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[Page 101]

Hasidism, Communal Activities


[Pages 122-123]


The Professional Union

by Ben-Tziyon Schlesinger (Tel Aviv)

Translated by Phillip A. Applebaum

The Professional Union was founded in the year 1924 and carried on its activities among the garment workers -- tailors and seamstresses -- to improve their working conditions. There were strikes as well as lockouts from the employers. In the deliberations of the council of the Professional Union, every dispute was resolved in favor of the workers. The council was composed of the following persons: Velvl Szwartzberg, Motl Grzende, Yaakov Rojtsztein, David Mandel, Ben-Tziyon Schlesinger, Idl Gelbard and Shalom Blaszke.

The Professional Union had a library of 1,500 books, the works of Jewish and non-Jewish writers. The members engaged in broadly branched cultural activities: Every Shabbat, there were convivial talks on various themes: political, communal, literary. Lecturing was by these members: Yitzhak Szczepański, Yidl Gelbard, Avraham Szpiler and Yaakov Bornstein. Of interest were the Shabbat evenings when the young single men and women sang various freedom and folk songs, led by member, Shepsl Granek, the sounds of which filled the entire street.

The drama circle of the Professional Union was renowned in the entire Warsaw region. The repertoire consisted of serious plays as: “God of Vengeance,” “A Strand of Pearls” [both] by Shalom Asch, “The Big Prize,” “Toivye the Milkman” [both] by Shalom Aleichem, “The Seven Who Were Hanged” by Andreyev[1] and others, such as the dramas of Gordin[2], operettas by Lateiner[3] and others. Aside from Jadów, the performances were given in nearby towns such as Radzymin, Wolomin, Brok, Dobre, Stoczek near Wegrów.

Many times, the drama circle performed together with the drama circle of the Histradrut HaTarbut[4]. Together they organized concert evenings in halls overflowing with young people of Jadów and surrounding towns.

In the drama circle, the following were active: Ben-Tziyon Schlesinger, Tzirl Hochman, Moshe Krinawicki, Leah Blaszke, Yankl Garbarski, Eliyahu David Burstein, Wanda Burstein, Yaakov Roitstein, Motl Szmietanka, Devora Schlesinger, Freida Krinawicki, Yankl Burstein, Shalom Blaszke, Meinemer[5], Yitzhak Szczepański, Yaakov Puterman, Yidl Gelbard and Baruch Minski.


Theatrical production of A Sister's Sacrifice[6]

First row, from the right: Ben-Tziyon Schlesinger, Tzirl Hochman, Moshe Krinowicki, Leah Bliaszke, Yankl Gorborski, Elie-David Borstein with his wife, Wanda
Second row, from the right: Yankl Rothstein, Matl Szmietanke, Devora Schlesinger, Frieda Berman, Yankl Burstein
Third row, from the right: Shilem Bliaszke, Chavale Meinemer, Yitzhak Szczepanski, Yaakov Piterman, Baruch Minski, Yudl Gelbard

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Leonid Andreyev (1871-1919), considered a founder of Expressionism in Russian literature. The Seven Who Were Hanged (Рассказ о семи повешенных is a novella published in 1908. Return
  2. Jacob Gordin (1853-1909), born in Ukraine, immigrated to America in 1891 and settled in New York City. He changed the nature of Yiddish theater by introducing naturalism and realism. His most famous dramatic work is Mirele Efros (1898). Return
  3. Joseph Lateiner (1853-1935), Yiddish playwright, first in Bucharest, Romania, and after 1903, in New York City. Return
  4. The “Cultural Union.” It was sponsored by Zionists and advocates of the Hebrew language (הסתדרות התרבות). In the Jadow book, a photograph of the troupe appears on page 155. Return
  5. First name not shown. Return
  6. By Peretz Markish (1895-1952), Yiddish-language poet and playwright of the Soviet Union. Return


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