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My Old Good Home

by Dov Grand of Jerusalem

{Photo page 256: Moshe Hirsch Grand}

My town of Zgierz, as I remember it, my home, the childhood years that were so terribly frustrating to us, the youngsters thrust into the world of cruelty – will accompany me for my entire life.

My father Moshe Hirsch Grand of blessed memory, the son of Avraham the “Old Stanik” as they called him, was a Jew with a national consciousness, a dear man, a loving father and an enlightened man who bore dreams of improving the world.

He had a butcher shop on Pilsudski Street, and later – also a sausage factory. The sausages were produced in the factory in the courtyard of my uncle Avigdor Rozalski, may G-d avenge his blood, also a butcher. He was my father's partner.

We lived peacefully and happily. We children had a worry free world.

The anti-Semitic incitement began to grow during the 1930s. There were pickets and anti-Jewish decrees, such as the restrictions on ritual slaughter. My father organized all of the Jewish butchers in Zgierz and created a cooperative. He was chosen as chairman. My father served a representative in the Jewish communal council for a long period of time.

My mother, the daughter of Adam Szperling (also a butcher) was very devoted to her husband and children. She was always ready to sacrifice for us. She was a dear balabusta [1]. She would also stand in the butcher shop and sell meat. Mother was very refined and gentle. When she had a little time, she would read Yiddish books.

We were five children. My only sister was the eldest. I, Berl and my brother Mordechai were the only survivors of the family. Adam and Shimon were 9 and 11 years old at the outbreak of the war.


The First Charitable Fund

by W. F.

The charitable fund was one of the most important and active philanthropic institutions in Zgierz.

It was officially founded and authorized by the Russian authorities in the year 1900, but already from several years earlier, it conducted widespread activity among the disadvantaged and impoverished segments of the Jewish community in the city.

The protocol of foundation (“Statutes”) was undersigned by 64 Zgierz Jews, representatives of all strata, social organization and religious groups. The creation of such an important institution demonstrates the unity of the Zgierz community.

Paragraph 1 of the founding protocol states:

“The society has the purpose of creating the means to improve the material and moral situation of the impoverished Jews of Zgierz and vicinity, without differentiating between sex, profession, and status.

It is worthwhile to mention here than in the year 1900, the electric tramway began to travel between Lodz and Zgierz, and many wagon drivers and horse drawn carriage drivers of Zgierz thereby lost their livelihoods. This increased the number of poor and unemployed. The creation of such an assistance fund was an urgent necessity at that time. The protocol (of which we bring here a photocopy of its last page), ended with the names of Chanan Rozenstrauch, David Kanel, A. M. Weiss, and F. Margolies (?). The under-signers come in two straight columns, divided lengthwise.

{Photocopy page 258: A segment of the signatures on the founding protocol of the Gemilat Chasadim organization in 1900.}

First row (signatures not legible): Ozer Kohn, M. Krynski, T. Lipszicz (unclear), Y. A. Rosinow, B. (?) Szapiro, B. Zucker, A. Z. Borensztejn, A. Y. Kuperman, Sh. Z. Gelbart, B. Bentkowski, Izaak Nekricz, G. Szer, D. Szapszowicz, M. Glowinski (unclear), B. Szaranski, M. L. Widowski (unclear), M. W. Berman, Sh. Landau, P. Kalmerski, Yosef Poznerzon, M. Rozenberg, M. Lerner, E. (?) Sztikgold (unclear), H. Kohn, Izidor Strikowski (unclear), Shalom Zandberg, Moshe Skosowski.

Second row from he top: Isuchar Szwarc, A. Y. Lis, Y. Szidlowski, Sh. Sirkis, N. Heinsdorf, D. Berliner, E.Praszker, M. sh. Dawidkowiz, Y. A. Gelbart, Y. D. Gerszon, W. Reichert, Y. Y. Blosztejn, Y. B. Lewkowicz, Izer. Bawes, Shia Kofman (unclear), Jakow Gricehendleer, Z. Bornsztejn, Y. B. Berman, F. Gorner, L. Lenczyski, L. Rozenberg, D. Bendkowski, M. H. Hanower, Abe Baum, A. Wachtel, A. Bozyn, M. N. Rubensztejn, M. D. Grynfarb.


Two Important Jewish Institutions

by Yaakov Cincinatus

A. The Jewish Tailor Guild of Zgierz

Regarding the activity of the Zgierz Jewish Tailor Guild, I remember a few important moments:

The unveiling of the flag came at the time when my father was the guild master and Feivish Moszkowicz was the vice guild master.

In fact, there was no management committee. If a craftsman wanted to obtain a master diploma, he had to present a request to the guild master. After that, he had to be officially examined by a committee consisting of the guild master, vice guild master, and two members of the guild, as well as a representative of the authorities who was called an assessor. The assessor was Rewerski, a Pole who worked in the evidence office of the Zgierz magistrate. He in fact received 50 Zloty for a master diploma, even though legally he was only entitles to 5 Zloty for undersigning the protocol.

{Photo page 260: Dov Cincinatus of blessed memory.}

The guild had the rights to issue a diploma from any tailor from Zgierz and from anywhere in Poland who was [2] able to demonstrate his knowledge of the profession. These diplomas, called “Master letters”, had a great significance for the Jewish craftsman. This was especially so after the war, when the Polish authorities began to chicane the Jews.

In the time of my father's term as guild master, very many master letters were issued. I recall that my brother Aharon of blessed memory, who at that time lived in Vilna, wrote to my father: “Father, you do not realize the importance of your work that you do. Through your efforts, more Jewish craftsmen can obtain Master letters.” I remember well all of the problems of the tailor's guild, for I was my father's secretary. I took care of all technical mattes that were connected to the guild.

I want to note here that all of the issued diplomas were 100% legal, and the authorities could not discredit them. During the 1930s, I do not remember the exact date, the Polish authorities made a decision that all guilds should be transferred over to the handworkers-branch (“Izba Zemieslnicza”). This was a pretext to liquidate the Zgierz guild.

The “Izba Zsemieszlanicza” in fact had the rights to permit the activity of the guild, for all other guilds remained, and they did not interfere with their activity.

{Photo page 261: the banner of the Jewish tailor's guild in Zgierz.}

On a certain day, my father and Moszkowicz went to the regional office (Wojewodszta) in Lodz. They declared to them without offering a reason that the Wojewodszta office and the “Izba Zemieslnicza” decided to liquidate the tailors' guild. They were told that they must give over the books of protocols and cease activity. Fortunately, the speaker was a Pole from Zgierz, Gonszarowski, who was the Wojewodszta speaker for matters of the handworkers' industry. When my father tried to persuade him that the guild has an important significance for the craftsmen, and that the other guilds continue to exist, he answered with the following words.

