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Yaakov Berliner-Baniel of blessed memory

by Y. D. Beit-Halevi and other sources

(The researcher and philosopher)

{Photo page 484: Yaakov Berliner-Baniel.}

Yaakov Berliner (Baniel) was born on the 9th of Kislev 5642 (1882) in Zgierz, to his parents David Aryeh and Ruchama. This was a pious family of good lineage, a scion of the family of Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller, the author of Tosafot Yom Tov. Yaakov was the third son of the family, which consisted of six sons and two daughters.

From his youth, Yaakov excelled in his studies, and even became known as a genius and diligent studier. When he was nine years old, he moved from the cheder to the Beis Midrash to study Torah along with the adult attendees of the Beis Midrash. At the age of fourteen, he studied Torah from the rabbi of the city, and also began to complement his education with foreign languages, mathematics and business. This later became his path in life, to mix Torah and tradition along with general knowledge. These two areas complemented each other with him, and made peace with each other.

“The foundation for his spiritual and cultural development arose from the unique atmosphere of his native city of Zgierz – which has two meanings: the clear and healthy air of the expanses of the fields and forests, and the sharp atmosphere of the unique Jewish community.” (Y. D. Beit-Halevi: Yaakov Baniel (Berliner), the researcher and philosopher, Nivim, the Cooperative Center, 5717 / 1957, Tel Aviv).

When he accepted upon himself the family yoke, he moved to Lodz, and began to work as an accounting manager. In his free time, he gave lessons in Greek and Latin. His command of those languages was phenomenal. Aside from Hebrew, Yiddish, and classical languages, he knew Armenian, Polish, Russian, English, French and German.

Despite his many concerns, Baniel found time to work for Zionism. He was greatly troubled that his brother Menachem preceded him in aliya in the year 5671 (1911), even before the First World War. Menachem, who gained expertise and a diligent agricultural worker and as a brave guard, was one of the first settlers of Atarot (Kalandia), and later one of the founders of Gan Shmuel. He was a man of work and Torah, in accordance with the traditions of the family. After a hard day at work, he would find time to teach Hebrew to the new immigrants. He was loved and revered by all who knew him. At the time of the First World War, he contracted Yellow Fever, from which he died.

Yaakov made aliya in the year 5686 (1926) in the wake of the Fourth Aliya, along with his family of six. However, he was not able to secure his livelihood, for the great depression that pervaded in the Land at that time overtook him. This depression caused many to leave the Land. His broad intellect stood for him during his time of tribulation, and he succeeded in obtaining half-day work in the cooperative committee affiliated with the city council of Tel Aviv, as a leader and accounting auditor of the cooperatives.

The all-encompassing knowledge and talents of Yaakov Baniel began to bear fruit. He related to the bookkeeping profession not as a mechanical task of combining numbers and auditing accounts, but as a science, bound by specific rules. He demanded that people of this profession study and review the internal meaning and content of the numbers. “Life and death is in the hands of numbers”, he used to say. He did a great deal to teach this profession to many, in the manner that he regarded it as a science.

However, as has been stated, Yaakov Baniel was not merely an accountant. He delved into the depths of the professional regimen. He never stopped studying, and conducted a great deal of research. The fruits of his research were published in various manuscripts in “Leshoneinu” – an organ for the expression of the linguistic committee; in the Tarbitz quarterly that was published by the Hebrew University; in the Sinai monthly published by Mossad Harav Kook, and also in various daily and weekly newspapers. From time to time, he also gave lectures on the topics of his research. He lectured on the topic of “Patterns of the verb in the Hebrew language” at the world convention of Jewish scientists that took place under the auspices of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in the summer of 5607 (1947). Several of his research articles were published in his book Nivim, in the section of translations. In one of them, he delved deeply into a wonderful discussion in the Jerusalem Talmud, which he dedicated to the memory of Reb Isuchar Moshe Szwarc of blessed memory, whom he described as the “Splendor of the Jewish community of Zgierz, my native city.”

He was diligent in the fundamental understanding of Bible, and researched deeply into the Talmud and Midrash. He had great satisfaction when he succeeded in understanding a difficult issue. He then immediately tried to impart his new ideas to the public, and to spread from his well outward. A large part of the progress of Yaakov is related to his dedicated and faithful wife Pessa Elisheva, the daughter of Reb Leibel Herzon of Zgierz, who supported him and encouraged him.

His home, which was a gathering place for scholars, was pervaded with Torah and research. His work room was covered with covered with shelves of books from floor to ceiling. Despite the fact that he was accepted in the intelligentsia circles in the Land, he did not grant himself rest as an expert scientist, whose profession was Torah. He conducted himself modesty, and did not aggrandize himself over the richness of his knowledge. He distanced himself from all hyperbole and did not act in a grand manner. Rather, he delved into Torah as a scholar who bestowed merit upon the masses. He never kept his novel ideas to himself. If he discovered some idea, he would make haste to present it in public in his own unique fashion, calmly and with full explanation, without negating the opinions of others. His ideas were always listened to with great attention.

