by Libe Utzyski
Translated by Libe Utzyski (Ferber) Elson
Moyshe Jaungerman inherited his teaching abilities from his great father. Being himself a very capable man and possessing a great deal of intelligence, he enriched himself by constant learning and became a very excellent teacher.
His father's chader was the best and a very progressive one. The ultra religious people didn't send their children to him. When Moyshe's father left with his wife (Moyshe's mother) for the U.S. to the children that lived there, Moyshe took over his father's profession and became the outstanding teacher in our little town.
From his father, Moyshe took over the progressive way of educating the children. He felt that the future generation needed a proper upbringing in order to be prepared for the future needs in life and be prepared to face all kinds of challenges.
In 1918, the Yiddishe shule was opened (when Poland became again a state after the 1st World War). Moyshe took over the reins of this institute of learning. He devoted his whole life with heart and soul to bring up the children in a way that they could match any school and be better yet. All the necessary subjects were taught there. Three languages were taught, Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish. Even the Tanach was introduced to the children.
The children loved him, because he helped them solve all their problems with understanding and warmth. Moyshe was very well learned in Russian, German and French literature and knew all these languages perfectly although he never attended a higher institute of learning. His favorite was Hebrew and he knew the Tanach by heart.
He tried to influence the children to take seriously everything they learn in order to grow up well-educated and well prepared for life and be able to solve future problems by themselves.
As a person, Moyshe wasn't well groomed. Always not properly dressed, not properly combed, the shoelaces many times untied in spite of all these uncomplimentary things the children loved him and the grownups respected him. In nature, he was a very excitable person when somebody annoyed him it looked that he'll tear apart but instead he started to walk across room back and forth rubbing his black mustache and slowly, slowly came back to his quiet status.
Nobody knew what was going on in the mind of this genius, who with his knowledge, sharp mind and ability could reach a very high position in his life, but was stuck in a little town, teaching children to aim high and become good human beings.
It once happened that a girl came to school all banged up and bruised. With fatherly love he asked her what happened. She told him that when she returned home, she had a feeling that somebody is walking after her. She started to run and in her panic ran into a tree. Moyshe was quiet for a while then said: Never run away from danger that you're not sure what they are. In your case you had to stop for one second, look around and I am sure nobody, nobody was running after you. The running away will increase your fear forever. This teaching was to learn to face danger and learn to fight it.
When Moyshe took over the Yiddishe shule he was the most popular beloved and respected teacher. The children simply adored him. He was a free-thinker and very progressive. He wanted to implement all his ideals and qualities into his children they listen to him and respond with love.
After a few years something terrible happened to him his only son of six years passed away from diphtheria. He was shaken up and all broken. He started to doubt his own philosophy. He started to think about himself, how little he was and how he sinned against the Almighty. Maybe he was punished by God for teaching children to stray away from their fundamental ways of thinking and religion.
Moyshe became very religious, isolated himself, left the Yiddishe shule. Prayed to God three times a day never mingled with anybody.
To make a living he opened his chader, accepted only very special children and taught them Gemora and Talmud. For the children of our town he was lost just a memory. Moyshe with his near family and all the children that he was teaching were killed by the Nazis, but his unusual personality will always be with the survivors of the town wherever they are.
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Updated 13 Aug 2009 by LA