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[Page 254]



Slutsk in Eternity

Translated by Mira Eckhaus

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

We were forced to open a section in the book called “Additions,” since after ending the printing of the Hebrew part, we received important and valuable material, in which excerpts from the newspapers were supplied to us by Rabbi Reb Nissan Waxman from New York, that reflects the life in Slutsk seventy years ago (among the senders of the correspondences, is Feitel Lifshitz, who was later a professor of economics in Switzerland).

Also included are details which were received later by the members of the Baruch Domnitz family, who were murdered in Kfar Gibton in 1939, and lists about two of our townspeople, who died in Tel Aviv with the closing of this edition.

The editorial staff


From the newspapers

Slutsk, January 1, 1897.

An amusing situation happened in our city in the last days of 1896. It was said in the city that from the beginning of 1897, the customs duty on schnapps will increase even in the regions that are not yet under the governmental monopoly, up to seven ruble per hin (liquid unit), hence everyone who pays the customs before the New Year according to the old law, will benefit from it.

A wise man will easily understand, that this news raised the panic level to the same level that was at the “grain gate” in 1892. Everyone who had money rushed “to make good deals” with the local people, to buy the schnapps from them, to pay the customs in advance, so that he could avoid the increase in the customs after Rosh Hashanah. And as only the persons who had schnapps were able to pay the customs, a competition arose between our brothers of Israel regarding the purchase of the schnapps from the local people, and as a consequence, its price was more than double its regular fixed price.

In addition, a competition about the loans arose, as there were many borrowers who borrowed money in order to pay the customs according to the old law. Soon our rich brothers, who are usually away from the sight, opened their bundles that were full of money. The artisans and laborers also wanted to benefit from the situation and to get rich as much as possible. The cobbler threw away the awl, the tailor his needle, the builder the meter, because their hands were full of the borrowing and lending “work.”

And how great was the commotion and embarrassment in Slutsk at the Cash Gate, when they found out that for every hundred rubles, they paid two gold coins per day! The Treasury house was filled to the brim with those who were in advance to pay the customs of the schnapps on the eve of the Civil New Year.

But how much their embarrassment increased when they were informed that there would be no change in the customs! Everyone left the place, some left upset as their plot to benefit did not succeed, and some left happy because they managed to exploit the borrowers. In any case, it became the talk of the day in Slutsk.

Recently, the “Musar people” from Slobodka established here a permanent yeshiva with their faithful leader. Although this was to the dismay of our dignitaries, and nobody asked for their opinion on the matter, apparently, they relied on the words of Chazal: “It is possible to perform an action in favor of a person even without his knowledge” (zachin le'adam shelo befanav).

P. Lifshitz
(“HaMelitz”, No. 5, 16th of Shebat 5657).


Slutsk, January 12, 1897.

It has already been announced in “HaMelitz” No. 5, about the settlement of the Musar people from Slobodka here. It is no wonder that the readers were surprised to hear that the musar people came to live in Slutsk, even though the opinion of most of our dignitaries was not favorable about them. But be patient, dear readers, and you will hear and know what led to it.

In the last few days, the “Musar people” have multiplied in Slobodka, until there was no place for them to sit there, therefore their leaders searched for another city that would be privileged to house their disciples, who increase the “Musar” in the world. These leaders wrote letters to many cities, asking them to house their disciples; but apparently, their words did not find sympathetic ear. Therefore, they were forced to turn to some of the best of our city, but they did not receive an answer from them either.

When this became known to some of the people of the city of Slutsk, who thought that the yeshiva of the Musar people would be a good business opportunity for them, as they were hoping to be appointed among the ones who would assist them, they called an assembly to discuss what can be done to bring the “Musar people” into our city. (The reader can understand how great is the number of those who living in ignorance from the fact that on the eve of Yom Kippur 5654, they all gathered in one house to discuss how to prevent the evil Cholera disease, God forbid, and they could not find a more proven remedy to stop the plague, but to forbid the youth from reading books from the past). Of course, the assembly resolution was sent to the leaders of the Musar movement, to hurry to come to Slutsk, as the idea was liked by many –

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so they wrote - and for the rest whose opinion is not comfortable with them, they convinced them until they said, “We want it!” On the basis of such letters, the “Musar people” built their nest here, in the Zaretza lot, which stands at the edge of the city.

