Appendix A: Not originally included in Sefer Augustow, the materials in this appendix were submitted by the Soloveitchik family at the time of the preparation of the translation of the book into English.
Collected by his daughter, Nava Marom-Soloveitchik,
Eulogy by Shalom-Naftali Soloveitchik
About his family who perished in the Holocaust and whose place is unknown
And who like your people Israel is one nation in the land, until the dazzling lightning and the thunder shone on the community of Israel in the exile.
And here in the darkness of exile, in the light of the terrible deadly lightning, the masses of Israel who are sitting on a dangerous slope are revealed to the masses and the slope is uprooted and rolls with them into the deep abyss, gaping down with no savior and no deliverer. Yes, now we felt how unnatural it was to sit in the exile and maintain our uniqueness as Jews. And we have paid for this sin in all that is dear to us and in what he has and will never have in return.
And now a few words to commemorate my family. A family that was completely lost in the storm of war, in the storm of horrors that befell a large part, a third of our people in general of which most were in continental Europe. One of the many families whose thread of life was cut off so cruelly, so tragically, without it a why? Or a wherefore?
Much have I struggled with myself whether I am permitted to raise their memory. Their holy memory, and if so whether I am able to restrain myself and write quietly while they appear to my mind in the last moments of their lives as they stand before their strange death, eye to eye with their murderers, in their standing all together, or lonely and lonesome, calling for help in the great desert around them or accepting the terrible judgment with apathy. And I see before me a large family of sisters and brothers-in-law with their sons and daughters and infants of beit rabban, uncles and aunts with their families. The stone plunged into the water with a horrible noise and again the silence prevailed.
A family of talmidei chachamim on both sides. My father, Reb Meyrim, who was less than twenty years old, was an ordained rabbi, but his natural modesty, such was his nature, he did not turn the Torah into a spade to dig with but studied the Torah for its own sake. God was gracious to my father and did not prolong his days, because close to the war and before even reaching the age of sixty, he died a natural death among his family and was privileged to be buried in a Jewish burial. Above everyone was my mother Chaya-Rashel who was created by the Creator of the world to reach old age so that she would be present in all the cruelty. She perished in the Holocaust with her four daughters, her sons-in-law and her grandchildren.
I had four sisters, all of whom were teachers. The eldest, Sarah, was a teacher in the German schools during the first war and the youngest, Dina, a teacher in Grodno at the outbreak of the last war. All my sisters got married and started families, they had sons and daughters, who were all destroyed leaving no trace. The eldest Sarah and her family in Ivanitz, near Minsk. Feitzi and her family in Vizian near Suwalki. Batya and her family with her mother in Augustov. Dina and her family in Grodno.
And in my imagination now I add piles of corpses, pure corpses of saints, family members closest to me, men, women, and children. Slaughtered, stabbed, and shattered, their only sin being that they were devoted children of a stiff-necked people who were not allowed to come to the grave of Israel, and I do not know the place of their burial.
May their soul be bound in the bundle of life!
My father's house was undoubtedly a traditional house, but not a Chassidic one, we were Mitnagdim, like all the Jews of Lithuania, even though as an example of the traditional education that I received the fact will serve that when our dwelling place resided on the Lithuanian-Polish border and belonged to Poland, I used to climb on to the roof of the buildings in the yard in front of my friends; I did not once miss the reading of Shema Yisrael aloud as if for the sanctification of the Name. Love of Jerusalem and the belief in the return to Zion were imprinted in my blood. When I progressed with studies and reached the study of geography and I studied the map of the Near East and I reached the eastern bank of the Mediterranean Sea, and here what do I see? Could it be? Jerusalem? Black printed on white the explicit name of Jerusalem on a map?
As if I received a shock. The city of Jerusalem appears on the map like the other secular cities of the whole world. And also the exact place where it resided! This means that everything we learned about the Land of Israel, about a Jewish state, a Jewish kingdom, in which the kings and also the prophets ruled, and everything written in the Tanakh was once a reality! And not like the stories about the Garden of Eden and Gehenna and the like. The shock was very strong, to this day I cannot forget this moment in my life. Then I started looking for the direction and the way from where I was, by way of the different countries to Jerusalem. In order to prove how you can really get there physically, and breathe the air of the Land of Israel. The longing was so great that at that moment I was jealous of the dogs and cats that I described to myself in my imagination, that even these were there and roaming the streets of Jerusalem. How happy they were, and what a great privilege fell to their lives! The path of life and the purpose of my life became clear to me, and that was to reach Eretz Yisrael!
Meanwhile the First World War broke out, the Russians retreated, and the Germans arrived. The language of instruction was henceforth German. The Germans advanced with giant steps into Russia. Finally after the defeats at the front, the communist revolution broke out in Russia. After the hoped-for peace, Poland was liberated from the Germans and was made independent. After declaring war on Communist Russia, it wanted to expand its borders to reach the Black Sea, according to all the announcements. I was then drafted into the Polish army.
After ten weeks of training in the army, I was sent to the front past Kiev. The success did not brighten the face of Poland for a long time and the great retreat began in which I was captured by the Bolsheviks. Here I went through a period of time that imprinted the stamp of life on me and according to which I would behave. A perspective of life, values, and a special perception of life and everything around it. This is the line that guides me to this day. These values are austerity, contentment with little, avoiding waste and so forth. Until they collected a large number of captives, they just held the captives in prisons. In post-revolutionary Russia, there prevailed in that period literally a hunger for bread. People died of starvation and disease. The epidemics of typhus and jaundice claimed more casualties than the battlefield.
