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[Page 149]

[Photos:] R. Binyamin Moshe Hoffman, the Ritual Slaughterer

Sarah Beila Hoffman


R. Binyamin Moshe Hoffman was born in approximately 1857 in Khomsk (near Drohitchin) to his father, R. Avraham, a religious teacher and scribe in town. He received his education in the House of Study.

        When he was 16 years old, R. Binyamin married Sarah Beila Lasinsky (the same age as R. Binyamin) from Drohitchin. He returned to study Torah under the old rabbi, R. Menachem, and was certified as a ritual slaughterer. In approximately 1876, R. Binyamin Moshe was hired as the ritual slaughterer of Drohitchin.

        R. Binyamin was also a mohel [circumcisor] in town, and his stately appearance earned him respect and honor. He was a devoted chassid of the Kobrin dynasty, attended the chassidic synagogue his whole life, and served as cantor, shofar-blower and Torah-reader. He also led the singing in the synagogue.

        R. Binyamin, who was more than 40 years old when he became ritual slaughterer and examiner in Drohitchin, came down with typhus during the War, and on the first day of the month of Shvat, 1916, he passed away at the age of 57. Shortly thereafter his wife, Beila fell victim to the same illness, and died on the 23rd of Adar II, 1916.

        After the death of R. Binyamin Moshe, the position of ritual slaughterer in Drohitchin was given to his sons-in-law, R. Yossel David Schub and R. Moshe Prager.
R. Binyamin Moshe and Sarah Beila Hoffman had four sons and three daughters: Yisrael David and Lazer – who both died in the United States, and whose families live in Chicago; Marisha and Devorah died in Drohitchin; Naftali was killed with his family in the Byalistock ghetto; Chaim Hoffman and his family live in Chicago, and Ethel Goodman lives in Cleveland.

[Page 150]

[Photo:] R. Moshe Prager

R. Moshe Prager

R. Moshe Prager was born in Brisk into a chassidic family. He received his education in the House of Study, and then became the son-in-law of R. Binyamin Moshe, the Ritual Slaughterer. After the death of his father-in-law, R. Moshe Prager became the ritual slaughterer of Drohitchin. As a strict chassid, R. Moshe Prager prayed at the chassidic synagogue, where he was one of the people who led songs, and was one of the distinguished members of the congregation.

        In general, R. Moshe was one of the most respected people in town, and was involved in community affairs. For a number of years he was a director of the Co-op Bank (Volksbank) and other institutions. In 1937, his beloved wife, Devorah, died and left him with three children: Beiltsha, Berl and Chayale. Unfortunately, none of his children survived. They were all killed – may G-d avenge their blood!

R. Avraham Asher Kravetz-Kohn

        R. Avraham Asher Kravetz-Kohn was born in approximately 1885 in Drohitchin to his parents, R. Yisrael and Esther Rachel. His father, a wealthy businessman, was involved in the masonry business. Avraham Asher studied in the yeshivas of Pohost, Antapolia, Vilna, Slobodka and others. He received certification as a slaughterer from the eminent scholar, Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, and then married Sarah, the daughter of Pinya the Merchant.

        In 1907, R. Avraham Asher and his family left for the United States, where he was a slaughterer for a number of years in a town somewhere in Minnesota.

        [Photo:] Rabbi Yosef David Schub standing at the grave of his wife, Miriam (daughter of R. Binyamin Moshe), who died on the second day of Shavuot, 1920 in Otvotsk at the age of 33. She was buried there. [Gravestone:] Here is buried the refined, modest and respected woman, whose hand was always extended to the poor, MRS. MIRIAM, daughter of Binyamin Moshe, and wife of Yosef David SCHUB, from the town of Drohitchin, Polesia. She died in the flower of her youth on the second day of Shavuot, 1920. [rest illegible, then:] May her soul be bound up among the living.

R. Matityahu Warshavsky – R. Shmuel Reichman

        R. Velvele the Ritual Slaughterer was involved as a distinguished cantor in local Houses of Study. His son, Matityahu Warshavsky, replaced his father as ritual slaughterer as well as cantor in the New House of Study until 1907, when he left for the United States.
        For a short time, R. Shmuel also served as ritual slaughterer. He was the son of R. Menachem Reichman. R. Shmuel was the son-in-law of a man in Bereza, and lived there for a while, until left for the United States, where he changed his name to Richman, and spent the rest of his life in Chicago.

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