A wise man will easily understand how many disputes and quarrels will be caused here among the people of our city due to this issue. Don't we already have enough disagreements, quarrels and fights that we need to add to them these as well? After all, their yeshiva in Slutsk is to the dismay of our dignitaries and not in the best interest of the material and spiritual condition of our city, so why were they so urged to come here, against the will of the majority of the residents of our city, but only based on the will of some Jews, despised people, that their entire desire is to earn money? After all, there is no great blessing for Israel than peace among the people, and if it will be disturbed by the presence of the “Musar people” here, then for what reason should they come here.

These days an impure case happened in our city. In one house a mother and her daughter became ill. The doctor prescribed a medicine for the daughter to be taken orally, and carbolic vinegar for the mother to be used to bandage the wound, but the maid in the house replaced the prescriptions and gave the girl to drink the carbolic vinegar. The girl died that day in severe agony.

Last week, one insane Jew froze in the street of the city. He wandered the streets of the city all night and no one bothered to carry him to his home.

(“HaMelitz”, 30th of Shebat 5657).


Note, to remove slander,

As it is well known, the late Rabbi Reb Moshe Binyamin Tomshov signed many of his articles, or in his comments on the words of others in the Torah collection “Yagdil Torah” in Slutsk, in the name of “Mabit,”which is comprised of the initials of his name.

I was interested in finding out about this and spoke with him on the above letter, if he wrote the above words. He told me firmly that he did not write them and that he was one of the closest friends of the Gaon Reb Isser Zalman Meltzer, who came with his yeshiva from Slobodka to Slutsk, and he could have not written such rude things. Apart from that, he even assured me that all his life he signed his name “Mabit” and never “HaMabit”.

Rabbi Nissan Waxman


Slutsk, January 24, 1897.

The members of the “Craft Lovers” esteemed association will not rest from renewing good and useful things. In these days, the members gathered at a house to discuss how to improve the moral condition of the boys who are learning a craft under their supervision. And they decided that they would teach the boys Hebrew and another foreign language. After it became clear that the association's fund could no longer finance teachers' salaries, the members turned their requests to many of the enlightened young people who would be willing to dedicate their time to teaching these poor children for free. These requests found sympathetic ear and many of our boys agreed to take part in this mission.

One of the esteemed and the largest associations in our city is “Linat HaTzedek,” which was founded on the third of Tevet 5649, through the intercession of the preacher Reb Zondil Maccabi Shalita, when he came to our city to preach his sermons. This association, who number about a thousand people, does all kind of good deeds, such as supporting the patient when they become ill, helping them to heal, staying with them at night, serving them and fulfilling their desires. In addition, the association has all kinds of tools and medicines that are necessary for various diseases, and it lends them to anyone who wants them. This is intended not only for the poor, who cannot afford to buy them, but also to the middle-class people.

The reader can understand the extent of the association's success in our city from the account that it has now issued and pasted on all the doors of the prayer houses in our city. This account lists of the association's income and expenses for the years 5649-5657:

From the 3rd of Tevet 5649 to 19th of Shebat 5650 the association's income during all these years - from individual donations, from Midrash schools, from the Eve of Yom Kippur and from the members' contributions - amounts to a total of 1952.65 rubles. The expenses for all these years for medicines and doctors, wine for the sick, purchase and repair of tools, stationery and notebooks for regular use and fixed costs amounts to 1849.85 rubles. Only a total of 103.50 rubles remains in cash in the association's treasury. We hope that the members will continue with their blessed work in the association and they will be a blessing to us.

A resident of the city
(“Hamelitz”, 7th of Adar B, 5657).


Slutsk, 17th Adar B, 5657.

Today, after a long illness, the Dayan Rabbi Reb Meir, the Gaon Reb Pesach, passed away. He served as a Dayan in our city for fifteen years. The stress and distress, and a bitter life led the deceased to his grave. Only after his death, as is customary in Israel, did the community know how to cherish the deceased; they collected a sum of money for the support of his family, lest they collapse. A number of mourners eulogized him and the whole nation came in tears.

Ben David


“The Torah and the musar”, Rabbi Reb Meir Faimer of Slutsk wrote an article in this name against the “Musar people” and stood by their opponents in the great dispute that flared up between the great rabbis of Lithuania. At the end of the article, he came out with very sharp words against the class leaders in Slobodka and Slutsk.