When they permitted me once with a few more prisoners to go out into the yard to refresh myself, I saw in the distance a woman coming to visit her husband who was imprisoned, apparently, as a counter-revolutionary, (an enemy of the revolution) serving him a basket of food she had brought for him. The man holds a slice of bread in his hand and with a knife peels the hard crust and charred bread and it falls to the ground. He takes a cucumber, peels it and the peel also falls to the ground. My eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. Seeing this, the saliva came to my mouth, I swallowed it and licked my dry lips. I walked around here and there. I checked if there was no one else of the prisoners who noticed my actions. I waited anxiously for the prisoner to finish his meal and leave. When the long-awaited moment came I leaped to that place as long as my spirit was in me, and collected a crumb of crumbs from the bread, the peels, and a little of the grass that grew there, and I swallowed it all before I could chew. In the meantime many prisoners were collected and transferred to a prisoner of war past Krakow. Since I knew the Russian language well, I was authorized to be a head prisoner in the prisoner of war office.
I had just returned home, I entered the HeChalutz movement which was only in its beginning. I went out with the group for training, I was the head of the group. At the beginning of 1926 I came to Israel as a kibbutz member. A new page in my life history that not everyone achieved.
Memories of His Family and the City Augustow
The shadow of the Holocaust clouded my father's life, and what he wrote in 1960 he did not want to give for publication in the Yizkor book to the city of Augustow. The people who came out of Augustow told the truth, who among you does not miss the landscape of Augustow? A landscape that nature had endowed with an abundance of water and green forests.
Who has not once stood in in the evening by the light of the moon by the Sheliza bridge and not enjoyed the foam of water and the rumbling erupting from the cracks of the wide gates, the heavy wooden gates that were closed and opened that were designed to balance the lake surface in front of the canal at the time of the passage of the wooden rafts. Who had not travelled in the wonderful forest and reached the wide lake leading to the Sajno. When I remember this, two swimmers appear before my eyes, not of the same age but equal in the art of swimming, and here they are before me. Moshe Leib the shochet, may his memory be for a blessing, in the section of the river by the Great Flour Mill, not far from the waterfall. And, may he be set apart for long life, Leizer Aronovski (in Cuba) in Lake Sajno which is in the depths of the forest. Two amazing swimmers who, with their movements and agility greatly affected me with their abundance of beauty and grace. Between the forests and the lakes, Sajno, Netta, and Jakli, was the location of the city. Augustow was founded according to a plan prepared in advance by the Polish king in the 15th-16th centuries and was also named after him. It had a square, a large and beautiful public garden in the center, and around the beautiful garden with the Pravoslavie Church, in the center on the eastern border. The city was built by the Jews with its beautiful straight streets, facing each side. It was a beautiful and clean city in a wonderful natural landscape inhabited by Jews, and in the neighborhoods around were the Polish population.
The livelihood of the city's Jews was no different from the livelihood of the Jews of the other cities in the area, where the majority made a living from trade and shops, and the minority from handicrafts. The two market days, Tuesdays and Fridays, were what helped the Jewish inhabitants in the war for their existence. Those who took more and those who took less all existed to the extent that they existed, and saw their existence among the Gentiles as temporary, until the miracle should occur or the Messiah would come. And didn't they wait for the Messiah every day, and the sign for this: they did not involve themselves with the Gentiles, they did not eat their bread nor drink their wine and if a gentile God help us (God forbid) touched a bottle of Jewish wine, then it became forbidden and had to be poured away, for it was forbidden to enjoy it. Their faith they nullified as the dust of the earth, their saints ended. A gentile's funeral was for a carcass and the church symbols were as rags. The church - parasitic, (insipid) and their holidays were horrors. (But) three times a day they said, And let our eyes see your return to Zion, the Valley of Mercy (from the liturgy). On holidays - next year in Jerusalem, and on Shabbat - You chose us, And who like your people Israel is one nation in the land, (from the liturgy) until the dazzling lightning shone and the thunder roared on the community of Israel in the exile.
And here in the darkness of exile, by the light of the deadly threatening lightening, there is revealed to the masses, the masses of Israel who are sitting on a dangerous slope, and the slope is uprooted and rolls with them into the deep abyss, gaping down with no savior and no deliverer. Yes, now we felt how unnatural it was to sit in exile and maintain our uniqueness as Jews. And we have paid for this sin in all that is dear to us and in what we have and will never have in return.
And now a few words to commemorate my family. A family that was completely lost in the storm of war, in the storm of horrors that befell a large part, a third of our people, in general most of whom were in continental Europe. One of the many families whose cord of life was cut off so cruelly, so tragically, without it a why? Or a wherefore? Much have I struggled with myself whether I am permitted to raise their memory? Their holy memory? And if so whether I am able to control myself and write quietly while they appear to my mind in the last moments of their lives as they stand before their strange death, eye to eye with their murderers, in their standing all together, or desolate and alone, with a call for help in the great wilderness that surrounds them or accepting the terrible judgment with equanimity. And I see before me a large family of sisters and brothers-in-law with their sons and daughters and infants of Beit Rabban, uncles and aunts with their families.
And at the head of them all my mother, who the Creator of the world merited to reach old age so that she would be present in all the cruelty. Yes, the argument with the Creator is great and profound, but this is not the place. The stone dove into the water with a terrifying noise, and again the silence prevails. The sun shines, the acacia blooms, and the world goes on in its usual way.
