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[Page 90]

Public Figures and Personalities

Translated by Jerrold Landau


by Aharon Libushitzky

Lie down, go to sleep my dear child,
Listen, and I will utter a song:
From days of yore, from far away,
There once was a city.

Your predecessors
Used to live there;
They lived a life of happiness
They were indeed a nation.

A land, which beneath their feet
Flowed with milk and honey;
A nation where only very rarely,
Was a poor person found.

But the fathers, from an abundance of good
Abandoned G-d's Torah;
And the sun of their success
Was replaced with thick shadows.

When G-d became angry with them
He expelled them from the city...
Lie down, go to sleep, my dear child,
Listen, and I will utter a song:

In splendid palaces
A strange nation settled;
And your fathers wandered and moved about,
Given over to the hands of an enemy.

They wandered for many hundreds of years
They go here, and also there;
But they hope that the day will come
When they will again become a nation.

For G-d had indeed promised them
On this day of wrath
That a day will come when they will all return
To once again be a strong nation.

For a day will come -- and will arise from their midst
A man roaring like a lion
His voice will come forth -- and they will all gather
Around him speedily;

Then the roar of a lion will be heard:
Who that is for the nation -- come to me!
Then they will all shout out, all of them:
“The Messiah lives!”

They will fly as quickly as lightning
Through the long path
To that beautiful city,
From which they had been expelled;

And with the will of G-d, they will come
All of them to the city...
Now lie down and go to sleep darling child
Listen, and I will utter a song...

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Aharon Libushitzky

Aharon Libushitzky was born in Ruzhany in the year 5634 (1874). His father Eliezer (Leizer) was an educated Jew and an honorable man of the town. In his adulthood, Aharon served as the principal of the Tarbut High School in Bialystock. Later he served in that same role in Lodz. He was a poet and a Hebrew writer. In the book “Kinor Zion” -- a selection of songs of Zion in Hebrew from Biblical times until our day -- that was published by Tushia, Warsaw, 5660 (1900), two songs of Aharon Libushitzky are published among the other chosen songs. The “Lullaby” on the previous page is one of them. Aharon also wrote children's books. He edited a weekly called “The Star and the Son of the Star” (Warsaw and Lodz, 5684-5, 1924-5).

In addition, he translated into Hebrew and produced an abridged version of Dubnow's history book as a history text book for the Hebrew schools in Poland and other countries in which Hebrew schools exist.

He apparently perished in the Lodz Ghetto. May his memory be a blessing.

Meir Krinsky

On Hoshana Rabba 5677 (1916) a splendid funeral took place in Warsaw for the teacher and writer Yaakov Meir Krinski, a native of the town of Ruzhany. How did this man come to greatness?

M. Krinsky was born to his father Reb Binyamin Yosef, who was descended from the martyrs of Ruzhany. He studied in cheders and yeshivas in his hometown of Ruzhany and the nearby city of Slonim until age 11. In Slonim, he studied under the supervision of his uncle Rabbi Yitzchak Danzig (later the head of the rabbinical court of Peterburg). He studied in Pinsk under the tutelage of his cousin Rabbi Moshe Zakheim (later the head of the rabbinical court of Kowel) from age 16-19. During that time, he began to become a maskil. When he arrived in Kiev, he became involved in the circle of Hebrew writers, including his relative Yitzchak Yaakov Weinberg. He began to earn his livelihood there by teaching Hebrew. He continued to teach in Bialystock as well, where he went to live later.

He aspired to work to broaden the knowledge of the members of his people and to spread haskala among them. He came to Lodz in 1891 and opened up a school for children. In 1909 he opened up the first Jewish business school in Warsaw, where he went to live. For a long time, this was the only Jewish high school throughout the Russian monarchy. A broad curriculum of the study of the Hebrew language and literature and Jewish history existed in this school. He also opened a girls' school. These schools became famous throughout the Pale of Settlement, and attracted many students from outlying cities, both near and far.

He had a good heart and loved the beauty in everything. He acted as a merciful father to the students of his schools. He never distanced any student from his school because of lack of ability to pay tuition. On the contrary, he made it a point to bring in several students without any tuition obligations at all. He attempted to instill an esthetic style in the school, and he succeeded at that.

His love for the esthetic side in everything was not only expressed in the school, but also in all of his books. He was a teacher and a writer, and his teaching style was the same as his writing style. He attempted to ensure that the content as well as the external appearance of all of the books and newspapers that he published was attractive.

