Translated by Burton H. Wax
While still a student in yeshiva, he busied himself with teaching Hebrew as a language and was successful in imbuing it into many of the yeshiva students. When he finished his studies, he was invited into the home of a wealthy man, and taught his children with great success.
He was born in Sokoly and settled in Tykocin following his marriage to Sarah Chashke (Olsztejn) a native of Tykocin. In his newly adopted city he continued his work of teaching and spreading Torah among adults. In 1914 he opened there an Expanded Cheder for boys and girls. Its program included the study of other languages and general studies in addition to Hebrew and holy (religious) materials.
|Yaakov David Schwartz and his wife Sarah Chashke|
His special approach in teaching stirred up the anger of those opposed to the haskala in Tykocin, especially by groups of Hasidim. They oppressed his so much that in the end he was forced to flee to the United States. Also there he concentrated on disseminating and promoting the Hebrew language, and accumulated many students. He subsequently returned to Tykocin and continued in the teaching profession until his death.
His wife Sarah Chashke, a Yiddishe Mame in the fullest meaning of the term, was outgoing and charitable without match. With especial love she involved herself in hachnasat kallah -- the mitzvah of supporting indigent brides. Her penchant for helping others knew no boundary. She also trained her children in this spirit, and, while they were still of a tender age, often sent them on errands of mitzvah, to leave a package of food on the doorstep of a needy family.
Malka, her husband Berel Zamsky and their four children (Nachum, Eidel, Binyamin and Devora) all perished in the ghetto of Bialystok.
Minna (married name Pinchasovitz) showed dramatic talent in her youth. From the time that her mother was convinced to let her participate in the local theater, Minna's earnings were ear-marked for charity. (At the time of the writing of the original article, Minna was living in Petach Tikvah, Israel.)
Ziskind studied in the Kibbutz Yeshiva and the Tachkemoni School in Bialystok. He was especially loved for his sweet voice and was a soloist in the choir of Hazzan Charlap. Ziskind moved to the United States in 1923.
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