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[Pages 202-03]

Photographs of Orheyev descendants that died in Israel

Translated by Terry Lasky

(all figures are online and the hotlinks can be found in the List of Figures)

223Eidil and Yeshaya Geynichovitz
224Miryam Shamban
225Moshe Goldenberg
226Meir Goldenberg
227Mordechai Goldenberg
228Miryam Gotlieb
229Zlata Goldshtern
230Nachman Krasner
232Moshe and wife Rabinovitz
233Bluma (wife) and Yisacher Rapoport

[Page 204]

List of Orheyev descendants that died in Israel

Translated by Terry Lasky

Dyukman, Hertz

Vurgaft, Pinchas

Zubritsky, Nachman

Yonovitz, Moshe

Mundrian, Yosef

Naychin, Bendik (Ben-Zion)

Frank, Dacha

Ziserov, Pini

Rabinovitz, Simone Moseyovitz

[Pages 205-206]

Avraham Borsutsky

Translated by Jerrold Landau

(We provide an extensive article on him because we regarded him as a founder and leader of the movement in our region, and its living spirit. He was the educator and counselor, and his influence was great upon the following generation who continued to bear aloft the flag of renaissance. The hundreds of people who came to participate in the first and second conventions are witnesses to this. His name was blessed and remembered with feelings of honor and appreciation by all of them.}

Avraham Borsutsky

Avraham Borsutsky

Something on his Roots

He was a native of Orheyev, born in the year 5630 (1870) to his parents who owned a large estate. He received a traditional education as was customary in those days. However, instead of at cheder, he received his education from private teachers (melamdim). During his childhood he studied secular courses in addition to regular studies. These were also taught to him by private teachers. When he grew up, he earned his livelihood by running the affairs of the estate. The farm primarily grew crops, and was partially a dairy farm. He managed the farm until his last days in Orheyev.

A. B. as the Delegate of Orheyev

None of us knew A. B. as the owner of the estate. We knew that there were days when he was not at home for those who came to seek him – those who came to seek him were solely involved in affairs of our community, primarily of the Zionist movement from its first steps and through the various incarnations that it went through during his days. The exchange of correspondence between him and M. Usishkin began from the year 5654 (1894). In one of the letters, he told of the special celebration that took place in the Zionist organization at its first decade of existence. It is clear that this movement took its first steps at the dawn of the Chibat Zion movement. Throughout all those days he was the living spirit in the movement. He was the initiator, the founder and the energy behind it. He was the one who ensured that the movement would not be swallowed up by the various winds that blew at that time through the Jewish street. He was known by everyone outside the borders of our city as the power and delegate of the Zionist of Orheyev at gatherings and conventions.

A. B. as a Talented Orator

We, the people of Orheyev, knew him as a talented and wonderful orator. He was calm, deep and pleasant to the ear. He was a modern orator in his day. During his time, the Zionist orators were of the type of Yitzchak Nisenboim or Yavzorov, to whom the biblical verse served as the source of their words, which were spiced with statements of the sages or wonderful Midrashim. A. B. was not like this. He always talked about and around the topic. The background and topic of his lectures was always real life with all of its changes and experiences.

He delivered his lectures with deep faith in the justice of his words, with clear enunciation and popular simplicity that always spellbound the audience. The members of his audience were his fans. During my day, almost all the youth and all the people of the city would go once a week to listen to his words. It was also pleasant to listen to him in casual conversation – pleasant and informative simultaneously. There was no need for a public announcement about the appearance of A. B. It was sufficient to paste a note on the western wall of the kloiz, and the news would spread through the community through various channels. People would stream to the kloiz from all corners of the city. I never saw a case where the entire audience was sitting in their seats. Rather, everyone stood crowded and cramped, listening with great attention, afraid lest they miss even one word of the lecture. It once happened that one of his opponents started to heckle him in the middle of his speech. However, he was smarter than his opponent, and was able to brush it off and continue on unfazed. For the most part, unexpected success came to him after such an incident. Heckling such as that did not take his mind off the topic for even one moment. On the contrary, he gained additional enthusiasm, which was transmitted to his audience as well. It was as if all partitions were removed between him and the community. After he concluded his speech, everyone would breathe comfortably, as if everything became clear and there was no room for doubt and dispute. I recall that on one occasion, a public gathering was convened in the Synagogue of the Tailors (Di Schneiderershe Shul). One of the Bund activists opened the meeting. A. B was supposed to be second to him. He began his speech with the following point: “The words of the previous speaker can be divided into two parts. In the first part, he cursed and riled against the Zionist camp, rendering it dirt and ashes. In the second part, he repeated what he had said in the first part.” Great laughter broke out in the audience. This reaction encouraged him further, and he continued on calmly and pleasantly. It is interesting that he rarely talked about the dark things and incorrect spirit of the opposing camp. He was not eager to disprove and contradict the deductions and conclusions of the preceding speaker, but rather he arranged all of his words around the obligation and light that emanates from our renaissance movement. This also draws from the realities of the daily life of the masses of the people, but its roots stem from the splendid past of the nation, and it is our obligation to continue in this direction to greet the future, which is a continuation of our unbroken golden chain… As he concluded his words, the audience applauded him endlessly.

