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[Page 157]

Personalities and Figures

 

[Page 159]

Moshe Taykh

Translated by Rosalind Romem

He was born in Radizivilov in 1904 to Kalman and Alte Taykh, his parents. His father was a clever man, very well educated in Torah, who was a rabbinical lawyer in our town. Moshe studied in a cheder until World War I, when the Taykh family fled to Russia and lived there until 1920. After their return to Radizivilov, Moshe was a Pioneer Youth leader, belonging to the Freedom section of the movement.

 

rad159.jpg
R' Kalman Taykh and Family Members

 

R' Kalman was a Zionist, and as an honest man, he immigrated to the Land of Israel with his wife and settled with his wife near his children, Moshe and Dvore, on the Ein Harod farm. There, too, the parents died at an old age.[1]


Footnote

  1. Three daughters, Chaye, Peye, and Sore, were killed by the Nazis. return


[Page 160]

The Modest One[1]

by D. Melts

Translated by Rosalind Romem

 

rad160.jpg
Moshe Taykh

 

Moshe Taykh was one of the first among the lines of “movers and shakers.” He was a founder of Kibbutz Vohlyn in Hadera and one of the first people of Givat Brenner; he came to Ein Harod from Givat Brenner. He worked there in the vineyards for many years and gave his strength and tenacity to developing industry. Here he organized work in general and worked in the kibbutz secretariat.

Moshe, who was a Talmud scholar steeped in Torah and culture, was eventually called to educate and direct the groups of youth immigrating to Israel. He knew how to instill this simply into youth–the primary, basic, internal values of the Labor Movement in the Land of Israel–in his own humble, modest way.

He was, as stated, a Torah scholar, who drew from the wells of both our ancient and our new cultures. It was pleasant to sit with him at the table in the noisy dining room and listen to the topics he raised that day, whether from a chapter of Duties of the Heart[2] by Our Teacher Bachya or from works by writers and poets of our new literature. He knew how to combine the past and the present, knew how to recognize the links of the dynasty of the continuing…

There was a connection between what he learned and his modest lifestyle. He lived a life of spirituality, searching in sources to satisfy his soul's hunger to know, the “oil to light.” Within our generation's divided and confused world, he belonged to those who still believed in the value of ideas and the strength of the spirit and soul. And in the strength of these he also knew, apparently, how to do his work with modest simplicity.


Footnotes

  1. Footnote in original: Articles taken from a booklet in his memory produced in Ein Harod. return
  2. Translation editor's note: Duties of the Heart (Chovot HaLevavot) was the primary work of the Jewish philosopher Bachya ibn Paquda (called Our Teacher Bachya), who lived in Saragossa, Spain, in the first half of the 11th century. return


The Loyal Pioneer

by Sh. Broida

Translated by Rosalind Romem

Grokhov was a Pioneer agricultural farm near Warsaw. To visit Grokhov was the desire of every pioneer and the pride of everyone who was preparing to immigrate to the Land.

[Page 161]

In the spring of 1926, on my way to the Land, I visited there. For half a day I walked around every corner of the farm, and everything I saw was not enough for me: starting with the beautiful plant nursery, the henhouse, and ending with a wagon that appeared in the yard, full of tall sheaves and with a young man on top driving the horses with a sure hand. Something sang around me–and in my heart. From then on, a correction was made in Bialik's “field”–”our hands formed your sheaves, the Jewish pioneer hand, made the sheaves taller” … But most of the surprise awaited me beyond the farm's fence, where the cows were roaming in the nearby dust. A suntanned shepherd with curly hair, wearing a white farmer's shirt, occasionally pushed his flock toward the pastures while carefully watching that the cows did not cross the border. I approached him. Smiling eyes met me with “Shalom,” and the shepherd spoke to me in Hebrew… For several moments it was as if I were in Wonderland. I quickly left him so as not to disturb him and let him do his “holy work.”

