The Book Committee
1st April 1925 (7th Nisan 5685), became a national holiday for the marginalised and scattered Jewry of the entire world this was the great day upon which, on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, the first Hebrew university was opened.
This holiday was celebrated in our city in the following manner:
The Special Newspaper
A oneoff newspaper, which the CelebrationsCommittee printed in three languages (Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish) and which was dedicated to this great holiday, appeared first thing in the morning.
The paper was rich in content, well edited and beautifully illustrated. It was literally snatched up by the Jewish inhabitants passing by, who had already, quite early in the morning, let themselves out into the streets in their holiday clothes.
At the Old Synagogue
Our large synagogue was fully packed with a diverse crowd of young and old, men and women.
The celebratory gathering was opened by Natan Gerichter, who stressed the great importance of the historic moment, when the Jewish people had been privileged to open their first university in their home of old and in their oldnew Hebrew language.
The city cantor, Mr Rozental, accompanied by a musical orchestra, sang various Psalms which were appropriate for that festive moment.
The renowned preacher and Mizrachi public figure, Reb Józef Szymon Koblenz, and the Mizrachi activist Reb Mojsze Halter, inspired the congregation with their contentrich words on the events of the day. They concluded with the hope that the Land of Israel would be built according to the Torah and the tradition.
At the New Synagogue
The celebration at the New Synagogue was of an entirely different character. Firstly, the entry to the synagogue was limited to invited guests representatives of all the communal institutions and unions and to the schoolchildren.
The proud march of schoolboys and schoolgirls, with their banners, through the streets of Częstochowa to the New Synagogue made a colossal impression.
The synagogue was nicely decorated with blueandwhite banners as well as with the banners of all the Jewish institutions. Delegates from nonJewish institutions also came, led by the Mayor Dr Martuszewski.
Foot and mounted police were stationed in front of the synagogue, but the large crowd maintained an exemplary order.
The cantor Mr Fiszel, with the synagoguechoir and accompanied by a pedalboard, sang various hymns and chants, including an especially composed university anthem. Afterwards, our rabbi, Rabbi Nachum Asz, spoke in good Hebrew about the great significance of this important holiday in Jewish life.
He was followed by Dr Szwajg from Łódź, who was invited to the ceremony by the Celebrations Committee. Dr Szwajg, too, dwelt upon the great national and educational importance of a Hebrew university in Jerusalem.
The choir then sang the Polish National Anthem and the Hatikvah, which was accompanied by the enthusiastic singing of the entire congregation.
The event was concluded with the resounding singing of Hebrew songs of the Land of Israel, sung by the guards, who came to the ceremony in the synagogue in their uniforms with their banners.
A Great Akademia [Pol. celebration] at the Nowości Theatre
The Jews of Częstochowa celebrated their happiness for the opening of the Hebrew University, not only at their Old and New synagogues, but also arranged, that same evening, a great celebratory akademia at the city's Nowości theatre.
The theatre was packed full. The akademia was opened by the Chairman of the Celebrations Committee, A. A. Szajnfeld, who handed over to the guest from Łódź, Dr Szwajg.
At the main table sat the prezesi [Pol. presidents, chairmen] of the Kehilla board of management and its council: Szmul Goldsztajn and Chaim Weksler; from the Zionist Organisation N. Gerichter, from the Merchants' Union Mr Sztyller. They were joined by representatives of all the city's associations and philanthropic institutions.
The akademia was opened with singing the Polish National Anthem; afterwards, Mr Weksler in name of the Kehilla, Mr Janowski the Union of Zionists, Mr Halter Mizrachi, Mr Kohn Tarbut, Mr Gitler Ha'Shomer Ha'Tzair, Mr Blum Akademische Jugend [Academic Youth], Mr Natan Kohn Keren Ha'Yesod [Foundation Fund] and Mr Natan Gerichter Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, delivered inspirational speeches.
The Chairman of the akademia read a warm greeting from the City Council for this important celebration.
Further greetings [ came from]: Mr Brandes in the name of Tzeirei Mizrachi, Mr Danziger Ha'Chalutz Ha'Mizrachi, Mr Kohn the Dobroczynność [Charity] association, Mr Sztyller Merchants' and Manufacturers' Union, Mr Filipowicz KleinhändlerVerein [Retailers' Union], Mr Langer Artisans' Union, Mrs Weksler Ezra [Aid] association, Headmaster Mr Przysuskier craftsmen's school, Mr Krieger Sport and Gymnastics Association.
Written greetings were sent by: the sports club Warta, the horticultural farm, Hachnoses Orchim [hospitality for guests] and BeisLechem.
