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[Columns 99–100]

I. Dubno Mirrored in the Press

Translated by Selwyn Rose

The many changes that began to take place in Europe half-way through the 19th Century, found echoes in the demographics of Jewish society and they may be readily seen reflected in the Jewish press of the time. To our regret, we are unable to present here examples of the newspapers since they are not available here in the country.

We are forced therefore to be satisfied with Hebrew journals and magazines that began to appear in the second half of the century in Eastern Europe and we will try to extract from them typical material on Dubno and its Jewish community:

  1. Ha-Magid” which began to appear in Ełk (Lyk), East Prussia, in 1857, edited by Eliezer Lipman Zilberman.
  2. Ha-Melitz” which began to appear in Odessa in 1861 edited by Eliezer Zederbaum-Erez.
  3. Ha-Tsfira” which began to appear in Warsaw in 1862, edited by Ḥaim Zelig Slonimski ( Ḥazas).
Before we bring the items from the Hebrew periodicals, we will introduce two pieces of information that appeared in the Polish press at the end of the 18th Century that touch on Dubno:

The “Warsaw Gazette” issue 56 from 1782 reports that when two young princes of the Lubormirski family entered Dubno, they were greeted at the gates of the town by Jewish youths dressed in their finest, who showered them with flowers.

In the “Craiova (Krajowa) Foreign Correspondent” that was published in Warsaw from the 13th April 1793 it was reported that the Dubno community had gone bankrupt because of non-payment of dues to the Polish government.

*

Ha-Melitz” No. 10 and 12 (second year) (3/17 October 1861)

Excerpts from an article on Dubno signed with the name “Shoḥad Tuvtam” (Tzvi Greenberg, a.k.a. Vladimir Feodorov).

And so I see that our town Dubno, although a town that in age and wisdom can compete with the other large and respected towns in our country, has thus far had nothing befitting written about her ------- two, are her highly honored qualities, one is graciousness and forgiveness, the second is Torah and wisdom. And in righteous pride, Greater Dubno can boast in the presence of all the cities of Vohlin that she is the “grandmother” of wisdom; she is the town that has entwined within her Torah and charitable graciousness, productivity.

Already some decades ago, at a time when heavy clouds rested upon Vohlin, a bright star shone over the town of Dubno and her skies were filled with the glowing light of knowledge --- out of which shone the wise and divine grammarian Rabbi Shlomo who was like a brother with our Master, Moshe ben Menaḥem Mendelsohn and close to the great expositor and legendary teller of fables, who was nicknamed “the Jewish Æsop” (Rabbi Ya'acov Krantz), and apart from these wise men there were many more --- knowledgeable in grammar and logic and among them especially the rest of the academic subjects: algebra, engineering and mathematics, like the fiery Gaon, Rabbi Eliezer (Z”L), from Kałuszyn (Kalushin) and from among his students, the wise Rabbi Naḥman Tzvi Linder. They all stood like a fortified wall against the scourge now sweeping throughout Vohlin, namely the Hassidic Movement that had engulfed all the regions of that county --- until it reached the town of Dubno in the mouths of ne'er-do-wells, the Hassidic Rabbis, saying as a taunt: “Dubno the rejected and sinful town”---

Our town was the first town in the county to establish a school for Jewish girls, standing as a fortress for three years, programmed and built by someone born in our town, the wise magnificent Berman.

Who will speak of the donors, the greatest and richest of our town ever since it was a town! Until today the poor of our town eat the fruit of their charity, all of them left behind them blessings: stone built homes, shops, canopies, leaving them permanently for charity to be for the needy of our town.

Study houses, thirteen in number, apart from the Great Synagogue from the point of view of its income, was plenty ---

Who would not wonder at charitable deeds performed with wisdom and knowledge --- by the town notable Our Teacher and Rabbi Zadok Marshalkowycz (Z”L) ---

For he gave much money to the lords of the town during the days of the respected Prince Michael Lubormirski who undertook and promised that he would donate several hundred trees from his estate's trees every winter, to the needy poor of the town ---

The hospital stands on an ugly and dirty street. The students of the Talmud Torah[1] usually playing boisterously, poorly-clothed and bare-foot on the streets. And why don't they unite the Talmud Torah with the exalted government school? Why are house owners ashamed to send their sons to the school? Why do they send their daughters to the school and their sons to the dark Ḥaderim[2] to be educated? --