(“Hamelitz”, No. 56, 17th of Adar B, 5657).


Once again, Rabbi Reb Meir Faimer repeated his firm opposition to the Slobodka boys who were brought here without the “agreement from several important leaders and dignitaries of the city.”

(“Hamelitz”, No. 57, 18th of Adar B, 5657).


Slutsk - during Chol HaMoed Pesach (the intermediate days of Passover), there were elections for collectors and leaders for the Association of “Craft Lovers.”But the elections were without order and regime and they did not lack cheating. For example, the election balls that are always picked up secretly, so that everyone can express their free opinion, were missing this time, and here they only asked the voters for their opinion. It goes without saying that not everyone revealed their true opinion, and it became a mockery in the whole city. Such elections will not bring much reward for the “Craft Lovers” Association.
Feitel Lifshitz
(“Hamelitz”, No. 91, 3rd Iyar 5657).


Slutsk, June 10.

These days, a heartwarming case was discussed in the office of the magistrate's court: an old father complained before the local magistrate's court judge, for his honor

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that was desecrated by his beloved son, and he also demanded that his son would give him a monthly allowance, as he is old and does not have strength to work anymore.

The judge ruled the son's sentence, “properly,” to be imprisoned for three months in the prison for insulting his father, and the son would give a monthly allowance of 6 rubles to his father from this day forward. This ruling became the main conversation's topic in our city. This ruling will be an example for all the rich sons, who do not agree to support their parents when they grow old and cannot work and make a living. And there is hope that peace and tranquility will be upon the poor fathers in our city.

An eye witness
(“Hamelitz”, No. 135, 30th of Sivan 5657).


Slutsk, 25th of Av 5657.

Last week an event happened here that became the talk of the town, and here is the event:

On Wednesday, Parashat Akev, a man in fancy clothes came to the city, wrapped in long clothes and a silk hat on his head with long sidelocks, with an average height and a small yellow beard. His appearance and the expression of his face showed that he was a man of faith. And he introduced himself to the people of the city as the chief manager of one of the large trading houses in Lodz, and when they asked him what prompted him to come here, he answered that his lord, who trade in manufactured goods, had sent goods to Bobroisk for a total of eight thousand rubles to various groceries, and as the goods were halfway there, he received a telegram, that the receivers of the goods on credit are about to go bankrupt. That's why his lord sent him urgently to the Liachowitz station to delay the goods. And meanwhile, he came here to prostrate himself on the graves of his ancestors, which he had not visited for many years.

To clearly prove that he runs a large trading house, he took out many promissory notes in the names of different people, checks, and also a promissory note on the name of a famous gentleman from Bobroisk, who bought goods from him for fifteen thousand rubles.

He planned another ruse in order to extract from the merchants information about where each of them buys and for what amount he buys and how much he owes to the merchant from Lodz. The swindler did not lodge as a guest in a hotel, but in a private person's house, saying that he brought a lot of money with him and he was afraid to spend the night in a guest inn.

Many merchants wanted to make a trade alliance with him, and paid him for doing successful business. And the people who trade in fabrics flocked to him to enter into a trade alliance with him, and in a short time the swindler collected a decent sum and on the evening of the holy Shabbat, he disappeared and his traces were not known.

Feitel Lifshitz
(“Hamelitz”, No. 186, 2nd of Elul 5657).


A very noble and honorable guest, the Gaon Reb Meir Faimer from Slutsk, is now staying in our city (Minsk).

Last week he consulted with the great men of Minsk, its dignitaries and scholars, with H D. Pines, B. Zeldovitz, H. Ettinger, A. Rappaport, Bernstein, and more, regarding the Musar people, and the above-mentioned Gaon expressed his opinion, which was already known to them. After everyone agreed with the opinion of the Gaon, they gathered and agreed to ask from the Gaon Rabbi Reb Eliyahu David Rabinovitz, who is one of the members of the associations of the “Musar people,”to hear his opinion, and argue among themselves.

(“Hamelitz”, No. 251, 1st Kislev, 5658).