In conclusion, Dr Szwajg delivered a very contentrich presentation in which he dwelt upon various epochs in the life of the Jewish People, starting from the times of its existence as an independent kingdom and in the different periods of its exile, to the moment when the dream of returning to Zion begins to materialise. [He] affirmed that the Hebrew University in Jerusalem is an important stage in the path to the redemption of the Land [of Israel] and the building thereof.
Dr Szwajg ended his passionate speech with the call Let us honour the glory of our great leader, Dr Herzl zl, who has put us on the right path to our redemption.
The entire assembly rose from their seats and reverentially honoured the memory of our prematurely deceased leader.
The recitation section then followed, which comprised:
Ms Wajnberg recited a prophesy of Ezekiel about the dry bones, Mr Szmidt sang the wellknown folksong In Cheder, Ms Fridrich And it shall come to pass in the last days [Isaiah 2] and Ms Muszka Baderech Shvi.
The akademia concluded with the Hatikvah played by Mr. Szmulewicz and his orchestra.
Thus, Jewish Częstochowa once celebrated the historic day of 1st April 1925.
Rabbi Nachum Asz zl
The heart rejoices, the Jewish heart.
The same heart that hurts and bleeds for Jewish suffering and rejoices for a Jewish happy occasion, that reveres [that which] it [holds] sacred and fills with pride with its history, which is rich in tearful experiences and wonderful miracles. The heart that feels that, besides that which we consider ourselves members of the general human family, we belong specifically to the Jewish tribe, that apart from taking part in all worldaffairs in general, we are required to participate in all that concerns us as Jews in particular.
This same heart shall rejoice with the glorious phenomenon that, now, when over the Jewish horizon hover heavy clouds and in many exilelands our situation becomes steadily worse, the western sun is for us going constantly lower down in this same period, the rays of the sun that is shining in the east, in the land of our forefathers, are reaching us.
There, on the summit of Mount Scopus in our holy Jerusalem, comes forth today the festive opening of a magnificent building for the revival of our People, a university for higher Jewish learning and general education, whose doors will be open to all who thirst for Torah and wisdom.
There, a great work is being built, which shall bring benefit to the whole of humanity. There, the seed is being sown for the newlyrevived ancient Jewish culture. There, the Jew will have an opportunity to create and develop the great spiritual values which, until now in the lands of exile, were not expressed, due to the stones that were laid in his path in order to suppress his skills and energy.
But there, a great and wide horizon shall open before him, through his duly developing potential, so that the Jewish energy and enterprising spirit will stun the world.
Already, that, which has been created there, inspires great wonder.
The opening of a Hebrew language university will be an event of unheardof importance, which will have the potential to return sons to their fathers to turn children back to their parents, to bring near the brothers who are distanced from us and to strengthen the hearts of those who find themselves on a crossroads; to provide an ideal and a Jewishworldly education for the youth, which strives and thirsts for it, but finds the doors of other universities locked before them, due to which many of them go on foreign paths.
For the first time in our long exilehistory, Jewish youth will thus have the opportunity to find themselves in the bosom of our ancient home, to feel free and independent and not to hang upon the different five or ten percent norms. There, our youth will draw education in our ancientrevived Jewish language, in which our prophets once prophesised. There, they will be able to learn the great Jewish history with which to become proud; there, Jewish students will not be a footstool upon which one treads and is subject to all sorts of pain and humiliation; there, a generation of spiritually wealthy Jews will be produced, who will believe in their People and their People in them, who will love this People and take pride in it; there, our children will find solace from their suffering and the awareness that our hope is not yet lost!
This event will give us the moral hope and assurance that this young culture will grant due respect to the ageold the Torah will not trespass it, will not violate the religion, but will continue spinning the golden thread of the love of God and the Torah and will help lift up its prestige by building a special institute of Torah in the Land of Israel, as a worldyeshiva for the Jews in the exilelands, to which shall be pulled all those who yearn for Torah and draw from its plentiful springs.
And from the summit of heights it shall call from the tops of the mountains of Zion shall again be heard the voice of God, the voice of the Torah, the Torah that is distant from peoples and racism, whose watchword is love of humanity, honesty and justice towards all, without exception.
And from the streets it shall raise its voice from the streets of Jerusalem shall again resound the call of the prophets, of our angels of peace, whose voices, in those ancient stormy times, thundered: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit [Zechariah 4:6] not by the force of a fist, but by spiritual force! The strongest folk are not the ones armed, who tread on all with their feet, but that which is peaceful, who seek truth, freedom and justice.