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The man was very fruitful. He was busy in two languages, and he earned the rights of an honorable citizen in both. M. Krinsky wrote various textbooks for Hebrew, starting with basic books for the study of Hebrew reading and ending in an anthology of Hebrew literature and the Talmud. His first work as an author was the publication of the primary textbook “Reshit Daat” in beautiful, attractive print, and on good paper with pictures. The book had more than 100 editions. He founded the “Haor” publication house, and published many Hebrew books: “Dat Yisrael” (the Religion of Israel), “Hadibur Haivri” (The Hebrew Speaking) in three volumes, “Sichot Tevaiot” (Discussions on Nature), “Torah Latinokot” (Torah for young children), “Hasignon Haivri” (the Hebrew Style) -- a large anthology of Hebrew literature in two volumes. He published Hebrew weeklies for youth and children in two parts, called “Hashachar” and “Ben Hashachar”.

He did not abandon Yiddish. He founded a Yiddish publishing house “Bicher Fur Alle” (Books for Everyone), and he published the first illustrated weekly in Yiddish, “Roman Zeitung”. He published popular academic books, such as “Der Yiddisher Doctor”. He edited “Di Yiddisher Literature Visenschaft” (The Science of Jewish Literature) and others. Along with M. Osipov, he published an anthology called “Yiddish Vitzn Un Anekdoten” (Yiddish Wit and Anecdotes) in 1909. M. Krinski was one of the founders of the “Der Moment” daily, and helped to establish it.

Even though M. Krinski disseminated learning and knowledge in two languages, he was a supporter of the Hebrew in Hebrew style[1]. He expressed his opinions in his discussions in several pedagogical publications that only that language should be the language of instruction in the schools of the nation.

This man of action did not neglect the social arena. He was an active member in the organization of the Lovers of the Hebrew language, in the Writers and Newspaper Guild, and in various philanthropic organizations.

It is no wonder that the Jews of Warsaw, the capital of Poland and central city of its Jewry, accompanied this very active teacher and writer to his final resting place with large crowds.

(From various sources)
By Meir Sokolowski

Zelig Sher (Szereszewski)

In 1909, Zelig Sher was forced to leave his native town of Ruzhany, in which he was born, grew up, and spent his first 20 years. He studied in the yeshivas of Ruzhany, Slonim and Ramailes in Vilna until the age of 15. He also studied weaving in Vilna. When he was working as a weaver, he became involved in the S. S. (Socialist Zionists). He was sent to jail in Slonim and Bialystock a few times.

He immigrated to America in 1909 and began a new life there -- a life of working and writing. He worked in a clothing factory, and published articles and stories in Yiddish in the daily and weekly newspapers in the United States.

During the First World War, he fought as a soldier in the American Army on the French front, and was wounded a few times. He returned to New York, and published various war stories in the “Forwards”. He served as a member of the editorial board of the “Di Zeit” Poale Zion daily newspaper. He was also published in “Freiheit” and “Tog”. In 1926, he was a permanent assistant at the “Forwards”, where he writes to this day. He is active in the Socialist movement in America, and the Territorialist Socialist Movement. For two years he was also the secretary of the cultural division of the “Arbeiter Ring” (Workmen's Circle) in America.

(Lexicon of Zalman Reizin, volume IV, 1929)

[Page 93]

Melech Epshteyn

One year before the First World War, Melech Epshteyn left his native town of Ruzhany and his native land and immigrated to the United States after a great deal of activity in his native city and country.

He was the son of Shmuel Chaim Epltreger, who was a teacher in the Ruzhany Talmud Torah. Melech Epshteyn received his Torah education in the local Talmud Torah and the Yeshiva. He studied Hebrew and Russian from a private teacher. He had already settled in Bialystock when he was 13 years old. There he completed his education in Hebrew and Russian literature and took interest in the social and political affairs. He was active in the S. S. (Socialist Zionist) movement and in the workers' movement in Warsaw, Lodz, and Bialystock. He tasted the taste of imprisonment in all of those places. He also worked in Kiev for a period of time.

He was one of the founders of the “Di Harpe” workers' musical and dramatic organization in Lodz. For some time, he served as the secretary of “Yiddisher Literatur Gezelschaft” (Jewish Literary Society) under the presidency of Y. L. Peretz in Warsaw, and was imprisoned on account of this. Then he moved to America.