[Columns 101–102]

*

Ha-Melitz” No. 23 (8/20 March 1862)

A poem about Dubno in the dispute surrounding Ḥassidut and the Ḥaskala by S.M.R. Mandelkern

Verse A   O, beautiful daughter of Dubno:
In flight at night
Limb and courage displayed
And performing valor…
 
Verse C   Palace of the gods
A house made with planning
There where the waves
Are struck into drops
 
Verse D   Many were they as perfect
To hold fast to the way they saw
Consumed in the blazing fires
Defiled, defiled they cried.
 
Verse I   And beautiful daughter of Dubno
After she stood at birth
She shone and gathered together
She cried and fell:
 
Verse M   Ha! O, honored wisdom
Wonders came down
The wretched senselessness
Arose ever upwards…

*

Ha-Melitz” (1/13 14th Iyar 1865)

--- The residents of Dubno bought an imposing, elegant house in a clean street and dedicated it for use as a hospital, adorned with a surrounding garden for the inmates to enjoy to their heart's content.---

*

Ha-Magid” issue No. 18, 14th Iyar (18.5.1865)

That town that from the beginning was known for its many wise men, writers, knowledgeable in Torah --- in recent times --- became much impoverished. Also today the remainders of earlier generations have been lost to her with the passing of the surviving member of the magnificent Berets family who was conveyed to his grave, the righteous modest Gaon, famous for his respected writings our Teacher and Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Rappoport --- who added clarifications to the book of Leviticus called “Guide for the Priests” --- Our town Dubno lost in him a force for righteousness, a warm-hearted, modest, loving man, a searcher for peace who left no one comparable to follow on.

*

Ha-Tsfira” (6th September 1875)

On September 11th last year, in the periodical “Ha-Tsfira” the teacher H. Shansis called to the attention of readers in Dubno to consider with some seriousness the intention to erect a school in which their children will learn language, literature, Torah and good manners - all in order to become good citizens. It was a “voice crying in the wilderness.”

A few months later the scholar Gotlober, who lived at the time in Dubno, awoke to the idea and requested a license from the authorities to open a school with two classes for the Jewish youth and when he received the license, he posted announcements on the synagogue walls hoping that the parents will send their children to the school. But the “unenlightened” zealots tore down the announcements from the walls of the synagogue and poured from their full bitter cup of wine their punishment, erasing his dreams; the school was not opened ---

The writer concludes:
If you recite the weekly passage of the Torah and the daily page of the Gemara, shouldn't H. Gotlober and the teacher also have a part to play in this? --- wake up dear brothers, lest you wait too long.

A Guest invited to Stay[3]

*

Ha-Magid” (8.9.1875) in a letter by A.B. Gotlober:

I said the residents of my town will be pleased --- that I have the authority to open a school to bring success to the children of their parents with the Torah of G-d and the tradition from the hand of G-d for the good I will yet do, for I will teach them the language of the Land of Israel --- and not one of the residents of the town have come to me and asked that his son be taken into my school and have me spread my wings over him ---

Is this really the town Dubno that more than forty years ago, when I came in the days of my youth, the youngsters of our people came running to me from every direction and asked to learn Torah from me? And in those days, there was the honored sage, Rabbi Ze'ev Adelson (Z”L) who taught many students…

*

Ha-Tsfira” No. 47 (6th September 1876/77)

--- Last night 250 wounded soldiers were brought here to Dubno from the battle field

All the officers and clerks, the local police commissioner and the general, rushed to the…

[Columns 103–104]

…rail-yard to greet them sympathetically. The whole route was illuminated with oil lamps and whatever else could be used as torches…

The Senior Officer in charge honored each and every one of them with a glass of wine and tea, cake and a cigarette. All the townspeople welcomed them as well --- the respected resident Mr. Itche Halbirt presented five hundred cigarettes. The excellent scholar, Rabbi Lazar Shreier of Viliya donated sugar. The scholar Rabbi Yisrael Leib Gilberg donated two kilograms of tea and 3 rubles.

Ḥaim Asher Bernstein
Born in Dubno.

