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[Page 469]

Those Who Died
in the Land of Israel


Sarah Edelstein

by Abraham Shapiro

Edited by Alisa Klaus




Before settling down in Sarny, the Edelstein family lived in Olevs'k for several years. They arrived in Olevs'k at the outset of the First World War: the parents, three sons and an only daughter. One of the sons was killed soon afterwards in the Russian Revolution; his name is recorded in the Soviet Encyclopedia among the heroes of the revolution. The father, who was a good doctor and a man of pleasant disposition, died not long after. A second son was exterminated in the Holocaust and one son remains alive to this day, in Soviet Russia.

The late Dr. Edelstein helped poor people a great deal, and the people of the town in general, in extending medical care to them, often without receiving financial compensation.

Mrs. Edelstein z”l was a person of pleasant appearance and was fluent in several foreign languages. More than once, the heads of the city selected her to stand at the head of delegations to the various ruling authorities. In the days after the revolution, various generals would show up at the head of marauding brigades. From every town they entered, they demanded food, clothing, cattle and horses. If they were refused, they threatened to assault the Jews. Frequently, this became a matter of life or death. When this happened, the late Mrs. Edelstein and the city leaders would present themselves to the generals and commanders, each in turn, and request protection for the city's residents. The Jews of the city took advantage of the quality of her efforts more than once. Her command of languages, her convincing speech and her refined bearing assuaged even the rulers.

No one who came in contact with Mrs. Edelstein z”l will forget her noble and refined deportment. She was receptive to all. And with everyone, she found a language of kinship and knew how to advise, comfort and encourage.

Her good deeds are witness to her enchanting personality.

Eliyahu Burstein

by Yehoshua Katzman

Edited by Alisa Klaus




After the Poles entered Sarny, the family of Eliyahu Burstein z”l decided to sever its ties to the Diaspora and enter the ranks of the Halutzim.

The Third Aliyah, beginning in 1921, is understood to have been composed of Halutzim. However, it was difficult to believe that an “ordinary” citizen would join it. And although there was support for and warm feelings toward the Halutzim, both on the way and in the land of Israel, nevertheless, the emigrants had no “father” in that era. Every concern and all of the arrangements fell exclusively on their own personal shoulders.

Eliyahu Burstein, a scion of D¹browica, was the son of a ritual slaughterer and meat inspector. When he reached maturity, he turned to this work, which garnered respect for him in the land of Israel. Once in the land of Israel, he immediately found his livelihood in addressing the difficulties that the Halutzim faced making aliyah. He turned himself to the work of development and his house was transformed into a center of Sarny life in Tel-Aviv. In that period (1922-1929) there was not a single Sarny scion who did not come to Eliyahu's house when first arriving in the land of Israel. He and his wife Sarah, may she have a long life, would lovingly receive each and every new arrival, and their house and table were open generously to all.

When he had settled comfortably in the land of Israel, he turned to activity, and dedicated most of his time to giving assistance both publicly and anonymously.

The memory of his warm Jewish heart will light the way for us.

Son'keh Geifman

by Ronya Tress-Zuckerman

Edited by Alisa Klaus




It is certain that the course of my life would have been entirely different, much more severe, and the pent-up and dormant fountains of emotion would not have been opened – were it not for the light of Son'keh's teachings. She shone light into my life from the beginning, and served as a living model of the traditional life, and she supported me in my longing for a life such as this.

Whenever a need for help arose, when the majority would hesitate and evaluate whether to act or not, Son'khe was the first to rise up and act, without taking stock of the consequences. This is because she was possessed of a strong set of traditional values.

In her years in the land of Israel, she developed a mature and fully ripened understanding to add to her activities rounding out her deeds. Years ago, during her illness, Son'keh was returned to Hadera after an operation in a hospital. She was confined to her room but found this so difficult that she was unable to sleep at nights, because it disrupted her ability to engage in activity. When the doctors wanted to move her again, Son'keh objected with these words: A person cannot lose that spark of divinity that resides in them!

Indeed, Son'keh was created in God's image, in the goodness of her heart, in her will, as if she wanted to spread her protecting wings over the community at large, in her readiness to stand at our right hand – and this was something that was simply out of the ordinary. It was impossible for Son'keh to not act together with others, compelled by that traditional set of values inside her.