That was my first meeting with Taykh. And this meeting remains in my memory whenever I see “I made you a shepherd”…

A year passed, and again–in Hadera. Hadera–the center of malaria and parties in Israel: Labor Unity and Young Worker and Conquest of Labor and stormy debates. On the dunes outside the settlement, two kibbutz tent camps were set up, one called Brotherhood and the other, Vohlyn. Good neighborliness and the unity of labor brought them closer together. From the leaky tents, our members and the Kibbutz Vohlyn members went to get work in the fields every day. On one such day, as we worked with hoes in the field, happy and sweaty, I recognized to my pleasant surprise the pioneer shepherd from Grokhov. Since then, we have connected many threads: Grokhov; the image of Hadera; and the hoe, which we conquered and played with our hands like a musical instrument. We dealt in depth not only with the fields but also with all the problems of society, settlement, kibbutz, and party. “Injil”–couch grass, which is the blessed earth's parasite–was a symbol for us, and together we attacked it to destroy it at the root. “Look, I removed it completely, not even the ‘eye' is left,” Taykh would say, showing me the flourishing injil, his eyes smiling with happiness.

In the evenings, after the meal of olives and soup, the tents were full of debates: the way of the kibbutz and settlement. The battle of status, and the Arab question, on which many “experts” could be found among the settlement workers. Taykh was aware of all these questions, on many occasions attending public meetings in the settlement, and his comments were greatly valued. Later there was a crisis in the immigration settlements, and we were scattered throughout the land. Only two years later, when one of us came from the south and one from the north, did we meet again, very happily, in Ein Harod.

“If a person thought while meeting his friend that this was possibly their last meeting–who knows, perhaps life would appear differently”–

[Page 162]

Who knows?

Many decades would pass, and there would be no one who knew his friend, even his good friend whom he met daily for many years in one branch… And when the time comes, after “the last meeting,” you stand with regret and pain when you discover that you know almost nothing about your friend, you stand and regret how it happened that you cannot tell about his life, his youth, his past until his immigration to the Land of Israel. It becomes clear to you that you did not know the man who was your friend for years at all … the heart breaks. And it is important to think about it a great deal.

I met with Taykh many times, and we would talk for many hours. We thought deeply about the movement, society, the individual, and the kibbutz. The world and the institute. And Taykh, in his way, delved deep and searched, sometimes cruelly toward himself and his friends, while searching for the basis of these matters, to their roots, delving, in his period of roots of “the tip of the sting,” to the very end. We had very interesting periods, but there was no shortage of low periods while striving toward equality in the kibbutz and sorting out the “minor matters” and conversations about “current questions” at the pinnacle of our world and what is a commune? And “living according to these principles”–for all the people, or “you have chosen us.” And so it was until we were together “at the side of the railway tracks, which pass us noisily”…

Taykh never gave up. He spoke sarcastically about unrealistic people. This was because he believed in human beings and the truth of life, which ends in victory. He knew how to overcome internal depression and encourage others. He would frequently use his slogan, which was known only to a few: “Take care of yourself,” meaning, do not allow weakness around you to overcome you. In later years he added “and your close friend” to this slogan…

The man was modest and full of humility. And if in regard to movement or labor he knew how to demand a lot from himself and others, and not to give up–in his private and personal matters, he knew how to rise above it and forgive, sometimes to the point of neglect. Also in health matters. He was very careful not to bother other people about himself–“not to bother, God forbid.” And so he modestly avoided things, passed on, and left us.[1]

A dear friend has been taken from us, a good friend, an expert in Jewish studies, to whom you could always turn and share what was in your heart and receive encouragement. His many students could relate his fatherly and sincere approach to their most intimate and personal distress; they always left him encouraged and self–confident. His task in educating youth was to inspire them to be loyal to the Labor Movement and the state. It was very important to him, holy, although it was difficult for him to be completely cut off from the fields, the plants, to which he was attached with all his heart. Indeed, he returned to it, to the earth, the mother of all living creatures that he loved–too soon.

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The memory of Taykh, the friend, the loyal member of the movement, dear and holy, will remain in his friends' hearts. They will forever mourn his absence.