I recall another meeting, also in the aforementioned synagogue. There, A. B. was the opening and main speaker. Hertz Gilishensky also came to the meeting. (He was a school chum of mine from the yeshiva and the kloiz, and later he abandoned his piety. We knew about him and realized that he came to dispute and disrupt the order of the meeting. This came to the attention of A. B., but he did not pay attention to this, and continued his words with the same tone and style with which he started. Gilishensky was apparently waiting for an utterance of the speaker that he could grab hold of. When the chance arose, he jumped onto the bench, cut off the speaker, waved the thick stick that he held in his hand and began to scream and pour out invective against Zionism, etc. The crowd became quite perplexed, and a tumult arose. In the confusion, many began to push for the door and escape through the windows.

In the letter of A. B. to Usishkin from May 2, 1905, he wrote among everything else: “The relationship between the Bundists and the members of Ch. D. to Zionism of late has taken on the form of hooliganism. They use all despicable means to disrupt our assemblies. When we arranged a gathering on the first intermediate day of Passover in one of the synagogues, they also entered and instigated a great tumult. The crowd left through the windows. The synagogue was filled to the brim, and among those gathered were women, including pregnant woman. They perpetrated a scandal in the name of freedom. Miraculously, no human tragedies occurred aside from two pregnant women who miscarried. Others were lightly cut and their clothes were torn… The appearance of the synagogue was like those I saw in Kishinev after the pogrom.” Finally, he asked M. Usishkin to send a speaker who would also know how to use the words of Marx and Engels… “It would be good if you could find a member of Poale Zion who is also a Zionist of Zion.”

In the exchange of correspondence that we have brought down between A. B. and M. Usishkin, the reader will find material of great interest about the state of the movement a half century ago, along with several themes about the communal persona of Avraham Borsutsky as a Zionist activist. These testify to his faithful dedication, the extent of his understanding, and his various reactions to several tasks and assignments that required his attention. Avraham Borsutsky's heart was alert, and his ear was attentive to everything that took place and every flutter that went through the movement…

The family left Orheyev and moved to Odessa, where he received a job in the office of H. Zaltopolsky. In this position, he traveled to Samarkand and other places. He was imprisoned by the Bolsheviks in 1920 and was murdered by them as a Zionist and a businessman…

Y. S.

Avraham Borsutsky was the founder of the Chovevei Zion organization in Orheyev, and its director throughout its existence. Avrahamel stood at the helm of all communal matters. He was the head of the Haganah (defense) in the years 1902-1905. During the elections of 1905 to the Gasodarstvenya Duma, he was elected in our region along with Moshe Ravich to the assembly of electors who had the duty of electing delegates to the first parliament in Russia. During those days of the Black Reaction, there was a great struggle with respect to establishing the character of the democratic parliament by the representatives of the people. Borsutsky and Ravich had the honorable task of voting for the most progressive Christian delegate (in accordance with the allocation of electoral rights, Jews did not have the right to be represented in parliament). This was a responsible role within the network of relations that existed between the Jews and the Christians.

Avrahamel dedicated his generous talents to the Zionist movement. He dedicated himself to it with his heart and soul, and invested the best of his energy and most of his time and efforts to it. He was an active member of the Odessa Committee from the day of its founding. His entire aim was to draw the masses close to the movement by conducting activities for the people and speaking their language of spoken Yiddish. In one letter to Usishkin from 6 Tammuz 5654 (1894), he strongly presented the case for publicity to the simple folk. “It is extremely necessary now to write a book in Yiddish which will explain the matter of settlement in all of its details. From all that has been published until now, there is not one that can properly explain the rationale of this idea.” Avrahamel took up the case of “our simple brethren.” “Show us the light of this idea; show us what our brethren have done throughout the 12 years of colonization in the Land of Israel.” He added, “It is a great and holy thing that you have taken upon yourselves to love the idea of the settlement for our youth and our maskilim – have mercy also upon those who 'walk in darkness,' give them spiritual sustenance, brighten their path, breathe the breath of life in them, and perhaps… Perhaps they will join our ranks for the settlement of the Land…”

He was involved in the upper echelons of the Zionist movement even though he was hundreds of kilometers away from its epicenter. He was a delegate to the Chovevei Zion conventions in Odessa (1896, 1901, 1902), and also the second convention of Russian Zionists in Minsk in 1902. He was also elected to the third convention of Russian Zionists in Helsinki in 1906. Avrahamel watched and observed the ways of the movements with a deep investigative sense. He exposed omissions and follies, and did not hesitate to describe his fears for the fate of the movement before its leaders.