Son'keh was a pessimist for her entire life, but whoever stood beside her or saw her before them could not be a pessimist: that storehouse of goodness, that light of such a profound dedication.

Son'keh's mother was descended from the Baal Shem-Tov. This was not an accident.

Abraham-Aharon Dworetzky

by Moshe Yuz

Edited by Alisa Klaus




Abraham-Aharon Dworetzky suckled his love of the written word and the Torah from his father R' Leib, who served as a teacher in our city. In his youth, he excelled in his studies and got as far as the University of Kiev. The civil war and the ensuing revolution disrupted his studies, and he had to assume the yoke of sustaining his family.

Abraham-Aharon Dworetzky was the owner of a book store that also sold stationery items. The store served as a center for all those who were acquainted with and loved the written word. Abraham-Aharon dedicated his spare time to community work. He was active in the Drama Circle.

He was a member in Tze'irei Tzion, Tarbut and the National Funds. In the year 1936, he made aliyah to the land of Israel and settled in Jerusalem. In the land of Israel, he was taken ill with an extensive cancer, and he passed away in 1953.

Alta Hurwicz

by Moshe Yuz

Edited by Alisa Klaus




The Hurwicz family reached Sarny together with the two respected families – Tartakowsky and Gerszunok. These families contributed a special substance accompanied by graciousness to community endeavor, thanks to their unique standing and the pioneering spirit that pulsed within them.

Alta Hurwicz was a scion of a rabbinic family and the granddaughter of Rabbi Tiktinsky, the headmaster of the yeshiva at Mir. She excelled in her wealth of knowledge and sharp intelligence, and in her ardor and dedication to work on behalf of Zionism. She excelled especially in her work on behalf of the Keren Kayemet. There was not a single Zionist endeavor in the city in which she did not take an active part, both as a leader and as a participating worker. I was privileged to work in her section as a secretary, and her heartfelt attitude and dedication spread a good aura throughout.

With her husband Mendl, may he have a long life, Alta Hurwicz reached the land of Israel in 1936 and gracefully accepted the tribulations that followed. She remained a loyal Zionist to her last day. She died on 15 Nissan 5719 in Jerusalem.

Ze'ev Zuliar

by Joseph Zuliar

Edited by Alisa Klaus




He was born in 1916 and made aliyah in 1933. He worked in construction and was among the first to work on the port of Tel-Aviv until he was drafted into the Jewish Brigade in the division called YAEL (the Hebrew Unit of Huvla).

He was among those saved from the ship Arnopola that sunk in the ocean on 31 April 1943 after it was bombed from the air. He loved flying and was killed on one of his flights, on 17 Shevat 5716 (1955).

[Page 473]

Shmuel Zingerman

by M. Zingerman

Edited by Alisa Klaus




The store on the “Wide” Boulevard which was owned by Shmuel Zingerman's father was always busy with people and activity, open to everyone who came in. It was a center and a committee seat for all the various organizations of the city. Not a day went by, when various people didn't sit around the table: relatives of the family; people active in affairs or community members who came to engage in discussion of world affairs; or just plain guests who came in for a friendly visit or light conversation.

The members of the family enjoyed transforming the house into a place for official business, for their organizations, or activities. An emissary from the Land of Israel, an activist from the area or a large city, a Halutz on his way to or from the Kibbutz at Klesów, relatives, or just plain guests in transit – there was a place for all of them in the house.

My father, Shmuel Zingerman, was a man of multi-faceted activity, who amazed people by his ability to unite people of differing feelings and opinions on an issue. He was a man of action, a man of vision and wisdom, who did not believe in the future of the Diaspora but, at the same time, did not despair of continuing the struggle to improve life there. Freethinking in his outlook and living his life in a progressive way, he also observed the tradition of his ancestors. He was one of the respected members of the Stolin Hasidim in the city. He was a community man, who loved doing community work for its own sake, and at the same time was bound to his family heart and soul. A member of the progressive generation, he knew how to engage with the younger generation, to relate well to their struggles and to appreciate and direct them in the ways of the world.