A family of talmidei chachamim on both sides. On both the mother's side and on the father's side. Proficient in Talmud and rabbinic literature. Rooted in the Jewish tradition. My grandfather on my mother's side, R. Yosef Glikstein, was a merchant. He used to buy forest plots from the authority, formerly the Russians. He also leased grazing lands and subleased them to Polish farmers. He was a man with an imposing appearance, and was respected by human beings. Yeshiva students and those who had left home to study Torah who made the kloiz (the family synagogue) their lodging ate at his table, as was the custom in those days who ate days with the homeowners. Among them and in his time was also the Dayan of our city in his youth, Rabbi Koshelevski, peace be upon him, whose first name escapes my memory. His son, Rabbi Yekutiel Koshelevski, one of the survivors of the slaughter at the Hebron Yeshiva in 1929, now serves as a rabbi in Zikhron Yaakov.
My grandfather on my father's side, Reb Tzvi Soloveitchik, was a baker and grain trader. A learned Jew. A gentle soul and with dreamy qualities. He fulfilled it and meditated on it day and night, literally. He was entirely immersed in Talmudic issues and their commentaries, to the point that in many cases while sleeping he would mumble passages of Talmud.
He sent his eldest son, my father, Reb Meyrim (Meir), to study at the Telz Yeshiva in Lithuania. There he excelled in his diligence and became a prodigy (a genius in the Torah). At less than twenty years old he was ordained as a rabbi. But in the abundance of his modesty, such he was by nature, he did not turn the Torah into a spade to dig with, and studied Torah for its own sake.
After Reb Yosef Glikstein took him as a bridegroom for his only daughter, supported him at his table, and added him as a partner to his various businesses, including contract work such as: building bridges, road sections, buildings for military use and more. After a while grandfather Reb Yosef Glikstein was widowed and married for a second time. From her were born two daughters, who are in Israel, and a son who managed to finish the Teachers' Seminar in Vilna, but the cord of his life was cut off by the Hitlerist murderers before he had time to go up to the land.
I had four sisters. The eldest Sarah was a teacher in German schools during the First War. And the youngest Dina, a teacher in Grodno at the time of the outbreak of the last war. All my sisters got married and started families. They had sons and daughters, all of whom were destroyed without leaving any memory. The eldest Sarah and her family in Ivanitz in the area of Minsk, Feitzi and her family in Vizian in the area of Suwalki, Batya and her family with her mother in Augustow. And Dina and her family in Grodno.
The Holy One Blessed Be did righteousness for my father and did not lengthen his days, because close to the war, before he reached the age of sixty he died, among his family, a natural death and was privileged to come to the grave of Israel. In the last years of his life he was stricken with paralysis of the limbs of his body, his right hand and leg. They told me that he would go to the Yatke Kloiz synagogue, leaning on his cane, with my sister Batya accompanying him to teach the daily Gemara page between Mincha and Maariv in front of the listeners. May their souls be bound in the bundle of life.
In order to emphasize the family's connection to the Land of Israel, I must point out that as early as 1870-1880, there were a few individuals from many families, from both the Glikstein family and the Soloveitchik-Friedgot family, faithful to their national conscience and lacking peace of mind to continue their daily lives in exile, guided by a subtle internal force, who got up and made the great step and immigrated to Israel. This is to be known: that aliyah to Israel at that time, during the period of Turkish rule and the conditions in Israel then, was completely different from our aliyah, and even mine from more than thirty years ago (1926), which was still a period of the conquest of labor. The period of the wars of Hebrew labor in Zikhron Yaakov, Petach Tikvah and the other old settlements. The period of conquering the swamps and the construction of the first roads in the country. To appreciate this act, the Nachshoni leap (of aliyah in 1870, the period of Turkish rule in Israel) we must know that Petach Tikvah and Zikhron Yaacov themselves did not exist in those days.
This shows the great love for Zion that beat in the heart of the ancestors of my family, the Glikstein-Soloveitchik family, a love of Zion in the version of Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, a love of Zion that drew its vitality from a source that was not disappointing. From a source that was not in need of Zionist propaganda. A love of Zion that decreed that people would leave their environment and family and take the staff of wanderers in hand. This was a longing to pair their bodies to the holy soil. Aliyah to the land of Israel, if not for the sake of the continuation of life in it, at least to die in it and be buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. And by means of this to continue the continuity of the Jewish people in their land, until God had mercy on them, according to their own conception.
One of the fathers of the family who advanced to Israel was my father's grandfather on his mother's side, Reb Shmuel Friedgot, who according to what was told in our house prepared himself to be worthy of the great privilege before which he stood, by self-denial and midnight prayers and studying books of Kabbalah. He also added to his aliyah the aliyah of one of his sons who was married then, and together with his son Reb Shalom and his young daughter-in-law they prayed that his son would be able to strike roots in the Land of Israel and build a family there, that would build the land and the people, and expiate with the good deeds the sin of those who stayed in exile. And indeed this quest was completely fulfilled; this shoot succeeded in being accepted in Jerusalem at the time, participated in the building of the Meah Shearim neighborhood, and the synagogue he built with his money is still named after him, the synagogue of Reb Shmuel. Descendants of this family are scattered all over the face of the land, involved in the life of the state and working for its existence, and theirs.
While Rabbi Shmuel and his son were engaged in the building of Jerusalem, a second son of his, Reb Shlomo-Ze'ev Friedgot in Johannesburg, South Africa, was listening to the footsteps of the Messiah, which were approaching the redemption of Israel, and he had no other worries besides preparing a building plan for the Temple, for there was no doubt this would be the first act of the Messiah. There he became a partner not to another, but to Ezekiel son of Buzi the priest in the land of Kasdim, on the River Kevar, who had preceded him by two thousand and five hundred years. He received from him all the details as written in the book of Ezekiel. And after an extended time of exertion, and after joining line to line and order to order, he brought out from under his hand a detailed and printed plan, on paper illuminated with colors. He goes up to the land, and only the answer of the rabbis and the great ones in Torah it is not yet proper (not yet kosher, proper, the time). It returns him slowly to the world of reality. It should be noted that while living in South Africa he was in constant contact with his father and brother in Jerusalem. One of his sons, Reb Shlomo-Meir Friedgot, also went up to the land from South Africa and settled in Magdiel.