He observed and valued the traditions of his fathers. He fulfilled the practical commandments and the interpersonal commandments with a unique graceful manner. He was always in good spirits with his family and people who came into his house. He taught well and fulfilled well.

Yaakov Baniel was modest and discreet, despite the fact that he was great in Torah and wisdom. He was comfortable with philosophical sciences. He published research articles on issues of Judaism, Hebrew language and grammar, and fundamental linguistic creations based on comparisons and logic. Even more than what he published, there remained with him many manuscripts that did not see the light of day. Even during the time of his difficult illness, he lectured to his relatives and friends about his deep, organized research ideas, which were ready for compilation and publication, something that he would do when he would regain his health…

However, he did not regain his health. His malignant illness was strong, cruel, and merciless. He fought it strongly, attempted to ignore it, and hoped for the future with his literary plans, even though his situation was extremely serious, as he was lying on his sickbed.

On the Sabbath of the 19th of Kislev 5710 (1951), he fell asleep in his suffering and did not arise again. May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

(From Y. D. Beit-Halevi in the book Nivim, and other sources.)


Menachem Berliner

by Yehoshua Manoach

Zgierz, even though I was only there for a small period, is guarded in a warm area of my heart. It was the last stop during my life in the exile. From there, I made aliya to the Land, and there my Zionism ripened.

I came to the Reichert house as a teacher to Zelig. I stress “melamed”, and not “moreh”[1]. The house was jointly owned by Zeev Michael and his wife Eida, and Zeev Eliahu and his wife Machla. The wives were sisters and the husbands cousins. When I arrived there more than sixty years ago, the first family had already visited the Land twice, and the second one, once. The brother of Zeev Eliahu, Yisrael Yitzchak (known today as professor Reichert), studied in a teacher's seminary in Jerusalem. His daughter Tamar studied in a public school in Rechovot. They were Zionist Jews who observed the commandments. Their suitcases were effectively packed. Indeed, they made aliya immediately after the First World War.

{Photo page 487: Menachem Berliner)

It is impossible for me not to describe my first dinner in the Reichert house. The memory of that meal will always be with me. We washed our hands, and recited the Hamotzie blessing. On the table were black olives, which I was seeing for the first time in my life. The mistress of the house urged me to try the olives. I agreed, took one and put it in my mouth. The taste was bitter and unpleasant, and I was about to take it out to throw it out. However, when I saw that the eyes of all of those gathered at dinner were looking at me in anticipation, I understood the situation. I chewed it, swallowed it, and took a second one. They broke out in laughter, and I joined in with them. However, once I got used to them, I would eat dozens of them. I recall how they would hurry to remove them from the table – for it was an expensive food. I received an important lesson in the economy of the Land, where black and green olives are a course in every meal.

How did I come to meet the people of Zgierz? How did we come in contact for the first time? I do not recall at all. For the first part, I was a teacher of Zelig Reichert, as I mentioned, and for the second part for the Koretz family. I forgot all of the details. However, I recall very well the family of Avraham Klorfeld. I would visit their house and I was friends with their older children Asher and Lea. This family made aliya. I also recall the head of the family, a weaver by trade, who when he first made aliya worked for some time in transporting building materials by camel. They presented a unique image of a Jewish family of that time, which changed its external appearance and way of life completely. They attempted to acclimatize themselves to the landscape of the Land, and planted themselves there in the most extreme fashion. I often thought about this family, the son and the daughter. For some reason, I did not remain in contact with them in the land. This is a mystery that I cannot solve. However, their memory is guarded with me as one of the finest.

I remember Reb Isuchar Szwarc, whose house I visited often. He provided me with a letter to Dr. Kaminka, who lived in the metropolis of Vienna at the time, that he should help me with my aliya. He was pleasant in his manners, and always cheerful. He was a scholarly Jew and a friend of many writers, including Nachum Sokolov. The Land of Israel was always a topic of conversation among us.

Everything is like in a fog. I do not remember even how I met Menachem Berliner, with whom I was connected and whom I later met several times in the Land. However, the appearance of his face stands as if alive before my eyes. His prominent chin exuded strength, power, and internal confidence. He was born on the 14th of Av 5651 (1891). H received a Torah oriented Jewish education, and was dedicated to work in the Zionist movement from his youth. He founded a library, established courses in Hebrew, and organized groups of youths for Zionist work.

He fled Zgierz with one ruble in his pocket. He crossed the border to Germany through Kalusz. One of his brothers chased after him. Menachem saw him in Kalusz, but the brother did not see him. He wandered greatly along the way. He experienced many adventures until he arrived. He was delayed in Berlin, Vienna, and later in Trieste. He danced for joy like a young child as he climbed the mountains of Trieste. He would shortly be in the land. Here is a letter from him from Trieste.

“Sunday, 10:00 a.m.