[For] thousands of years, those voices of our prophets were carried over peoples and lands but, due to the peoples' battlelust, we did not harken to them. But now times are arriving, when men are tired of war and sobered by hatred and jealousy, robbing and murder and the better among them already raise up their eyes to the clear heaven and harken to those voices from the high, voices of peace and love, truth and justice.
For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah from Zion shall materialise the idea, which originated there and begins with the word Torah: One Torah [law] and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you [Numbers 15:16] one law and one right shall hold sway for you and for the stranger, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [there; Isaiah 2:3] the motto that encouraged the Jews in their long exilehistory shall also come true; Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit sayeth the Lord not through fist and not through force, but through spirit, God has said.
These same words of God will again ring down from the mountains of Jerusalem to the ears of all peoples and lands!
|Painting by Prof Wolenberg, for the opening of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a greeting card signed by the public figures of the Zionist movement in Częstochowa|
We, in whose hands the education of the young generation was placed and whose main desire is to train the youth for a natural, healthy and full life in the land of our forefathers, welcome with a blessing the opening of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, which will become the new forge for the soul of the redeemed people and the temple for Torah and knowledge for our pupils, for whose training we toil and labour with all our might.
Blessed are we, who have seen the day we have yearned for, on which one of the wishes our people has carried in its bosom for thousands of years has been fulfilled.
Częstochowa (Poland), in the month of spring [Nisan] 5685 [April 1925]
Members of the council of the association for the foundation of Hebrew secondary schools:
Szmul Goldsztajn (Chairman), Abraham Luzor Szajnfeld (ViceChairman), Szaja son of Naftali Librowicz, Natan Gerichter, Uszer Win, Zvi Wernik, Izrail Wojdysławski, Dawid Szlojme Zandberg, Ze'ev Zeryker, Mojsze son of Izrail HaLevi Landau, Mojsze Dawid Szlezinger, Józef Szlezinger, Juda son of Ze'ev Kopinski
From the high school for boys and girls:
Directors: Jakob Blatt, Dr Abraham Krancberg
Panel of teachers: Perec Wolenberg, Saul Wajcberg HaLevi, Izrail Liberaber, Dawid Isachar son of my master, my father Mordka Juda Janowski, Simche Rubinsztajn, Juda Cuker, Dr Gerszon Szefer, Sz. B. L., Dr Menasze, Frydler, G. Brokman, Dr Boruch Eliasz Gincburg, R. Kac.
In that publication, our rabbi, the prodigy Rabbi Nachum Asz zl, published his article For Out of Zion Shall go Forth the Torah, in which he stresses the importance of the event itself, from a national and historical standpoint.
If the thoughts of our great spiritual leader, who served the Częstochowa Jewish community for almost a generation and brought honour to it in the entire Jewish world, must be immortalised in Sefer Częstochowa, that immortalises its life and its destruction, this article deserves special attention, due to the following lines:
This same heart shall rejoice with the glorious phenomenon, that now, when over the Jewish horizon hover heavy clouds and in many exilelands our situation becomes steadily worse, the western sun is for us going constantly lower down in this same period, the rays of the sun that is shining in the east, in the land of our forefathers, are reaching us.
These words, about the western sun is for us going constantly lower down, which our rabbi wrote eight years before the arrival of Hitler, may his name be obliterated, and his bands, seem truly to be a prophecy!
It may be that, had the worldleaders in general and our leaders in particular also seen at the time, that which Rabbi Asz predicted, the Jewish folk would have been saved from their great misfortune or, at least, it would not have reached the destruction of so many holy and pure [ones], including those of our Częstochowian community.
The Editors Return
The Book Committee
From the number which the Palestine Bureau in Warsaw has received in November 1924, the Palestine Bureau in Częstochowa gave certificate to the following pioneers: Sz. Zolondz, Rajcher, A. Kohn, N. Szczekacz, J. Berkowicz and H. Fajnsztadt, in all six certificates.
On the Work of Keren Ha'Yesod
Jechiel Joachimowicz, Chairman of Keren Ha'Yesod in Częstochowa, announces that the fundraiser in Częstochowa has been successful. Around 23,000 złoty were collected, 8,000 złoty more than a year ago. We hope that, from the eighty donors whom we have yet to visit, we shall receive a sum of 5,000 złoty.
On Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael
Over the course of the months TishreiAdar [Sep.Feb] 1936, the proceedings of Keren Kayemeth in Częstochowa were: 3,742.65 złoty (of which The Zionist Youth, alone, gathered 631.51 złoty).