Such were my ancestors on my father's side, a typical Augustovian family who lived there for generations. That even in their dwelling among the gentiles they not only dreamed of the return to Zion but were among the hasteners towards the end. I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah. And even though he is delayed despite this I will wait for him. This principle is one of the thirteen (the Principles of Maimonides). It was not just a principle that the Jew must have in his faith, for them this way was the essence of their lives. It filled their whole existence, and it was that which gave them the strength and vigor to overcome all life's misfortunes in the exile until the last generation, the last generation of bondage and destruction.
The ancestors of the Glikstein family were also among the dreamers and fighters for the return of Zion and the hasteners of the end. One of the descendants is Mr. Akiva Glikstein, one of the founders of Hadar HaCarmel, one of the famous contractors in the country in the days of the British. Who had not heard of the firm Glikstein and Katinka in those days? I too in the year 1927 once worked on the road he built in Petach Tikvah without making myself known to him, even though I spoke to him face to face at the time. Because as a member of the kibbutz Givat HaShlosha I did not want to get protectzia … that is how it was then.
Descendants of the family succeeded and it merited to stand out among the tapestry of the revival of the Jewish settlement in the land in all its hues, with famous personalities such as Dr. Hillel Yaffa in Zikhron Yaakov or Mr. Kalvariski from Brit Shalom and more like these famous people who live with us in the State of Israel. In terms of the historical descent of the family as a whole, the Soloveitchik-Friedgot-Glikstein family lives and exists under the original or other names and participates in the building of the land and the nation. Like an ants' nest after a devastating flood or a destructive conflagration. But if we divide the family into its cells, then personally and numerically most of the family was destroyed.
Yes, I raise memories and see myself in the company of my family on sought peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews, and I am ten years old, 50 years ago in Bridge Street Kloiz, which was our family kloiz; here next to the aron kodesh in the east on the right in first place, stands the father of grandfather Reb Leizer Glikstein, already over ninety years old, when the glittering whiteness of his kittle blends with the whiteness of the hair of his head and beard. This in turn highlights the parchment color of his wrinkled face.
In the second place, his son Reb Yosef Glikstein, prayed with hand movements and aloud forcefully to his Lord in heaven, with hand gestures and as one who demands what he deserves according to the promise.
The third is Reb Meyrim, my father who, out of humility and modesty, prays in a whisper and warm-heartedly, in his garments and wrapped in his tallit. I see myself, his only son. After him is my uncle Reb Yisrael Yaakov Friedgot and then my grandfather on my father's side Reb Tzvi Soloveitchik and all the uncles, the family members all dressed in white.
And in my imagination now I add heaps, corpses, the holy and pure corpses of my closest family members. Men, women, and children, slaughtered, stabbed and with shattered heads, whose only sin was to be devoted sons of a stiff-necked people, who did not get to come to the grave of Israel, and I do not know their burial place. May their soul be bound in the bundle of life! If I were in the position of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, I would turn to the Holy One, Blessed Be, and say: With forgiveness from your Honor, Master of all worlds, with your permission we want to cancel the contract you imposed on us by force because there is testimony that says: He forced upon them a mountain like a roof and said if you accept God's teachings it is better, and if not, this will be your grave.
And if you claim that we accepted it voluntarily, accept this sacrifice because you love sacrifices. Accept the six million killed and slaughtered only as the last slaughter, here they are in front of you and be satisfied with that. And from now on let us live as all peoples live, without privileges and without burdensome duties towards you, for we will never be able to stand with you in judgement, for you are a God of vengeance and make you make heavy your hand on us. And if not for us, do it for the sake of the slaughtered for the unification of your name in every generation, for our souls are weary of the slaying, and may peace be upon Israel.
before Shalom-Naftali's aliyah to Eretz Yisrael
|Standing from right: Frieda (Vartelski), Sara (Kivevitz), Shalom-Naftali, Batya (Staverski), Dina (Zilberfenig). Sitting: Meyrim, Chaya-Rachel|
|Standing from right: Dina Soloveitchik and Sara Soloveitchik-Kivevitz
Bottom from right: Yentele Kivevitz, Miriam Kivevitz with Avraham Kivevitz, Itale Kivevitz
All terms are in Hebrew unless indicated otherwise.
- Acharonim: The recent ones. The leading rabbis and decisors living from about the 16th century to the present, and more specifically, since the writing of the Shulchan Aruch.
- Achdut Ha'avodah: Labor Unity.
- Adon Olam: Lord of the world.
- Aggadah: Jewish legend, or storytelling.
- Agora, plural agorot: A penny.
- Aguda: Association, often short for World Agudat Israel.
- Admor, pl. Admorim: An acrostic for the Hebrew Adoneinu Moreinu veRabeinu our Master, our Teacher, our Rabbi.
- Aleinu L'shabayach: The concluding prayer, It is upon us to praise the Master of all…
- Aleph-bais: The Hebrew alphabet, in Ashkenazi pronunciation.
- Aliyah: Ascent, referring to going up to live in the land of Israel, or going up to recite the blessing for the Torah reading.
- Amcha: The folk; the everyday people.
- Amud: Lectern.
- Amidah: The standing prayer, also known as the 18 benedictions or the Shemonah Esray.