Footnote

  1. Footnote in original: He died on 26 Av 1950 in Ein Harod. return


About His Image

by Menachem Goldberg

Translated by Rosalind Romem

A scholar, steeped in the spirit of the generations of the people of Israel, eager to know–this is part of his image.

Five or six years ago, we guarded together. At night, he drew my little knowledge of chemistry and physics from me. During the day, he would read and study these subjects, and at night he would have me clarify this information. He was very thorough, delving into the basis and roots of these questions until he could find the unknown–and then he would look at me victoriously. He did not accept that the obvious assumption was the entire matter. With the determination and diligence of a yeshiva student, he continued to deal with these scientific problems for a long time.

When, on behalf of the education committee, it was suggested to him that he prepare himself to teach science, he said, “Although the laws of nature are of great interest to me, my existence is–the spirit of our people.” And he did that.

Originality and independent thought were the second part of his image. He did not accept routine matters even if based on life experience. He would consider and analyze every problem and only then come to conclusions.

Initiative–the characteristic was part of his personality. When he worked in the vineyard, he used to bring us, “the work organizers,” various inventions: to remove branches, organize the vintage, remove the fruit from the vineyard, and more. In that year he succeeded in reducing the workdays required for a dunam of vineyard by an extremely large percentage.

Primary pioneering. The “scholar” and “man of thought” always saw the main content of a man's life to be physical labor. When I suggested to him five years earlier that he prepare himself to instruct youth, he did not agree, because he did not want to abandon physical labor. And after a great deal of persuasion, telling him of the importance of the matter even for himself by giving him the opportunity to study, he looked at me with an eye that penetrated heart and soul and with a laugh–which took away one's confidence in the truth of one's words and thoughts. And finally, when he accepted the verdict, he did so on the condition that the preparation would require him to teach only one group, maximum two, and that after that he would return to physical labor.

[Page 164]

Recently, when group 7 was about to complete its course, he talked about having fulfilled his duty and that he now wished to return to work in the vineyard.

He educated youth group 7. He invested himself and all his abilities in this, and it was the final task of his life. He did not live to enjoy this work.

In the final days, when he realized that the majority of the group members were going to be pioneers and even build a new settlement, even before they had concluded the youth group period, he used to say, “I am very busy. Now is my ‘harvest season.'”

His memory will be part of Nir Eliyahu–the kibbutz built by his students, among others.


Defining Character[1]

Translated by Rosalind Romem

The defining character has very great value in the education of man and the formation of society's image. This character might be concrete, realistic–a person who lives and functions in a specific period and place, acting as an example and symbol to the members of his generation and his environment: or else it is imaginary, mythical, historic–an imaginary creation adjusted to the passion of the generation, its observations and ideas.

According to this, this character fulfills a double role: it illustrates the image of the generation within which it functions and it also ennobles through its spirit and educates the young generation.

When life is stable, when the generation is static, and the character is perfect and has no duality, then parents and educators know what image of a person they want to present as a symbol and powerful attraction for their students.

This is not so with a revolutionary generation in a period of transition. The image of the desired character looks misty to them and suffers from lack of backbone. This deficiency grows and becomes obvious in the revolution's second period, when construction replaces destruction, the positive replaces the negative, and a clear and complete image is needed.

This deficiency is also discovered in our own society. From here stems the tragedy of our situation and the embarrassment that often overcomes us. We know how to use terms for a negative character: “Diaspora type,” “homeowner,” petit bourgeoisie,” etc. But when we are asked about the positive person's characteristics, desirable in our society, about his qualities and spiritual image–it is very difficult for us to respond, if we want to be honest and genuine about ourselves and not use empty phrases.

Our debate presents us with two tasks:

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a) To establish an independent Jewish agricultural economy, to establish it, expand it, and improve it. A mandatory condition for this–maximal effort, physical and cognitive. The concentration of all our spiritual strength, the best of our skills and abilities.

We are still in our beginning stages, without an important economic tradition and with a lack of experience. Technical Improvements and inventions cannot replace a person's dedication to his livelihood.