I am traveling from here in two hours. I have to go to the seashore. Before I take leave of the bitter exile, I raise my hands in an oath: I swear in the name of our people who have suffered for 2,00 years; I swear by the blood of our brethren that was spilled as water; I swear by the broken sword of Yochanan and Bar Kochba; I swear by the souls of our fathers who were killed in sanctification of the Divine name; I swear by the new Hasmonaeans who arose for us after the exile of 2,00 years; I swear by my brave brothers in the Land of Israel; I swear by the renaissance of the People of Israel on our land – that I will never return to the Diaspora, and I will fight for our people and our land until my last drop of blood, on the mountains of Zion and Jerusalem.”

This is a pure and wondrous innocence. From where did this spirit come? From where did this internal flame come? It is impossible to read this letter without emotion. A warm feeling envelops you, and you are captivated by it. These are the sparks that arose from the field of the renaissance of our nation. Isolated and scattered, one here and one there – but they joined together and were attracted here by a power that is hard to define. To here, to here, the shore of the blue sea. More than sixty years have passed since then. It seems to me that he was one of the first that made aliya from Zgierz.

From Jaffa, he went to Petach Tikva. He remained there for about six weeks, and then went to Rechovot, a nine hour journey. He remained there until he moved to Gan Shmuel. He was among the ten people who were summoned there to work and guard the orchard, to expand the place, to improve it and build it up.

I still have dozens of letters that he wrote while on the journey to the Land, on his experiences in the Land and his work. All of them form one long sequence of events, deeds, meetings, visits, and festivities. They all exude a good spirit, boundless faith, and unblemished warmth. He was good hearted, and a faithful and dedicated friend. His hand was outstretched to offer help without any hesitation. His hand was open and his heart was good.

“Not infrequently, he paid the debts of friends in a store, and shared his possessions with his friends” – writes A. M. Kolar of blessed memory, who worked with him in Gan Shmuel, in “Davar”” (9th Nisan 5700 / 1940), on the 25th anniversary of his death.

He donated 20 Francs to the fund for the printing of Hapoel Hatzair. In those days, that was a huge sum for a day worker. (Incidentally, he wrote to his relatives in the Diaspora and advised them to donate as well, and send money to that fund.)

He sent many letters to friends and acquaintances in order to urge them to make aliya. When his brothers pointed out to him the cost of the stamps, he answered that he believes that his letters will exert influence, for “words that come from the heart enter the heart”. Therefore, it was forbidden for him not to write. (Incidentally, in all his letters, he asked that the address be written only in Hebrew, with the addition of “Palestine”.)

“I go to work with joy and diligence” – he writes in one of his letters. “I got used to the spade. My friends are surprised as to how my face has improved, since I was pale when I arrived.”. In another letter, he writes, “I am happy with my lot here. I was created for the Land.”

It is appropriate to dedicate a few words to the work with which Menachem was occupied.

He writes and tells a great deal about the work with the hoe and the spade. Those who became attached to this type of work do not forget it. The back pains, the blisters on the hand and the general fatigue that accompany any beginner, pass quickly. There is something about this type of work, the work with the hoe and the spade. During the time that one stands so bent over, digging furrows around trees or turning over the entire area of the orchard with the spade (known as 'tachmir') – there is a feeling of self-transcendence that blows internal confidence and self-worth into one's being: behold, you have become a worker in the Land of Israel; behold, you have become accustomed to the work and earn your livelihood from the toil of your hand; behold I am fulfilling the obligation of “conquest of the work”, and the Arab labor is becoming Hebrew labor. Was this not the reason that we made aliya to the Land!

Our Menachem, with his boundless energy and initiative, quickly became one of the expert workers of the spade, and earned the title of king, King of Spades. His eye was open to anything new that took place in the area that he was working, and his hand was outstretched in guidance assistance for anyone who was faltering. If anyone did not complete his quota of furrows around trees, or if there was a suspicion that someone would be pushed out of his rank by Arabs – Menachem would immediately jump in and set to work with the spade or the hoe, quickly and diligently to avert the problem, and then return to his place.

Menachem always was able to save. His energy was with him. From where did this weaver of Zgierz get such energy? He had the will, the strong will of a Jew, to take over the work and turn it into Hebrew work, to prove that a Jew is able to work at any difficult labor. He was always enthusiastic and diligent, without any compromise with himself. He worked and was successful. He conquered himself. As has been mentioned, he knew how to share his bread with others. His hand was open and his heart was proper. The conditions at that time were different. There was no organization as there is today. Mutual assistance organizations were not yet founded. However, there were warm hearts infused with truth, and Menachem was one of the best.

{Photo page 490: Menachem Berliner as a guard.}

He was himself as duty bound to participate in any activity that raised the status of Hebrew work and the Jewish worker, the love of the Land and the people of Israel. Therefore, he went and became a guard in the vineyards of Rechovot in the summer of 5672 (1912) (we will still speak about the guard duty). He was passionate about the strength that he was imparting to Jews against the Arabs. When he was summoned in the winter of 5674 to go to Gan Shmuel, a place afflicted with malaria, where the work was being renewed by a group of workers from Rechovot, and he had private reasons not to go (his bride Rachel was about to arrive) – Menachem went. Was it possible to be otherwise? When he went, he went with a full heart. Thus does A. M. Kolar write about him in the aforementioned work.

