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[Page 151]

Memories of the City

From Podhajce to Jerusalem by M. Sh. Geshoury

(About the Personality of Professor Avraham Weiss of blessed memory.)

Translated by Jerrold Landau

(An abridged summary of the article in the Hebrew section of the book {Hebrew article is on Page 99})

[Page 152]

The Bursztyner Rebbe in Podhajce

by Rabbi Z. Eichenstein of blessed memory

Translated by Jerrold Landau

(Note at the bottom of the page: Given over through his son, Rabbi Yitzchak Izak Eichenstein.)

When my father, the rabbi and Tzadik Rabbi Yechezkel Izikel Eichenstein of holy blessed memory settled in Podhajce in the year 5668 (1909), he was a young man of 33 years of age. He settled in Podhajce with the approval of the rabbi and gaon Rabbi Shalom HaKohen Lilienfeld of blessed memory, for there was in the city a significant number of Bursztyner Hassidim of the rebbe Rabbi Nachumche of holy blessed memory, my father's father-in-law.

He quickly attracted a large number of various Hassidim. Many ordinary Jewish householders also became his followers, for his innocence convinced everyone that he was truly a tzadik. I wish to note a few well-known and prominent people who became his Hassidim: Reb Shlomo Orgel, who himself was a tzadik, and was never absent from his table on Sabbaths or festivals, summer and winter, despite the fact that he was already elderly; Reb Hershel Korenblum a great scholar who used to conduct the Shacharit service in the rebbe's Kloiz; Reb Yehotzedekl Fried a scholar and Hassid; Reb Feivish Peshis a scholarly Jew; and hundreds of other Hassidim from various rebbes who became his Hassidim and dedicated friends.

With help from those Hassidim and from dedicated friends and supporters from among the householders, the large house with the Beis Midrash was built. The rebbe was a great tzadik, a wonder worker, and a great distributor of charity.

This is how it went until the First World War. The war brought a great change to the Jewish life in general, and to religious life in particular. A large proportion of the important householders who left on account of the war did not return to Podhajce. The older generation passed away. The city took on a completely different face new householders, new customs and a new intelligentsia. Zionist parties arose on the right and the left, and there were also no lack of “Reds”. Parties were also created within Orthodox Judaism. Thus was Jewish life organized after the rebuilding of the ruins of the First World War.

The Orthodox Jewish party, of which the writer of these lines was one of the founders, also created various institutions. Some existed for a long time, others stopped their activity after a brief time, primarily on account of financial difficulties. The city Talmud Torah was led for a long time by me. A Beis Yaakov for girls was also founded, and it was greatly successful.

The changes in Jewish life in the city did not have a great effect on the Rebbe's house. Sabbaths and festivals were celebrated as always with great joy, and were sources of spiritual pleasure for all who came to the Rebbe's table. On festivals, Hassidim from other cities and towns would come as well.

In the final years before the Second World War, the situation in the city became more difficult. However, the Jews of the city used all their means to ensure that the Rebbe's house could be sustained with honor. This continued until the great misfortune in the era of Nazi rule. The rebbe died in the ghetto on 13 Adar I 5702 (1942), and his entire family was murdered during the last aktion on 3 Sivan 5702. I alone was saved with the help of G-d, for I settled in New York in 1936.

Here in America there are four Podhajcer organizations.

1) “Chevra Masaat-Binyamin Anshei Podhajce”, which built its own synagogue where I am the leader.
2) “Chevra Rodef Shalom Anshei Podhajce”
3) The United Podhajcer Organization
4) Podhajce Young Men

All of the Podhajcer Jews of New York take part in the aforementioned organizations. However, in the last few years, the number of members has declined greatly, for the older generation is passing away, and their children rarely belong to the Podhajcer organizations.

[Page 153]

Dr. Michael Weichert

(May 5, 1890 March 12, 1967)

Translated by Jerrold Landau


Dr. Michael Weichert
of blessed memory


He was born in Podhajce, Staro Miasta, Eastern Galicia. After three years, he moved with his parents to Stanislawow, where he studied in a modern cheder, Polish public school, and later in a gymnasium. In 1908, he took part in the Chernowiczer Yiddish Language Conference. He studied theater and art history, literature and jurisprudence in the universities of Lemberg and Vienna (in the latter, he earned a doctor of jurisprudence). In 1916-1917, he was a guest student with Max Reinhardt in theater in Berlin. Simultaneously, he studied theater science from Professor Max Herman in the University of Berlin. Starting in 1918, he studied Yiddish theater in occupied Warsaw, where he also worked as an Austrian assistant in the Newspaper Science Institute at the German Press Committee. After the first World War, he was a teacher of German, Polish and diction in the “Ascula” Gymnasium of Warsaw until 1933. He was a jurisprudence counselor at the United Committee for Matters of Jewish Labor (of the Joint, ORT and Handworker Central). Throughout all this time, he was connected to Yiddish theater, in which he quickly became known as one of the innovators and successful artistic directors.