- Amoraim: The explicators of the Mishnah, from the time of the death of the patriarch Rabbi. Judah I. (219 CE) to the completion of the Babylonian Talmud (about 500 CE)
- Apikores: A Greek word from the Mishnah, literally an epicurean, but used by the Mishnah to refer to a heretic.
- Aron Kodesh, or Aron HaKodesh: The Holy Ark, where the Torah is kept in the synagogue.
- Atchalta De'geulah; Aramaic: The beginning of the redemption.
- Av Beit Din: The Head of the Rabbinical Court. This is the designation of the principal of the yeshiva who made halakhic rulings and took part in the communal administration; in particular, it was used as the title of the district rabbi of a large community.
- Ba'al Koreh: The person who reads the Torah aloud for the congregation during prayer services.
- Ba'al Tefillah: The prayer leader.
- Bachurim: Young men.
- Bachurot: Young women.
- Barechu: The call to worship: Bless the Eternal the One who is Blessed, blessed is the Eternal Forever and Ever.
- Barnash, pl. Barnashim; Aramaic: Son of a person, a human being.
- Beit Din: A Rabbinical court.
- Beit Din Tzedek: A Rabbinical Court of Justice.
- Beit Eked: Collection House, an old term for library.
- Beit HaBechirah: The Temple. Also the name of a section of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah on the topic.
- Beit HeChalutz: House of the Pioneer.
- Beit Midrash: Study House.
- Beit Rabban: Used in the expression Children of Beit Rabban, meaning, young children who study Torah.
- Beitar: Brit Trumpeldor.
- Belfer: Yiddish. The traditional assistant in the cheyder.
- Ben Adam: A person.
- Beshert; Yiddish: Destiny.
- Bikkur Cholim: Visiting the sick.
- Bima: The raised platform in the synagogue where the prayer leaders, Torah readers, and preachers stand.
- Birkat HaMazon: The blessing after meals.
- B'nai Tzion: Children of Zion.
- B'racha; Ashkenazi brokhe: A blessing.
- Brit; Ashkenazi bris: Circumcision.
- Bulke; Yiddish; A soft bread roll.
- Bund: Federation or union in Yiddish and German
- Challah, pl. challot: Special bread for Shabbat.
- Chalutz, pl. chalutzim: Pioneer.
- Chametz: Foods that have become leavened which are therefore prohibited for Passover use.
- Chanukah: The 8-day festival that begins on 25 Kislev, celebrating the recapture from the Greeks and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E.
- Charedim: Tremblers, or Orthodox Jews on the far right of the religious spectrum.
- Charoset: A mixture of apples, walnuts and red wine eaten at the Pesach seder, symbolizing the mortar that the Israelites made in Egypt.
- Chassid, pl. Chassidim: Pious ones.
- Chassidut: Chassidism.
- Chazal: Chakhameinu Zikhronam Livrakha, Our Sages, may their memories be for a blessing, refers to all sages of the Mishnah, Tosefta and Gemara.
- Chazzan, pl. Chazzanim: Cantor
- Cheder, pl. chadarim, Ashkenazi kheyder: a school for Jewish children that teaches Hebrew and religious knowledge. Literally, a room.
- Cheder Metukan; Ashkenazi, kheyder mesukn: An improved school that combined traditional studies in Torah and Talmud with secular studies taught in Hebrew.
- Chesed: Lovingkindness.
- Chevra Kadisha, Aramaic: The Holy Society, which is the name for a burial society.
- Chevre: A group of friends.
- Chibbat Tzion: Love of Zion.
- Choshen: The breastplate attached to the ephod worn by the High Priest, which are understood to be oracular devices.
- Chovevei Tzion: Lovers of Zion.
- Chumash, Ashkenazi Chumesh: A book containing the five books of the Torah.
- Chuppah: A wedding canopy.
- Chutzpah: Cheek, insolence, audacity.
- Cohain. pl. cohanim: a descendant of the priestly caste of Aaron, the brother of Moses.
- Dayan, pl. dayanim: a judge.
- Derekh Eretz: Literally, the way of the world, refers to good manners.
- Divrei Torah: Words of Torah.
- Dorshei Tzion: Seekers of Zion.
- Drasha: A homiletical teaching.
- Dunam: A unit of land area used especially in the state of Israel equal to 1000 square meters or about ¼ acre.
- Eretz Hatreifa: The unkosher land, that is, America.
- Erev Rav: A mixed multitude.
- Eshet Chayil: A woman of valor.
- Etrog, pl. etrogim: Citron, waved on Sukkot together with the lulav.
- Ever: Hebrew.
- Ezrat Nashim: The women's section of both the Temple in Jerusalem and the synagogue.
- Freiheit; Yiddish: Freedom.
- Fuftzik; Yiddish: Fifty.
- Gaon, pl. Geonim: Literally means genius, but in this context, it is used as an honorific for the spiritual leader of the town, who decided questions of Jewish law, headed the Jewish courts and rabbinical academies, and ultimately had the final say in the religious life of the Jewish community.
- Gabbai: The collector. In this context, it was the title given to a person charged with collecting funds. In synagogue context, it refers to the person who follows the reading of the Torah to catch and correct any errors.
- Gemara: Rabbinic commentary on the Mishnah, composed from 200 500 C.E. The Mishnah and the Gemara together comprise the Talmud.
- Gematria: A code that uses the numerical value of a Hebrew word instead of its letters.
- Gemilut Chassadim; Ashkenazi, Gmiles Khesed: Acts of lovingkindness, also the name of a fund that provided interest-free loans..
- Get: A Jewish divorce.