Slutsk - These days, a school for Jewish girls has been opened here, with the permit of the Minister of the Vilna district, and the tuition fee for a girl is 4 rubles per year. The rent was paid by the City Clerk's Office. All sixty places in the school were quickly filled; many girls who were eager to learn were not accepted due to lack of places. After all, what is one school for girls in a city that has about twenty thousand Jewish people? And even though this school is intended only for poor girls, whose parents cannot afford to pay a teacher's fee, nevertheless a large number of middle-class girls was found among the students, because this school was the only one in our city, while the boys have here a beginners' school that has two departments, apart from the preparatory school. Therefore, our enlightened people would do well if they would try to establish a large beginners' school for girls, similar to the beginners' school for boys. And the blessings of the girls who are eager to gain knowledge shall be upon them.

The “Craft Lovers” association, which was founded here about ten years ago by distinguished women, is very successful, and its financial situation is better than ever. During the year, the association handed over thirty boys to various artisans, and the association does not only give wages to those who learn the craft, but also supports the boys who need it with food and clothes. The association also hired a Russian and Hebrew teacher for them, who will teach them for two hours in the evening. May the name of the founders and the inspectors be blessed.

A resident of the city
(“Hamelitz”, No. 273, 27th of Kislev 5555).


Slutsk. - With the efforts of the honorable Dr. A. Meltzer, the “Bnei Zion” Association was founded in our city, with two hundred members, and the “Bnot Zion” Association, with one hundred members.

Now the association is trying to open a library for books with a place to read them. A decent amount has already been collected for this purpose.

Last week, the “Bonei Zion” association merged with the “Zionists” association, which was founded nine months ago, and has 40 members. It was thanks to the great efforts of the honorable H. Feinberg. Now they will have a central committee that will spread the idea of nationalism and make it the property of the people and not just for privileged individuals. It will also arrange the holiday of the Maccabees and will also consider the order of education in our city.

Our congregation is now like a widow, because its rabbi left (the Ridbaz) and went to America to sell his book there, and the rabbi on his behalf is also busy now, because the days of the elections are near.

A. Zislotsky
(“Hamelitz”, No. 254, 1900, 10th of Kislev, 5661).


Slutsk, January 25, 1901.

Anyone who has not seen the “Tu BiShvat” celebration that was held on Monday of this week, by the “Bonei Zion” Association, has not seen pure, inartificial national joy in our city.

The governing body of the association did not send invitations to the residents of our city, of course, but the rumor was enough that the Zionists would celebrate a national evening and already gathered at the designated time multitudes of people from everywhere, from all the parties in our city, until the hall was filled to the brim. Several speakers gave their speeches in honor of the evening and told the listeners about the cold-hearted people of many of the citizens of our city, and taught them to know their national duty. A choir of the association sang a selection of Zionist songs and also read national songs

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full of emotion, holiness and love of the nation. After that, there was a table of delicacies from the fruits of the land.

About one hundred rubles were collected for the construction of the association's library. The evening left a strong impression on those gathered.

Fondly remembered are the hardworking activists Dr. Meltzer, Mr. Yitzhak Feinberg and the association's secretary Mr. S. Beilin, who have worked diligently since the foundation of the association until now.

They are a blessing to our people!

Yehuda Leib Rabinowitz
(“HaMelitz”, No. 25, 23rd of Shebat, 5661).


Slutsk, Holy Shabbat Eve, Parashat Va'era, 5663.

Yesterday, on Thursday, an honored guest, the Gaon Reb Yitzchak Ya'akov Reines Shalita, came here. He gave a wonderful speech about Zion at the Beit Midrash and his words penetrated the hearts of the listeners and they decided to found a Mizrahi association here.

The next day he appeared at the “Etz Chaim” Yeshiva and gave a lesson in the Torah's innovations, which was also seasoned a little with legend. Here too his words made a great impression among the two hundred listeners and he was also very excited by his visit there.

(“Hamelitz, No. 22, 1903).


Slutsk - The “Mizrachi” in our city is doing well, and has already gained more than a hundred members of the city's orthodox and its dignitaries. The head of the yeshiva Achmark was elected as the chairman of the committee. The “Mizrachi” should soon establish Shas and Mishnayot societies. The other Zionists also excel in their actions. The “Kadima” Association opened lately a warm banqueting house where you will find more than ten newspapers. Many people from all the different parties visit this house. The “Hebrew Speakers” Association is also doing well, and the number of its members is growing day by day. The girls of our city, who had been standing at a distance until now, woke up from their slumber and several associations of “Bnot Zion” were founded lately and many girls began to learn the past language.
Y. Ganiandski
(“HaMelitz”, No. 69, 1903).