Elections to the Zionist Congress
The elections to the 21st Zionist Congress had the following results in Częstochowa:
Of the general total of 3,321 shekelbuyers, only 2,391 voted, being around seventy percent. The votes were [thus] divided:
Al Ha'Mishmar [On Guard] 227 votes, WorldFederation 62, Mizrachi 606, Jewish State Party 78, League for the Working Land of Israel 1,120, Leftist Poalei Zion 204, The Zionist Youth 94 votes in total: 2,391.
The Wola Rabbi Travels to the Land of Israel
Reb Meier Henoch Jiszajewicz, who was a teacher in Częstochowa for 23 years and was very much involved in the field of education, has made a name for himself as a good and competent pedagogue.
In the Waryears of 19141919, he started issuing a calendar, which distinguished itself with its accuracy and was distributed in a large number in Poland, as well as abroad.
When Rabbi Jiszajewicz with his family, after two years of preparations, travelled to the Land of Israel, many of his friends and acquaintances gathered at the trainstation, led by the local rabbi and communal representatives. To the sound of Hatikvah, which was sung by the youth who came to see off the Rabbi and his children, the train continued on its way.
A Member of Akiva Leaves For a Kibbutz
At the cell of the youth organisation Akiva, a farewellevening was held for the departure of the member Bratt to a kibbutz.
In a festive atmosphere, Dov Cymerman also passed the Akiva banner to him. Members Fiszman, Cymerman and Goldman gave presentations. Rajzman recited a poem that he dedicated to Bratt, in honour of his travelling to the kibbutz.
An Akademia for the 100th birthday of Mendele Moycher Sforim
A couple of days afterwards, an akademia was held the Akiva premises, dedicated to the hundredyear jubilee of Mendele Moycher Sforim.
The Book Committee
The Keren Ha'Yesod fundraiser in Częstochowa, which was proclaimed on 16th January 1925, was especially successful, thanks to the participation of the great poet and Zionist activist Leib Jaffe, later a member of the Keren Ha'Yesod directorate in Jerusalem.
A thousandstrong crowd, who came together with delegations from all Jewish societies and financial institutions, welcomed the important guest from the Land of Israel at the trainstation.
That same evening, a festive akademia was held at the largest hall in the city at the hall of the fire department which was packed full. A large number of the assembled public were not able to enter.
To the sound of the Polish national anthem and the Hatikvah, played by an orchestra, the Chairman of Keren HaYesod, Natan Kohn, opened the akademia.
Rabbi Nachum Asz was the first to greet the important guest, in the name of the Prezydium [Executive Committee]. Subsequently, [he was] greeted by delegations of all institutions and organisations in the following order:
Chaim Weksler in name of the Kehilla, Hebrew; A.A. Szajnfeld Union of Zionists (also in Hebrew); J.Sz. Koblenz Mizrachi; Sz. Nemirowski Retailers' Union; Natan Gerichter Keren HaYesod; Stawski craftsmen's clubs; A. Kohn Hitachdut; Koplowicz Zionist Socialist Party Tzeirei Zion; A. Gotlib Poalei Zionright; M.Ch. Tiberg (Hebrew) Tzeirei Mizrachi; B. Altman Zionist Socialists HaChalutz; A. Danziger HaChalutz HaMizrachi; Józef Goldsztajn Tarbut; Mrs Weksler Women's Union, Ezrah; Lewit HaShachar [The Dawn] youth organisation; D. Szlezinger directorship of the Jewish gymnasia; Dr Sziffer in the name of the teachers of the Jewish high school; Dr Bram TAZ [Jewish Health Care Society]; Natan Kohn Dobroczynność [Charity] association; N. Gerszonowicz Gordonia; Wajsman Aviv [Spring]; I. Gitler HaShomer HaTzair; Herszlikowicz Trumpeldor; Sztrausberg Beis Lechem and Jurkowicz Hachnoses Orchim. [They] all pledged to assist in Keren HaYesod's fundraiser.
in which all the Zionist parties of the city were represented
The poet, Leib Jaffe, told of life in the Land of Israel, of the hopes of the Jews in the Land of Israel, of their joys and suffering, of the work and the building and of the Jewish People's obligation to help build a national home in their home of old.
On the morrow, a general assembly was held at the New Synagogue. Here, the guest gave details on the fighting in the Land of Israel. [He] told of the heroic death of Joseph Trumpeldor, by which the crowd was moved to tear. Describing the plight of the Jews in the exilelands, the speaker attested that the only way and the only salvation for our people is the Land of Israel.
A festive resolution was adopted, in which the assembled took it upon themselves to aid in the building of the Land of Israel with all their might.
During his visit, the guest visited various Jewish institutions and organisations. He was received everywhere in a very friendly manner and with deference.