And when I want to describe to myself, in my imagination, the image of the complete person, who fulfills his duty, in other words, what kind of a person might be educated in a society that places this specific task at the center of its affairs, I view him along these lines:

A person tries to do the duties of his work and economy from early in the morning until sunset. In the evenings and when he has a few hours of leisure, he is busy organizing and preparing for the next day's work. His brain has no time to read a book. With difficulty, dozing off, he glances through the newspaper. When he wants to read a textbook that he badly needs for his work, he has to make a special effort. And so he continues for days and years, until he becomes unable to absorb material, exhausted, closed, shrunk. But sometimes a desire awakens for literature, art, the wide world, rest, and easy thinking. However, his awareness of his responsibility and the seriousness of his task help him get over this mood and continue in his usual way.

Our second task is education and the development of the movement. And to concentrate a lot of Jews around us, educate youth in our country and overseas, prepare them for a life of work, and instill in them the ideology of our movement and ease their absorption into the land and the economy. This task also demands concentrated thought and enthusiasm, training in public activities, political awareness, and a talent for fighting and for expressing oneself. The central character that defines is the person who has all these qualities.

In daily life, when these two roles demand their perfect fulfillment, you discover contradictions and friction. When contradictions arise concerning the individual, they cause imperfection and dissatisfaction. And in society, these cause social division and lower its image.

The most suitable and preferred way for our period of time is the combined method, which we should adopt, but as yet we have not begun to do this. The problem would not have been so critical if we could have split the tasks between two different types of people among us so that integrity would not be damaged. But the crux of the matter is that the character that defines the fulfillment of the second task is attractive and charming and influences the surroundings and youth. They want to be like that.


Footnote

  1. Footnote in original: Cogitation on Our Spirit–from the same booklet. return


[Page 166]

Yosef (Yozik) Zaks
From the Galilee Bulletin

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

 

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He was born in Radzivilov in 1904 to Zindel and Viktoria Zaks, a wealthy and respected family. He attended school there. When his family went to Odessa during World War I, he attended the Russian gymnasium. After the war, his family returned to Radzivilov. As a result of the influence of nationalism at the war's end and the growing movement to rebuild and settle the Land of Israel, he joined Pioneer. He was part of the group of pioneers who immigrated in 1924.

The group went to the Kineret settlement, and Yozik worked with the tobacco crop. There he was first exposed to Kibbutz Kineret members and kibbutz life in general. There also, an awareness of kibbutz ideals and communal life crystallized for him. After working in the settlement for a year, and after his group quickly dispersed, Yozik became a member of Kibbutz Kineret. At first, he held various jobs at the Rutenberg power plant in Naharayim and elsewhere. Every position he held revealed his determination and talent. In Kineret, he started a family and had three children.

When he went to work permanently in the dairy barn, he worked with an extraordinary effort and efficiency that impressed everyone. For 25 years–until the year he died–he worked diligently to improve and promote the dairy industry. When he needed information, he did research and took courses and even taught himself from books. His work in this area was not limited to the kibbutz sector. He shared his work with the Dairy Association.

[Page 167]

His knowledge, experience, and work with dairy livestock earned him respect, and his colleagues were all eager to hear his ideas.

He died on 4 Tammuz 1954 (July 5, 1954).


Yozik / Miryam Barats

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

“Yozik” is how we–his Jordan Valley friends–knew him.

There are three ways to describe Yozik: pioneer, achiever, and trusted friend. He was a pioneer from the day he entered the country until the day he died. He managed the dairy for 25 years, exactly half his life. This is no small thing. He knew how to overcome numerous difficulties and get results.

He was a good friend to everyone, personally and professionally. He was not a great prophet, but he had the ear of all his fellow dairy association members, who loved and listened to him because he spoke from experience and knowledge of life.

This is how we knew Yozik, and this is how we will preserve his blessed memory.