Slutsk - In the name of the “Mizrachi” association and in the name of all the residents of our city, we thank and bless the rabbi and the preacher, Reb Mordechai Meir Zilberman, Av Beit Din, for the eulogy of the Gaon and the Tzadik, Reb Yosile of Slonim. He also lamented and reflected on the Kishinev victims. He spoke a lot about the situation of the people of Israel in general and about the idea of Zionism in particular. His words made a strong impression on the listeners and everyone burst into tears. May the Lord and all our rabbis lift up the miracle of Zion and let the hope of the people of Israel come from the Lord who dwells in Zion and Jerusalem.
Head of the committee, Avraham Abba Raskin
The treasurer of the committee, Yosef Harkavi
(“HaMelitz”, No. 110, 1903).


Moshe Fleischtsik, a soldier in the “Tsar's army,” the son of Shimon Leib, the head of the Jewish folk musicians' band in Slutsk   A group of soldiers from the Hebrew regiment in 1918.
Among those sitting from right to left - the second Shlomo Simbol, now in Yad Eliyahu (the son-in-law of Shimshon Leib Fleischtsik of Slutsk)

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The Bereaved Family

by Hadassah

Translated by Mira Eckhaus

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

The mother, Mina Domnitz

She was the daughter of Reb Yaakov Meir and Rachel Golda Peliak. Her father was known in Slutsk as “Yankel Dichtyarnik,” a grocery store owner and a Torah scholar. Her mother, Rachel Golda, was known as a charitable woman who helped poor families, and Mina inherited this trait from her mother. She helped anyone who needed help.

She was a motherly figure and took care of all the housework and raising the children. She worked from dawn to dusk in the house, in the garden, in the chicken coop and in the barn, and at the same time she always found time to listen to what was going on in the village and at public gatherings. The difficult life in the village of Gibton affected her health, but she was full of hope for the future: “soon the children will grow up and help support the household.” Among the families who registered for settlement in the village of Warburg was the Domnitz family, but suddenly disaster came and destroyed everything.


The eldest son Yerachmiel

He was two and a half years old when he immigrated to the Land of Israel with his parents in 1925.

He was educated from the age of 3 in the kindergarten in Acre. He learned in a school in Rehovot until the age of 14 and then started working. He worked as a packer in an orchard, at a factory for trees, “Pri Pri,” in addition to his much work at home, in the garden and in the barn. He was among the outstanding children in his class and among the best gymnasts in “HaPoel.” He was a member of the “Haganah” in the signaling and communication company. He read and wrote stories and lyrical poems. His teachers predicted greatness for him.

He was quiet and modest, he did not stand out and was not boastful of his qualities and talents. He carried the burden of the family with love, understanding and responsibility and thought about the bright future expected to him in the settlement.

On the night of the disaster, Yerachmiel was in one of the guard posts. When he heard the sound of the gunshots, he hurried home to see how his mother and brothers were doing. When he reached the balcony of the house, he was hit by the murderers' bullets and fell covered in his blood. He was brought to Hadassah in Tel Aviv with severe injuries. He asked not to inform his father, who was lying in the next room in the surgical ward, nor to grieve him. After 4 days of terrible agony, he died. He was buried on the 13th of Adar 5699.


The sons Chaimke and Emanuelke

The lovers and the pleasant ones that did not part each other in their life and in their death. They excelled in painting and writing songs. Chaimke's poems were printed in the journal “Davar liyladim.”

* * *

There, in the land of Judah, on one of the lovely hills, four people are sleeping under the branches of a thick tree.

They slept that way undisturbed. And even when the morning came, the sleeping ones did not wake up from their sleep, they enjoy their rest.

The wind blew slowly and shook the tree's branches, birds sang to the Creator

And when the darkness arrived, I came quietly to the trees, sat down, listened to the sound of the howling of the mournful wind.

And I waited and waited…

Will the sleeping ones wake up?

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Miriam Maharshak

by S. B.