“Mr. Cincinatus, I understand you very well, but this is the decision of the Wojewodszta and the handworkers' branch – and I cannot change it.”

Thus ended the “Jewish Tailors' Guild in Zgierz” with its blue and white banner.

B. Hachnasat Orchim

The “Hachnasat Orchim” (Society for ensuring the wellbeing of wayfarers) was found on Narotowicza Street, in premises that were approximately 12 meters long and 4 meters wide. The manager and his family lived in a small portion of those premises. He was a shoemaker by trade. I do not remember his name.

Every Jewish stranger could spend the night there. Officially, they had rights for two nights. Unofficially, Jews would stay there for entire weeks.

The manager had the duty to maintain cleanliness and order. During the winter, he would cook a warm meal for the guests.

The guests consisted primarily of poor people who wandered about from city to city.

As I recall, Anshel Waldman and other Jews were also involved the Hachnasat Orchim.

Money would be collected from the Jewish population of Zgierz for the purchase of equipment and the maintenance of that institution.


The Jewish Orphanage in Zgierz

by Chana Szaranski

The Jewish orphanage in our city was founded in 1915. For its 24 years of existence, it was also known by the names “Ochranka”, “Dos Sierat” [3], and Children's Home. The initiators of the effort to build up that institution were A. Morgensztern, Chama Sirkis and Sh. Ring.

The house was located on Pilsudskiega number 30. It consisted of 1 large room, 2 smaller rooms, and 1 small room for the educators. There was also a large kitchen where they would cook lunch for the children every day. The director of the institution was Morgensztern. The expenses were covered by the community, city council and Joint [4]. There were almost no private contributors.

{Photo page 263: The Jewish orphanage in the year 1921. In the middle, the teacher A. Morgensztern and Chana Szaranski.}

Children between the ages of 3 and 8, who were full or half orphans or were from poor homes, were taken into the orphanage. The children received food, upbringing and education (only arithmetic) at the institution. The younger children had several playthings at their disposition. There were performances four times a year, prepared and performed by the children.

The orphans did not sleep in the “Ochranka”, but only came there to spend the day. They received bread with marmalade and milk at 8:00 a.m. At noon, they received soup with bread, after which they took a nap.

The institution moved to a different location in the year 1922. The greatest number of children that the institution could take in was – 7 [5].

The staff consisted of a teacher from Lodz, the director Chana Szaranski, and one cook. The medical supervision of the children was taken care of by the civic doctor, a Christian.


In the Presence of my Teacher and Rabbi,
Rabbi Rafael Henech Blosztejn of blessed memory
(Sections of memories)

by F. Ben-Srok

{Photo page 264: Reb Rafael Henech Blosztejn of blessed memory.}

On one of the days of Elul in 5677 (1917), between classes, our rabbi Reb Rafael Henech had a gloomy smile on his face that was adorned with a broad, black beard. He turned to us with a heavy heart:

“I can tell you pleasant news. After the upcoming holidays, we will be parting, for good fortune.”

This came to us as a surprise. Exams took place only one month previously, and three of the best students received prizes. Through the year, we became accustomed to our revered rabbi, and we loved him very much. Why has the misfortune come that he was being taken from our midst? When we pushed him for the reasons for this parting, he pulled his broad, round shoulders and did not say anything.

When we asked him who would be replacing him, he smiled and said: “Don't worry! … The person replacing me is a superb scholar, although his methodology is different with regard to the sharpness and the simple explanations.”…

A few days later we found out that our new rabbi who was replacing Reb Rafael Henech was Reb Mendel Wechsler, the son-in-law of Reb Fishel Binem the shochet, or as he was called in short, “Mendel Fishel Binem's”.

The First World War that took place between the years of 1914-1918 obviously did not pass over our city. The Germans conquered the city, and conquered it again from the Russians during the battles that kept on returning. They then held it for four years. During this era, the troops of the German Kaiser were better than their children and grandchildren of the time of Hitler, may his bones be ground up. If they damaged the conquered population, they damaged their property, not their bodies.

In general, the occupying authorities did not mix into the private lives of the Jewish citizens. They only organized them into communities, and took great precautions regarding cleanliness out of fear of epidemics of typhus and other communicable diseases, that were caused from malnutrition and prolonged suffering. Their first task was to drag the children of the cheders and the schools to the city hospital on a weekly basis for washing and delousing.

The children of cheders indeed were not disappointed with this decree. Their fathers, the Orthodox men of the city, did not sit silently. They tried, pushed, requested and received deferment after deferment. When they had exhausted all ends, they founded a modern school under the name “House of Learning of Torah and the Ways of the World”. The modern cheder that had opened one year previously in nearby Lodz served as an example.

The “Cheder Metukan” (Modern Cheder) opened in our city in Tishrei 5677 (1917). The first teachers were Reb Yaakov Milichewicki (Reb Yaakov the son of Yaakov, with his popular nickname) who taught Bible and Hebrew, and Reb Rafael Henech Blosztejn who taught grade 4.

Reb Rafael Henech, the son of the rabbi of Lutomiersk and the son-in-law of Reb Shmuel Yechezkel Torenberg, was numbered among the expert scholars of our city. He did some work at home for the weaving factory, and in his free time, he educated older children, as well as grooms and young adults after their marriage. His sources of income dried up during the war years, and due to the financial pressure, Reb Rafael Henech agreed to accept a position of teacher at the school.

He was childless. He loved his students very much and they loved him. The children of the cheder, who were previously used to beatings with a strap, very much enjoyed the reprieve with their new Rebbe. They took advantage of his good heart, and disrupted the order of his day a times. The “whip” in his hand was the ledger of marks. Just as the school in Lodz, the school in Zgierz issued grades for each subject (Torah, Talmud, Bible, grammar, etc. and also for manners, politeness, diligence, attention, industriousness, etc.) The teacher kept a lined notebook with the names of the students, and whoever was impolite or did not pay attention received a dot, which meant a “minus”. The best mark was a 5 (he). One dot lowered the mark, and two dots already lowered the 5 to a 4 (daled), etc. There were students who were bothered by the marks, and argued about them. Then, after they behaved properly, Reb Rafael Henech would forgive them. There were also those who were not like “the bones of Joseph” (an exhaustive commentary on the tractate of Kiddushin).