*

Ha-Tsfira” No. 16-18 (18/30 April 1878)

--- The mists and fogs of woefulness placed upon Greater Dubno a deep feeling of mourning --- on the second day of Passover the Lord poured out his anger on our town and early in the morning, a fire broke out. Within two hours over two hundred shops were devoured in their entirety by the flames down to their foundations together with the contents thereof and also many homes were fuel for the hungry flames with no one to save them --- how extensive and widespread was the confusion that occurred as the fire broke out and swallowed everything in its path --- people ran naked from their home leaving behind them everything they possessed, without food to sustain their souls --- the value of the damage was estimated at 500,000 rubles. ---- Blessings upon the heads of our brethren and the charitable organizations in the neighboring towns like Rivne, Lutsk, Rodvil (Radyvyliv), and others --- who sent matzot and potatoes and piled up money for the desperate and destitute burnt out of their homes and possessions. The notable and known scholar Rabbi Meir Chomsky will be remembered for his good deeds for he advised the towns immediately by telegraph to arouse themselves and support their brethren ---

Written in a spirit of sadness –---

Zeinvyl Safian

*

Ha-Melitz” (1878)

We are informed from Dubno, Kobryn (Kobrin) and other towns that our brethren will welcome with bread and salt and much happiness the battalions as heroes returning from their war with Bulgaria and the Balkans ---

*

Ha-Tsfira” No. 33 (Elul1881)

Wednesday 17th Av. The minister who had always been known as a fervent humanist and lover of mankind in general and the “Children of Israel” in particular was gathered unto his people. When storms gathered over the heads of our brethren in Russia, the General was there to cover us and secure our safety preventing anyone from harming us. We who dwelt in the town of Dubno owed him our respect and were not ungrateful to him and we eulogized him together with our Christian brethren.

We did the noble gentleman much honor and the whole town accompanied him to the railroad station, from where he was taken to be buried with his fathers in Moscow. His name will never be erased from our hearts. May he rest in peace.

Akiva Cohen Rappoport

*

Ha-Melitz” (1882) 1st Nissan (9/21. 3.1882)

Dubno 12 Adar. ---- In our town we were called upon to pray to G-d on the Fast of Esther and plead with Him to soften the government's heart; the Government Rabbi Shalom Meirzahn prayed with the congregation in his services in the Baratz synagogue and all the people cried in sorrow for their brethren (the pogroms of 1881).

--- During those few days the scholar Ḥaim Ashkenazi took the initiative and organized a collection of money to clothe and feed the people of our town and to train them for work---and until today, five youngsters are trained at a school for artisans. The Lord acts and does good for his people.---

*

Ha-Melitz”, 6th Tishrei (7/19.9.1882)

--- Our town – considered a tower of scholarship was also struck in the last two weeks by a plague --- it was a case of the “Four prime causes of injury”[4]

  1. The holy Rabbi Shlomo Malek
  2. Hanka (untraceable name– trans.)
  3. Son of the Rabbi of Rodvil (the son of Rabbi Mordecai)
  4. The last but not least - an anonymous boy from Galicia.
The first gained from his disciples more than 1000 silver rubles---

After him, Hanka and the son of Rabbi from Rodvil who extracted no less than 500 silver rubles. The fate of the Galician boy was very bad --- for him they waited another day---

Didn't the people of the town do well --- to repair the destroyed hospital and build a hostel for the poor? ---

Halevi

*

Ha-Tsfira” issue 28 (1883)

A “voice crying in the wilderness” for the esteemed liturgist A.B. Gotlober whose condition was desperate after losing his source of sustenance.
[Columns 105–106]
----------Have we no generous hearted donors? Every donation will be sent towards forwarding the publication of “Hymns of Praise”, the least considered as great as the greatest.

The donors' money will be forwarded to his dwelling place in Dubno to the hands of the esteemed poet in Dubno, Rabbi Meir Chomsky.

P.S. I have added here Dubno and the publication of “Hymns of Praise” more than fifty silver rubles placed in the hands of the above esteemed notable.

Ḥ. Margolit.

*

Ha-Tsfira” (4/16.1.1883)

On the day of the coronation of his Imperial Majesty, the Mayor and his advisors and Ḥ. Kahana collected 225 rubles to provide lunches for two battalions garrisoned here.