- Golem: A creature created by magic, often to serve its creator. Legend holds that Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the Maharal of Prague (1513-1609), created a golem out of clay to protect the Jewish community from the Blood Libel.
- Goyim: Literally means nations, but it is regularly used as a derogatory term for non-Jews.
- Grush: An obsolete Israeli coin, worth the smallest amount, like a penny.
- Habonim: The builders.
- Hachnasat Kallah: Bringing in the bride; creating a bridal dowry.
- Hachnasat Orchim: Welcoming guests.
- Haftarah, pl. haftarot: Readings that are excerpted from the Prophets (Nevi'im) and accompany each weekly Sabbath Torah reading, as well as readings for special Sabbaths and festivals.
- Haganah: The nascent Jewish defense force.
- Hakafah: The procession of the Sefer Torah around the synagogue.
- HaKibbutz HaMe'uchad: The United Kibbutz.
- Halakhah. pl. halakhot: Jewish law.
- HaNoar HaOved, in Yiddish Arbeits Kreiz: The Working Youth.
- HaRav: The Rabbi, used for the title that in English is rendered simply as Rabbi
- HaRav HaGaon HaGadol; Ashkenazi Harov Hagoen Hagodl: The Great Rabbi the Gaon.
- Hashomer HaTzair: The Young Guard.
- HaShomer Trumpeldor: Trumpeldor Guard.
- Haskalah: The Enlightenment.
- Haskamah, pl. haskamot: Letters that appeared at the beginning of a book from various rabbinic authorities, stating their approval of a book. They served as rabbinic seals of approval.
- HaTikvah: The Hope, Israel's national anthem.
- HaTzohar: An acronym for HaTzionim HaRevizionistim, The Revisionist Zionists, officially Brit HaTzionim HaRevizionistim, Union of Revisionist Zionists.
- Havdalah: The ritual marking the end of Shabbat.
- HeChalutz: The Pioneer.
- HeChalutz HaDati: The religious pioneer.
- HeChalutz HaMizrachi: The Mizrachi Pioneer. (See Mizrachi).
- Hekdesh: Sacred property, an old name for a poorhouse.
- Histadrut: The General Organization of Workers in Israel.
- Hitamtzut: Effort.
- Horah: An Israeli folk dance.
- Ilui: Prodigy.
- Irgun: HaIrgun HaTzva'i HaLeumi B'Eretz Yisrael, The National Military Organization in the Land of Israel.
- Isru Chag: The day immediately following the three pilgrimage holidaysPesach, Shavuot and Sukkotis called Isru Chag, which literally means bind [the] festival.
- Kabbalah: Jewish mysticism.
- Kaddish: The prayer for the dead recited by mourners.
- Kahal: A community, a congregation, or the head of the community.
- Kamatz: A Hebrew vowel.
- Kapai: Kupah L'Poalei Eretz Yisrael, The Fund for the Workers of the Land of Israel.
- Kapparot: Expiations. This is a riddance ritual where a Jew symbolically transfers their sins onto a chicken, in advance of Yom Kippur.
- Kapote; Yiddish: A caftan.
- Kashrut: All the laws concerning kosher food.
- Kav: About 1.3 liters.
- Keren HaGeulah: The Redemption Fund.
- Keren HaYesod: The Foundation Fund, established in 1920 at the World Zionist Conference in London.
- Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael: The Jewish National Fund.
- Keset; Yiddish: Keep, as in financial support.
- Kesitah: A unit of money mentioned in the Bible.
- Ketonet: Tunic.
- Ketuvim: Writings.
- Kippah: A skullcap.
- Knesset: The Israeli Parliament.
- Kvutza: A group.
- Kibbutz, plural kibbutzim: A collective settlement.
- Kiddush: Sanctification; the blessing over wine on Shabbat and festivals.
- Kitnyot: Little things; a category of food that one might mistake for the five grains that may be consumed on Passover. These have traditionally been forbidden for Ashkenazi Jews on Passover, until the last decade or so.
- Kittel; Yiddish: A white linen or cotton robe worn by religious Jews on holidays
- Klei Kodesh: Holy implements. This refers to sacred objects, and is also used to refer to members of the clergy and the prayer leaders.
- Kloiz; Yiddish, Hebrew plural kloizim, Yiddish plural kloizen: A Beit Midrash (Study House) associated with and led by a recognized and accepted strictly orthodox and scholarly rabbi usually as part of the synagogue complex.
- Kol Nidre: All Vows. The prayer for which the Yom Kippur evening service is named.
- Kollel: a men's institute for full-time advanced study of the Talmud and rabbinic literature.
While it resembles a yeshiva in that it offers lessons, it is different from a yeshiva in that most of the students are married.
- Korech: The Hillel sandwich, eaten at the Passover seder.
- Kries-HaToyre; Ashkenazi: The liturgical reading of the Torah.
- K'vod HaRav: A title of respect for a Rabbi, along the lines of Your Honor, the Rabbi.
- Lag Ba'Omer: The 33rd day of the omer.
- Lakchan: A taker, a thief.
- Lashon Hara: Evil speech. There is an entire body of halakhah that governs speaking about others, even saying nice and/or truthful things, when they are not present; when it is permitted, when it is forbidden, and when it is required.
- Lashon Kodesh, or Lashon HaKodesh: Holy language Hebrew.
- L'Chaim: To life! A common Jewish toast.
- Linat HaTzedek; Ashkenazi Lines HaTzedek: a hostel for the poor.
- Ma'avar: Transfer, or passage. A group for workers, largely those newly arrived to the land of Israel, who were looking for work in collective settlements.
- Maccabi: Maccabee.