The Rebbe came to the city to visit with his followers, the Hasidim. And where did he stay? – the house of my father! For a week, the house bubbled like a seething pot. Hundreds of Hasidim from the vicinity streamed to the house – to seek counsel and salvation, to shake hands, to receive a blessing, or simply to be part of the multitude, to nourish the heart and to be happy.

My father was especially close to R' Chaim-Mendel Kostromecky – the Headmaster of the yeshiva, first and foremost among the Stolin Hasidim. He was a man of upright heart and a great Hasid. My father was among his closest and best friends, even though he was progressive in his outlook and he didn't send his sons to the Yeshiva but rather educated them in an international freethinking spirit.

My father was a community activist. His activities were multi-faceted, including issues that affected the city generally, issues pertaining to the Jewish community, and other matters, but he dedicated himself especially to the Zionist movement, its funding, and its cultural initiatives. He served as the Chair of the community council, was a member of the Magistracy, the Municipal Council, and Head of the Zionist Histadrut, the Chair of the Committee for Keren HaYesod, Head of the Tarbut School Committee, a founder of the Tarbut School, and the Chair of the Parents' Committee.

From 1917 to 1920, during the revolution in Russia, my father was a member of the Municipal Council. The power of the Council was circumscribed, and its opportunities for action were virtually nil. My father transformed it into an institution that attempted to forestall pogroms and to stand in defense of the Jewish community.

I recollect the occasion of one of their actions. The forces of Petlura returned to the city and announced that they had complete freedom to act, ”to rejoice.” A dead silence rapidly fell over the city. Doors were shut and padlocked, and not a soul was seen in the street. Despite this, my father went out with a Justice of the Peace and made a plea before the ruling officer. After an extended negotiation and the payment of monies in exchange for promises, they took leave of the ruler. The hour was late, and he directed his feet towards home. Suddenly shouts of “Gevalt” were heard in the street, mixed with the sounds of gunshots and glass shattering. One of the units trailed my father, and it seemed certain that he would be attacked. Yet, apparently my father's proud stance, his refusal to hide that “I am a Jew,” and his effort with the Justice of the Peace, who accompanied him to his house, saved him from a certain death.

In the chaos and anarchy of those days, an uprising of farmers, workers and ordinary intelligentsia, among them many Jews, broke out against the ruling noble in nearby Dabrowica. A mass of humanity assaulted the estate of this famous local nobleman. They smashed things, tore down structures, and even killed members of the family. And after this wave passed over, the opposition force that gained strength believed Jews were responsible for this uprising. More than 20 of the sons of Dąbrowica, among the best of that city and its prominent citizens, were arrested and brought to Sarny on the day of the Festival of Sukkot, where their fate would be decided. Prayer in the synagogue was halted and a delegation was selected to go to the ruler. After a great deal of pleading, the ruler was prevailed upon to release those arrested in exchange for a substantial payment, literally in gold, and in a very short time, no less.

My father closed his store, neglected his family, and put his whole being into the rescue of the arrested Jews. This was a very difficult time for the Jews. Everyone with malevolent intent or a desire to harm Jews made himself into a boss. Jewish youths attempted to organize themselves into a self-defense organization.

I remember all the visitors to our house. The house was locked and barred. Inside, there were a few young people who had come to take counsel. And here, there is a knock at the door. Through a peephole, it was possible to see that a group of thugs intent on mayhem was knocking, demanding to be admitted and threatening to break through the door. Suspecting that they will reveal the gathering, my father decides to go out to confront them. A shot pierces the air. As it happened, it missed the target and my father was saved by a miracle. The murderers left the place but promised to return in the evening.

The Bolsheviks captured the city. The military communist regime imposed large demands for provisions on the residents. Heavy taxes were levied. Arrests began and mistrust arose. With the help of friends among the ranks of the new rulers, who were from the area, my father saved those who had been arrested from being sent to unknown faraway places, from which no one ever came back.

Then the Poles arrived. Once again there are pogroms and anti-Semitic demonstrations. During this time, the regime established itself and the Jews returned to their ways of making a living and their affairs. Connections with the centers of Jewish life, from which they had been disconnected for years, were re-established.