Ḥ. Zukerman

*

Ha-Melitz” No. 83 15th Ḥeshvan (16.10.1884)

Yesterday, 8th Marḥeshvan here in Dubno we celebrated with the greatest possible “pomp and circumstance” the one-hundredth birthday of the lover of Israel and great philanthropist, Sir Moses Montefiore.

After a congratulatory telegram was sent, a large crowd gathered in the synagogue in celebration. The distinguished Torah and G-d-fearing scholar, the respected Rabbi and notable Rav-Rabbi Shalom Meirzahn preached a sermon before the congregation on the events of the day and after presenting his sermon, the government appointed Rabbi, the learned scholar Rav-Rabbi Ḥ. Z Margolit spoke. The synagogue Cantor Rav-Rabbi Ya'acov-Ya'akel son of the well-known Cantor, Rav-Rabbi Yeruḥam of Berdichev blessed the righteous Knight and wished him a long life and the congregation all answered, “Amen!”

A.B. Gotlober

*

Ha-Melitz” No. 3, 6th Shevat (11/23.1.1885)

From Dubno comes an announcement that on Saturday night a fire broke out in the Baratz Study House. The fire consumed it and two other houses. A Scroll of the Law was also lost to the flames. The Christians and army officers together made strenuous efforts to contain and quench the fire.

*

#147;Ha-Melitz” Wednesday 22nd Elul, (10/21.9.1886)

---------------It is not heroic that a few Jewish families are travelling from here to the New World (America) and a few other families are also preparing to sail across the ocean in the coming days.

Ya'acov

*

Ha-Melitz” 21st Kislev, (1890)

---The idea of resettlement of our Holy Land, that of itself had smoothed pathways into many towns in Israel did not find its way into our town. The collection-bowls placed in every synagogue --- with my own eyes, I saw that the wealthy and respected tycoons were not in a hurry to donate the five kopeks. Also in the matter of the revival of our sacred language found little support among our few intelligentsia ----

Dubno resident.

*

Ha-Melitz” issue 94 (1894)

Dubno 25th Nissan. The seventieth birthday of our Gaon the first of the “Lovers of Zion” ADMOR Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever, the “Light of Israel”, Father of the Beit Din Bialystok, was, for us, the “Ḥovevey Zion of Dubno a festival in every sense of the word. As evening arrived we all gathered in the great Baratz Beit Ha-Midrash and the sagacious and esteemed advisor, chief delegate “Ḥovev” in our town Zalman Ashkenazi, preached a deeply moving and soul-stirring appreciation of the spirit of the times clarifying the immensity of the “Man of the Hour” for the good of the settlement of the Land of Israel from the first moment of the birth of the idea up until the present day.

How ennobled and pleasant were his words and their content!...and what testimony from Jewish history, for every idea was beautiful and correct and in true and honest perspective; he found and presented the great among our people and our sages from each generation – even from within the lands of the strangers, he toiled and suffered to implant them in the Garden of our Faith. So many times he spoke of the concept of “Lovers of Zion” and the purity of his faith for the whole House of Israel.

We send today, on his seventieth birthday this congratulatory epistle of blessings and tribute to the celebrant, signed by all the notables of our town together with a “Poem of Gold” composed by the sagacious poet H. Ashkenazi. There was also a sum of money provided… to plant an “etrog[5] garden” in the Holy Land as an eternal memorial to his name.

Michal Burstein

*

Ha-Melitz” (1894)

(Dubno) With much pomp and splendor, the Ḥovevey Zion in our town today, the 12th Tammuz celebrated the seventieth birthday of the venerable elderly gentleman, the gracious philanthropist, Kalman Ze'ev Wyzotsky. The event took place in the evening in the home of the wise and excellent author, Ḥ. Zalman Ashkenazi --- and presented just one of the thousand noble contributions – that of the school in Jaffa.

The Cantor Rabbi Meir Teitelman delighted his audience with his renderings.