That year, we studied the chapter of “Haisha Niknet” [6]. We succeeded in learning less than ten folios during the entire winter. The methodology of Reb Rafael Henech was to study “everything in its place”, and to analyze the entire matter with all of the commentaries, including Tosafot, Maharsha, etc. The book “Atzamot Yosef” (“The bones of Joseph”) (an exhaustive commentary on the tractate of Kiddushin) did not leave our hands.

Reb Rafael Henech also trained us in commandments. That year, several of the students, including the writer of these lines, reached the age of commandments. Reb Rafael Henech woke up early with us during the cold months of Tevet and Shvat, and taught us the laws of tefillin, and especially he helped us prepare the discourse (“pshetl”) for the Bar Mitzvah. The pshetl was a finely interwoven work, and learning it by heart was not the easiest of tasks.

He once caught me in my error. During the time of studies, I looked into the book of the stories of Hassidim (The Saba from Shpoile – Portents of Rabbi Aryeh of Shpoile). I was very attracted to these books, and I brought the book from home to continue reading it from where I had left off. I placed the book on my lap and read it with lowered eyes in an attempt to hide my transgression from Reb Rafael Henech, who was immersed in the Talmudic discussion. However, he noticed my confusion, approached me and removed the book after a struggle. Of course, he looked into it, and immediately put a dot under attention. He returned me the book during recess, with a warning not to bring any more books to school.

He added: “If you enjoy reading books, why do you waste your time on the books of old tobacco chewers. I will give you a list of good and interesting reading books.”

He gave me a list of European writers of that era, and the next day he even brought me the book “Secrets of Paris” by Izen Siv to read at home. This book was translated by Kalman Shulman. After I devoured all parts of that book in several evenings, he gave me another book.

However, he did not forego the dot that he jotted down regarding my first sin. He refused to forego.

I later found out that Reb Rafael Henech was involved with philosophy and research. It is no wonder, indeed, that storybooks were considered a waste of time for a youth who was growing up.

We never found out the reason why he left our school. Various rumors spread. One rumor stated that the committee of the school did not approve of his teaching methodology. The parents of the students demanded that the number of pages of Gemara studied be maximized, and not be satisfied with the less than 20 folios that we succeeded in learning throughout a year. Another version was that he was too weak and good for the children of the cheder, who were used to a stronger hand.

The true reason, as became clear later, was that the majority of the school committee, who were Hassidic, were concerned that his influence might “damage” Reb Rafael Henech. It was no secret that Reb Rafael Henech, despite his Orthodoxy and milling about in Hassidic circles, had no small tendency toward Haskala and Zionism. These grew wings during the years of the world war. He supported Mizrachi, the new movement that had recently sprouted in our city. Many Orthodox people, including no small number of Hassidim, adhered to it. His critical stance to various manifestations of Hassidism and its practitioners was also well known. In his younger days, he would travel to the “Sfat Emet” and was numbered among those who revered him. After the death of the Sfat Emet, he did not continue to visit his son, the Rebbe. The Hassidim looked disapprovingly upon a Hassid who worshiped in the shtibel, wore Hassidic garb, and in addition was a scholar, but who kept away from the Rebbe even on the festivals.

It later become known that the school in Lodz that served as the model for ours began to bring forth “spoiled fruit”. It was said that students abandoned the school and transferred to the gymnasia. They immediately decided to erase the “disgraceful name”, and changed the name of the school to “Yesodei Hatorah”. It was enlarged, and its scope expanded. They even brought in some more “traditional” teachers, who were considered to be fitting with regard to the tradition of studies. The sun of Reb Yitzchak Eksztejn (Reb Yitzchak Ek) shone once again in this group of teachers. He attained a great stature in the school in its new form. Moshe Zeida, the son of Kalman Mendel and others were also involved. The crowning glory of this school was Reb Mendel Wechsler, who took over the place of Reb Rafael Henech. Reb Mendel was a former Hassid of Sochaczew, the student of Reb Avrahamele who was the son-in-law of Rebbe Mendel of Kock. Once, he was enticed by his father to accompany him to visit the Sfat Emet, and from then on, he continued to travel to Gur.

Reb Rafael Henech continued on with his private work after he left our school. He occupied himself in this manner until the outbreak of the war. His influence was recognizable in our city. He educated and raised many fine Jews, observant and non-observant, all of them deeply rooted in Judaism and perfumed with enlightenment and Zionism. Reb Rafael Henech saw these attributes as the “interwoven thread” in the belt of a complete Jew. May his memory be a blessing.


My Teachers and Educators in Zgierz

by F. Ben-Sira

With the guidance of the Shulchan Aruch, which (Code of Jewish Law) encompasses the paths of the life of every religious Jew from the day of his birth until the day of his death; our parents and grandparents concerned themselves with their children, to educate them as proper Jews from the age of earliest childhood until they life the home at the time of their marriage.

When I was five years old, I met my first teacher, Fishel the Lame. Our home, which was blessed with many children, “breathed a breath of air” when one of us went out to spend the majority of the hours of the day in the cheder.

Fishel hired an assistant (Belfer), who would bring the children to the cheder and take them back home again. Fishel himself did not budge from his table in his deep, dark cheder, where he was surrounded by his students who were being introduced to the Alef Beit. The children were obedient and calm. When he encountered a stubborn or obstinate child, Fishel did not waste any time – “he who withholds the rod hates the child”. Without hesitation, he would pull down his pants, lay him over his knees, and count out the appropriate number. After such a “softening”, this child would be as soft as butter.

His wife Perl would bake challas every Sabbath eve. From among these challas, there would be one small challa in the shape of a bird, with which she honored the child who excelled in his behavior during that week. The distribution of the prize awakened great interest in the children every Friday, and occupied their thoughts and yearning.

Shimshon Wolf, who inherited the cheder from his father, was short in stature and thick bearded. He had fine penmanship and good grammar. He was a slight reformist with regard to teaching methodology. He minimized corporal punishment, and maximized pleasant words.

My second teacher was Reb Shabtai Hoizszpigiel. I studied Chumash and Rashi from him. He had a splendid countenance and a good disposition. He raised his had against his students infrequently. He was missing teeth, and false teach were not known to people of his status (wealthy people were able to afford such luxuries). Therefore, he used to divide his bread with his favorite students. He took the soft piece for himself, and gave the crusts to them. On the other hand, his wife Golda was always bitter. Whenever something improper happened with one of the students, she would lay her heavy hand upon him, and her husband would hurry to protect him. She also ruled with anger and wrath over her older children. They hid underneath the table from her hand when she chased them with a broom, spatula or rolling pin.

Shabtai took ill with paralysis in the middle of the semester, and died in the year 5676 – 1916.