Contact with the Land of Israel was also established and the first group of Halutzim made aliyah. My father was a close friend to the members of this group. His sorrow was great that he was unable to join them.

My father began to do business and, in connection with his affairs, he traveled to the large cities. There, he got in contact with the Jewish and Zionist Central Agencies and brought back both materials and representatives to Sarny, to rejuvenate the Zionist activities in the city.

He divided his time between his ordinary concerns and the concerns of the community at large, most of which involved Zionist endeavors. Even when he was engaged at the Magistracy, in the Jewish community, or in the People's Bank, he constantly emphasized Herzl's slogan: “Conquest of the Communities.”

My father invested enormous amounts of effort in Zionist education and winning over the young people. He raised money and acquired the large house used by the Pristav in Czarist times, where he established the Hebrew Gymnasium. A national-Jewish spirit coursed through this gymnasium, in which the language of instruction was Russian and most of whose teachers were gentiles. This school laid the foundation for national education in Sarny. In the fullness of time, it was transformed into the Tarbut School, which educated many hundreds of Sarny youth in the tenets of Zionism, preparing them to be Halutzim, and in the Hebrew language. Many of those educated in this way can be found today in the Land of Israel, having fulfilled their goals.

For all the years up until he left Sarny, my father was the Chair of the Parents' Committee of the school. All of the concerns of the school, whether budgetary or related to personality, were his responsibility. He carried this yoke lovingly until the day he made aliyah to the Land of Israel.

The entire Zionist youth in Sarny – each of its sections - met at the Tarbut school. However, there was no place where grownups could gather freely. Every one of them was preoccupied with his own concerns. Only during festival days was it possible to meet with friends and acquaintances. My father, along with other comrades, organized the Zionist Minyan. Beyond prayer, this Minyan served as a meeting place for casual conversation and for making donations to the Zionist funds.

In 1925, my father visited the Land of Israel. From that time on, his longing for the land intensified and he neither rested nor was still until he realized his desires. He left the Diaspora to settle down in the Land of Israel. In the year 1930, he left Sarny, came to the Land of Israel, and settled in B'nai Brak, where he had previously purchased a parcel of land.

In B'nai Brak, he built a house and planted an orchard. He undertook strenuous physical activity to accustom himself to physical labor. Despite his age, he did not shrink from such activity, because he had decided not to return to the forms of work in the Diaspora.

In the Land of Israel, my father surrounded himself with an extensive family group. He got involved in the aliyah process of many of them, bringing them over and helping them with their initial process of getting settled. The house that he had built in B'nai Brak served as a first station for them, until they could get settled. And once again, the house hummed with the presence of many people – relatives and friends.

His ability to integrate into community life in the Land of Israel came to him with difficulty. The community atmosphere was different from that which he had been used to. This was compounded by difficulties of language as well as different rules and regulations. Under these new circumstances, he found it almost impossible to participate in community affairs as he was accustomed, and this undoubtedly was something he missed. However, this situation did not disturb his capacity to take part in all that happened in the Land of Israel, the battles, victories and defeats. This was a stormy period; there were incidents of bloodshed, the struggle to make aliyah, and to get settled. There was the contest against the British Mandatory régime. What can one do, if one is unable to take an active role in all these struggles? He was proud of being in the Land of Israel with his sons beside him, active on all of these fronts. Never did he ever attempt to hold me back, or to steer me towards the way of life from which I had fled. He always accompanied me with worry, trepidation, and with his blessing. He loved the Kibbutz Ramat HaKoveysh where I lived. He visited me frequently and was delighted with all the progress he saw.

A disease was incubating within him for a long time; however he did not reveal this even to those closest to him. During the Festival of Sukkot of 5708, while in Jerusalem, he fell sick and was admitted to the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus. On 30 Tishri 5708 (October 14, 1947), his life came to an end at the age of 64, and he was buried on the Mount of Olives.