“In the winter of that year 95674) Gan Shmuel was settled by a group of workers, most of them were guards who worked with “Hashomer” in Rechovot, who had left the settlement with him. Menachem was called by the members to join the group. He answered the call, since young, dedicated, diligent workers were needed. He gave himself over to the work with the entire warmth of his heart and strength. He quickly became an important force in the farm. In his letters to his family from that era, filled with enthusiasm and joy, he describes at length the life of the group, which was not a life of renewal and happiness. 'One the one hand', he writes, 'the war was dragging on, and there were endless victims, and on the other hand, Hebrew life is growing out of all those graves. I live with the work and with nature, with every flower and tree.'

Many tribulations afflicted the group in Gan Shmuel during its first year. The afflictions were genuine. Malaria often afflicted him, and he swallowed a great amount of chinin[2]. As with the rest of the members, he was not concerned about the situation: if the fever dropped, they would get out of bed and go to work. He was completely immersed in the work and in the farm.

He would quickly tell his brothers about any thing new in the place; about any new animal or bird; about the building of new homes; about the gaining of new members; about the upcoming harvest; and about how happy he was 'in our small world'. However his soul knew no rest, and he dreamed about traveling to the Galilee to conquer new areas.

As an experienced guard, he took active part in guard duty and the defense of Gan Shmuel. The first months of the group were filled with clashes with the Arab neighbors, who would often pillage the area. More than once, they hatched plots to break through the fence at night and steal. Menachem performed his guard duties with full seriousness and a watchful eye. One night, when the neighbors attempted to break into the orchard, they attacked him and his fellow guard. He fought against the intruders, and they were forced to flee after one of them was wounded in the hand.”

One could depend on Menachem. His responsibility surpassed all bounds. Before I conclude, allow me to tell about my meeting with him.

He knew about my coming, but he did not come to the ship. I was quite surprised. However, later I found out that he had been bitten by a mad jackal. Since there was not yet a Pasteur institute in the Land, he was taken to Cairo in order to receive anti-rabies shots. His letters from Cairo display a unique side of our Menachem's personality. He did not have the means to stay in a proper location. He also did not have sufficient food. He managed. He slept where he sat and ate what he could obtain from the soup kitchen – in cheap and unsanitary places.

I obtained work in the vineyards of Rishon Letzion, and awaited his arrival. He found out about my arrival and my place of work as he arrived by boat to Jaffa. However, he did not go to Rishon Letzion so that we could get together, but rather hurried to guard duty in Rechovot, despite the jaguar bite. Weeks passed before we designated the day that I would come to him in Rechovot, one Friday afternoon after work.

Yehuda Gorodiski, a farmer from Rechovot, waited for me until I changed my clothes. I took the pillow and blankets that I brought to Menachem from his parents, and we set out to Rechovot in a horse drawn carriage. Rather than travelling through the shortest and most direct route through Nes Tziona, the farmer traveled through Beer Yaakov, since he was interested in the route.

I left the pillow and blankets with the farmer (incidentally, he never came to take them), and set out to see the chief guard of the Moshava, so I would be able to find out the place where Menachem was guarding. This is a long story, which I will not tell here. Mendel Portugali of blessed memory, one of the chief guards, showed me the way that I should go to arrive at the vineyard which Menachem was guarding. I set out in that direction. I met a guard after my first steps, who transferred me to his neighbor, and the neighbor transferred me to his own neighbor. Thus I passed from hand to hand until I reached Menachem's vineyard. But Menachem was not there. Where was he? He would come immediately. I heard the guards whispering among themselves, as if they were keeping a secret from me. I looked somewhat strange to them. I was wearing a white suite, white shoes, and a straw hat. They were wary of me. Who knows what type of a covert visitor this guard might be expecting? They left me and continued on their guard duty.

It was a moonlit night. There are no words to describe the moon as it lit up the fields of almonds and grapes. The nighttime silence enveloped me, and I was engrossed in it. No wind was blowing. No leaf rustled. For the first time in my life I felt this sort of eternal feeling, which bound me up. I stood in one place, paying complete attention. This wondrous silence spoke to the heart. The calm and silence were like wings to the imagination. Suddenly, the howl of jackals. I contracted. A shudder passed over my entire body. I never heard such a howl, which, as it passed through the wide fields and reached every ear – sounded similar to the heart-rending cries of children, the shrieks of the weary and suffering, the voices calling for help and demanding it was such immediacy that it could not be put off for a thousandth of a second.

I will never forget that night. I was young. These were among my first steps in my old-new homeland. All the history of my people, all of the suffering and weeping that they endured, passed quickly through my memory. This howl told and retold a story. I forgot myself and my surroundings, as I paid complete attention. More than 59 years have passed since that moment, however, I remember that night as if it was taking place now. Behold, here I am listening and paying attention…

I got tired. I ascended the ladder of Menachem's guard booth, took out a squashed mattress, shook it out, and sat down upon it. After that, I lay down, with my eyes pointed to the sky, peering at the bright stars, the stars of the Land of Israel. Obviously, sleep overtook me. Suddenly: Bang! Bang! Bang! Three shots of a revolver rang out close to my ears. I obviously awoke and jumped up in a start. As I jumped up, I fell into Menachem's arms. He hugged and kissed me, with a bright, smiling face.