From there, I transferred to Mendel Lunczycer (from the city of Leczyca). He was an idle Hassid, with a scraggly beard, who used to hit his students in his own fashion, with only three fingers. His two middle fingers were always bent inward. It was said that he had this injury inflicted upon himself by the medic at the time of his draft to the Russian army, so that he would be able to free himself from the yoke of the government that was so feared by the young Jews. What Jewish youth who was faithful to his religion would be willing to defile himself with treif foods and pork? He hated any thing new that took hold within the community, saying that “new is forbidden from the Torah” [7]. He taught us Gemara, and drew near the weaker students with extra love. He saw the visage of Esau in spoiled and pampered children. When the smell of fine soap from one of the children reached his nose, he would sneeze and complain: “Who brought her the smell of rosewater”.

He had older sons and daughters with him in the house. Moshele, one of his sons, studied with us.

Reb Mendel became ill with paralysis [8] in the middle of the year in the year 5672 (1912). His students dispersed to other cheders.

My last cheder teacher was Reb Yitzchak Eksztejn. His was known as “Yitzchak Ek”. He was a solid man, thick with a fat, red neck. The students received “the real thing” in his cheder, which was missing from the earlier cheders. He had a stricter mode of discipline, almost military. The workday was twelve hours, and the work was very difficult. The days passed by without change, in the summer and winter. With the exception of the vacations that we received on Friday afternoons, Sabbaths and festivals, we worked day and night, in the long summer days as in the tiresome winter nights. On Chanukah we were let out earlier than usual, but in lieu of this, we had to study without the afternoon break

Reb Yitzchak did not recognize the vacations that the other teachers were accustomed to, such as the time between terms [9], the evenings after the Torah portion of Vayakhel-Pikudei [10], etc. We had no such “idle time”!

Reb Yitzchak Ek was lacking in the trait of mercy with respect to his students. He would dispense slaps and serious thrashings from every small matter, and he paid no attention to the protests of the parents. When a parent complained to him about marks found on the body of a student who had received a beating, he replied decisively without any sign of regret: “Your son was given over to me, and for the time that he is with me in cheder, you have no control over him. He belongs to me!”

He did not desist from his duties even during the time that he was sitting Shiva in his house after the death of his brother. The students were forced to sit under his supervision and review their lessons. He did not regard his profession of teaching as a yoke of livelihood, but rather as a duty to teach.

His wife Reizel, on the other hand, was goodhearted. She frequently came to aid of the children who were forced to lie with their rears upward in order to receive the punishment. Such a punishment was degrading and oppressive for ten your old boys. She would also tell the children all soft of stories between Mincha and Maariv, during the brief period with Reb Yitzchak would go to worship with a Minyan (a formal prayer quorum), and the children were able to relax.

It was told that his father, Reb Berl Munish was even stricter and harsher than the son, and that he would beat his students with a sailor's staff.

At the conclusion of the war, when the period of the cheders ended, Reb Yitzchak transferred to the Yesodei Hatorah school. This was a modern cheder with classes and divisions that was founded by Agudas Yisroel. However, he did not pay attention to the new winds, and he continued with his methodology. The parents of the students did not let him go this time, and from time to time a scandal broke out. They even threatened to hit him. The fear of this teacher was so ingrained and rooted in his students, that even after they had graduated and left his cheder, they would tremble if they ran into him for some reason. His appearance instilled fear in them.

Reb Yitzchak died in the 1930s, a few years before the outbreak of the war.

The cheder of Reb Yitzchak was my final cheder. From there, I transferred to the Beis Midrash, where the rabbi of the city gave a class to the boys. Why did he teach specifically the tractate of Zevachim [11], which was generally not well studied? Perhaps because he was a Kohen, and the topic was close to him.

The sons of the wealthy people continued to study with Reb Bendet Frenkel. He was a scholarly Jew, and the number of his students was small. He would dish out beatings with his elbow. He used to say regularly, “Oh, the heart attracts, attracts!…”

Prior to the First World War (1914), there was a Yeshiva in Zgierz called Yagdil Torah. The students of the Yeshiva were called “Yagdilach” [12]. Students came to this Yeshiva from all corners of Poland. The Yeshiva students took their meals in rotation (Yamim) from residents of the city. Some of them ate fine food themselves, but distributed “bread and water” to the Yeshiva students.

Married youths, who would show off the gold watches that they received from their fathers-in-law, studied with Reb Ichel. They would go to him for a number of hours during the day and study Yoreh Deah [13] and halachic decisors. On occasion, the door would open and a woman would enter with a question regarding a needle found in the gizzard [14], or milk that dripped into a pot of meat. The elder rebbetzin (the second wife of the wife of the old rabbi, Reb Shalom Tzvi, who married him in his old age and bore two sons to him: the rabbi of the city and Reb Yitzchak Mendel, after he died she married Reb Ichel) would come and go, and when Ichel would go into the second room to deal with a question of matters of women [15], she would accompany him.


Reb Yaakov the son of
Yaakov Milichewicki of blessed memory

by Y. A. Malchieli

{Photo page 271: Uncaptioned. Reb Yaakov.}

My revered father Reb Yaakov Milichewicki arrived in Zgierz during the first decade of the 1900s from Karlitz, Lithuania. He was accepted in the city as a teacher and educator for good students.

His wife Hadassa Rachel was the daughter of Reb Eliezer Reuven Marishinski, a pious and noble man, the brother-in-law of Reb Reuven Halevi, the great rabbi of Dineburg (Dvinsk) (he was the brother of my maternal grandmother), and a descendent of the Gra [16] of blessed memory.

I remember that it was related at home that my father wished to dedicate his time to Torah and study immediately after his marriage, and my mother accepted upon herself the yoke of livelihood. She opened a small grocery store. The turnover was large but the customers were poor. When it came time to pay their debts, my mother did not wish to be a creditor to them. “How can I demand money from them”, she would say, “they don't have any!…” Therefore, the store closed after a brief period. Then my father accepted the advice of Binyamin Katznelson (the father of the poet Yitzchak Katznelson) to travel to Zgierz and take his place in the field of education. B. Katznelson was attracted to educational work in Zgierz by Isuchar Szwarc of blessed memory, who became friendly with him in Warsaw.

It is strange that if one came to Zgierz and asked for the dwelling place of Michilewicki, it would be doubtful if they would receive an answer. However, the name of Reb Yaakov ben Yaakov was known to everybody in the city, from young to old.

This was because Reb Yaakov was one of the personalities who imprinted his mark upon Hebrew education in our city during the first third of the 1900s. He educated two generations, and had hundreds of students from all segments of the community. These students left his modern school as Jews with both traditional and national education.