(From his letters to Usishkin) “At times we read and hear that there are more than 1,000 Chovevei Zion groups in Russia. Is this not a painful joke to refer to that group of people who never did one thing for the benefit of our idea, and who only incidentally joined the ranks of our organization, as a 'movement'? I doubt if we can count even half of them as active members.

“I do not exaggerate if I state that our movement is standing on nothing, and we must begin everything anew.

“The truth is very bitter, but we must state things as they are.”

However, Avraham Borsutsky, the vibrant activist and eternal optimist, did not give up. There is a cure to the decline in the movement, and he continued on in that letter. “… In my opinion, it is possible to set our movement on firmer foundations. Only then, if we change our values, and place our stress on the essence rather than the quantity…”

Avrahamel was known as having a good disposition. He honored and believed in his fellowman, and he was especially exacting and demanding in imposing personal responsibility upon all those who took it upon themselves to serve the movement. He set conditions:

“A member of the movement can only be such a person who is prepared to donate his time and money to the degree that the matter demands of him.”

“A member of the movement is duty bound to fulfill all demands and obligations that the leaders of the movement place upon him. He must be a person with strong discipline. Heaven forbid that he should turn away even one hairbreadth from all that the leaders of the movement command him.”

Avrahamel immediately returned to his fundamental idea, the idea of spreading the movement among “the broad strata” of the people. He continued:

“… We must establish another form of the movement which will be called 'the masses.' The purpose is to attract hundreds of members who will be exempt from the responsibility that is imposed on the members of the type of the first movement. The members of the second type will be required to come to general meetings no less than once every two months, where the leaders of the organization will be given an accounting of what is happening in the Zionist world, so that the members will become associated with the Zionist idea and its appropriate timely development, and they will not be misled by rumors and exaggerations about the footsteps of the Messiah in the immediate future…”

Out of deep fear for the future of the movement, he turned to Usishkin at the end of the aforementioned letter:

“… Here I finish my letter with the request to pay attention to my recommendations. All of my advice came after a great deal of thought and the experience of many years. I feel in my soul that I still have a great deal to state about the methods and techniques of reorganization, but I believe that you will understand more than I have written here…

“I request from you that you remember only one thing, that our organization is very weak and unsteady, and if we do not search for means of repairing and improving it, it will regress from year to year…” (Signed Borsutsky.)

In a later letter, from August 1902, he informed of the development and flourishing of the new organization and Orheyev that had taken place over more than a year.

“It is true that if we make such demands, the number of people who will be prepared to join the organization will be very small. But we must recall that this small number will be those people who will be able to bear the entire burden of the deed. It would be sufficient if three or four members would be found in the entire city who would take these obligations upon themselves. If we indeed lose thousands of inactive organizations in numbers and in locations, and only 100 remain, these would be strong and solid organizations composed of responsible members who truly love Zion and are prepared to make sacrifices to develop the movement. For what good to us are those who pay their dues and purchase shares when they stand far from the ideals of the movement, and their Zionism is restricted to the donation of money to some cause or another, without delving into the depths of the revival of the nation and the redemption of the Land for the nation…”

And once again… Zionism for the broad masses…

As a man of the people and a democrat in the full sense of the term, he did not make peace with the fact that even after the important organizational development that took place after the Zionist Congress, the Zionist movement had not yet turned into a broad national movement based upon and relying upon the masses of the people. In one of his letters to M. Usishkin he wrote: (26 Cheshvan 5662, 1901) “… In the regional assemblies and periodical literature we hear one voice and one statement: The work is lax and the organizations are run heavily. We always find reason to place the blame upon a different scapegoat: Some attribute the decline in our movement to famine, the general recession, etc. I see the reason in the organizations themselves:

“Every large edifice, the Congress, the active committee, the authorizing institution and others stands on a rotting and weak base, and we should not be surprised if they weaken or fall completely. The organization is the kernel from which the Zionism is expressed, and what hope can we have in all of our efforts if the kernel has no life force to propagate and flourish. Why should we deceive ourselves? Why should we delude ourselves with images that we have a large army of Zionists and of organizations, when in reality our power is extremely small and poor? 158 organizations are registered in the region of Bessarabia and Podolia of which 59 have not written one word to the authorizing committee throughout the entire year. Only 39 of these organizations sent their dues (shkalim) to Kiev. We do not have numbers from the other regions, but I am sure that approximately the same situation applies to them as well…”

M. R.

[Page 207]

Avraham Duchovny of blessed memory

Translated by Jerrold Landau

“Avraham Our Forefather”

“Avraham Avinu” (Avraham our Forefather) was the nickname of the grandfather of Nissan Duchovny. Avraham earned his livelihood from baking various pastries and cakes that were sold on the days of the fair. He also was involved in the sale of liquor and tobacco on the black market. After a time he was captured, fined a large sum of money, and was set to be sent to jail. He escaped to Romania, and returned to Orheyev after wandering for five or six years.