A Youthful Soul[1]

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

It appears that only in a situation like this, death, can one comprehend him. He had a youthful vitality, and he didn't slow down until old age. In recent years, he spoke out in a meeting with the thin voice of youth and exploded even though the matter was not simple–just as a young person would. He had no lack of experience, and the things he did know, he was a master at. He had a youthful manner, but this did not mean he lacked maturity. Just the opposite: this is a natural gift. Everything that happened to him and around him, he considered and reacted to as if he were a boy of 18. There is little difference between what he was then and when he grew older.

Was this easy for him? Not at all.

So it seems that being young is not just a phase; it is part of one's character.

Happy is the man whose soul is young although he himself has reached his seniority.

And so take note of youthfulness like this, for it not only surely guides your years well but also preserves your youth.

Mid–July 1954


Footnote

  1. Footnote in original: From the papers of Ben–Tsion Yisraeli of Kineret–it appears to be a summary of sorts of the eulogy he gave for Yozik. return


[Page 168]

Avraham Aychis
From the Givah Bulletin
[1]

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

Avraham Aychis was born in Radzivilov in 1896 to a family of wealthy merchants. His earliest education was a traditional Jewish one. In 1912, he went to the technical school for trade in Kiev. The same year, he joined the Young Zionists, and shortly thereafter he distinguished himself. He was a quiet, polite, genteel young man, a good listener, and there was always a song on his lips.

Unlike many of his friends, who increased their knowledge by reading books on politics and sociology, he preferred philosophy. He would always engage in discussions with his friends, but he would never attend meetings. He distanced himself from the tedium of instruction and information, although he busied himself with lowly day–to–day work, and he did it with polished and talented execution. In 1914, Aychis disappeared from the inner circles of the movement. We found out that he had decided to study the fundamentals of the Hebrew language. His teacher was Cantor Glants, and in return Aychis taught him musical notation.

When discussions became heated and divisive, prior to the formation of Et Livnot [A Season to Build] (at the beginning of 1915), Aychis returned to us. He heard, he listened, and he weighed. With the increase in activity after the February Revolution, Aychis devoted himself to the Organization, becoming involved in a variety of movement committees. He led the organization of youth groups, set up conditions for a Hebrew sports team, and devoted much time and effort to the revival tax)*–all with amazing dedication and meticulousness for the party, without taking any credit.

In 1921, Aychis went from Russia to Poland with many Dror members, and there he worked on the Pioneer movement in Volhynia.

He immigrated in July 1930 and joined his family at Givat Hashlosha. There he was always found working in different kibbutz administration jobs: secretary of education, teacher in the kibbutz school and the regional school, treasurer, or active member of many different committees. As the years passed, he nurtured musical enterprises as director of the school choir and conductor of the kibbutz orchestra.


Footnote

  1. Footnote in original: On behalf of the Dror federation in Kiev, the revival tax was divided up as follows: 70% for the Jewish National Fund, 20% for the cooperative fund, 10% for the cultural fund. return


[Page 169]

From Testimonials by Kibbutz and Movement Members[1]

by Y. Bereginski, B. Marshak

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

I met Avraham Aychis, of blessed memory, for the first time during the stormy period of the 1917 Russian Revolution. This was, I believe, at a Jewish student meeting in Kiev, where there was an ongoing discussion on this question: do we need to join the general militia to keep the peace, or should we set up a separate, independent organization? They told me he had already been connected to an underground group associated with the Zionist group Et Livnot for a long time.*

From our first meeting, I remember that he was always involved in in all arenas of Zionist work and, after that, in the ranks of Dror. Mainly I remember, with pleasure, his work for the Jewish National Fund.

Following the cessation of immigration in 1925–1927, Aychis had to stay in the Polish diaspora for an additional year. When the gates to the Land of Israel opened, he was among the first to immigrate. He went with his family to Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha, and there he remained for the rest of his life … –Y. Bereginski

A man of the Dror movement.–This movement was an amalgam, and in its amalgamation it resembled the aspirations of all of the pioneer movements in Poland. Aychis was levelheaded and acted deliberately, but he actually accomplished many things; but when he had to take credit for what he accomplished, he was captivated by dedication and devotion, which were his primary characteristics.