In his cheder, students learned to worship in accordance with the law and they also learned to delve into the meaning of the prayers. They studied Torah and prophets with topical explanations and clear understanding of the words, as well as the lyrical and unique attributes. The students also learned Talmud, commentaries and halachic decisions, with full explanation of the material. They studied the Hebrew language and grammar in a fundamental manner, using modern books that were published in that era by the best authors and writers.

Not only did the children from homes whose parents had already become involved with Zionism and the signs of the times stream to the cheder; but also the children of Hassidim and Jews who were attached to the old ways, who were not able to resist the enticement of the acquisition of the complete Torah and a serious Jewish education for their children.

There were occasions when he was called to places outside of Zgierz, such as the cities of Nowo Radomsko, Zychlin and other such cities. He answered the call, and remained in each place for a few months to impart his teaching methodology.

As a preacher and educator to the ideas of the redemption, he actualized the desire for Zion in a real sense. He himself fulfilled the mitzvah of making aliya to the Holy land. He made aliya in 5686 (1926) and settled in Petach Tikva. There, he continued to impart Torah to the masses, and was honored and beloved by everybody, especially by those who took hold of and taught Torah.

When Reb Yaakov took leave of his many friends and students on the eve of his aliya from Zgierz, everybody raised their voices in weeping. Among those gathered was Reb Isuchar Szwarc of blessed memory, who was a friend and brother to Reb Yaakov for all the years. The parting was difficult for them.

One of the images that is deeply ingrained in my memory from the days of my youth was the image that repeated itself every Sabbath and festival, when these two friends paced together in the synagogue for a long time after the end of the service, exchanging novel ideas of Torah and words of the sages; Their tallises were still upon their shoulders, and their faces shone from the joy of the new ideas as people who have found a great treasure. They drew pearls discretely from the depths of Torah, and exchanged them with each other with a willing soul, and with a heart full of spiritual delights.

His eldest son was educated as an older lad in the Yeshivas of Lithuania. He made aliya even before his father, where he continued with his studies. His daughter Ita, who was educated in the Beis Yaakov Seminary in Krakow, and later served as a teacher in a Beis Yaakov school, made aliya later. She continued teaching here in the Beis Yaakov system. She died after her marriage. The youngest son Reuven also lives in Israel. The two sons live in Petach Tikva.

Reb Yaakov was called to his eternal world on the 3rd of Kislev 5723 (1963), and was buried in Kiryat Meir in Bnei Brak, where he lived during his final year. May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.


Reb Wolf Leib Haltrecht (Ohev Tzedek)

by W. Fiszer

{Photo page 273: Reb Wolf Leib Haltrecht.}

Reb Wolf Leib the teacher was without doubt one of the popular personalities of Zgierz. He was a Jew with a splendid countenance and a fine patriarchal beard. He was somewhat taller than average. He appeared both in the synagogue, where he served as the Torah reader and shofar blower, and on the street in clean clothes and with his unique, self-confident gait.

He was a teacher (melamed), but not only a teacher, but also an intelligent, knowledgeable Jew. His cheder also qualified as a modern cheder. His students came mainly from sophisticated, well-to-do homes. Wolf Leib did not only teach Gemara and Tosafot [17]. They also studied the verses (Bible) in a fundamental fashion, not restricted to the weekly Torah portion, as well as Hebrew and grammar. Separately, he made sure to teach the Haftorah [18] reading with the proper cantillation. Hassidim suspected him of teaching with Moshe Deser's commentary [19] and therefore did not permit their children to enter into close friendships with his students, even though he himself was a warm, national-religious Jew. He could often1 be found with a select group of householders on summer Sabbath afternoons, studying the Torah portion of the week or a chapter of the Book of Proverbs (Mishlei). His face shone with satisfaction as he presented to them familiar and understandable explanations. His lectures were accompanied with examples from day to day life. It was literally sweet to hear.

Aside from teaching, he was also a bit of a handyman or a craftsman, as it is called. He would paint “shivitis” [20] and make various woodcuttings for the reader's desk, the holy ark and the like; or inscribe a “kegavna” and “brich shmei” [21] to hang upon the walls of the synagogues.

His prime source of livelihood, nevertheless, was from clock making. He even had his own little shop on the Long Street, where clocks, running and stopped, were lying in a glass case, as well as rings, earrings, hairpins, broaches and bracelets of all types and from all times. His wife and daughter would help him in his shop on market days.

He was also known in town as the best mohel. He conducted the circumcision fast and professionally while being strict about hygienic matters, just like a big city mohel from the new era. This made him very popular among the population. Therefore, he was able to proudly state, regarding half of the town: “These are my Jews”.

The well-known writer Chaim Leib Fuchs in his article “Jewish Literary Lodz” (“From the Recent Past”, volume 3, pp. 256-257, New York, 1957) makes mention of several Maskilim and writers from Zgierz: “The well-known Zgierz Maskil Reb Wolf Leib Haltrecht had a definite influence upon the Lodzer Jewish intelligentsia, even though he did not write himself. They used to bring to him, like to an editor, almost everything that the writers wrote during their first years.”

Wolf Leib met his sad fate together with the entire community of Zgierz, in which he participated as a lively member, as a man well versed in interpersonal relations, and also as a communal activist. He was never heard from again after the expulsion from Zgierz.

May G-d avenge his blood! May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.


The Businessman's School of Zgierz

by F. Grynberg

Here are a few words about the Zgierz Businessman's School, as it was known throughout Russia.

The number of Jewish students there was very large. A diploma from that school gave one the right to live anywhere in Russia, that is in the areas where Jews did not have the rights to live.

On “Galovka” as it was called at that time, the birthday of the Czar Nikolai II, or the days of other Czarist holidays, it was the duty of all students to go to the houses of prayer – each in accordance to his religion. We Jewish students went to the synagogue, two in a row. When the head of our procession reached Margolies' house, the last rows were still by the German Church. This demonstrates how large the number of Jewish students was.

The Jewish and Christian teachers entered the synagogue and stood at the pulpit. The students surrounded them. One of the teachers delivered a speech about the importance of the day. The proceedings concluded with the singing of the hymn “Boze Czaria Chrani” (God Save the Czar). Then the students had to stand like soldiers and salute.

The school was founded around 1892 by the Zgierz manufacturers and merchants, led by the well-known Borst firm.

All of the students from outside the city had to find homes. The found accommodations in the homes of members of the Jewish intelligentsia such as Isuchar Szwarc, Mrs. Feigele Margolies, Menashe Cohen and others.

The school existed until the revolution of 1905. The school strike then ended with the granting of permission to the Poles to have schools with the Polish language of instruction. Therefore, the schools lost all of the privileges that the Russian schools had. Zgierz was free of Russian schools.