In 1920, Dr. Weichert directed Gerhard Haufman's “Furman Henshel” (translated by H. D. Nomberg) in the Vilna Troupe; in 1928, he directed his own stage adaptation of Sholem Asch's “Kiddush Hashem”; in 1929, Shakespeare's “Shylock”, Aharon Ceitlin's “Yidden Stadt” and M. Lipschitz's “A Story about Hershele Ostropoler”; in 1930, G. Bichner's “Danton's Death”; in 1931, Asch's “Reverend Silver” and Ch. Gotesfeld's “Livelihood”; in 1935 Friedriech Wolf's “the Yellow Patch”.

Dr. Weichert was the founder of the Jewish Dramatic School (1922) and Jewish Theater Studio (1929), whose graduates created (1933) the experimental “Young Theater” (later the “Young Stage”, “New Theater”), to which the most significant personalities of Jewish theater belonged. “Young Theater” performed, under Dr. Weichert's direction, among other performances: “Boston” (Sacco and Vanzetti); Goldfaden's play “Troupe Tanenzap”; Shalom Aleichem's “Napoleon's Treasury”, Mendele's “Third Travels of Benjamin”; Leib Malches' “Mississippi”; Yaakov Preger's “Simcha Plachte” and “Meilech Freilech”.

Dr. Weichert was also the chairman of the Jewish artists' organization in Poland and vice president of the Warsaw chapter of the Jewish Pen club.

At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, Dr. Weichert was the founder and chairman of the Jewish Social Self-Help (J. S. A.) that helped Jews in the ghettos and camps, intervened for the benefit of arrested Jews, etc. In December 1942, the German authorities shut down the J. S. A., but a little later, he, with the agreement of the German authorities, once again opened up the organization with the name of “Jewish Support Organization” (JUS). Dr. Weichert was one of the leaders of the new organization.

With respect to Weichert's activity in that organization under German rule, the illegal Jewish Coordination Committee leveled accusations against him. After the war, in 1945, he was brought to

[Page 154]

trial in a Polish government court in Krakow. Weichert was acquitted of those accusations.

He began his literary activities when he was still a student. His debut was with critical articles in the Lemberger Tagblatt. Later he began to work with Polish and German theatrical periodicals. He took part in Der Juda (edited by Martin Buber) with his work “About the History of the development of Jewish Theater” (Number 8 - 1917, 1-4, - 1918). He published a large number of theatrical critical works in Moment, Lebens Fragen (Life Questions), Folkszeitung, Choliastra, Bicher-Welt, Literary Pages, Ringen, Theater, Jewish Theater Warsaw. Along with alter Kaczizna he edited “Ringen” (Notes on literature, arts, and criticism), 1921-1922 (10 notes); Yiddish Theater (the organ of the Jewish Artists Organization in Poland), Warsaw 1925-1926, 4 issues; Theater 6 issues; Yiddish Theater, quarterly book, 1-4, Warsaw, 1927-1928. Published in book form: Theater and Drama, book 1, Warsaw 1922, 184 pages, book 1 and 2, Vilna 1926, 186 pages.

Dr. Weichert lived in Israel since 1958. He teaches diction in courses at the Histadrut and also in courses for beginners in dramatic circles at the Tel Aviv city administration. He is a contributor to Last News, People in Zion, Davar, and Echoes of Education, Tel Aviv.

Dr. Michael Weichert of blessed memory passed away on the 30th of Adar I 5627, March 12, 1967.

Dr. Weichert was active in the Podhajce organization in Israel, and as a member of the committee for the publication of the Yizkor Book until his death in 1967. There is an article of his memories of Podhajce in the Hebrew section of the Yizkor Book.

A memorial ceremony for M. Weichert
at the conclusion of the year following his death


Z. Reizen Lexicon, book 1; Z. Silberzweig, Lexicon of Yiddish theater, book 1; A. Gurstein, Zeitschrift, Minsk, book 2-3, 1928; Y. Mestel, Archives of the History of Yiddish Theater and Drama, Vilna-New York, 1930, pages 505-506; First Yiddish Language Conference , Vilna 1931, index; G. Bader, A Country and its Scholars, New York, 1934; Dr. R Feldszwa, Yiddish Sociological Lexicon, Warsaw, 1939; General Encyclopedia of Jews, B, Paris, 1940; N Meisel, Yiddish Culture, Number 8-9, New York, 1944; There Once Was a Life, B. Ires, 1951, pages 337, 345-347, 358; B. Mark, Stories of Ruins, Lodz, 1947; El. Granach, Thus Goes a Man, New York, 1948; Y. Turkow, Thus Did it Go, Buenos Aires, 1948, Warsaw 1952, index; Dr. Y. Shatzki, YIVO pages, 1954; M. Borovitch, Aryan Papers, Buenos Aires, 1955, index; Sh. L. Schneiderman, Daily Journal, B. Y., March 4, 1956; M. Ravitch, My Lexicon, book 1, Montreal, 1941; pages 220-223, and book 3, Montreal, 1958, page 475.

[Page 155]

Synagogues, Cheders and Teachers

by Yehuda Grussgott

(A free translation of the article in the Hebrew section of the book. {Hebrew article is on page 107})

[Page 156]

Memories of the Hebrew School

by Yehudit Heller

(A free translation of the article in the Hebrew section of the book. {Hebrew article is on page 110})

Students of the Hebrew School with the teacher Rozen (1924)


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