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[Page 203]

The Library and My Grandma's Bed

By Pola (Peshe Boym) Waks

Translated by M. Porat

ten203.jpg - Sara Boym


Sara Boym

The “Library”, as it was called, was in fact a cupboard not full with books. Most of the Rayviets proprietors who were able to let a room for this purpose were pious, and they refused to guard at home literature that was prohibited, or not kosher.

Nevertheless, as usually occurs, an accidental opportunity solved the problem. It happened that in my bobe (grandma) Surale Boym's dwelling was a vacant room with a balcony facing the street. The room was difficult to rent because it served as a passage for Yosske Zonshein, who lived in the adjoining rooms.

The most prominent young men and women in the shtetl, daughters of the best families such as Shmooklerman, Appelzweig and Doodi Engels, along with Hershele Shoychat's son and Zipora Perlmuter (the Bobe's cousin) came to ask her to rent the room. They told her that they would install a cupboard with books, and people would enter once a week to check out books.

My Grandma finally agreed, but only after they paid the rent for three months in advance. The renters brought and placed the library cupboard in the room. Bobe Sure was very sad when she saw portraits of Herzl and Nordau hanging on the wall, on both sides of the cupboard. She asked why they were not bearing hats or yarmulkes. Nevertheless, the fact that the gentlemen had Jewish beards relaxed her.

The Bobe, however, did regret the deal very soon. It happened after the youngsters brought benches and began to gather in the room, to sing and to dance. She understood that she was cheated all along. Her room was not a library; it turned out to be a hall for the organization. Being unable to expel them, she decided to pretened being sick person and needing the room. She went to the Feldsher (paramedic) Mr. Segalits and got a “prescription” confirming her serious sickness and her need for a well-aired and sunny room, such as the rented one. Therefore, the renters should leave it. She waited until the prepaid rental period ended and late at night she moved her big wooden bed with the innumerable pillows, cushions and blankets into the room and placed a padlock on the door.

In case they came with police officers to open the door she would show them the medical paper.

The next day the library management talked with my sister Freyda Boym. They asked her to find the key to the new padlock. Freyda did as they asked her; she stole the key from the Bobe and passed it to organizers. By the time the Bobe clibmed the stairs the youngsters had entered the room. Motel Shpigel removed the bed through the balcony into the street, and the Zionist library remained in our Grandma's room for many years.

One day after a long time, the renowned Zionist leader, Mr. Pinkhas Rashish (now the mayor of my town Petah Tikva) visited Rayviets. The best place to address the shtetl's population was to gather them on the street in front of the of the library room and to talk to them from the balcony.

The pious opponents of the Zionist movement, R' Uziel Biderman, R' Sheftl Rosenfeld and R' Moyshe Mendl Mintz, came to speak with Surale Boym. They asked her to do all that was possible not to enable this “unwashed” Pinchas Rashish who was not wearing a hat to speak from her balcony to the people. They advised her to put her famous bed back in to its place in the library room and stay in bed being ill. Nevertheless, that did not disturb the meeting procedure. The comrade Rashish entered the room wishing the Bobe Sure a full and quick recovery, then he passed to the balcony, followed by the presidium. The entire Rayviets population gathered on the street and listened attentively to the guest's speech and to his lively greetings from Erets Isruel. This meeting had strengthened very much the Zionist functioning in the shtetl's population.

The Bobe Surele Boym's bed failed in fighting against the Rayviets's Zionists, and against Mr Rashish the Petah Tikva town mayor.

[Page 204]

The Finftl (Five)

By Hayim Shmuklerman

Translated by M. Porat

They were comrades; the connections between them were stronger than in a family. It was a “true unconditional love”. They were always seen together, in public and in private matters. That was the reason for calling them “the Finftl” (The Quintet –The Five). People who were familiar with their personal traits, with their character and temperament differences, and knew how far they were one from the other, were astonished to see how the five loved one another and created a wonderful friendship.

ten204.jpg - Rivka Shmuklerman, Peshe Shmuklerman, Peshe Losthoyz, Rivka Losthoyz, Sheve Friedland-Shenker, Hana Shenker


Rivka Shmuklerman, Peshe Shmuklerman, Peshe Losthoyz,
Rivka Losthoyz, Sheve Friedland-Shenker, Hana Shenker

The Finftul “members” were:

The well renowned graceful Shevele Friedland, who knew how to dress and was a lovely singer of folk songs. Shevele was the center of the company, always full of liveliness and without vanity. She did not abandon her circle even after her marriage to Chayim Shenker. She remained the Quintet's best friend until her early death from diabetic disease. Remembering her, the Rayvits descendants feel a deep pain in their hearts.

Rivka Lusthoys was the second comrade. She was nicknamed by affection “Rivka Kossak”, because of her energy and ability to initiate and to carry out actions. She was always busy, preoccupied with her business, but she would never forget her Finftl comrades and every evening she used to spend in their company, despite her fatigue from a hard working day.

Hana Shenker, the very quiet Hana Shenker, was the third one. She patiently could hear all she was told, a great listener, even when she was not interested. So wise was the girl.

The fourth companion was Peshke Lusthoyz. She arrived as a guest to the Lusthoyz family and she acclimated so well that she remained permanently in the shtetl, despite being born in Zamost', the bigger town. I recall her wise and graceful smile. She was murdered together with three friends during the Nazi mass slaughter.

The last one was my beloved sister, Rivka Shmuklerman, the anonymously donating warm-hearted person. As Mordhay Furer, the “Fiftl's” friend who knew them well, told us--he was always enchanted by her modesty and chastity, knowing that she was not pious. He appreciated her permanent readiness to help, to accomplish good deeds not only with money, but also with work, despite her private preoccupation. How beautiful and wise was she; she became an example for her companions, and for the Shtetl's youth. The Shtetl's youngsters and her family used to listen to Rivka's words and tried to fulfill her demands.

We want to memoralize the five companions who lived together in mutual understanding and harmony and embellished our town.

Note: the only one in the picture who survived is Peshe Shmuklerman and was not a member of the “Fiftl”

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