[Page 475]

Yitzhak Isaac Zalman

by Sh. Zandweiss

Edited by Alisa Klaus




R' Yitzhak Isaac Zalman was born in the city of Tuchyn in the year 1860. He was an enlightened man and was fluent in Hebrew and Russian. He carried on correspondence on matters pertaining to Judaism and Zionism with Rabbi Mazeh and Dr. Chaim Czolnow. He was a pharmacist by profession and owned pharmacies in Tuchyn and Rivne. From 1926 to 1935, he ran the Aptaczny Skład pharmacy in Sarny. In 1935, at the age of 72, he made aliyah to the Land of Israel. Everywhere he lived, he was active in the Zionist Histadrut and the national funds. In Sarny, he was also one of the Gabbaim of the Zionist Minyan housed in the Tarbut School. In the enchanting Land of Israel, he continued to take an interest in learning and culture to the end of his days. He died in his eighties, and was buried in Petakh-Tikva on 28 Iyyar 5701 (May 25, 1941).

Shoshana Chaimowicz

by Ze'ev Geller

Edited by Alisa Klaus

She had a folksy personality, an effusive and warm heart, and was a Halutz from the earliest age. She made aliyah in 1929 from the town of Sarny in Poland, to Kfar-Saba. The story of her life is an example of what it means to be a Halutz, who rebelled against life in the Diaspora. Against the advice of her parents, she left for the training camp, HeHalutz. In the Land of Israel, she lived first in the Kibbutz HaKoveysh. After seven years there, she moved to Kfar-Saba. There, she started a new chapter in her life, that of the Jewish worker struggling for her privilege to work and to maintain her dignity. She was not the pampered sort, and did not shrink from any sort of work that would promise her a life with dignity. Even as a mother with three children, she continued to work enthusiastically.

Full of spunk, the joy of life and understanding, she guarded her emotional state even during the difficult periods. For many years, she worked in the educational institutions of her settlement, and she was a confidante to every child and mother. Everyone accorded her a great deal of affection, for her good heart and the dedication she gave to her position.

Before going to the hospital for an examination, she said goodbye to her friends at work, and not a single person guessed that this would be a final farewell. Her death cast a heavy gloom over the settlement, and her funeral, in which thousands of residents took part, was evidence of the sense of affection and the value she had earned.

Joseph Kharpak

by Eliyahu Kharpak

Edited by Alisa Klaus




The chronicle of his community activity begins at the beginning of the establishment of Sarny in 1900, when he arrived from Dabrowica. There were two groups of ten Jews who had assembled themselves from the area villages who laid the foundation for the commerce that took place next to the train station in Sarny. They opened stores to meet the needs of the workers who had come from all over the expanse of Russia as well as the surrounding area, to lay the railroad tracks from Kiev to Kovel.

These tens of Jews, the founders of Sarny, came without families because Jews still did not have permission to live there. Each person would travel back to his family for the Sabbath. More than once, when the police sergeant, who was fond of strong liquor, was not satisfied with the “gifts” that he received, he would break into their solitary houses, beat the Jews and send them off on foot to where they lived.

Already, at that time, our father paved the way for community endeavors in Sarny, clearly not for the purpose of receiving financial remuneration.

In the absence of any formal institutions, much depended on the good will of the Pristav (the Police Chief) and other officials. Those officials who were appointed and came from far away with their families, would come first to acquire their supplies and residence. Their first stop would be to our father's place of business, and it was here that they developed their first connections with the Jewish population, leading to good relations later on. There was a somber atmosphere that pervaded the town. From time to time, the word would pass that the ”authorities” were very bad and unwilling to accept newcomers.

When the family moved to Odessa during the First World War, we established a place of business in the well-known Zionist residence of Mr. Barbash. We closed the business both on Saturday and Sunday. In response to a question from Mr. Barbash, our father explained to us that in our home town the Sabbath is holy to us, and we were permitted to engage in business on Sunday as usual, because of the good relationships with the ”authorities” in that place. “Well, that is your good fortune, and it is good for you,” said Mr. Barbash, “however, I am certain that this will not stand in Odessa.” To this our father replied: “We are only here temporarily and it is our plan to return to our town.”

My father was among those who established and supported educational institutions. He began with a ”Reformed Heder,”, following the pattern of the one run by Mr. Boaz Yaszfa, Mr. Neiman, etc. It was from them that the growing generation in Sarny gained its understanding of Zionism, until such time as more formal institutions of learning were established.

