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[Page 71]

The Pioneering Youth Movements (cont.)

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Keren Kayemet L'Israel Committee, Rakov,
Tarbut School, January 17, 1938

[Page 72]

The Library

The Rakov library was known as one of the most important libraries in the whole region, but for some reason, the actual management of this important cultural institution was in the hands of people who referred to themselves as “Yiddishists” [supporters of the Yiddish language], and the part of the library which was devoted to Hebrew books was small. We decided, therefore, to take steps to change that. In one of the joint meetings of the Executive Committees of “HaShomer HaTsayir” and of “HaHalutz HaTsayir” it was decided to 'penetrate' the Board of the library, and force it to change. We started the struggle, quietly and persistently, and in the next general election to the Board we succeeded in electing some of our comrades: Shmuel Rubinstein-Avni, Hayim Tejf, Shimon Shapira, and myself. And a new era began in the library. We purchased Hebrew books, and the number of readers of Hebrew literature increased. Slowly but surely, we transformed the general character of the library, and it started to act in concert with the Rakov Zionist Movement.

The Keren Kayemet L'Israel Town Committee

The activities of the Keren Kayemet L'Israel, which were conducted methodically and persistently, were coordinated by a Town Committee. The committee consisted of representatives of all the Zionist Parties, and some unaffiliated who appreciated the importance of the JNF. The head of the Town Committee was Mr. Avraham Greenholtz z”l, who was also the chairman of the local Zionist Movement, and after his death he was succeeded by Mr. Tuvyah Rubilnik z”l. Hayim Ginsburg served as the secretary of the Keren Kayemet L'Israel Committee, and when he left the secretariat I assumed that post, and Hayim Greenholtz was elected as the treasurer.

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Malka and Avraham Grinholtz
Zionistic Ha'Histradut Chairman, Rakov

Among those who were actively involved in the work for the Fund were: the school teachers, Mussia Lifschitz-Milshtein, Rabbi Polak z”l, Pittle Bernstein z”l, Avraham Kantertevitz z”l, and Meir Levin z”l.

We succeeded in having Meir Levin z”l elected to the local Town Council, and he served as the Deputy Mayor.

The Orphan Aid Committee

At the initiative of Avraham Starovin z”l, a committee was established to aid the orphans. People from all parts of town served on the committee -- Rabbi Helprin z”l, Feive Yitchie Segalovitz z”l, Tzvi Rubilnik z”l -- and it served an important public function. The Rakov expatriates in the United States used to send, regularly, thousands of dollars, which were distributed, according to an agreed-upon formula, to the two schools, the library, the “Linat Tzedek” Association, and so on. Many of the young people of the town were sent to trade schools in Vilna. After the death of Avraham Starobin z”l, there were changes in the functioning of the committee, but it continued with its beneficial work.

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