Where had he been? He went to meet me in Nes Ziona. He stood on the route and waited for me. Another guard went with him. The guards of the area, when they heard that Menachem's friend from his native city was coming, and was arriving from Rishon Letzion, made an agreement among themselves not to let anyone know about his travel and his leaving of his guard post. They would not let any visitor know of his whereabouts, and they would divide the Menachem's guard duty among themselves until he returned. As I mentioned, I had traveled through Beer Yaakov, and he waited in vain. He waited for a long time, for he could not imagine that I would not come, and he was concerned that I got lost on the route, and that if he would go, I would suddenly appear?

He told me about his internal struggle between his guard duty and his concern for me. He thought that he would return at the beginning of the night, and permitted himself the misdeed of leaving his guard post. Had he known that this would have happened, he would not have gone. He had pangs of conscience over his deeds which had a taint of dishonesty. It was a “miracle' that on that night, no visitor, rider, or guard came until he returned, since everything was clean externally. He was not caught. However, the incident bothered Menachem's heart.

He came late, and his neighboring guards began to worry about him. What happened? Why was he not returning? The route was long. It was an hour and a half or two hours. However, when he arrived at the first guard in the vineyards of Rechovot, in the direction of Nes Tziona, the guard told him that someone was waiting for him near his tent. He crouched down, saw my face, became excited, and shot three shots, as I have mentioned.

The joy was great. We embraced as we walked the route of his guard duty and chatted. We discussed and poured out our hearts. More accurately: Menachem talked and poured out his heart. He had already been in the Land for three quarters of a year! He had what to talk about! He talked very little of himself. He talked about events that were taking place, on what was to come and what had passed. On occasion he forgot that he was on guard duty and raised his voice too high. Thus did we pass the time until morning.

This was my first meeting in the Land with Menachem Berliner. We were young. We were the same age. More than 59 years have passed since then. I am alive, and he, Menachem, where is he?

Let us once again see what A. M. Kolar writes about Menachem's end.

“One day, at he beginning of Adar 5675 (1915), Menachem returned from work in the middle of the day with a high fever. He was immediately taken to the hospital in Hadera. He lay there for a few days, and the symptoms of yellow fever were quickly recognized. He was transferred the care of Dr. Hillel Yaffa in the hospital of Zichron Yaakov, a dedicated physician who was an expert in the care of fevers. However his faithful care was for naught. Menachem bore his illness in silence. He did not complain, and did not speak much. He greeted his friends from the group, who came to visit him, pleasantly, as was his usual fashion. He did not cease to take interest in what was going on in Gan Shmuel. His strong body build finally gave in, and on Friday afternoon, 19th of Adar 5675, he gave up his pure soul at the age of 23 ½.”

I was told that he fought with death for three days and three nights. His strong heart stood against it, and did not let it overtake him. Dr. Yaffa was excited at the strength of his heart, and he was not able to forget this sick person for quite a while, to whom life was so sweet and pleasant such that he did not want to part from it. Dr. Yaffa mourned for him especially.

We are separated from him, from Menachem. He belongs to those who are connected to the chain of generations of our people, the People of Israel. He is folded into the great gloom of our people, about which the Scripture says: “And he expired, and was gathered unto his people” (Genesis 49, 33).

May his memory be a blessing.

He is buried in the cemetery of Zichron Yaakov.

Yehoshua Manoach, Degania Aleph

The following is the text on the gravestone of Menachem Berliner in the cemetery of Zichron Yaakov
Here rests the young man
Menachem the son of David Berliner
Who died of yellow fever on 19th of Adar, 5675
To a dear friend – a memorial from the group of Gan Shmuel
May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life


Rabbi Chanoch Henich Ehrsohn

by P. S.

He was a scholar and author of books. He was known in our town as “The yellow Henich”. He was married to Elka the owner of the butcher shop (Elka the butcher), an honorable woman, who was known as a generous and charitable woman. He was one of the honorable Hassidim of Ger. Yeshiva students would come to him each Sabbath to be examined. He served as principal of the Yesodei Hatorah School in 5778-5779 (1918-1919). He died in the early 1920s.

The following are his books that were published before the First World War: 1) Chanukat Hatorah, 2) Kol Eliahu (about the Vilna Gaon), 3) Minchat Chanoch, 4) Gan Raveh (on the Torah), 5) Motza Mayim (about variations in versions).

Reb Yosef Bialystoki of blessed memory

by P. S.

He was known by his name, Yosef Shmuel Chassid's, that is to say, the son-in-law of Reb Shmuel Chassid.

He was also a zealous Hassid of Ger. He occupied himself with Torah and Hassidism for all his days, and watched over the younger generation with a vigilant eye, that they should go in the paths of the fathers and not wander into strange fields.