General knowledge was complemented with Jewish knowledge in a number of Pensions [22], thanks to well-known teachers who taught the students. Among others was H. D. Nomberg, who as the educator in Isuchar Szwarc's Pension.


In the Zgierz Businessman's School

by Dr. Jakob Eichner

I entered the school in 1898. The Jewish students came mainly from White Russia, Kiev, Poltava, etc. Without being precise, approximately 40% of the students were Jewish. The students from out of town were put up in special Pensions. In 1901, I became friendly with Sasha Danzig, a gymnasia student who came from Riga. Sasha already knew about Socialism, and introduced me to Marxist literature, which I had to learn. I joined the library at the mutual benefit organization for business workers, and I borrowed books from there.

A student group was formed in the school. We read books together, spent time together at outings, and discussed politics. The heads of the group were David Mazor, today in the Soviet Union, and Leib Kolecki, today a doctor on the Soviet Union. Those two students and I were active Bundists. By 1903, the students group was no longer occupied solely with self-education, but also with creating assistance for revolutionary organizations. The Bund had the strongest influence on the students group.

Quoted from the book “History of the Jewish Workers' Movement in Lodz” by A. Wolf-Jasni, printed in Lodz, 1937.


Jewish Elementary Schools in Zgierz

by Sara Katz, principal of the Jewish Public School in Zgierz

{Photo page 277: A class in the Jewish Pubic School with the Polish principal Kuszmirk.}

The Jewish Public School was housed in the small house of the Zurkowski family on Blotene Street until the First World War. Mrs. Ela Tenenbaum was the principal. The language of education was Russian. The sanitary conditions were inferior, and impoverished students studied there. The children of the wealthier parents studied in private non-Jewish schools (such as Mrs. Tydlaska). At the end of the period of German occupation, the school moved to a larger building, and several classes were added to it, with the assistance of the representatives of the communal council, headed by Messrs. Naftali and Handelis.

The sanitary conditions improved in the new school, and the children stemmed from a variety of strata of society. The teachers were young Jewesses who had studied in teacher's seminaries The language of instruction was obviously German.

When the Germans left in 1918, the supervision of the schools transferred to the Polish authorities. The Jewish school became affiliated with the general educational network in the city as Public School number 6. The relationship of the authorities to the institution and to the teachers, most of whom were Jewish, was liberal. I was appointed as principal of the school, a position that I retained until 1927. During this era, the Endekes [23] had already taken control of the government. They imposed a Christian staff upon the Jewish school. The atmosphere became thick and oppressive. The staff slowly emptied of Jews, and became composed primarily of Polish teachers who openly spoke of the praises of Hitler. At the end of 1938, only very few Jews remained in the ranks of the teaching staff.

During the time of my work in this school, the following people served as teachers: Henka Cohen, Gita Rozenman, Leon Rusak, Jadzia Gutjehner, Eugenia Cohen and Pola Dawidowicz. Their relationship to the students was warm and enthusiastic. They offered their constant support during times of oppression, which were not infrequent in those days. They stood at their sides, literally as parents, and tried to ease their burden, and to strengthen them in soul and spirit.

With the exception of the teacher Guthejner who lives today in Israel, all of them, teachers and students, perished in the furnaces along with their parents and siblings.

May these lines serve as a monument to all of the teachers in Zgierz who endured difficult conditions and dedicated their lives to the education of the Jewish children, and to forge their personalities and beings. May their memories be a blessing.

{Photo page 278, top: A class in the Jewish public school, with the teachers Henka Cohen, Gutzia Rozenman, Genia Dhan, Eugenia Rozenberg, Sara Katz, Jadzia Guthejner, unidentified, Leon Rusak.}

{Photo page 278, bottom: An excursion of the Zgierz public school to the salt pits of Wielacza.}

{Photo page 279: A class in the Jewish public school of Zgierz, with the teachers H. Cohen, S .Katz, A. Rozenberg, L. Rusak, G. Rozenman, the principal Koszmirk, and Plasmonowa.}


A Ruined Lag Baomer

by Yitzchak Sczaransky of Ramat Gan

After the Lame Fishel (Reb Fishel Glicksman), the teacher, with whom studied ninety percent of the children of Zgierz, and later his son Shimshon Wolf who taught trope (Torah cantillation) to the children, sixteen children including myself began to study with the teacher Kalman Mendel.

Kalman Mendel's cheder was located in a small house near the fish market, not far from the Catholic church. We had to pass by the church every day when we went to cheder, and we never forgot to recite “thou shalt surely abhor it” [24]

We commenced studying with the teacher Kalman Mendel immediately after Sukkot. We studied from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening, with a recess of two hours in the afternoon.

We studied Chumash and Rashi, and later also Gemara. The worst was going home at 8:00 p.m. from the cheder, for fear that a sheigetz [25] might come upon us and extinguish the lanterns that each child carried. The streets were not lit, with the exception of Dluga Street.

The lanterns were made for the most part of colored paper. A few of the children had glazed, well marked lanterns with tallow candles inside. It would happen on occasion that a sheigetz would come along the way and take the greatest pleasure in throwing the child into the snow. The lantern would immediately burn out.

At the beginning of the second term (a term was counted from Passover until Sukkot, and from Sukkot until Passover) with Kalman Mendel, he told us that if we would not forget to count Sefira [26], he would take us into the forest for Lag Baomer.

Nobody could imagine what it meant to us young chaps to go out into the forest on Lag Baomer. Every child began to acquire a branch with string in order to make a bow and arrow for Lag Baomer. Together, we collected shooting materials for the bows and arrows.

The preparations lasted for two weeks. Every child boasted about how much shooting material he had collected.

Everybody was jealous of the yellow Yaakov. He collected more than all of the others in the first weeks, for a tree grew in his courtyard, from which he broke off the “shooting material”.

Our days and nights were tense with waiting for Lag Baomer.

{Photo page 281: Grade 5 of the Jewish Public school with Polish teachers. Translator's note: the inscription says, Zgierz, 28.6.37.}

The awaited day finally came. All 16 students arrived to cheder happy and in a festive mood. Each had his bow and arrow in hand, with full sacks of shooting material and a white bag with food for the entire day.

We were not led by our teacher Kalman Mendel, but rather by his son who was already an older lad. We went out from the Fish Market on the Jewish Street with exceptional joy. Every one of us was proud with his own bow and arrow.