- Magen David: Shield of David, commonly called a Jewish Star.
- Maggid: A storyteller or teacher.
- Maggid Shiur: One who preaches a lesson.
- Malchut Shaddai: God's sovereignty.
- Malekh: Ashkenazi; angel.
- Ma'ote Chittin: A charitable fund to buy flour for Passover matzas.
- Mara D'Atra: Aramaic for the Master of the Place, that is, the local rabbi who has the sole rabbinic authority to decide local cases of Jewish law and practice.
- Maror: Bitter herbs, eaten at the Passover Seder as a symbol of the bitterness of slavery.
- Maskil, plural Maskilim: An adherent of the Jewish enlightenment movement that began in Eastern Europe in the early nineteenth century and was active until the rise of the Jewish national movement in the early 1880s.
- Matan B'seter: Giving in secret.
- Matzah: Unleavened flat bread eaten during Passover in place of bread. Also called the bread of affliction.
- Matzah farfel: Small broken pieces of matza used in cooking.
- Mazal: Luck. Also refers to the signs of the zodiac.
- Megillah: Scroll.
- Meylech: Ashkenazi: King.
- Menorah: Refers to both the 7-branched candelabrum that stood in the Temple, and the Chanukah menorah, which holds 9 candles.
- Mezuzah: A doorpost; also, the parchment placed on the doorpost of a Jewish home.
- Mikvah: Ritual bath
- Mincha: The afternoon prayer service.
- Minyan, pl. minyanim: A quorum of ten Jews, in this context men, which is required to recite certain prayers in the liturgy.
- Mishebeyrekh: Ashkenazi: The prayer for healing, literally, the one who blessed.
- Mishnah: The first part of the Talmud, compiled between ca. 0 and 200 C.E.
- Mitnaged (m.s.), Mitnagedet (f.s.), pl. Mitnagdim: Opposers, referring to those opposed to the Chassidic movement
- Mitzvah; Ashkenazi Mitzveh, Hebrew pl. Mitzvot: Commandments.
- Mizrachi: An Orthodox Zionist movement whose name was derived from the words merkaz ruchani (spiritual center), and whose slogan was the Land of Israel for the People of Israel according to the Torah of Israel.
- Moreh hora'ah: A teacher of Jewish law
- Moreh Tzedek: Righteous teacher, that is, a decisor of Jewish law.
- Moshav, plural moshavim: A collective settlement.
- Mussaf: The additional prayer service on Shabbat afternoon.
- Mussar: The Mussar movement was developed in 19th century Lithuania by Rabbi Yisrael Salanter. It promotes the development of inner virtues and characteristics.
- Nach: An acronym for the last two sections of the Bible, the Prophets (Nevi'im) and the Writings (Ketuvim).
- Nevi'im: Prophets
- Niggun, pl. niggunim: Wordless melody.
- Notarikon: Using one word that is composed of the initial letters of an entire phrase.
- Nu: Yiddish: So? or Well?
- Ohel HaTzaddik: Tent of the Righteous. Refers to the grave of a Tzaddik.
- Oleh, olah, pl. Olim: One who goes up, i.e. makes aliyah to the land of Israel.
- Omer: A sheaf of grain, also the name of the 49-day period between Pesach and Shavuot.
- Oy Vavoy; Yiddish: The long form of which oy vey is the short form; woe is me!
- Parasha: A weekly Torah portion.
- Parochet; Ashkenazi poroykhes: the curtain that covers the open of the Aron Kodesh.
- Patach: A Hebrew vowel.
- Pesach: Passover.
- Peyot; Ashkenazi peyes: Sidelocks; the corners of the beard. The biblical commandment in Leviticus 19:27 forbids the rounding off of the corners of one's beard, or one's field when harvesting.
- Piyyut, pl. piyyutim: A liturgical poem, from the Greek poietes, poem.
- Ploni Almoni: sometimes just Ploni: So-and-so.
- Poalei Tzion: workers of Zion/
- Protectzia; Slavic imported into Israeli Hebrew: Connections that allow a person to pull strings.
- Prozdor; Greek: A corridor or vestibule.
- Purim: The holiday when Jews celebrate the foiling of the plot of the evil Haman to destroy them, described in the Book of Esther.
- Rabbanit; Rebbetzin: Yiddish; The title for the Rabbi's wife.
- Reb: The honorific Reb is generally used for all Jewish men in Sefer Augustow, and means Mr.
- Rishonim: The first ones; the leading rabbis and decisors who lived approximately during the 11th to 15th centuries, in the era before the writing of the Shulchan Aruch.
- Rosh Chodesh: The head, or first day, of the month.
- Rosh HaShanah: The head, or first day, of the year.
- Seder: Order The name of the ritual event that is held by Jews to celebrate the festival of Passover. It which follows the order, seder, of the Haggadah, the book that is used to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt.
- Sefer: Book
- Sefer Torah: Torah scroll.
- Shabbat, plural Shabbatot, Ashkenazi Shabbes: Sabbath
- Shabbat Shuvah: The Shabbat of Return, the Shabbat between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
- Shacharit: The morning prayer service.
- Shaliach: Emissary.
- Shaliach Mitzvah: An emissary for the performance of a mitzvah.
- Shaliach Tzibur: The Public Emissary, which is the term for the prayer leader.
- Shamash: Ashkenazi Shammes, the sexton, or caretaker of a synagogue. It is also the word used for the candle with which we light the eight candles of Chanukah.
- Shas: The Six Orders of the Mishnah.
- Shavuot: The festival of Weeks that occurs 7 weeks after Passover. It is one of the 3 biblical pilgrimage festivals.