His book, short in length but great in quality is called “Mesora Gedola” It is on the tractate Chagiga[3], and includes “the words of our rabbis from various places in similar language forms, by conjoining words and innuendoes in accordance with the commentators” (from the preface). It was published in Piotrkow in the year 5693. Aside from the approbation of the rabbi of the city Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Hakohen and his brother Yitzchak Menachem Hakohen, it also contains approbations from the Admorim of Ger, Sochaczew, Sokolow, Strykow, Rabbi M. Szpiro of Lublin, Rabbi Menachem Zemba of Prague, and others.

He died during the Holocaust. May G-d avenge his blood.


Avraham Chaim Michelson of blessed memory

by P. S.

He was born in the year 5646 (1886) to his father the Hassidic bibliograph Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson, the rabbi of Plonsk and Warsaw. He was the son-in-law of Reb Baruch Nekricz of our city.

During his youth, he followed the path of his father and also worked on the annals, stories and words of Torah of the rabbis and Admorim. He wrote about the rabbinical greats of their time.

He served as secretary of the community in our city for a number of years. He was one of the intelligentsia, and a lover of the Hebrew book. He was blessed with a sense of humor. His adages made their way around the city.

His books include: “Shemen Hatov” (5665 – 1905), a monograph about Rabbi Shmelke Horowitz the rabbi of Nikolsburg and his brother Rabbi Pinchas Horowitz, the rabbi of Frankfurt am Main; “Dover Shalom” (5671 – 1911) about the Admor Rabbi Shalom of Belz and his son Rabbi Yehoshua; “Ohel Elimelech” on the Admor Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk; “Ohel Rebbe” about the Admor Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, the Chozeh of Lublin; “Ateret Menachem”, and “Ohel Naftali” (written in Zgierz).

He died during the Holocaust. May G-d avenge his death.

P. S.

Avraham Morgensztern

by Fabian Greenberg-Green

Every city and town in Poland had people who felt more than others the intolerable plight of the poor people, the circumscribed rights of the citizens of means, and considered it to be a deep insult that Jews were classified as second class citizens of the country and state, without full rights. These people came to the conclusion that in the atmosphere of hate and oppression, the only way of existence was to fend for oneself – the way of organization. They formed corporations that were able to speak and take great measures, demand more rights, struggle against anti-Semitism, take part n the broadening of legislation, in which the organizations took interest in supporting the treasuries of the Jewish past, and forge onward with the golden chain. These specific ideas were the call of the times.

Large organizations were founded in Warsaw whose purpose was to organize the Jewish people throughout the entire country. To that end, they required people who were interested in opening local branches.

We had such a person in our city. His name was Avraham Morgensztern. He was short, and he had the nature, as if to compensate, to invest a great deal of energy in organizational activities. He was represented in all local Jewish institutions – as founder, chairman or vice-chairman.

If a controversy arose, as is wont to occur in social institutions, he would appear on behalf of a specific organization. He would feel an inner push, a need to create something and bring help to another segment of the Jewish population of Zgierz.

The youth also had a friend in him. He was the founder of the touring organization. Thereby, he did not neglect the cultural interests of a portion of the Jewish population of our city. The “Hazamir” displayed a strong activity for a period of time. The choir sang Hebrew and Jewish songs. Readings took place with the participation of renowned writers such as Hillel Cejtlin, Yitzchak Kacenelson, Dr. Mokdoni, the editor Y. Unger and others.

Avraham Morgensztern knew Jewish life in Zgierz very well. His activity of many years' duration as councilor in the city council provided him with material to conduct correspondence regarding Jewish and general life in Zgierz in the Lodzer Tagblatt under the pseudonym “Amen”.

The aforementioned section presents picture of a person who gave his entire life over to the Jewish society of Zgierz, often neglecting his private interests.

His name should be engraved in an esteemed fashion upon the monument of Zgierz Jewry.

Fabian Greenberg-Green


Reb Yehuda Leib Szaransky

by Hillel Zeidman (from the book “Eileh Ezkera”)

{Photo page 497: Reb Yehuda Leib Szaransky.}

Reb Yehuda Leib (Leibl) Szaransky was born in 1886 in Zgierz. His father was Reb Binyamin the son of Reb Yitzchak, who was a native of Lithuania and came to Zgierz from the city of Kovno with a stream of Lithuanian Jews who were attracted to economic opportunities in the manufacturing region of Lodz. Reb Yitzchak, who was known locally as Reb Itche Kovner, was a scholarly, Hassidic Jew, formerly a follower of Kock and later of Ger. He was the grandson of Reb Zecharia Mendel of Jaroslawow and a scion of the Gaon of Vilna.

Even though Leib was nurtured in the world of Hassidism, he always had a tendency to “lateral” thinking and research. He displayed tendencies to activism and struggle. He jumped with warmth and enthusiasm into the Mizrachi camp, even though the world around him, in the Shtibel and with the Rebbe, waged a holy war from the camp of Agudas Yisroel against Mizrachi, and steadfastly opposed its ideas and activities.

Leib Szaransky also stood out in his activities within the Jewish community of Warsaw, which played the central position in the life of the Jews of Poland. The inter-factional relationships and their struggle within the Jewish street took place in full force in the capital of the country. The community of Warsaw served as a guide and example for the Jewish community of Poland.