He made atonement for his “non-kosher” livelihood. He would give tithes to the poor from his meager earnings. He maintained this custom throughout his life. In his old age when he no longer had the means of earning a livelihood, he sold his remaining moveable goods and set aside the full tithes from the proceeds. He observed the commandments, and was meticulous in matters between man and G-d and between man and man. He was a man of the book, and would immerse himself daily in the mikvah of the Great Synagogue, in which according to tradition the Besht (ed. note: Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hassidism) had immersed himself. Even during the winter, when there was a layer of ice upon the mikvah waters, he would break the ice and fulfill the mitzvah of immersion.

Indeed, the man was a student of Avraham our Forefather, modest and supportive of the poor.

[Page 208]

Rabbi Getzel Honik of blessed memory

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Getzel Honik

Getzel Honik

Reb Getzel was one of the veteran residents. He was from a family of wheat merchants. He himself was not successful in business, and he sustained his family somehow by being a “trusted person” for one of the gentile forest owners near the cities. This work became difficult in his old age, and the economic pressure in the household increased.

Despite all this, Reb Getzel was always content with his lot. He even put aside tithes for the poor, and fulfilled the commandment of entertaining guests each Sabbath eve, even though he did not have everything that was needed for the honor of the Sabbath. With his pure faith, he trusted that the Creator of the World would not leave Getzel to his fate. With the help of G-d, his wife would take care of him, his children, and even the guest that the Holy One Blessed Be He would prepare for him in the synagogue on the Eve of the Sabbath.

During the 1880s, the edict of expulsion was issued to the Jews of Bessarabia, and Reb Getzel had to abandon his place of residence in the village. Even then he did not complain, but rather bore everything with quiet and calm. He took up the wanderer's staff, gathered his entire family and set out for Orheyev. As he was approaching the city, he heard the voice of weeping. He saw a woman standing next to the carcass of her animal. Reb Getzel approached her and asked her why she was weeping. The woman intimated to the tragedy that took place to her with the loss of the cow, her only source of livelihood. Reb Getzel comforted her and said to her: “Here is my cow and wagon, take them, and you will soon be able to give of its milk to your children.”

He died in the bosom of his family at a ripe old age.

May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

[Page 208]

Rabbi Alter Menashes of blessed memory

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Reb Alter was of tall stature, both physically and spiritually. His face was adorned with a white beard. He wore a long, wide hemmed cloak, and his tallis katan stuck out from under his cloak, with the tzitzis extended to his knees. He exuded honor. He was learned and observant of the commandments. He was tolerant of the non-observant even though he tried to influence them from his spirit. It was said of him that he was of two minds, the first to keep the Torah and the 613 commandments in their entirety, and the second to be part of the “liberal” world without being affected by it. He was an enthusiastic lover of Zion. His livelihood and that of his family was from a textile store, which was run primarily by his wife. Reb Alter himself dedicated most of his time to various communal endeavors. The study of Torah was primary. Therefore, he supervised the students in the Yeshiva. He went to the Yeshiva every day during the lessons, discussed with the students, and derived pleasure from the student who knew how to answer his questions.

He was involved in the unique activity of obtaining books for the kloiz. What did he do? He would go to the homes of mourners or those observing yahrzeit for a member of the family, and collect both secular and holy books in memory of the departed. He would bring the books to the bookbinder, who would engrave upon the cover or the front page the name of the donor, the name of the deceased, the date of the memorial and the day that the book was received. The letters were in engraved gold, and he added to this: “To strengthen and add might to Torah.”

Even though Reb Alter held fast to the Orthodox faith that G-d would send his Messiah to redeem the nation and the Land, he opposed the opinion of the Orthodox that a Jew is forbidden “to bring near the end.” He engaged in a fierce debate with the Orthodox people who excommunicated the Chibat Zion movement and its activists. Reb Alter especially angered them by obtaining secular books for the large kloiz, dealing primarily with the Zionist movement and other national problems. He as well was careful about books of apostasy. However, the Orthodox did not tolerate this, and they placed all sorts of obstacles before him. It came to the point where they would destroy books that were not in accordance with their spirit.