I first met him in the stormy days of the Pioneer movement, during the days of Klosova–in 1827 [sic] in Rovno. Everything was wildly exciting, but Aychis was moderate and self–restrained.

He cultivated in himself the most sincere quality a man like him could possess–unlimited and unflinching trust of all of his comrades–and only because of his complete honesty. He was always honest, even when it was painful, and he was always convincing.

In the midst of all of his dedicated work, Aychis, along with Yehuda Sharat, may he have a long life, led our chorus. Many parties were enhanced by his pleasant voice. He knew many special traditional Passover seder songs. Now we will no longer hear his special songs …–B. Marshak


Footnote

  1. Footnote in original: In those days, Et Livnot, the precursor of the Dror federation, developed and organized the Independent Defense, and its leader, Mr. Yeshayahu Fisrovsky, emerged from the community in Kiev. In a Hebrew speech, he urged the community to prepare to defend itself–The Editor. return


[Page 170]

Batye Aychis (Benderska)

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

Batye was born in1903 in Zhitomir to enlightened parents. Her father was a Hebrew teacher, and her love of the people and homeland came from him. She was educated in a Russian gymnasium and, like many others who were joining youth movements, she joined Dror.

When the more senior members of the movement decided to move to Poland on their way to the Land of Israel, the local members, including Batye, decided to follow, and thus they set off on the difficult routes to the borders traveled by the senior members.

In October 1921, Batye and her female comrades crossed the Polish–Russian border near Austria and reached Rovno in Volhynia. There, on her own, she organized Hebrew language lessons for both young people and adults. Also at that time, she embarked on married life when she met Avraham Aychis.

Afterward came her work for Pioneer, which was then being spread in Polish regions by Dror members from Russia. With Pioneer's encroachment into the Volhynia region, many training centers were established to teach the basics of kibbutz life, mostly in Klosova, where the first years were the most difficult.

In 1929, she finally fulfilled her personal aspirations, immigrating to Israel with the first immigrants of the Fifth Aliyah, and along with the first immigrants from Klosova, she joined Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha. Shortly after her arrival, her daughter Yael was born. Batye soon put her heart and soul into kibbutz.

Batye's prime responsibility was to care for the younger generation. She was the administration's secretary of education, organizing the curriculum in all grades, and she did this for many years. Similarly, she dedicated a significant amount of time to the absorption of new immigrants to Israel, and most of them were successfully integrated.

In 1937–1938, she was a kibbutz ambassador for immigration in Poland.

While immigration was banned and the immigrants were concentrated in Cyprus, she struggled to represent the immigrants there.

She died on 33 Tishrei (October) 1952.


Notes on Batye

by Rachel Katsnelson-Shezer and Chuma Chayot

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

It was enough just to meet her once and be convinced–here is motherhood, here is family closeness. Closeness that is certain to last even if many years pass without seeing her.

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When we worked together in Pioneer in Poland, I saw her as a person of the movement and as a good and devoted mother. Then, the pioneers were rotting away by themselves in Poland with no hope of ever immigrating. And her job was to encourage, comfort, and inspire them to go on living.

She was living a life absolutely without comforts, but she was deeply satisfied anyway. If she asked you something, you felt as though your mother were asking you, your sister was worrying about you. Batye was from a large and accomplished family: labor movements without which the kibbutz movement would never have arisen or given rise to the many famous labor parties in this land of ours.

Batye was completely identified with the movement, and it gave her internal happiness.–Rachel Katsnelson–Shezer

There in the miserable villages of Volhynia, you were so happy to go with this group and believe in the strength of the great Jewish revolution. You always went along paths with no roads, passing the crooked byways with the common people, and if you were not at the head of the march, you were marching with them in their midst. You knew how to exist in the movement as one of them and as one caring for them. You needed to give–to put yourself last, to be the work in progress. Batye was completely of Volhynia. Every child and young person knew Batye. She was awakened by pioneering, and it brought her inspiration for a new life.–Chuma Chayot


[Page 172]

Shimon Zahavi

by Y. Amir

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

 

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Shimon Zahavi (Goldhart) was born in 1903 to an affluent, educated merchant family in Radzivilov. After wandering during World War I, he immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1924. During his first years there, he worked at a number of menial jobs: in the port, in agriculture (in the Galilee and in Beit Shemen), and in construction.