He was appointed as a teacher in a Yiddish school when he arrived in the United States. He went to work for the “Teg” when it was founded. He worked for some time at “Zeit” of Poale Zion and later as one of the editors of the Yiddish “Freiheit” newspaper.

(Lexicon of Zalman Reizin, volume IV, 1929.)

Dov Shpak Lobzowsky

Dov Szpak Lobzowsky, who was born in Ruzhany in 1861, made aliya to the Land in 1911 and was raised up by it. He purchased the Barski farm in Gedera and improved it. He left Gedera and settled in Tel Aviv due to a tragedy in the family.

He brought many of his and his wife's relatives to the Land, and helped establish them economically.

Plots of land were redeemed for urban and agricultural settlement during his tenure as a land dealer. He purchased the lands upon which the Shpak (Bilu Street and its neighborhood) and Montefiore neighborhoods in Tel Aviv were founded; the workers' neighborhood (next to the Keren Kayemet LeYisrael Street) and others; the lands of Gan Meir and Gan Hadassa and others; 2,800 dunams of lands in the Sheik-Munis village, and others. He redeemed agricultural plots in Karkur, Ibn-Yehuda, Herzliya, Kabab village (Ramle region), the land of Joara (Kibbutz Ein Hashofet), land from the village of Tayibe (today Ein Vered and Tel Mond), in Ruchama and near the Egyptian border -- 43,000 dunam. He became involved with purchases in Klansova and Tayibe, but for some reason these did not materialize. Through these transactions he “freed himself” from a large portion of his fortune, but he merited to see the broadening of the settlement in the Land as the fruits of his labor.

From David Tidhar

Avigdor Michel Goldberg

He was a veteran teacher and scholar. When I arrived in Ruzhany in 1922, I already knew him as the principal of the “Talmud Torah” educational institution, in which many students studied, most of whom were children of parents lacking in means. It was necessary to search for sources of income in order to maintain this religious school. Avigdor Michel maintained a correspondence with his students who had immigrated to America, and would obtain from them a portion of

[Page 94]

the necessary money for this aforementioned objective. He took interest in this “Talmud Torah” day and night, as a dandled child. The children loved him and held him in esteem.

He was also loved very much by his family. He was already a widower when I arrived in Ruzhany. However, he was not alone. His daughters and grandchildren, who loved their father and grandfather, always visited him.

He was sickly during his latter years. He underwent an eye operation. He continued to lead the “Talmud Torah” even on his sickbed. The teachers sat by his bed during one of their free hours, listened to and wrote down his impressions on school issues. He led the institution in this manner until his last moment.

Even when all of his dedication to this institution, he found time to work together with Shimon the shochet in “Taz” to canvass people for the Keren Hayesod and other funds.

With his death I lost a friend. I eulogized him in the synagogue. May his memory be blessed.

{Photo page 94 top: Avigdor Michel Goldberg.}

Dr. Meir Pines

ruz094.jpg [9 KB] - Dr. Meir Pines
Dr. Meir Pines

The large Pines family never skimped on money for the education of its children. Rrenowned physicians such as the ophthalmologist Dr. Leib Pines, who plied his profession in the large city of Bialystock, and others, stemmed from this family. Dr. Meir Pines also studied and mastered a great deal of knowledge. He excelled in his broad and deep knowledge in the realm of Yiddish literature. His book “The Annals of Yiddish Literature” is received with appreciation in the literary of circles of our day. He was also known as a communal activist, and was a candidate for the Russian Duma.

While in Germany, he concerned himself with youth aliya after the Nazi ascent to power. He would transfer group after group across the German border, and then return to Germany to continue his deeds of rescue. He was advised to save himself, but he refused with the reason that his task was to continue with the deeds of rescue as long as the possibility of such continued to exist in Nazi Germany. He worked in this area even after the outbreak of the Second World War. The Germans did not harm him since he was a Russian citizen. At the outbreak of the war between Germany and Russia[2], he was transferred to Russia during the exchange of citizens. His tracks were lost there.

From Roza and Sonia Pines

[Page 95]

Moshe Limon

Moshe Limon was born in 1891. He remained an only son (he had only one older sister, Yenta of blessed memory) to his parents who had lost ten children. Therefore, his mother was nicknamed “The weeper”, for she was always weeping for her children who had died in their childhood.

Moshe already excelled in his talents and diligence in his childhood. His father Reb Yaakov Limon did not spare any toil, and gave his son a Hebrew and general education. He was sent to Warsaw to study in high school.