Translated by Mira Eckhaus

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

Miriam Maharshak, the butcher's wife and philosopher, the mother of a deep-rooted and extensive family, the religious and Zionist activist, who did countless deeds and was an object of admiration, has passed away.

She was born 84 years ago in Slutsk, in White Russia, to Reb Zachariah, a “regular” merchant, who was known in the city for knowing the Shas by heart.

Together with her husband, Reb Shmuel Maharshak, the author of “Shmuel's meditations,” who was one of the Zionist leaders, she established in her home in Slutsk, the center of the Zionist underground in the years 1920-1923.

On a winter night in 1923, she left Slutsk with her family on her way to the United States, and two of her children left behind. That night a trial was held in Slutsk against five Zionists, among whom was her daughter. In the United States, she was active in the Rochester community and the “Mizrahi wives” movement, and as in Soviet Russia, her home was open to all Zionists and pioneers. After her husband died and most of her children immigrated to Israel, she uprooted from her comfortable home in the diaspora and immigrated to the Land of Israel.

She lived her last ten years in Tel Aviv, in the Bitzaron neighborhood, she was full of love, activity and zest for life. She acted for the building of the synagogue in the neighborhood and for bringing the hearts of its residents closer together.

Baruch Lifshitz
(Died on 18th of Iyar 5721, 4.5.1961)

by C. H.

Translated by Mira Eckhaus

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

Apparently, this is so strange: a man lives his best years. He is in his full power, multi-tasking, full of energy, active in public life, he doesn't know what a disease is. And suddenly – he falls ill, he is confined to his bed for several weeks, and dies.

* * *

Baruch had been lively since his youth and dedicated himself to political life. He studied in high school and reached the higher classes. He did not get carried away by the current of careerism, he did not take the easy way, and helped those who swim against the current, who hold the flag of Zionism.

He excelled in the clarity of thought, in the gift of speech. He was well versed in what was happening in the wider world. In the school, there were circles, whose members would submit reviews from the newspapers, each about a different country. In that period, there were wide discussions on the question of the Ruhr region and the Saar region and the annexation of the Allies who defeated Germany in the First World War. Baruch was familiar with this question, he knew it from the bottom up and lectured in the circle on this topic.

He worked with all his zeal in the Zionist youth Histadrut “Kadima,” which operated underground. He was among its active members, and held responsible positions. When he and four other members printed the movement's newspaper, they were banned by the G.P.O. A trial was conducted against these five members and he was released due to his young age, along with three other members.

In 1924, Zionists' arrests were held all over Russia. Many were banned in Slutsk, among them, of course, Baruch. The members were imprisoned in the prison in Minsk for about four months and finally the verdict was given: exile to the Urals for three years, or deportation to Israel.

On September 2, 1924, the deportees from Minsk and Slutsk arrived in Israel on the Italian ship "Milano." They were divided into two groups. The left part was associated with the “Ahdut HaAvoda” party (not to be confused with the “Ahdut HaAvoda” party nowadays) and was accepted into Kibbutz Ein Harod to the Ein Tivon company (Kfar Yehezkel). Among those who came from Slutsk that were sent to this company were: Baruch, Ratner, Hazanovitz and Maharshak.

A short time later they started sending the members to different companies of the kibbutz. Baruch was sent to Yagur. He acclimatized very quickly in Israel and wanted to be called by a Hebrew name, therefore he chose the name Amnon.

At first, the members from Slutsk were very close to each other and exchanged letters. Their interest in the fate of the members who remained in Russia was great. There was an urgent need to send money to Russia to support members who remained there and were languishing in prisons and exiled countries. Accordingly, an idea arose to organize a group made up of various members of Kibbutz Ein Harod companies, who would work in Tel Aviv as a construction contractor group and the money they would earn would be sent to Russia. The kibbutz management agreed and the idea began to take shape. The group was called “Help for Russia.”

Baruch was enthusiastic about this idea; he invested a lot of energy in the organization of the group and was its center. However, the group did not last long. There was a crisis in Israel at the time, and a great lack of work. The group broke up and left debts. Baruch stayed in Tel Aviv to cover the deficit and pay the debts.

It should be noted that even in the first year of his arrival in Israel he took care of the immigration to Israel of his family from Slutsk, despite the crisis in Israel, and he really succeeded in this.