In 1927, he went to Jerusalem to further his education, and from that time on his future was linked to Hebrew University. He was accepted into the Institute of Mathematics. Due to his impoverished circumstances, he had to work–first in the university building on Har HaSofim and then, during the days of unrest, as a watchman at the university.

In 1933, he received a humanities degree in both philosophy and mathematics. He continued to work at the university, first as a guide for those touring the university and later as a clerk in the bursar's office. He was thus able to continue studying in the Mandate government's law school and was awarded a law degree. In 1956, he was appointed secretary of the university treasury, and he distinguished himself in this role. Among his great accomplishments was the creation of a new university campus. In this role he was very modest and served as a model of diligence and gentility.

In his own research, Zahavi studied the issues of pensions in Israel and abroad and became the foremost specialist in this area. And many other institutions sought his aid, advice, and guidance. His work brought him great personal satisfaction, because he could advocate for the weak, for aid to the handicapped and elderly, for orphans and widows, and for all who were needy.

[Page 173]

For time he was a labor union member, and he especially involved himself in the affairs of people in the lowest stratum of the society that he had thoroughly researched.

In 1959, he was 56 years old, and after 32 years of work at the university, he retired, intending to devote himself to research, but a terrible illness took hold of him. After a year and a half of suffering and torment, he passed away in Jerusalem on 16 Heshvan 1961.


The Soul of Shimon Zahavi, of Blessed Memory[1]

by Aleksander Elyash

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

I met him almost 17 years ago. From the very beginning, I knew that I was encountering a person with deep conviction, spirit, and compassion. I immediately perceived him as a special man, a unique person who takes it upon himself to serve with integrity and goodness. I was not mistaken. Year after year, my esteem of him grew as I enjoyed meeting him from time to time and always viewed him as someone who simply loved to serve with integrity and fairness.

He had a good heart, a heart of gold. One among a thousand or tens of thousands. Often I would stand in front of him in astonishment, and my heart would beat quickly and with intensity when he was speaking passionately about suffering and the need for relief. He himself was not deterred by any hindrance, nuisance, or annoyance that prevented him from helping someone in need. So many good deeds were done because of his love and dedication, in his own right or through funding–and even beyond his limitations as an employee who received his salary once a month. And so it was for him: day in and day out, he did not distinguish between people who were important and those who were not especially important, between a laborer and a student, between an illiterate person and a learned person. Everyone had his or her own measure of worth.

He gave more than half of his life to Hebrew University, working first as a laborer and guard, then as a student and a guide for visitors to the university. After that, he was a clerk in the bursar's office until he became the secretary of the treasurer's office, and with just a degree in philosophy, he managed to bring stability to the university's financial affairs during the years of its development and construction projects on its new campus.

Then, a new flame was lit in his soul–he discovered a new light in the tradition of Israel, in its prayer. Zahavi embraced the timeliness of prayer–and driven by a love for the Land of Israel, nationhood, and its people, he became religious and came to a love of God, the Eternal of Israel, and the customs of Israel that were sanctified over the generations of the Nation of Israel. He absorbed the tenets of Judaism completely.–Aleksander Elyash


Footnote

  1. Footnote in original: Words from a memorial service at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. return


[Page 174]

In Memory of Duvid Sheyn, of Blessed Memory[1]

by Y. Ritov, M. Livai, A. Sh. Tal

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

It was a double, even a triple, loss: a loss of a man who was in the prime of life, enjoying his best years, at the height of his profession, and suddenly, bizarrely and very cruelly, he was severed from life's tide. A loss to his family–an unheard of, unfathomable loss–a loss that unleashed limitless sorrow; a loss for all of us, the Cooperative agency, the Cooperative management, and the Cooperative members who all loved him, everyone who was associated with him, and he to them.