Reb Alter had two daughters and one son. The daughters studied in an external manner – for there was not yet a high school in the city. He spent most of his time in educating his only son Menashe. He would accompany him to the cheder and pour over the studies with him. When his son got older, he went to study in university and abandoned religious observance. Of course, this was not pleasing to Reb Alter, but he bore this calmly and wisely. His relationship to his daughter, the wife of Shmuel Gershon Baru was quite different. After her marriage, she refused to wear a wig as befits a proper, modest woman. Reb Alter could not make peace with this, and excommunicated his daughter. He did not visit her home for a long time.

When B. Z. Furer decided in 1912 to travel to the land of Israel along with his 8 year old son Herzl in order to tour the Land, and Reb Alter found out, he hastened to prepare two tallis kattans (ritual fringed undergarments). He gave them to Furer and said: “Take these from me, and I hope that you and your son will use them according to the law and tradition, and if not for G-d, then at least for me, and you should not remove them until you arrive home in peace…”

[Pages 208-209]

Yitzchak Shvartz of blessed memory

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Yitzchak was born in Orheyev. He was educated in the home of his stepfather Reb Baruch – a shochet. He became involved in the Zionist movement and the dissemination of the Hebrew language at a young age. He was the first to gather the working youth around him to draw them near to the Tzeirei Zion movement (1910-1915). As a veteran man of the community, he had a great role in communal life and all of its various problems. He fought based upon the principals of democracy, and demonstrated his nationalism at every citizen's meeting. Issues of the Zionist movement and Hebrew culture were always at the forefront of public and private debates with the representatives of the left leaning and assimilationist streams in our city. In 1912, he realized his dream of making aliya to the Land of his desire, however due to his weak physical state, he did not withstand the difficulties of absorption in the Land. He spent a few months there, and then left to the dismay of his heart.

Yitzchak Shvartz

Yitzchak Shvartz

During the 1920s, he was invited to the Tzeirei Zion center in Kishinev, and played an honorable role among the central people of the movement.

At the end of the 1930s, he was invited to the Hebrew Gymnasium in Beltsy as a teacher of Hebrew literature for the upper grades. He set up a Tzeirei Zion chapter which he successfully headed until his last day. The students of the gymnasium and members of the chapter revered and honored him greatly.

Yitzchak became ill in 1934, and was transferred to a hospital in Iasi. He underwent an operation, and died after great suffering.

The Teacher and Counselor

There are teachers who impart knowledge to their students, and those who forge the complete character of their charges. Yitzchak Shvartz was graced with a blended talent: of being a teacher and scholar as well as an educator and counselor. He was a teacher of Hebrew language and literature, and educator and counselor for Zionism with his entire essence, and a Socialist who was into the renewal of man and society. All of these were intertwined in a single unity that could not be separated or detracted from. He imparted these characteristics to his students in an enchanting manner. The hours of study were not classes where one studies a chapter in order to be able to repeat it during the following class. The studies were intertwined with broad knowledge, depth of understanding of the nation and the world, and the spirit of man that struggles for justice and righteousness.

Who does not recall his sudden appearances in the Gordonia hall in Beltsy in 1929? Bad tidings were arriving from the Land. These were days of disturbances and crisis. The youth who knew Communism from afar were enchanted by it and went along the path of assimilation. Yitzchak would arrive and explain: the revolt of the workers of Vienna – the fall of the Mivtzar workers movement during those days – the youth in confusion. He would smooth over hills and restore faith through his great power of persuasion.

What was his power in the Tzeirei Zion movement? Did he dedicate his energy solely to organizational activities as the chairman of the movement in Beltsy? He spent his prime energy in educating the generation with the proper values, and in nurturing the faith in the future of the nation in the Land and the working man.

When he was on his sickbed, a short time before his passing, I brought him new books that were printed in the Land as a gift from his charges. How happy was he to know that his students shared common interests with him.

Throughout the Land, in its kibbutzim, moshavim, villages and towns, there live many workers who were sheltered under his protection and the tent of his doctrine. All of them remember him with awe and holiness.

Zvi Pinkenzon.

[Page 213]

Part V

In Summary


The First Meeting of Orheyev Natives in Israel

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Emblem prepared for the first convention

Emblem prepared for the first convention – The Bridge


Much was spoken among the natives our city, who came together for various meetings and joyous occasions, about the gatherings of Orheyev natives in Israel – gatherings that took place to unite ourselves with the past for a brief period. The idea crystallized with time, and at a meeting of friends who were natives of Orheyev at a joyous occasion of one of our townsfolk, the idea of a gathering came up again. Efforts were made, and the gathering took place.

Those who began should be blessed, and those who continue should be strengthened.

The gathering left a great impression. The joy was great when the natives of Orheyev arrived in the Chof Movie Theater in Hadera. Those from far and near met with those who were veterans in the Land along with recent arrivals. The gathering was a gathering of brothers.

From the words of the opening:

Brothers and sisters!

