Kremenets Emigrants in London, England.
Board of Kremenets Emigrants
London, September 11, 1972
11 Leopold Road
Jewish Kremenets Emigrants in Israel
c/o Mr. Yehoshue Golberg
Tel Aviv, 67 La Guardia St.
Deeply shaken from the tragic murder in Munich, we send you, Jewish Kremenetsers, our heartfelt sympathy for your sorrow and our encouragement.
We understand the difficult situation of the Jewish people and are impressed by the heroism that accompanies them as they build and create a country in our era.
We have total trust in the eternal God's blessing that the state of Israel will be able to exist and develop in security and peace with its neighbors.
Our best wishes to you and your families.
For the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants
|H. Chernotska||A. Hermashevski|
Note: Mrs. Chernotska is the widow of Mr. Chernotski, starosta of Kremenets during the Polish regime.
On the third anniversary of the death of our beloved fellow townsman, Lieutenant Colonel Mordekhay (Moti) Bar-Mor (Bishbeyn), a very impressive memorial was held, as in previous years. The first part consisted of a religious ceremony at his gravesite in the military section of Kiryat Shaul Cemetery.
The second part took place in the club hall of the army base where Mordekhay served as commander for years.
Large numbers of his relatives and friends, officers and soldiers, his comrades-in-arms, traveled to the army base at the end of the religious ceremony and filled the hall to overflowing. There his commanders and subordinates and his friend from the forestry school in Bielo-Krinitse near Kremenets talked of him, and our member Manus reminisced about the town in which Mordekhay had grown up and loved so much and about members of his family there.
At the same place, three students from the high school in Neve Magen (the town where the Bar-Mor family lives) received prizes. The source of those prizes, which are given every year to students who distinguish themselves, is a fund established in Mordekhay's memory by his comrades-in-arms. When they heard the speakers' honest, heartfelt words, our townspeople who were at the memorial felt the great pain of his death before his time and pride in the son of their town. You saw clearly that the spoken words penetrated the listeners' hearts and together created a very impressive atmosphere.
It was an expression of honor and admiration that Mordekhay, of blessed memory, deserved.
On the scholarship fund board. Included in our agreement with the university is a promise (which is the same as a commitment) to make an effort to collect moneys for scholarships to be given for research on the literature of the Enlightenment era (in paragraph 5). During the continuation of the negotiations, an idea crystallized of establishing the scholarship fund as a permanent fund, which will be under the auspices of the university, and scholarships will be given from the fund every year to the research students. During the annual memorial, our member Pesach Litev gave a speech about it, and his words were met with approval.
The Library Affairs Committee (Argaman, Litev, Rokhel) as well as our member Dr. Yisrael Rabinovits was charged with implementation. The first exploratory steps in that direction give us hope that this will be achieved within the framework designated by the board. So far, a few families have already promised I£1,000 each in memory of their loved ones. And there is an ongoing negotiation with a number of financially able and willing members. In the United States, our members David Rapoport of New York and Nachman Desser are in charge, and so far the pledges are for $1,600. The Society of Kremenets Emigrants in New York is discussing the subject presented to them by the board, and their decision is expected soon. They will discuss a serious donation of a four-digit sum in dollars from the Society's reserves.
As for approaching members in Haifa, the board requested that members Portnoy and Rayzman do this, and they agreed.
This booklet includes a full article on this subject by Pesach Litev.
To Avraham and Manya Abir (Biberman), of Jerusalem, on the marriage of their grandson, Sefi, son of Leya and Yitschak Metiuk, Tel Aviv, to his fiancée, Chagit Shachal.
To Dvora and Shalom Bernshteyn, of Ashdod, on the marriage of their son, Meir, to his fiancée, Aviva.
To Sonya Zinger-Velberg and her husband, of Tel Aviv, on the birth of their granddaughter, Lionora, daughter of Perl and Charles Kohen.
To Avraham and Etya Chasid, of Moshav Herut, on the birth of their eighth grandchild, Tal, son of Nechemya and Sara Chasid.
To Batya and Moshe Leviten, of Jerusalem, on the birth of their granddaughter, Sigel, daughter of Telma and Dani Leviten.
To Aharon (Munya) and Bela Mandelblat, of Petach Tikva, on the marriage of their daughter, Shoshana, to her fiancé, Ilan Esderban, and on the birth of their granddaughter, Einat, daughter of Pesach and Vele Mandelblat.
To Cherna Milgrom-Shkurnik and her husband, of Haifa, on the marriage of their son, Yitschak, to his fiancée.
To Zina and Pesach Koler, of Petach Tikva, on the marriage of their son, Zev, to his fiancée, Chana.
To Aba and Rachel Kneler, of Ramat Gan, on the marriage of their daughter, Miryam, to her fiancé, Alan Kelman, of France.
To Beba Krits-Rokhel and her husband, Yosef, of Haifa, on the birth of their second granddaughter, Dikla, daughter of Binyamin and Pnina Krits.
To Sonya Radzinovits-Aksel and her husband, Adam, of Tel Aviv, on the marriage of their daughter, Dvora, to her fiancé, Yakov.
To Dvora Toren-Feldman and her husband, Yehoshue, of Hadera, on the birth of their first great-granddaughter, daughter of Leya and Yosef Kedem.
To Guta and Yosef Shifris on the birth of their grandson, Eliran, son of their daughter, Bilhah, and Emanuel Rog.
To Yitschak Goltsberg on the marriage of his granddaughter, Ela, daughter of Mordekhay and Ada Goltsberg, to her fiancé, Yakov Kozlovski.
To Batya Cherlov (Lapidus) on the marriage of her daughter, Dinka, to her fiancé, Tsvika.
To Shmuel Shapira, husband of Fanya Kneler, of blessed memory, on the marriage of his son, Ilan, to his fiancée, Aida Abramovits, of the United States.
May they all be blessed, and may the celebrations among us be many!
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