At the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Union, a great assembly was held with Mr Sz. Rodal as Chairman, at which everyone pledged to participate actively in Keren Ha'Yesod's fundraiser. Also, upon his departure, a great crowd accompanied the important guest Leib Jaffe to the train and, there, sang the Hatikvah with great enthusiasm.
The Book Committee
Below, we present a translation into Yiddish of an announcement, published by the Jewish Committee, to honour the memory of Marshall Józef Piłsudski in Częstochowa, published in its day. (We also print the announcement according to the original in Polish)
In accordance with the decision of the Central Committee to honour the memory of Marshall Józef Piłsudski by planting a forest in his name in Palestine, a local committee has also been established in Częstochowa, in which all our city's social institutions are represented, which has taken upon itself the task of aiding in this endeavour by creating a Częstochowa Avenue within the Piłsudski forest in Palestine. This avenue will be an honour for Częstochowa Jews and a visible sign of their affinity for the Great Fighter for Poland's freedom and independence.
As citizens of the Polish State, we are participating in the general State endeavour, headed by the President of the Republic. As Jews, who are bound with the general destiny of suffering and struggle for freedom and liberation, we erect an eternal monument to the Great Fighter for freedom, by planting a forest in the name of Marshall Piłsudski in Palestine, on land of the Jewish National Fund, next to other forests planted in honour of great statesmen of the greatest kingdoms and nations, who have earned this due to their work for the revival of their lands and peoples and who have received this due to the affinity and gratitude of the Jewish population in their lands.
The Częstochowa Avenue will be established by planting trees (cost of each tree 10 złoty). The names of the donors will be inscribed in a special book, of which the first copy will be ceremoniously presented to the President of the Republic, as Chairman of the Central Committee to honour the memory of Marshall Józef Piłsudski, and the second copy will be kept permanently at the Jewish National Museum in Jerusalem. All donors will receive handwritten certificates from the Main Bureau of the Jewish National Fund in Jerusalem.
Delegates of the local committee, esteemed Sir, will visit you in the [coming] days and we strongly beseech your wholehearted participation in this important cause.
The Committee to honour the memory of MARSHALL JóZEF PIŁSUDSKI in Częstochowa
The people'spioneering movement, The Craftsmen's HaChalutz was already established in Wilna in 1933 by the Zionist public figure, Abraham Katz (now lives in the Land of Israel). Its aim was to propagate Zionistic ideas in the wider circles of the craftsmen family.
In Częstochowa, the branch of The Craftsmen's Ha'Chalutz was founded in July 1934, at the initiative of the renowned public activist and Zionist public figure, Abram Luzor Szajnfeld, and the craftsmen's public figures Jakob Lewkowicz, Abram Gotlib, Mojsze Goldberg and Wilinger, as well as the Zionist activists Dr Bram and Dr Messing actively aiding its development.
Some of the activists from the general Craftsmen's Union belonged to the The Craftsmen's Ha'Chalutz also. The Craftsmen's Ha'Chalutz conducted intensive Zionistpioneering work amongst workers' circles. At the beginning, this provoked a certain opposition to The Craftsmen's Ha'Chalutz. But, after a short while, when the opposition became convinced that the The Craftsmen's Ha'Chalutz dealt only in Zionist and cultural work, a harmonic cooperation was created, and almost half of the 200 craftsmenmembers were members of both organisations.
Hebrew courses, lectures on Jewish history, Zionism and also on general social and other Jewish problems were conducted at our organisation's fine premises (at Aleja 10).
The Craftsmen's Ha'Chalutz organisation strove to ensure that members' wives should also prepare themselves for Aliyah, so that they may be able to assist their husbands in their first steps in the Land of Israel. Members, as is selfevident, also sent their children to Zionist educational institutions.
Due to its importance, the Częstochowa branch of The Craftsmen's Ha'Chalutz was also represented at the Centre in Warsaw.
From 1935 onwards, the Częstochowa branch, almost at every distribution of certificates, received one or two certificates for its members, who had distinguished themselves through their involvement and were already prepared for their Aliyah. Thanks to this, Mojsze Goldberg, Wolf Landsman, Abram Gotlib, Hercberg, Izrail Buchman and Laski, Szneur were able to emigrate to the Land of Israel in those years. One of the last, Nuchem Szljach [?] also made Aliyah shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. All were good craftsmen and were able to do well in the Land [of Israel].
The Częstochowa branch also received special certificates for the craftsmen who were able to afford £250. Seeing as how, on each certificate, an entire family could emigrate (with children under 18), our branch, during its short existence, saved a several dozen souls from the bitter destiny that put such a tragic end to the entire Częstochowa Jewry.
(May this be some small consolation for those who have remained alive!)
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