Orheyev, one of the many towns in the region of Bessarabia, surrounded by forests and rivers, fields and gardens, existed for hundreds of years, wove its fabric of life faithfully and with constancy in the traditional Jewish way of life from generation to generation. In the latter generation, we saw the people as faithful to the Zionist ideal, which slowly captured the hearts.

The city was somewhat remote. Railway lines or roads did not reach it. However, it was alert to anything that went on in the life of the Jewish community.

Zionist activity began in the town already from the time of Chovevei Zion. After the year 1905, the first immigrants from the town arrived in the land of Israel. There was a break in Zionist activity for some time with the outbreak of the First World War. Then the Russian Revolution came, and its echoes arrived to our corner as well. At first there was valiant activity by the veteran Zionist forces. With the annexation of Bessarabia to Romania, the town became the first stop for the refugees from Petliura's sword, who crossed the Dniester by the thousands. How great and wonderful was the alertness and dedication of the residents of our town toward these refugees. We were children when we set out for the fields at night along a path that was no path, to greet them and house them among our compatriots.

Groups of the best of the Russian Zionist youth reached our town along with these refugees. With their influence and participation, the Zionist and pioneering activity in the town grew. The town became full of life and energy – and the youth began to organize and embark upon Zionist activity, organization for labor, and efforts for the national funds. The mass meetings in the Kloizes are remembered well, as is the generosity of the town.

In 1925, the gymnasium students formed the pioneering youth movement. Hechalutz and a Hebrew youth group called Bnei Yisrael were formed. The activities of Hechalutz were far reaching. It grew and took in hundreds of youth organized for the purpose of aliya to the Land.

Aliya continued from then until the final days before the Holocaust, at times in large groups and at times by individuals. Both types spread through the land.

Then a small group of Orheyev natives hatched the idea of organizing this gathering. Our strong desire is to establish and strengthen it, not only to remember the departed – even though that is indeed a great commandment – but also so that brothers from far and near can gather together and unite in mutual assistance:

  1. To establish a fund for mutual assistance
  2. To publish a book that will perpetuate the martyrs of Orheyev and recall the sons and daughters who were murdered by the enemy.
We are aware of the faithfulness and friendship of the natives of Orheyev, who know how to fulfill what they took upon themselves.

Dear natives of Orheyev, in this gathering we will strengthen our bond and brotherhood among us, and fulfill that which our friends, brothers and sisters commanded us in their deaths – to live in the Land a life of labor, a life of building and creativity.

The natives of Orheyev worked and established a great deal in this Land, and we are fortunate that we merited being among the first of the actualizers and builders – among those who laid the cornerstone for numerous enterprises that were instrumental in assisting in the establishment of the state. Dear brothers! Notice that on the lapel of your clothing is a photo of the bridge over the Reat River that linked the town to the outside world. We wish ourselves that the bridge will be renewed in the near future, and our brothers and sisters who remained there will cross it, and we will all merit to gather together under the skies of our Land.

May you all be blessed, those who came and those who were unable to come…

After these words of introduction, the festive program began with the participation of the native of our town, Chava Yoelit-Varda, Yaakov Zeevi and his daughter Galila, Bava and Moshe Bik and the choir he directed, the comrade David Vardi and others.

The following day, friendly discussions took place about the past, that which is distant, and about future activities. The foundations for the publication of a book on Orheyev were laid…

Dov Sinai

[Page 214]

The Second Gathering of Orheyev Natives in Israel

From the Words of Y. Spivak

Translated by Jerrold Landau

It is an ancient custom, a tradition from time immemorial, to recall at set times the names of those who are no longer with us, to unite ourselves with their memory in order to bring merit to their souls. This custom took root in our traditional faith, a faith of the immortality of the soul. We believe that when the end comes to the body, the spirit does not end. It has continuity and the chain is not severed… Continuity exists in our history, a continuity that unites all of the links across the face of the earth and through the depths of the generations into one unity. A continuity that has responsibility for the past and a destiny for the future. “For the spirit is in man,” and the spirit is not confined in space, and not restricted to a period of time… If this is true for an individual life, how much more so for the life of a community.

Dear friends! Orheyev, our native city, is no more. It was destroyed, annihilated, and almost wiped off from beneath the G-d's heavens. Its people were murdered by sword and fire, hunger and thirst, and it is not know if they all found their graves… Thus was the fate of all those holy communities over which the German Amalek waved its impure hand with the destructive campaign of the swastika. This was also the fate of Orheyev, our native city.

We are under the obligation to establish a memorial monument so that its name will not be forgotten from our midst, as long as we, the final generation who were born, educated, and raised there, are still alive – its name will be remembered with a blessing. However, we are not the last ones. After us will come the generation of our dear Sabras, who did not know what came before them, and will not feel any connection to the generation from which we were hewn… as if the chain has been severed. Therefore, we are obligated to establish a token of memorial to the crucible that forged us.