The initiatives undertaken in that day also found expression in the creation of the role of the Gabbai in the synagogue. When new winds began to blow and it was heard that even in the Hasidic shtibl there was a demand for order and cleanliness, our father and Mr. Benjamin Kantorowicz were selected to be Gabbaim in the synagogue. I recall that an acquaintance who returned to the town after having by chance been away for several weeks, paused at the threshold of the synagogue when he saw the extensive change that had taken place, and said: ”A thousand, and many thousand points of difference, as clean as a Tserkva (a Russian Orthodox Church).”

And there was another important community personality to be reckoned with: Inspector Zakharin. This was a distinguished-looking gentile elder, of pleasant disposition, who served as inspector of stores for purposes of setting the tax rate for the government. Our father served as a deputy, whose role was to advise in setting the schedule of payments. This responsibility caused him to neglect ordinary day-to-day matters during the few days when he needed to go from store to store with the inspector.

Mr. Zakharin lived in the city of Berezne. Before he would arrive in his conveyance, he would telegraph my father:“We are coming,” in order not to alarm the Sarny storekeepers. Then our father would alert all of the storekeepers in the town so that they could remove part of their inventory, to lessen the tax levy to be set.

When the Stolin synagogue became crowded due to the increase in the number of worshipers, the question of whether an additional synagogue should be established was put on the agenda. At every holiday and festival occasion, this matter was discussed and debated, but no conclusion was taken. That is, until our father and Mr. Nahum Pearlstein were designated and decided to begin the actual work. My father and Mr. Pearlstein proposed a donation of five thousand rubles, and when the synagogue was standing on its hillock, the worshipers would come and reimburse the outlay. “Said and done ---” and that is how the Kupczeskya synagogue was built (the Merchants' Synagogue).

Our Weisiula Street was the happy place, because of the happiness created there by our uncle Leib'l Kharpak and his assistants. There, on the threshold of our place of business, the storekeepers of the area would gather, along with other guests and people lounging about, for serious discussions or general conversation about all the issues of interest in the larger world. Our father, who, God forbid, did not set his work aside, would nonetheless convey his thoughts on these matters to those assembled. Many, many community matters were discussed at that place and time.

In the face of all the changes in regime in the town, our father would staunchly confront the rulers and reduce the severity of decrees, from the specific to the general. Ours was an open house and many, many people found support there: a hand extended by our mother Pessia, to offer money or monetary equivalents. And if it was necessary to use the Hall for a wedding for those of limited means, the matter was taken care of willingly and with heartiness.

Our father did not stint in giving of his time to us, the children, to convey his adherence to the Zionist movement, as if this was missing from our schooling. When we children grew up and began to carry out a plan to make aliyah to the Land of Israel, our parents also conceived the notion of joining us. And when our father visited our sister in France, he also made a tour of the Land of Israel. Afterwards, he returned to Sarny, closed down his business of more than 30 years and made aliyah to the Land of Israel.

In the economic crisis that erupted in the Land of Israel as a result of the Italian-Ethiopian war, he suffered severely. He traveled back to see Sarny again and then returned to the Land of Israel. He lived a very spare life, consistent with the economic circumstances, among his progeny. His hearty humor and gift for gab led him, as always – until our mother passed away. After several years, he also succumbed to a malignant disease.

[Page 478]

Shy'keh Trilsky

by Sarah Turkentiz

Edited by Alisa Klaus




A pretty boy, happy and of pleasant disposition, the very model of an urban youth – this was the way he was when he first came to the movement – to HeHalutz Hatza'ir. It was clear to him that he would fail because he was not trusted and therefore would be denied entry into the movement. And how surprised he was when he was willingly admitted, without any hesitation, because this was one of the bedrock principles of the movement – to accept everyone.

For his whole life, he was suffused with the desire to prove to everyone that he was indeed entitled to this trust. He was among the first in his movement to leave for training. He spent about three years undergoing training in agriculture at Grochów, near Warsaw. He was the youngest of the members there but he participated in all heavy labor and took part in all the difficult tasks, even more than was required. I spent six weeks with him there, when I went out for training myself. And how proud of heart I was to find Shy'keho as a Halutz, suffused with self-awareness and seriousness, the first to participate in all kinds of efforts, even the most difficult.