Leib moved to Warsaw on the eve of the outbreak of the First World War, and worked in business there. During the First War (1914) he began to become involved in communal affairs, and took a position within the central organization of Mizrachi. There he displayed his talents in polemics and controversy, with fiery, emotional speeches. Thus did he forge himself a position within the Jewish community, of which he was one of its outstanding representatives. He was active in the electoral procedures of the Polish Sejm, and also in the elections to the Zionist congress. In the year 5681 (1921) he was selected as a representative to the congress in Basle, and continued on this role as a representative of Mizrachi in later congresses. In 1933, he was chosen to fill the position of a member of the Jewish Agency, and at the last congress in August 1939, the eve of the Holocaust, he stood out among the dynamic representatives. He was the right hand of Hershel Farbsztejn, the leader of Mizrachi in Poland.

{Photocopy page 498: The Certificate of a Fighter Against the Nazis of Yehuda Leib Szaransky[4].}

From time to time, he published articles on questions of the time. His articles always excelled in logic and clarity. His steadfast character earned him the name of a fighter and struggler within his party. His Hassidic affiliation often served him as a fence for his factional position. There were times when he struggled not only with fellows in the party, but also with himself – with his own opinion that was at times divided, rigid and uncompromising.

During the times of tribulation in the Warsaw Ghetto, he was one of those who preached revolt and uprising. In a meeting that took place in the house of the Rebbe of Sochaczew, in which the community notables participates, most of those gathered were of the opinion that they should restrain themselves, with faith in G-d, and not revolt against the powerful government that is subduing the entire world. A revolt might hasten the end, and one should await Divine salvation. Leib responded strongly to them: “I am a good Jew like you, who believes with perfect faith in Divine providence, but the Jews of Poland are given over to a death trap, with the partnership of the Nazis and the Poles, for the destruction of Israel – that is decisive. We should at least die in honor.”

He placed himself at the disposal of the activists of the revolt. He established ties with the underground Polish Workers' faction, who apparently decided to join the efforts, but did not provide weapons.

Anielewicz[5] and his friends were at first wary to accept him into their confidence. He was an aging Jew, with a large beard, from a group of people who do not like uprisings. How would he fit into the camp of fighters that was mainly composed of young men and women? Leib threw himself into the work diligently. He quickly became an expert in weaponry, and often took dangerous tasks upon himself. He once shot and killed two Germans, and his hand was badly injured in the exchange of fire.

When the “aktions” started, he hastened from place to place to warn the mislead Jews about the true purpose of the emissaries, and he wept at their shortsightedness. His anger was very great at the wealthy people in the ghetto whose hearts still misled them to believe in their life, so that they hid bundles of money and precious stones in their clothing. Szaransky asked them to give over everything that they had, gold, diamonds, and the rest, for the purchase of weapons for anywhere available. It was possible to obtain weapons from the Poles for an exorbitant price. He also used force to request them to turn over their money, and more than once, he came face to face with death on account of this.

He was finally captured by an S.S. man Szaransky succeeded in throwing a hand grenade at him, but the activity did not succeed, and he blew himself up.

His wife Dvora, who was the daughter of the Hassid Reb Mendel Blausztejn of Zyrardow, also perished later, along with his three daughters.

(From the book “Eileh Ezkera” by Hillel Zeidman)


Rabbi Meir Szaransky of blessed memory

From the newspapers

{Photo page 500: Uncaptioned: Rabbi Meir Szaransky.}

Rabbi Meir Szaransky, the principal of the Beis Yaakov seminary in Tel Aviv, was born in Zgierz in 5665 (1905) to his father Reb Binyamin Szaransky of blessed memory, the six in the male line from the Vilna Gaon of holy blessed memory.

His father Reb Binyamin was born in Kovno, the capital of Lithuania, and was the son of the Gaon and Hassid Reb Yitzchak, who was the son of Reb Mordechai, the son of Reb Avraham, the eldest son of the Gaon of Vilna.

Reb Yitzchak married off all of his sons into prominent and renowned families of Hassidic Poland, and made sure that they would move from Lithuania, the land of the “Misnagdim” to Poland, which was influenced by Hassidism. His son Reb Moshe was the head of the community of Lublin, and Reb Shlomo was the head of the community of Siedlic. Reb Binyamin, the youngest of the sons, married Chava, the daughter of the Hassid Reb Nota Heinsdorf. Reb Nota was one of the greatest Hassidim of Kock, and the head of the Hassidim of Zgierz.

Reb Binyamin, the father of Reb Meir, was a scholar about who it could be said, “He is fitting and his mantle is fitting”[6]. He excelled in his traits and mannerisms, and was splendid in his garb.

During his youth, Meir was one of the activists in the Agudas Yisroel movement, whose main concern was Orthodox education in the city. He served as chairman of “Agudas Yisroel Youth” and was among the founders of the Beis Yaakov religious girls' school in Zgierz. He was very dedicated to its development and also served as its principal.