We are not the only ones who are occupied with this type of activity. The feeling of the need to establish a memorial to that which preceded us is a national feeling, and it afflicts all of us and demands actualization, for we have not fulfilled our obligation regarding the martyrs who perished during the time of the Holocaust.

Friends! About two months ago, the “Law of the Holocaust and Might – Yad Vashem” was brought before the Knesset. This is a law that has no precedent in any nation or language – for the matter with which it deals is unique. It never occurred before in the history of man on earth.

The name “Shoa” designates the destruction of European Jewry, the annihilation of six and a half million of our Jewish brethren, the destruction of thousands of Jewish communities, myriads of cultural enterprises and institutions, synagogues, study halls, hospitals, old age homes, orphanages, children's homes. The destruction encompassed 21 countries in Europe. These were countries in which there were 8.5 million Jews prior to the war, and in which approximately 1 million survivors remained after the war as refugees from the sword. Our Jewish brethren were not killed in the battlefield, but rather by pre-planned and organized murder and annihilation by governments, by police that were established by force of law so to speak, and that existed with the participation of the German nation. These people perpetrated despicable murderous deeds in the open, before the eyes of the nations in which our brethren dwelled for hundreds of years. These beasts of prey had but one aim – to wipe out the name of Israel from the face of the earth, to destroy its culture, and to annihilate its progeny and memory.

The law came to ensure the establishment of a memorial for every Jewish person in such a manner that we will be able to collect the names of all those who perished though the designs of the evil hands. A ledger will be organized in which the names of each of the martyrs will be registered. This ledger will bring before us the names of our brothers and sisters, fathers and children, grandparents and grandchildren – all of them testifying to the horrific deeds that were perpetrated by the people of the nations of Europe during in the middle of the 20th century… We will certainly guard the memory of the early generations in our hearts, for the Jewish nation keeps faith with its past.

We have been advised that we should establish a central repository in which will be preserved every remnant and picture testifying to the ways of life, the struggles, the youthful energy and talents, the fear of Heaven and piety, the joy of life of the toiling masses. All of this should be gathered into a central storehouse. This storehouse will be here, in the holy city of Jerusalem… This and more. They also discussed there about granting citizenship to all of those of our nation who were murdered during the time of the Holocaust. There is no precedent in the world in granting citizenship to those who are no longer alive, but there is also no precedent to this situation in the world – a precedent to the murder of 1,200,000 children from among the 6,500,000 souls, children and babies… What is the meaning of this concept? I would say that it is an Israelite concept, from way back, the concept of being “gathered unto one's people” (ed. note: the term that the Torah uses for the death of the patriarchs of the Jewish people).

The profane intention of the murderers was to annihilate us and to wipe out the name of Israel from the face of the earth. We, the entire nation, will gather them in as citizens in the roster of citizens of the state. Thus we will gather them to the bosom of the homeland, and from there, they will not be cut off from their people. This memorial citizenship will symbolize the “monument”, their place after their deaths.

This book that we intend to publish will free us from the agonies of guilt feelings, for it is more than ten years from when the terrible Holocaust overtook the community of Orheyev, our native town, and we have not rectified the injustice. Each one of us turned to our own worries and concerns. There was a lack of activity from our side, and we completely passed over one of the most tragic and stormy events. This lacuna is felt and stands out now even more so after the Knesset has already decided to deal with the matter of perpetuating the names of the cities and towns.

Our duty is a holy duty as well as a great merit. We who are gathered here are living in the Land, and we are able to think and prepare plans for the establishment of a memorial to the martyrs of the community of Orheyev, as well as to the community itself.

We must surely remember that we are the only ones upon whom this obligation rests. Aside from us, nobody will take upon themselves this task. If we are here – everyone is here. We are the first to this task, we, who are tied to Orheyev with flesh and blood. There, we spent the best of our days, the days of childhood and youth. There, our spiritual and communal spirit was forged. There, we nurtured the longing of our souls. Now, there is no memory to all of this. Who will come to fill the lacuna and correct the injustice, if not us…

[Page 215]

The Celebration of a Friend

Translated by Jerrold Landau

(On the occasion of the 70th birthday of Y. Spivak)

To mark the occasion, D. Sinai arranged a party in his house in Kiryat Chaim. The undersigned were unable to participate due to their state of health, and they sent the following greetings.

To the chairman of our organization, members of the committee, and to you, our dear friends, Yitzchak and Yehudit, we send our heartfelt greetings.

The day of July 22, 1956 will be etched upon the hearts of each of us as the date of an important event, for us, Orheyev natives, have merited to mark the celebration of a faithful and revered friend, our friend Yitzchak Spivak.