[Columns 107–108]

*

Ha-Melitz” issue 210, Elul, 1894

A crate of etrogs arrived in Dubno for Rabbi Menaḥem Mendel Oyrbaḥ, Father of the Beit Din of our town and they are wonderful. Z. Ashkenazi sent to Odessa for some Palestinian wine. It is hoped that the collection-bowls will reflect everyone's appreciation…

Pinḥas Pasis

*

Ha-Melitz” issue 237, Ḥeshvan, 1894

(Dubno). The collection-bowls that were placed everywhere on the evening of Yom Kippur were successful. Libelous pamphlets and the failing, unsuccessful “Ha-Ḥavazelet” paper were sent in their hundreds, if not thousands, to all the Jewish settlements of the Children of Israel yet not one arrived in our town because there was no place in our town for the irreverent writings of the “poorly clothed just for the sake of appearances”[6] because of Rabbi and Father of the Beit Din Rabbi Menaḥem Mendel Oyrbaḥ and the Righteous Teacher Rabbi Moshe Halevi Rubinstein (author of the book “Elef Hamagen” – “A Thousand Defend” – and “Klilat HaMenorah” – a study book on the Talmud), among the Ḥovevey Zion. That year many new members joined the support committee in Odessa. Ḥovevey Zion here wait every day for olive oil to arrive from the Holy Land that has been despatched directly from Jaffa and the delegate Rabbi Zalman Ashkenazi will send to it the towns of Kremnitz and Róvne for lighting the ḥanukah candles---

*

Ha-Melitz” issue 261, 1894

(Dubno). The Ḥovevey Zion is continuing to grow and spread in our town and has had great success and made an impressive reputation comparing itself favorably with all the bigger towns. The love of our holy language is growing from day-to-day to the extent that even the girls are beginning to like it and its literature – sadly because only two competent teachers of the language exist here ---

*

Ha-Melitz” issue 267, 1896

(Dubno). Yesterday, the fifth day of Ḥanukah, Ḥovevey Zion, under license from the town authorities, celebrated in magnificent style the success of the Maccabean Revolt. Members of the Ḥovevey Zion from other towns came to celebrate together with us: Zhytomyr – Mrs. Fleicher, from Kremnitz, Doctor Litvak and Mr. Tzvi Prelutsky, from Róvne, Mr. Rubinstein and Mr. Hershtein - and others. At 9 o'clock in the evening all the invitees gathered together - about 200 people in the large hall belonging to H. Berger and the celebration began. The synagogue Cantor and his choir sang “God Save the King” in honor of the Tsar and the Hebrew song “These Candles…”. After that, Mr. Z Ashkenazi spoke of the rise of the Movement's ideology and its history - in raising the spirits of the people. After a recess, Mr. Prelutsky spoke of the four rebirths of Israel – the first after Babylonian exile that was completed during the period of the Hasmoneans. After that Doctor Litvak and H. Rubinstein spoke --- wine-glasses were raised to praise Mr. Ashkenazi, the organizer of the festival and to the above speakers and all the leaders of the Ḥovevey Zion and the pioneers of the resettlement of the Land. Mrs. Fleicher raised a glass honoring the girls of Zion who were learning their holy language. After all began singing zionist songs with delight until dawn.

*

Ha-Melitz”, 28th Nissan 1897

(Dubno). On the Festival of Passover, the notables of our town celebrated the event to the full measure of the commandment “Holidays, festivals and seasons are for rejoicing!” according to the Jewish culture. Virtually every member of the Jewish “supporters of the workers of the Holy Land” came to the home of the community representative H. Ashkenazi where they were welcomed with a celebratory glass of wine from the vineyards of our Holy Land “Rehovot and Hermon”, taking much spiritual pleasure to hear from his earlier words, spoken with emotion, as an enlivening and at one and the same time, eloquently poetical speech on the documentation of the festivals of Israel and awoke in the hearts and ears of his gathered audience a love of Zion and all the holy ones of the nation.

---In his honor, those gathered collected for the benefit of the toilers on the land the sum of 22 silver rubles --- and may it be pleasing to the organizer and those gathered and may the work of their hands be strengthened and blessed. Selah.

Joel Friedman

*

Ha-Melitz”, 17th Sivan 1897

(Dubno). On the first day of the Festival of Shavuot, Mr. Z Ashkenazi spoke on a theme taken from chapter three of “Ethics of the Fathers” penetrating deep into the soul of all who were gathered there. After which the members of the Ḥovevey Zion who were present offered up a toast in tribute to Baron Rothschild, the committee in Odessa and the farmers in Palestine. Here I express gratitude to our honorable delegate, Mr. Z. Ashkenazi for his toil and his dedication both materially and spiritually to the ideology of resettlement.

