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[Page 227]

and he was thereby able to rebuild his business.

        At the same time, Aharon David was also involved in community affairs. He and his wife Bobba, supported Talmud Torah schools, and he was the treasurer of the Hayey Adam and Eyn Yaakov study groups in the Old House of Study, where there was a custom to hold a festive meal upon the completion of a portion of study in the groups. His wife Bobba would cook and bake her very best for those occasions.

        The Kaplans both died from the typhus epidemic in 1915. Aharon David died on Yom Kippur at the age of 63, and Bobba died on the eve of Sukkot, at the age of 54.

        The Kaplans had several children: Morris, Eliezer-Moshe, Yehuda and Chaim (deceased); Enny was active in the Workman's Circle in New York, and supported Yiddish literature; Flora and Sarah [live] in Canada; Gedaliah Kaplan [is] in New York.


[photo:] R. Aharon David and Bobba Kaplan

        Baruch Avraham Volinsky

[photo:] R. Baruch Avraham Volinsky

        Baruch Avraham Volinsky, or “Baruch Horlevitcher,” as he was known, was born in Antopolia in 1804, and was fortunate to live to the age of 113 with great honor, enjoying five generations of offspring.

        In his youth, R. Baruch had a cabinet-making business, but was it insufficient to support his large family. He moved to the village of Horlevitch (near Drohitchin) where he continued his business with the peasants, thus providing him with a livelihood.

        Some time later, the landowner of the Horlevitch Estate visited the village, and was staying next door to R. Baruch. The landowner offered him an accounting job at his estate. Since Volinsky could write Russian and Polish, he took the job right away, and eventually became the director of the entire Estate. This occurred later, when the landowner (a Pole) was forced to flee to Paris because of his involvement in an uprising of Poles against the Czarist regime.

        R. Baruch Volinsky also persuaded the landowner to abolish lashings of peasants for any small misdeed, thereby earning the friendship of the peasants. This didn't last long, however, because as soon as the Czarist decree ordering Jews to leave villages was proclaimed, the same “friends” pillaged R. Baruch's house of all his possessions, leaving R. Baruch penniless.

        Baruch Volinsky then visited the renowned rabbi of Antapolia, R. Pinchas Michel for his advice. R. Pinchas Michel advised him to travel to the United States. R. Baruch responded, “Rebbe, only criminals go to America. How can I go there?” R. Pinchas Michel repeated his advice, and promised R. Baruch that he would be successful there.

[Page 228]

        R. Baruch followed the advice of the Rebbe, and in his 80s arrived in New York where he prospered. He was the founder and secretary of the Khomsk and Antapolia Association, as well as of the charity fund in Brownsville. On his 102nd birthday President Theodore Roosevelt sent R. Baruch a warm greeting and several 1804 coins as a gift.

        On Yom Kippur, October 6, 1917, R. Baruch Volinsky died at the age of 113, leaving behind five generations of offspring, who are today organized as the Baruch Volinsky Circle with 125 members. The Baruch Volinsky Circle works on behalf of fellow émigrés and Israel, thereby keeping alive the name of their ancestor, R. Baruch Volinsky.

Information provided by Gedaliah Kaplan

        Leibetshka Michalsky

[photo:] Leibetshka Michalsky

Leibetshka Michalsky was a personable individual with a good sense of humor. He worked as a drummer and director of a klezmer band that performed at Jewish weddings and celebrations. Leibetshka especially excelled in the skill of providing amusements at weddings. The jokes and rhymes he would tell when entertaining the bride and groom and during speeches at the wedding celebration caused people to both laugh and cry.

        However, his primary source of income wasn't from entertainment but from his employment at the Rovin Estate near Drohitchin. The landowner of the Rovin Estate, General Minkov, liked Leibetshka very much because of Leibetshka's cleverness and sense of humor, making him his business agent. Leibetshka would make the purchases of all necessities in town, and would sell the starch that was produced by the Estate's starch factory. Leibetshka was also the landowner's toll collector. In those days the public baths of the entire town belonged to General Minkov, and the Jews would pay him fees.

        Leibetshka would travel to town with the landowner in a carriage with six horses, and watched both Jews and gentiles tip their hats to the landowner. Leibetshka would joke that he, Leibetshka, was a Jewish nobleman named Michalsky.

        When World War I broke out, Mrs. Minkov called a meeting of the landowners. It was decided that all landowners should leave their estates and retreat deep into Russia. The landowners then asked Mrs. Minkov to ask Leibetshka his opinion about the situation. Leibetshka responded, “For 40 years the Germans have prepared for an attack on Russia, and the Russian regime has been preparing to expel Tuvia from the village of Osevitz because he didn't provide new shoes for the peasants.”

        When the Germans arrived in Drohitchin in 1915, Leibetshka was living at the Rovin Estate and became the leader of the Estate and surrounding area. He made use of his position to assure the supply of grain and potatoes for Jews in town.

        On one Christmas night, a German officer had Chaim Ber Kravetz, the wagon driver, to take him to Rovin. When he arrived at Rovin, the German officer got drunk and started harassing Chaim Ber, accusing him of having “killed his God.” The officer then

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