A significant number of erudite people stemmed from Orheyev, but few are found among us in the Land, and of those, many are not involved in our community. Now, our member Spivak, you stood ready and prepared for the call, and for the activity in our midst.

Indeed, this festive gathering knows to appreciate your efforts and your dedication for the joint enterprise, the perpetuation of the name of our city, our native town of the past, and its murdered sons. Indeed, you are fortunate that you merited thus, and we are fortunate that we participate in this.

It is a special merit for us that we have merited noting the harvest of the fruit of your labor on this date. You toiled for decades, you dedicated your energies and thoughts to creativity in the fields of education and culture. From the oral doctrine that you imparted during your young age to the school students, you have successfully moved to the written doctrine. With your articles in periodical newspapers, you have expressed heartfelt thoughts to the hearts of the community. However, you have specially searched out a way to the heart of the child and the youth, and you never tired of publishing articles that would light the way for the younger generation.

I recall those long gone days when I was a youth, and I was together with you in the Hebrew Speakers club in our city. Your name already preceded you, and you were only 17 years old – albeit rich in thought and expression. You displayed your diligence, your great ability to learn and teach, to think and create. Now, we have merited to celebrate the celebration of your harvest, and we must recite the Shehecheyanu blessing.

Our blessing to you is that you merit to have many more years of activity for the public with your wife Yehudit as your faithful partner.

From the depths of the heart,
Mordechai and Zipora Rotkov

Board of Orheyev descendants

Board of Orheyev descendants
Seated from right to left: 1. Aliza Shemovny 2. Mordechai Rotkov 3. Dov Sinai 4. Yitzchak Spivak 5. Mordechai Frank 6. Yonah Shamban 7. Malovatsky
Standing from right to left: 1. Shneur Geynichovitz 2. Aizik Rozenfeld 3. Chayim Lipshin 4. Aharon Filarsky 5. Yaakov Zeevi 6. Yitzchak Rapoport 7. Frayda Zokolov


[Page 216]

From the Committee to the Editorial Board

Translated by Jerrold Landau

In this book that is before us, memories that are close to the hearts of every native of Orheyev are laid out. They place the near and distant past before our eyes.

Many of us thought about the idea of perpetuation that which is dear to us, and we imposed the actualization of this task upon Yitzchak Spivak, Mordechai Rotkov, and Mordechai Frank. They answered us willingly, and succeeded at this…

These friends embarked upon their task without anything prepared before them. They had to search for material that was connected to Orheyev from any source. This material required sifting and reworking until it was in a fitting form.

An extremely great effort was undertaken by these friends, and there is no power in these words to appropriately express our appreciation for their efforts.

Yitzchak Spivak, the teacher and scribe, dedicated himself with great diligence to this enterprise, despite the fact that he left our city when he was still young. His activities are his praise. Mordechai Rotkov, whose task was to collect the greater portion of the material, made his nights like days, as he refined the manuscripts and prepared them for editing.

Finally, our friend Mordechai Frank, who was the life force in the publication of the book, worked in various roles, from the gathering of material, the working of the material, preparing the book in general, and bringing it to print.

We know that the editorial committee was at the threshold of despair on more than one occasion. The doubts and disappointments gnawed at the heart, and in moments of doubt and struggle, the desired objective floated and stood before their eyes – to establish a memorial for our city. That is what encouraged their spirit to continue with the burden until the publication of the book.

It is clear to us that without the dedication and diligence of the members of the editorial board to this holy task, we would not have succeeded in seeing the book being published.

Therefore, we extend to you, our dear friends, thanks and blessings. May your strength continue!

We are certain that this memorial enterprise that you have established for our city will stand as a monument for future generations…

The Committee of Orheyev Natives
23 Iyar 5619
The 11th year of the State of Israel
May 31, 1959

From the Editorial Board to the Committee

Translated by Jerrold Landau

With the appearance of the book, we see it as our pleasant duty to come before the members of the committee and to express our deep gratitude for the trust that you placed in us in giving us the responsibility of preparing the book and publishing it.

We must apologize for the extreme lateness of its publication, a matter that caused deep disappointment to all those who followed our work closely. Many obstacles obstructed our path and caused many delays.

As we come now to give our blessings to the completed task, we would not fulfil our obligation unless we note the role of our friend Dov Sinai in establishing this memorial enterprise to the community of Orheyev.

Dov stood at the head of the enterprise from its beginning, by establishing the organization of Orheyev natives. In the two gatherings, he encouraged and urged the establishment of a memorial to our city. Today, we, along with him, are able to bless the conclusion of the enterprise.

The book, the fruits of our collective efforts, is presented to the natives of Orheyev and to all of our brethren who take interest in it.

Av 5719 August 10, 1959
The Editors

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