We had already passed through “Kurak”, a considerable distance, perhaps a kilometer from the Lodzer forest. Suddenly, our guide stopped. He looked straight ahead and shouted: “Let us quickly flee back. I see that a sheigetz is coming.” We began to run back to the cheder in a wild panic. That Lag Baomer was ruined.


The David Friszman Jewish Library

by W. Fisher of Tel Aviv

The Jewish Library was founded in the year 1907. It went through several incarnations under various social and political sponsors. However, it survived until the outbreak of the Second World War as the only, most important general Jewish cultural institution in our city.

It was founded (illegally, according tot he Czarist decrees) in the studio of the painter and later well-known metal sculptor Marek Szwarc. Its founders were a group of intelligent, young cultural activists and proponents of self education. Among them were also those who still wore the traditional Jewish garb, and who in their homes had already a book that was not from among the holy books – called a “treifa pasul” [27]. Hassidic parents would often give spankings for bringing such books into the home. Nevertheless, this could not stop the awakening of the intellectual current that began to surge strongly and boldly through the Jewish street and take hold among wide circles of the knowledge-thirsty youth.

Mr. Fabian Grynberg, who himself was one of its founders, writes in the same spirit, as follows: “The Jewish library was named for our fellow native, the writer David Friszman. It played an important role in Zgierz, raising the cultural level of the Jewish population, especially of the youth. Among the founders of the library was also our friend Menashe Szwarcbard. He was a popular man with a fine sense of humor, and near to the Jewish masses. Like a former Beis Midrash student, he used the opportunity to influence the youth from religious homes to join the library circles. He often conducted readings for those youth. Aharon Cincinatus had a separate reason to found the library.”

We must emphasize here that the Jewish Library was initially created as a self-sufficient educational institution. Its goal was to raise the cultural level of all domains of national-societal life. The main thing was to awaken the interest for education and knowledge in all strata of the Jewish population.

With the development of the library and the simultaneous increase of its collection of books, the need for a permanent location grew stronger, so that it would be able to conduct its activities, which were widening and branching out, in an undisturbed fashion. When the library first obtained a location of two large rooms (one for books, and the other a reading hall) in the well-known house of the Reichters (as it was called “Palestine Court”), its work took on a surer form and more stable character. Bookshelves were made. The books were segregated into special sections, and the book catalogues were modernized. Within a short period of time, courses were arranged for languages and general subjects. There were groups for the study of Hebrew and elementary mathematics (“Lodzer Folksblatt”, July 4, 1915).

After it obtained its own premises, the library became like a second home for a large segment of the youth, for there they were able to derive satisfaction from their lives in an unhindered fashion, according to their ideological principals, in a friendly environment. There they could give expression to their feelings, desires and hopes with words and song.

With the legalization of the Jewish Library in 1917 by the German occupation authorities (“Lodzer Tagblatt”, August 15, 1917) its activities broadened. They were able to publicize on the streets of the city their cultural undertakings, such as: readings, literary evenings, mourning gatherings for writers and artists, formal academic events in honor of important historical events, etc. At the same time, a great deal was done to popularize the Yiddish and Hebrew book and increase the number of readers. In short, the library was an educational factor in cultural and communal life. Its popularity increased and widened, especially among the youth.

With the strengthened cultural activity, its monetary intake increased. There was little to wait for from the fund for the needy of the Jewish communal council, especially after the leadership of the council had been taken over by representatives of Agudas Yisroel. Therefore, it was fortunate that the chairman of the budget committee of the first Zgierz city council in liberated Poland, the communal activist Mr. Avraham Morgansztern, succeeded in securing a subsidy for the Jewish Library (“Lodzer Folksblatt”, May 31, 1918).

In the later years, the burden of financial assistance for the library fell almost entirely upon Mr. F. Grynberg. He succeeded on occasion in obtaining a large or small subsidy for the library from the city council or the Jewish communal council.

In the year 1919, there was a large book purchase. A memorial notice was pasted upon the first purchased books “The Complete Works of David Friszman”, dedicated to the memory of the young, late, active communal representative, Necha the daughter of Reb David Kac, as an expression of thanks for her dedicated work on behalf of the library. I wish to also mention here Leibel Sirkis, a dedicated worker for the library.

During the following three or four years, a noticeable stagnation took place in the cultural activity of the library on account f the Polish-Bolshevik war. A portion of the Jewish youth were mobilized and sent to the fronts. Another segment fled over the borders into the neighboring countries. A significant portion went to the Land of Israel. Zgierz was almost emptied of its creative Jewish youth.

In the year 1923, the mourning academy that was set up by the Jewish Library for the first yahrzeit of David Friszman of blessed memory, decided to perpetuated the memory of our great townsman by calling the library after the name of their renowned deceased.

Its activity was further infused with life that could be felt in the air during the 1920s. The prime cultural and literary ascent, with all of its ideological and artistic streams that swept through the Jewish intelligentsia in Poland and also through broad segments of the masses of people, had a strong and enthusiastic reverberation in our city. The fresh committee, which adopted anything that was new with youthful ardor, found a free and wide field for educational and cultural work. Thanks to the proximity of the large city of Lodz, which with time became a well-known cultural center, literary or dramatic-musical forces were never lacking at every turn of the library.

A new managing committee of the library was elected at the general meeting in 1926. The writer of these lines gladly became its director. It was a difficult time then for the Jews of Poland. A hatred went through the circles of Jewish art and literature. However, the Jewish workers and business market deeply felt the effects of Grabski's anti-Jewish economic and taxation policies. Zgierz, as a textile city, felt this even more deeply.

In order to flow with the reverberations of the new era, the Jewish library did not only renovate itself with people who had aspirations and dedication to these matters, but also with fresh sources of material, for the old sources slowly dried up. On more than one occasion, our activists and representatives banged on the table of the communal council, demanding a subsidy for the sole Jewish cultural institution in the city. However, they almost always came across a hard, laconic refusal: “There is no money in the treasury!”. The Jewish representatives on the city council also felt the negative anti-Semitic influence in an increasing fashion. Having no option, we had to turn to the “Jewish sack” [28]. The existence of the library hung on the balance.

Finally, we succeeded in acquiring a few friends who were smaller or larger money spenders (such as, for example, the manufacturer Moshe Kuperberg – himself a knowledgeable man and connoisseur of Yiddish books – who made an annual contribution) to restore the old book collection and purchase a fresh supply. We arranged various events for that purpose. We also went out into the street to collect money through what was called “flower days”. We were generally successful, and in a short time, our book orders arrived. All of the books that were currently purchased stemmed from the best-known literary creations – originals or translations of world literature. The Hebrew readers were especially pleased with the books from the “Shtibel” publisher. In order to satisfy the Jewish-Polish readers, who were always enticed by the neighboring Polish “Wiedza Library”, we enriched our library with a number of new Polish books.