- Shaygetz; Yiddish: a non-Jewish man. This is a slur derived from the biblical Hebrew word for abomination.
- She'ailah ve-Teshuva: Question and Answer, a process by which a question is brought to a rabbi who then studies all the relevant halakhic material to make an informed decision. Also known as a Responsum.
- Shekel: The ancient Hebrew coin, the shekel, was introduced at the time of the First Zionist Congress and became an iconic Membership Badge of the Zionist movement.
- Sheketz, pl. shkotzim: Abomination. Source of the Yiddish words shaygetz, used to refer to a non-Jewish man and shiksa, a non-Jewish woman.
- Shekhina: The feminine personification of the Divine, who dwells on earth.
- Sheol: The place underneath the ground where the Bible believes people go when they die.
- Shidduch: Arranged marriage.
- Shiksa: Yiddish; A non-Jewish woman. This is a slur derived from the biblical Hebrew word for abomination.
- Shiva: The 7 days of mourning following the death of an immediate family member.
- Shlit'a: An abbreviation for May he live a good long life, amen.
- Shma Yisrael: Hear O Israel. The prayer which is the statement of God's oneness.
- Shmendrik: Yiddish; a stupid person, a fool.
- Shmura matzah: Matzah that has been watched over by a kashrut supervisor from the time of harvest through all of the steps of it processing into matzah.
- Shoah: Holocaust
- Shochet; Yiddish shoychet: kosher slaughterer.
- Shochet U'bodek: A kosher slaughterer and meat inspector.
- Shofar: The horn of a kosher animal, sounded on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur in the synagogue.
- Shomer, Shomeret, Shomrim, Shomrot: m.s., m.pl., f.s. f.pl. Guard(s)
- Shul; Yiddish: Synagogue.
- Shulchan Aruch: The Set Table. An influential Jewish code of law written by Joseph Caro (1488-1575).
- Shushan Purim: Shushan Purim falls one day after Purim, on Adar 15, and is the day on which Jews in Jerusalem celebrate Purim.
- Siddur: Prayerbook.
- Sifriyah: Library.
- Simchat Torah: Rejoicing of the Torah. The festival that celebrates the conclusion and recommencing of the annual cycle of Torah reading.
- Sofer Stm: A sofer, Ashkenazi: soyfer, is a scribe. The acronym STM stands for the Hebrew words for sifrei (scrolls of) Torah, tefillin (phylacteries), and mezzuzot, the parchments that are affixed to the doorposts of Jewish homes.
- Sukkot; sing. Sukkah: The festival of Booths that is the third of the 3 biblical pilgrimage festivals, which occurs in the fall.
- Taharah: Purification. Jewish preparation of a body for burial.
- Tales-kotn; Ashkenazi: A small tallit worn as an undergarment.
- Tallit, Ashkenazi tallis: A prayer shawl with tzitzit attached to the corners.
- Talmid Chacham: a student of a sage, used to refer to a scholar.
- Talmud: The compendium of rabbinic interpretation of the Torah compiled between the year 0 and 500 C.E.
- Talmud Torah: a Jewish school for boys that places special emphasis on religious education. Some Talmud Torahs concentrate on Talmudic studies as a preparation for entrance into a yeshiva.
- Tanakh: The Hebrew Bible, composed of three sections; the Torah, the Prophets (Nevi'im) and the Writings (Ketuvim), whose initial letters comprise the Hebrew acronym.
- Tanna, pl. Tannaim: The sages of the Mishnah.
- Tefillin: Phylacteries.
- Tiferet Bakhurim, Ashkenazi Tiferes Bakhurim: The splendor of young men.
- Tikkun olam: Repair of the World.
- Tisha B'Av: The ninth day of the Hebrew month Av the day on which the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE.
- Torah: The Five Books of Moses.
- Tosefta. pl. Toseftot: A compilation of the Jewish oral law from the late 2nd century, the period of the Mishnah, that was not included in the Mishnah.
- Treif: Torn, meaning not kosher.
- Tum'a: A state of ritual uncleanness.
- Tzaddik, pl. tzaddikim: A righteous person.
- Tzahal: An acronym for Tzva Hahaganah L'Yisrael, the Israel Defense Force.
- Tzamday sadeh: 165 dunam.
- Tzedakah: Frequently translated as charity, actually means righteousness, because giving to a cause or a needy person is considered a commandment, the righteous thing to do, not out of the goodness of one's heart, as the word charity implies.
- Tzeirei Tzion: Zion Youth.
- Tzitzit, in Ashkenazi Hebrew: The ritual fringes attached to the corners of a prayer shawl.
- Vidui: The confession said by, or for, a Jew who is about to die.
- Yad Charutzim: Diligent hand.
- Yahrzeit; Yiddish: the anniversary of a death
- Yamim Nora'im: The Days of Awe, also called the High Holy Days.
- Yarmulke; Yiddish: Skullcap.
- Yeshiva, pl. Yeshivot: a school of higher Jewish learning.
- Yidisher Yugend Bund; Yiddish: The Jewish Youth Union
- Yiddishkeit; Yiddish: Jewishness.
- Yishuv: The Jewish settlement that existed in Israel before the aliyah of the modern period, usually referred to as the Old Yishuv.
- Yom Hillula: Day of festivity.
- Yom HaDin: The Day of Judgement, Yom Kippur
- Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement.
- Yored, pl. Yordim: Descender. A pejorative term used for one who leaves the land of Israel permanently. It is the opposite of oleh.
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.
Augustow, Poland Yizkor Book Project JewishGen Home Page
Copyright © 1999-2023 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 03 May 2023 by JH