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[Page 429]

Education in Volozhin

Between the World Wars

Translated by M. Porat

Edited by Judy Feinsilver Montel

[Page 431]

The Tarbut School

By a group of students

The Hebrew Tarbut-School in Volozhin was founded by the town's Zionists after the Polish government had settled down in 1925. A signboard with the words “The Hebrew School in Volozhin” was fixed on the wall.

The sign and the stamp

The sign and the stamp

Among the founders were Ishaya Kaganovitsh, Hayim Goloventshitz, Dovid Kantorovitsh, Shevah Rogovin, Avrom Berkovitsh, Itskhak Shriro and others.

The Tarbut Committee 29 August 1925

The Tarbut Committee 29 August 1925
From right to left:

Standing: Liberman (from Smorgon), Itskhak Perski
Sitting: Noah Perski, Ishayahu Kaganovitsh, Benyamin Shishko.

The building contained four rooms and accordingly four learning classes only. There was also a fifth one, the Mekhina (preparation) class in which the new coming pupils were prepared to use the school's main language, the hitherto unknown Hebrew. A second after-noon shift was organized for this additional class.

Hayim Goloventshitz was invited to manage the School and also to teach Bible and Hebrew literature. M. Gurevitsh from Sol, Hayim Levin from Ivye, Benyamin Shishko and Noah Perski both of them from Volozhin served as teachers.

From its foundation until closure the School was short of resources. It did not receive any allowances from the town council. The authorities claimed that in the existing Polish Elementary School, which was supported by the Government, the learning was free and there is place enough for all. Parents who would like to teach their children Hebrew and educate them in Zionist spirit had to pay for it.

The authorities compelled the school to teach the Polish language and history. Its teachers were Polish in the beginning. Later they were replaced by Jews.

The first remarkable happening we remember was the Jerusalem Hebrew University's opening celebration. Lord Balfour standing on the Mount Scopus announced that with the opening of the University a source of wisdom had been founded. Hayim Nakhman Bialik said at the end of his oration that redemption for all of mankind will come from this place.

Volozhin citizens congratulated one another with the “Shehekheyonu” benediction. They felt it was a great victory for the Hebrew Language. The windowsills were lighted with candles like at Hanukah. The Tarbut students gathered on the streets singing Zionist songs and speaking Hebrew.

During the first years of the school's function its pupils wore homogeneous uniforms, blue skirt, black apron - the girls, Blue shirt with blue pants – the boys. Girls as boys wore blue hats decorated with the Tarbut symbol.

The management decided to introduce Latin language lessons to enable students' attending government high schools in which Latin was obligatory. Mr. Mirer from Vilna was invited to teach this language.

The school took also care of artistic education. Mr. Ratner founded a string orchestra and became its first teacher. The band participated in all festivity events of the school and of the community.

The Tarbut String Orchestra

The Tarbut String Orchestra – 1926

From Right to left, Standing: Berman, Lea Shvartsberg, Fruma Rogovin, Efrayim Rogovin, Shlomo Gurevitsh, Israel Berkovitsh, Yakov Rogovin, Shlomo Liberman.
From left to left Right, Seated: Bela Potashnik, Mina, Rashl Vaysbord, Shoshana Berkovtsh, Avram Gurevitsh, Hayim Ratner, Hayim Goloventshits, Noah Perski, Benyamin Shishko, Peshke Rogovin,Bela Kramnik, Berman, Tsirke Bunimovitsh.

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