{Photocopies page 286: Festive program for the 20th anniversary of the David Friszman Jewish Library in Zgierz.

Translator's note: there are two photocopies, one in Yiddish and the equivalent in Polish. The translation of the Yiddish is as follows:
1907 1927
Of the twentieth anniversary
Of the David Friszman Jewish Library
April 24, 1927, Zgierz [29]


Opening: Mr. V. Fiszer
Emergence and Development: Mr. F. Grynberg
Lectures: Mr. Y. Unger (Lodz)
Mr. Marek Szwarc (Paris)


Compositions of Achrona Chefetz and others: with a violin solo by Mr. D Jeselson of Lodz
A Shterendl (A Little Star) by Y. Kacenelson
Elend Song by Moshe Kulboka
Der Fadem (The Thread) by Y. L. Peretz
The above sung by the soloist of the Lodzer Hazamir Choir, Mr. H. Altman

Pianist: Mr. J. Fiszer

Recitations and Declamations: Mr. Szumacher (Lodz)

Dancing Attractions Buffet

Music under the direction of Mr. Gomberg}

Thus did the Friszman Library once again gain great esteem in the broad Jewish circles. The formal literary and artistic events, and the intimate artistic evenings were the best attended. They awakened interest in the actual cultural problems of that era.

I wish to end this survey with the crowning event of those years. I refer to the formal celebration of the twenty years of activity of the Jewish Library in Zgierz that took place in 1927 in the large hall of the tourist union. According to the photocopy of the program (sent in by F. Grynberg of America), the evening was chock-full of literary and artistic treats. Special attention was given to the witty insights into Yiddish culture, literature and art by the renowned writer and editor of the Lodzer Tagblatt, Yeshayahu Unger, and from the artist and founder of the library – Marek Szwarc and F. Grynberg. The conspicuous cultural activist in the city, the scholarly Isuchar Szwarc was present as honorary chairman. After the literary and artistic program, in which the young artist Yisrael Szumacher appeared, the crowd rejoiced until late in the night. As far as I remember, this was the most successful Jewish cultural event in Zgierz, organized by the David Friszman Library.

A remarkable curiosity: when I arrived in Zgierz shortly after the liberation and saw the desolation and destruction of my Jewish home, I conducted searches and rummages through the destroyed houses, perhaps I might find a sign, a memory of the Jewish life that used to brew here a few years previously – but I could find none. The Germans, together with their assistants, did everything so that such things would not remain. I asked Polish acquaintances about this, but without success. A short time later, somebody stopped me in the street and handed me a book, asking me if it was interesting to me. I gave a glance – a Jewish book! I cast a glance at the title page and saw: The Complete Works of David Friszman – with the stamp of the Zgierz Jewish Library that was so familiar to me… (see page 288).

When I made aliya to the Land of Israel, I obviously took that book with me – like a remnant and rare treasure from the once so rich book treasury of Jewish Zgierz.

{Photocopy page 288: Title page of the book: The Complete Works of David Friszman and a Selection of His Translations (volume 9).

Translator's Note: The entire text of the title page is as follows:
Tow: Oswiat
“Biblioteka Zydowska”
w Zgierzu

Published by “Merkaz”

Take good care of the books!

The Complete Works of David Friszman
And a Choice Selection of his Translations

(Celebrating his jubilee)


1. The Yiddish word is 'balabusta' which does not translate well into English. It means the 'woman of the house', but has deep connotations of loving, caring, and perhaps a touch of excess. Back

2. The text includes the word 'not', here, which I suspect is an error. Back

3. The Polish word for orphanage is Sierociniec, close to the given word. Ochranke means “Secure Place”. Back

4. The Joint Distribution Committee, and international Jewish charitable organization based in America, that concerned itself with disadvantaged Jews. Back

5. There seems to be something wrong with this number, as the photo on this page from 1921 shows far more than 7 children (unless the number 7 refers to full time boarders). Back

6. The first chapter in the tractate of Kiddushin, dealing with how the marriage ceremony is transacted. “Haisha Niknet” means “The wife is acquired”. Back

7. This statement is taken from the Code of Jewish Law, with regard to the new crop of grain, which is forbidden until the offering of the Omer sacrifice on the second day of Passover (after the destruction of the Temple, it is debatable if such is still forbidden, but there are many opinions that hold that new grain is forbidden until after the second day of Passover). This statement has been taken by some to refer to any 'innovations' in Judaism. Back

8. The word 'shituk' (paralysis) has been used twice so far. I suspect it refers to a stroke. Back

9. Bein Hazmanim refers to traditional Yeshiva or cheder breaks between terms. These include the time from Yom Kippur until after Sukkot, a time period surrounding Passover, and the time from after Tisha BeAv until Rosh Chodesh Elul. Back

10. These Torah portions occur a few weeks before Passover, when the days are already getting longer. Back

11. The Talmudic tractate dealing with the laws of sacrifices. Back

12. 'ach' is a Yiddish pluralization. Back

13. A section of the code of Jewish law dealing with the laws of kashruth and other ritual matters – the mastery of which is considered essential in order to be able to receive rabbinical ordination. Back

14. This could render a chicken non-kosher. Back

15. A question of whether certain menstrual stains render a woman into a niddah – a state of ritual impurity. These laws are very complex. Back

16. The Vilna Gaon. Back

17. Tosafot is the main commentary (actually a compendium of several commentaries) that is printed on a folio of Talmud. Back

18. Prophetic portion read in the synagogue after the Sabbath and festival Torah reading. Back

19. I am not sure of the reference here. Back

20. A shiviti is an artistic drawing, upon which the phrase “Shiviti hashem lenegdi tamid” (“I place G-d before me at all times”) is inscribed. Back

21. Artistic renditions of various segments of the prayer service. Back

22. The word Pension seemingly refers to a small, informal dormitory in a private home for the students. Back

23. An anti-Semitic political party. Back

24. A quote from Deuteronomy 7, 26, referring to the abhorrence of idol worship. Back

25. Derogatory term for a gentile. Back

26. It is a commandment to count each of the 49 days from the second day of Passover until Shavuot. This counting takes place at night, and is called 'Sefira' (literally – counting). Back

27. Treifa is a word for non-kosher meat (specific types of non-kosher meat however the term has taken on a general meaning), and Pasul is a term for a ritual object that has become invalid for use. Here, the terms are referring to secular books. Back

28. A reference to a beggar's collection sack. Back

29. This day corresponds to the last day of Passover, however the holiday would have concluded by the evening. Back

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