He made aliyah before we did. He was among the first to join the Fifth Aliyah, and among the builders of the farm Shfayim. Here, as well, with his training in agriculture, he was placed in the stables, where the work was hardest and undoubtedly not in line with his physical capabilities. This was in the days before we had all of the facilities we have today. He worked at a level above his capacity but he was not the kind of person who would shirk and complain. Until the illness struck him – severe back pains, which were intolerable.

In many of those days, Shy'keh would visit his Sarny friends who had made aliyah and did farm work in the kibbutzim Giveat HaShlosha and HaKoveysh. He had a good word for all his friends, words that were comforting and encouraging at the time of need. None of us knew how lonely he was and how frequent were his episodes. More than once, he conveyed to me his fear of facing the day when he would no longer be fit to work and would become a burden to his comrades.

This fear that he might be suspected of a lack of commitment brought him down. He committed suicide while still a young man.

All of his friends will recall him lovingly.

[Page 479]

Baruch Tarass

by His Sons

Edited by Alisa Klaus




Our father, Baruch Tarass, was born in 1880 in Berezne. He was a member of the Bet HaMidrash and, through his own personal efforts, he also achieved high levels in other areas of study, especially mathematics. During the First World War, he worked in cities in Russia and Poland. From 1921 on, he was a permanent resident of Sarny. He was in the forest products business, and accordingly was expert in bookkeeping. His knowledge, common sense and considerable experience in this field were manifested in the textbook of financial analysis that he prepared for forest product merchants. In this book, measurements are given in both the French system, using meters, and the English system, using feet.

In the year 1937, he made aliyah to the Land of Israel with his family. There, he worked as an accountant in various Jewish institutions and in the university. He died in the year 1946 and was interred in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives. On his gravestone was carved the line from Ecclesiastes [1:18]: “To increase knowledge only increases sorrow,” because he was a dedicated seeker of knowledge and also knew how to bear the consequences of that knowledge --the sorrow – with strength.

We, his children, did not perceive our father z”l clearly, and we did not understand him. Only in his last years, in the Land of Israel, when we had grown up and our sense of judgment had matured, were we finally able to value him appropriately: his position and his independence, his sense of making up his own mind, and the fineness of his perception. He was a man free of preconceived notions or received wisdom – that was him. He knew how to hew his own path, and in this way attempted to use his faculties to distinguish the essential from the irrelevant, the fundamental from the superficial. Therefore, everything, a speech, an essay, a proposed action,– he would analyze from the perspective of seeing what was original there. “What does this tell me that is new?” he would ask.

He, who grew up in the era of flowery speech, had no need of the embellishments that came with such speaking. His ideal personality, as a child of the Romantic generation, which was a lamp unto his feet, was rather the strong man who knows how to control his emotions, a man of action. And it was in this way that he went ahead of his contemporaries.

He was a scholar and an intellectual, but the ideal around which he built his life was action. Even the book that he wrote was action-oriented. A thin smile would accompany every one of his facial expressions, whether to his oral comments in Yiddish, the things that he wrote, in his rich Hebrew, a smile that embodied more sadness than gladness: being sad, and having heartache about all things that were impossible to believe.

He was active in life up to his last year. His senses had not deteriorated at all, and he was alert, and fresh-- as he, who passed away at too young an age, will always seem to us.

Mindl Yuz

by Yaakov Cuk

Edited by Alisa Klaus

With the death of Mindl Yuz, the warm-hearted personality of a Jewish mother -- a “Yiddishe Mameh” -- was lost.

The Yuz home in Sarny was a meeting place for young people. All who entered through its portals were received graciously, despite the continuous din which we created more than once, since we felt ourselves to be as if in our own home.

In the salon of the Yuz home, the life of young people pulsed: agendas were created, conversations were conducted, and plans were laid out. With every return from the larger world to the town, it was pleasant to meet in the salon' to renew acquaintances from old.

Mrs. Mindl knew the experience of raising children and the pain of losing them. She knew the task of making a living in sorrow and under duress, through hard work and exhaustion. She worked from morning until late at night, side by side with her husband, R' Yaakov z”l, but she rarely complained. Her standard reply was: “Thank God for what we have, one should not sin.”