In Warsaw, Moshe befriended the best of the young writers and maskilim, and began to try his hand at writing.

He already published poems in the children's newspaper “Olam Katan” (Small World) at a young age. His children's stories were later published in a special anthology called “Meagadaot Zekenati” (My Grandmother's Legends).

Due to the death of his father Reb Yaakov of blessed memory and the outbreak of the First World War, Moshe was forced to forego his aspirations and continue with his studies.

He escaped from Ruzhany at the time of the general draft and arrived in Kharkov. There he married Leah the daughter of Cheikel Rotner the inventor.

He underwent many tribulations during the wartime years, especially during the time of the civil war between the “Whites” and the Reds. His life was frequently in danger during the time of the well-known Cheka[3], but he was always saved.

Nevertheless, he always found time to dedicate himself to communal activism. He participated in various assistance committees, for assistance had to be provided for those affected by the war and pogroms.

His home in Kharkov was open to all of the residents of Ruzhany who ended up there. They found support and assistance there.

However, his primary activities were in the realm of Zionism and culture.

He participated in every Zionist and Hebrew meeting. Through his efforts, pedagogical courses were set up in Kharkov under the direction of Dr. Charno of blessed memory. Many teachers and activists graduated from these courses.

He was arrested and sentenced to exile in Siberia for his participation in the “Tarbut” convention, but he succeeded in escaping from there and arriving in Poland in 1924.

He settled in Lodz with the assistance of his many friends. There he found a broad field for his Zionist and cultural activities. He dedicated a great deal of work to the renewal of the sole Hebrew newspaper in the Diaspora, “Hatzefira”. He organized committees for the newspaper in the city. He earned a great deal of gratitude from the wealthy people of Lodz for his great influence and personal charm on behalf of this goal. How great was his sorrow when the paper did not succeed.

With regard to his Zionist outlook, Moshe was one of those who supported Grynbaum, but due to his opposition to narrow factionalism, he did not join any party and remained as a general Zionist in the full sense of the term. The leaders of the Working Land of Israel in the Diaspora and in the Land were among his closest friends. One of his best friends, Avraham Levinson of blessed memory, said the following about him during a memorial evening: “Would it be that we were all general Zionists as he is.”

Thanks to his rhetorical talents and his ability to win over the hearts of the masses with his power of speech, he was sent from time to time to speak on behalf of the national funds at various national gatherings.

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ruz096.jpg [10 KB] - Chaim Nachman Bialik and Moshke Limon
Chaim Nachman Bialik and Moshke Limon

Moshe Limon was chosen as a member of the Jewish Agency that was founded at the 17th Zionist Congress.

All of the illustrious members of the Jewish nation who visited Lodz, including Nachum Sokolow, Ch. N. Bialik, and others, would visit his home.

Moshe visited the Land in 1934 and attempted to forge his future there. In the meantime, he registered for a dwelling, and left his son there to study in the Land. However, apparently, fate did not have this in mind. Moshe returned to Poland. His business weakened due to the severe depression that pervaded in Poland.

He pushed off his aliya to the Land year by year. He did not wish to take advantage of his Zionist work, which was done without expectation of a reward, in order to set himself up in the Land. This was despite the urging of his friends Grynbaum, Zabursky and others. Finally, it was too late.

The Second World War broke out. His eldest son, who was studying in Switzerland and returned home for the vacation, was killed at the first bombardment. This tragedy and the general Holocaust of Polish Jewry broke him completely.

He moved to Warsaw and remained in the ghetto, where he lived in difficulty and poverty. He spent the rest of his days poor and lacking in everything. He passed away in November 1941. He did not merit to settle in the land to which he dedicated all of his energy and strength. His wife and children later perished in the Holocaust.

Something interesting about the life of Moshe Limon of blessed memory was that despite the fact that he did not receive a traditional education, and despite the fact that during his youth he befriended freethinking youths such as Yaakov Kaplan and others in Ruzhany and other cities, he remained true to his religious convictions and observed the tradition throughout his life. No matter what the situation was, he never missed a day of putting on tefillin, and it goes without saying that, as a pious Jew, he refrained from desecrating the Sabbath. May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

Translator's Footnotes
  1. A teaching style whereby the language of instruction for the Hebrew language is Hebrew (i.e. Hebrew immersion) return
  2. This would be in 1941 return
  3. The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheka return

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