In 1925, after the union between the right wing of Poalei Zion and S.Z., there was a faction in the “Ahdut HaAvoda” party called “Avuka,” whose members were mostly from the right wing of Poalei Zion.

Baruch and several other members from Slutsk were among this group, and he even participated in the magazine Avuka that was published by this faction.

In 1926 he went to France, studied chemistry at a university and graduated as a chemical engineer. After completing his studies, he returned to Israel. He worked in various jobs, related to his profession. In 1940 he was the secretary of the student union, members of the Histadrut, at Beit Brenner.

In 1936, he married a woman and had two daughters.

From 1950, he started working in the “Mashbir” as a senior official and continued

working there until his last day.

Apart from his day-to-day work, he carried the burden of public action: he was active in the Engineers' Association, he was a secretary in the Hapoel Secretariat, in the Central Parents' Committee, in the Tenants' Association.

On September 2, 1944, on the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the first group from Minsk and Slutsk to Israel, a meeting was held between the members. On September 2, 1954, a meeting was held again, dedicated to celebrating 30 years in Israel. Baruch was the main initiator of these gatherings;he took the trouble and traveled from place to place and organized them.

Soon it will be 40 years since the group came to Israel, but the place of the main initiator of these gatherings will be taken and he will no longer be with us.

In those days, when he was full of energy and desire for action, after his silver wedding was celebrated, he was overtaken by the evil hand of fate, he fell silent forever.

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The History of the Book

by The Editors

Translated by Mira Eckhaus

Edited by Jane S. Gabin

The idea of commemorating Slutsk and its surroundings was conceived by Slutsk expatriates in Israel, even before the existence of the state. In the beginning, the trend was to dedicate a book of remembrance to this. Later, with the visit to Israel of the representatives of the Slutsk expatriate organizations in New York (Dr. Bunin, Harry Lafrak and his wife and Israel Schwedelson) the trend changed. It was decided to establish Yad Vashem for Slutsk in the form of a public institution, to be named after Slutsk.

After negotiations and discussions, “Beit Slutsk” was established in Magdiel, a pulmonary hospital on behalf of the health maintenance organization. The funds were donated by Slutsk expatriates in New York.

However, we, the initiators of the book, were not satisfied with the establishment of the aforementioned institution and continued to look for ways and handle the publication of the book, which historically is important, in our opinion, more than a public institution. Our tendency was to reflect in the book the nature of the city and the surrounding towns, their way of life and their history over hundreds of years and to bring up characters and memories.

During our work in searching and collecting material, we learned that some time before, this was also dealt with by the late Prof. Rabbi S. Assaf, who received a certain amount of money for it from the pioneer of heavy industry in Israel, the late Mr. Michael Polyak. As is known, he came from the Sialki mansion in the suburbs of Slutsk, where the brothers Michael, Shevah, Nahum and their sisters were born.

For this reason Michael Polyak sought to commemorate his homeland. From the estate of the late Rabbi Assaf, only collections about the Slutsk rabbis and the like came to us.

We turned again to the chairman of the organization of the Slutsk expatriates in New York, and asked for his help in our mission, but he did not believe that this enterprise might come true and therefore refrained from participating with us. In the meantime, Mr. Reichman and his wife visited in Israel, and they responded to our request and promised to devote their time and energy to this matter. And indeed, they kept their promise. When our friends Avraham Meisel and his wife Haike from the Ravitz family, visited in Israel, the idea began to take shape. Upon their return to New York, they founded a group of activists and a committee for the publication of the book was established. This committee was joined by Rabbi Reb Nissan Waxman of Starovin and the member Eliyahu Altman. It is worth noting that upon the request of the member Nachmani from his relative David Ozdan, the latter donated all the paper needed to print the book, in memory of Arozova, his hometown. And in this we express our deep gratitude to him.

The material has been collected and gathered for years: in Israel by Nachum Hinitz and in America by Rabbi Reb Nissan Waxman.

We thank our townsman, the writer Y.D. Berkowitz, who went over the material in large part and guided us with his instructive advice. Our friends, who are active in the New York book committee, who joined the effort and made it possible to publish the book of remembrance, will also be blessed. Especially Rabbi Reb Nissan Waxman, Rabbi Avraham Meisel and Eliyahu Altman.


Zvi Assaf, Nahum Hinitz, Shimshon Nachmani, Zvi Givati


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