Mrs. Mindl had five outstanding attributes. First, she reached the Land of Israel with her family at the right time. Second, she succeeded in putting down roots: her sons became settled, built homes, raised families and surrounded her with dignity and love. Third her prayer of “cast us not into old age,” was answered. Until the day she died, Mrs. Mindl was able to earn her living honorably, and for most of that time was prepared to give of her time to support of her sons. Fourth, she died with a “kiss” [of God]. She prepared for the Sabbath, lit the candles, and about an hour later felt badly and gave up the ghost with purity. Finally, she was privileged to be brought to her final rest escorted by her four sons, their wives and their children. They were all beset with the pain of having lost a good mother, a committed one, forgiving, whose ultimate yearning and satisfaction was to see “the children” in fortunate circumstances.

The news of her passing did not reach many people. Not many escorted her to her final resting place. Had she passed away in Sarny, the place where she grew up and where her life was formed, she would have been honored with a funeral with many participants. We raise up her image and her generous virtues with feeling of respect, affection and sorrow over her passing.

[Page 480]

David Yuz

by M. Zingerman

Edited by Alisa Klaus




It is already 28 years since he was torn from our midst. Few of the scions of our city, even those in his group who continued in his path, knew him well and are able to generate a picture of him in their memories. This is because he was very young when he left us. His friends had not seen the nature of his character, since he himself had not yet engaged with the substance of life, to struggle with and engage with it. He had not yet begun to live. He was 20 years old when he died.

His personality was bright, with a unique and encouraging radiance and warm-heartedness. A master of the Hebrew Enlightenment, with broad general knowledge, his perception and powers of analysis were accomplished. However, all of this did not achieve fruition – it was a song for the future. And this song was stilled at its outset.

David was born in Sarny in the year 1910. His family of many sons worked hard to support itself. At the same time, it did all that was possible to afford its sons a national education, knowledge and enlightenment.

David attended school in the Tarbut Hebrew school from the time of its founding in Sarny. After finishing elementary school, he traveled to Vilna and continued his studies in the gymnasium. As was the case with the majority of young people in Sarny of that period, he did not see any future for Jews, and especially for young people, in the Diaspora. He did not preach Zionism to others, but rather personally turned to fulfill the ideal of the personal development of a Halutz. After receiving his graduation diploma, he joined HeHalutz HaTza'ir in Sarny. After a short time, he traveled with a contingent made up entirely of people from Sarny, to the training Kibbutz Shakharia in Ivatsevichy.

He engaged in training for close to a half year. He accustomed himself to manual labor and was a partner in the creation of the Kibbutz group, formed from Halutzim who came from throughout Poland. David had an influence in this group – with the breadth of his ideas, his approach, his understanding, and the essence of his appearance.

In 5789 [1929], violence that resulted in bloodshed broke out in the Land of Israel. We began to recognize that it was upon us to immediately make aliyah and to join in the initiative of those being assaulted. And here was the liberating notice: “We are making aliyah to the Land of Israel.”

At the beginning of 1930, Kibbutz Shakharia made aliyah to the Land of Israel, and at its center was the Sarny group. At that time, the Land of Israel thirsted for reinforcements, and the Kibbutzim hoped to increase their numbers. Our Kibbutz was sent to support and round out Kibbutz HaKoveysh, which was located near Kfar-Saba.

The tribulations of getting settled in the Kibbutz and the settlement were difficult: the work itself, the new economic conditions, and the community life that was not completely formed. Everything was difficult. A widening gap developed between the vision and the reality of day-to-day life, between the life of the community in principle and the specific needs of the moment: its approach, the compromises required and its will and its aspirations.

David made himself visible with difficulty. Before finding his place, he kept to himself a great deal, living his ordinary life with intensity. At the same time, he matured, underwent trials and put down roots. There was a feeling that very soon he would assimilate into the fabric of the group and that he knew how to share his capabilities. The hammer was going to find its anvil.

And then, a powerful internal malaise took hold of him and tore him up. He lost his way, saw no purpose in life, and committed suicide.

Only those who were very close to him could assess what we had lost.


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