He was one of our best assessors, but he was not satisfied with the task of evaluation alone, because even if he had lived his whole life devoted completely to the concept of Cooperativitism, and even if his life had been the entire Cooperative, he would still have risen above debate for the most advantage to the Cooperative.

He was one of the few who were people qualified to concern himself diligently, passionately, and with love to the proliferation and completion of Cooperative projects. For so many, he served as a hub who carried out his tasks with affability and affection. –Y. Ritov

He immigrated from Poland in 1934 and brought with him a vibrant Zionist ideology and Jewish initiative. He worked in many different places and was hindered by the challenges of absorption until he found his place in central branch of the Cooperative in Haifa in 1945.

He despised laissez–faire attitudes and struggled with the negative aspects of the Cooperative: but even so, he gained a good measure of trust because he lived up to his principles. He achieved much with very little, he was happy with his lot, and he was very humble, man, a man of the people in the full sense of the word, incorruptible and guileless. He had an innate sense of proportion, of moderation when dealing with people, a deep awareness of the ways operations functioned–all these traits informed his advice and actions during times of crisis. He was never reprimanded even once during his 20 years of work with the Cooperative. –M. Livai

He was happy with his lot, a man who had so many aspirations and a completely unique way of life.

He had a constant, heartfelt smile always on his face and was ever–ready with timely jokes on his lips–making his philosophy of life transparent and not shirking death. So a deep sadness was felt among his colleagues and friends when his death was announced.

[Page 175]

He was a well–rounded, very well read man and was very genial and amiable. Every conversation with him was like a lively folktale, a comedy routine, or a rich and spirited anecdote.

It seems that underneath his calm exterior was a very sensitive interior. This is reinforced A. L's. words on Sheyn's tenure at the Central Cooperative in Haifa, a post he held for almost 20 years: “In remembering his accomplishments, we must mention the following: in every matter in which he participated, he searched for the positive. He was not quick to disqualify a person or discount an idea. On the contrary, he tried hard to find a way to either defend the person or protect the idea.” These words are very appropriate and very worthy of Sheyn because he was dedicated to the good apart from the rest and to seeking the most appropriate way of dealing with every matter.–A. Sh. Tal


Footnote

  1. Footnote in original: By his work colleagues at Cooperative headquarters and the supervisory unit. return


Duvid Sheyn, of Blessed Memory

by Y. Ritov, M. Livai, A. Sh. Tal

Translated by Elizabeth Kessin Berman

There is no heart that can cope with so great a loss, for death so cruelly uprooted him in his prime–a friend and companion, a Cooperative activist, a moral leader, whose spirit inspired everyone around him.

Our comrade emigrated from Russia in 1934. He worked at various jobs. He had a difficult time adjusting until he found his place with us in 1945.

It did not take long for him to go from the back room to the front office. Word spread of his extraordinary and personable qualities, his enthusiasm, serving to establish his collegiality with everyone he came in contact with. He was friendly by nature and excelled in listening to his fellow man, and, with his ability to help, Duvid Sheyn's heart was wide open to any comrade or friend, especially those from the Cooperative who turned to him for guidance and advice. He was involved in all the Cooperative meetings in Haifa and the surrounding area, despite the great effort required, and he knew how to fight for the essentials of cooperation and also to mollify negative elements.

Everyone grew to love him because of his energy to be endearing and his goodwill, which was full of humor. It didn't take much to make him content; he was satisfied with his lot–a man of the people in every sense and a man with limitless gratitude. He loved life; he recognized its breadth and knew its goodness, although he was humble, shy, and modest. He adhered to the great commandment “you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” which embodies the underlying creed of the Cooperative.

And so, the man and our dear comrade has departed. Even after many months, his passing is still very much felt, as is the absence of his powerful stature, his moderation, his deliberation, his wise counsel, his competence in considerately managing those in his sphere, and his wisdom that his words would be calmly heeded

[Page 176]

His deeds will be preserved in the book of Cooperative acts and accomplishments, and his contributions will be sealed in our hearts like a precious prize.

In his death, we lost a friend, a public representative, and a devoted worker, who will never be duplicated.

 

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