P. Pasis

*

Ha-Tsfira”, issue 201 1901

From Dubno comes the announcement via H.A. Bernstein that the residents recently celebrated the ritual sanctification of a new Holy Ark for the synagogue It is the handiwork of the artistic master-craftsman Wolf Sirkis who devoted an entire year to its creation. Beautiful to behold it is indeed a work of art demonstrating only too clearly the creative and professional competence of its maker.

Those taking part in the consecration ceremony were the congregation and donors together with senior official citizens of the town, President of the town, his deputy and senior clerks.

[Columns 109–110]

A List of Journalists of Dubno Writers in Newspapers and periodicals

Newspaper   Year   Journalist
Ha-Melitz   1861
1862
  Ze'ev Woolf Neimark; Tzvi Greenberg
Sh. Mandelkern
Ha-Magid   1865   Leibush Steinberg
Ha-Tsfira   1875
1877
1878
  Arieh Leib Scheintziz
Ḥaim Asher Bernstein
Zeinvil Sapien
Ha-Melitz   1878   Yoel Albert
Ha-Tsfira   1879
1881
  Yoel Albert; Ḥ Margoliot
Akiva Cohen Rapoport
Ha-Melitz   1882   Halevi
Ha-Tsfira   1883
1884
  S. Zukerman; Eliezer Lippa Rokach
Yachaz??
Ha-Melitz   1884
1886
1887
1890
1894
1896
1897
  Shimon Bernstein; Eliezer Lippa Rokach
Ya'acov Heilman
Marnanan
Dubna
Michael Burstein; Pinḥas Pasis
Ben-Amram; Yabaz?; David Lewittan
Yoel Friedman; P. Pasis.
Ha-Tsfira   1901   A. Gaski; H.A. Bernstein

 

An announcement from the “Wohliner Leben” 1924-1925
Dubno. A town resident Mr. Sh. Horwitz donated a building that contained a cinema and hall for various performances as a present in the founding of a professional school for deprived and needy children. Although Mr. Horwitz is known in our town for his generosity, many were surprised by this pleasant act and he is promised wide-spread acknowledgement of his generous donation.
7th December, 1924
Thanks to Mr. Levinsohn, our delegate to the Sejm, the orphanage, that had been administratively closed by order, by the hospital three years ago, has now been returned to the hands of the Department of Nursing. As of now, major refurbishment operations are being undertaken to prepare it for use in its original function for the local orphans.

Y.L.
18th November 1924.

*

Dubno. 9th December. A celebration took place at the premises of the Artisans' Bank marking two years since its foundation. Attorney Pinḥosowitz, Chairman of the management, briefly explained to the people gathered there, the importance of the event: “This institution that was established two years ago with a capital of 70,000 marks developed in the desired direction and today the value is 4,000 gulden as share value and several hundreds of gulden as investments. The first loans earned 500 marks and today we have out on loan about 11,816 gulden. The Bank, which suffered in 1923 from a loss, has now achieved a clear profit of 1,227 gulden.”The speech ended with an expression of the opinion that a bright future awaited the Bank and that the Bank will continue to offer help to small traders and artisans. Those gathered greeted his words enthusiastically.

Mr. Hamish proposed that the Society of Artisans acknowledge and express gratitude, while the treasurer, Mr. Zimmerman spoke widely on various activities of the Bank.

Additional compliments were added by Mr. Zaiger, a manager, and the gentlemen Streiger, Tauwster, Gitleman, Korin, Barkowsky, Leizman, Plauder and others. The meeting ended in high spirits.

Ya'acov Semigran
19th December 1924.


Footnotes

  1. Religious Hebrew primary school for the younger pupils, usually until about the age of 13. Return
  2. Ḥader(-im pl.) – a class-room in a typical Talmud Torah Return
  3. This was the title of a book written by S.Y. Agnon and published in the 1930's – Trans Return
  4. Taken from the Mishnah Bava Kamma -1 Sefaria "There are four primary causes of injury and damages…" Return
  5. An etrog is a member of the citrus family, similar to a lemon and is traditionally used during the autumn "Festival of Booths", (Succoth) as one of "The Four Species". Return
  6. A free translated interpretation of the original Hebrew text taken from Zachariah 13:4 – (see also the preceding verse3) - Trans. Return

 

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