When the Aguda movement gave the approval for aliya to the Land, and many of the Agudas Yisroel activists began to set out to the Holy Land, Meir also girded his loins and made aliya to the Land with his family in the year 5633 (1933). Here, he continued his activities on behalf of religious education, and was among the first to found a Beis Yaakov school for girls. He was also the energy behind the establishment of the wide network of such schools in other places in the Land. He also founded a seminary for kindergarten teachers and teachers of the Beis Yaakov network, from which came religious educators throughout the breadth of the Land.

He founded the first Beis Yaakov School in Tel Aviv in a room in his dwelling (which consisted of two rooms and a small kitchen) for the first five girls. He served as secretary, principal, teacher, and fundraiser of this “institution”. After a period of suffering and difficulties, when he nurtured the institution and grew it with dedication and diligence, the number of classes increased and a fitting premises was rented. Later, new branches were opened. Then he began to dedicate himself to the founding of the first Beis Yaakov seminary for kindergarten teachers and teachers.

After he attained great milestones in the field of religious education, he was granted a token of recognition for his educational work in an impressive public gathering of the 'Dinar” annual convention.

Rabbi Szaransky excelled also as a fruitful author. His books on the field of education and the topic of Hassidism, especially his unique history books on the subject of religious education, were widely disseminated. They imparted wide-ranging and useful knowledge to the religious youth, especially to the observant girls.

The chief of his literary activities can be seen in his creation of the eight volume “Haever Hayisraeli”, encompassing Jewish history and to a significant degree also general history, written in accordance to the Orthodox outlook. As Orthodox critics describe these books, “they describe all of the historical events from a religious perspective, in accordance with our sages and the greats of Israel throughout the generation. It answers a professional and pedagogical needs, for we need these books to teach this refined subject.”

Reb Meir Szaransky was also active in Agudas Yisroel and its institutions, and was a member of leadership of the Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) in Tel Aviv, and in other institutions.

He died in Tel Aviv at the conclusion of the Sabbath, the 30th of Tishrei 5633 (1973). May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

(From the newspapers.)


Reb Yitzchak Menachem Bornsztejn of blessed memory

by David Eisenberg and Elimelech HaKohen Schwartz

He was one of the rare personalities in the Hassidic world of Zgierz, a remnant of the old generation, whose name preceded him. He was not only renowned among the Hassidim of Sochaczew, but all other Hassidic groups in Poland knew his by the name “Reb Mendel Siedlicer”. When he was young, he received a Torah and Hassidic oriented education from his grandfather the Gaon Rabbi Zeev Nachum, the rabbi of Biala (an in-law of the rabbi of Kock), the author of “Agudas Ezov”. His diligence in his learning and his talents were known the many, and he quickly became known as a “diligent learner”.

From the time of his youth, he exhibited a special love for books. He acquired them at any opportunity, and with the passage of time, he amassed a large library of he best Torah works. However, during the time of the First World War, during the well-known battle on the Wisla River when almost the entire town of Sochaczew, his place of residence at the time, turned into ruins – his books were burned. He agonized over this for all his life, and mourned over them as if he was mourning for a dead person.

After his marriage, he moved to Siedlic. There he occupied himself in business and also studied Torah day and night. He received his ordination,, but he distanced himself from the rabbinate and did not accept the urgings from various places to sit on the rabbinical seat.

During the time of his residence in Sochaczew, he served as the head of the Yeshiva along with the Gaon Reb Tzvi Aryeh Frumer of blessed memory, who at the end of his days was the head of the Yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin. Survivors of the students of this Yeshiva are with us today in the Land and remember the name of their illustrious teacher with reverence. He not only served as head of the Yeshiva. He was faithful to the Sochaczew dynasty even already during the first Admor of this dynasty, Reb Avraham Bornsztejn of holy blessed memory, the son-in-law of the Admor of Kock. The editing and redaction of the books “Eglei Tal” and “Avnei Nezer” of the Admor Reb Avraham of holy blessed memory and “Shem Mishmuel” of the Admor Reb Shmuel of holy blessed memory was given over to Reb Mendel. He himself also wrote novellae of Torah, but he never was able to publish them.

Reb Mendel was greatly beloved among the community of Hassidim of Sochaczew and the admirers of this renowned dynasty who came to bask in the shade of the Admor. He earned special appreciation for his various statements and Hassidic stories, with which he enchanted the hearts of his listeners.

During the days of the First World War, when he was forced to leave Sochaczew on account of the battles, he moved to Warsaw, where he lived for a few years. He maintained friendly ties with all circles of Hassidim and studiers of Torah. After the ceasfire, he moved to Zgierz, and later to Lodz. With the outbreak of the war in 1939 and the conquest of Lodz by the Nazis, he was imprisoned in the ghetto where he died on the 13th of Elul 5603 (1943). Prior to the termination of the period of mourning for him, his wife and two daughters, Miriam and Margalit, were sent to Auschwitz where they perished. May G-d avenge their blood.

David Eisenberg in Haboker, February 28, 1946

Those who are familiar with Kaballah, particularly Hassidim, will certainly recall that in Lodz there was a venerable scholar, an expert student of the Avnei Nezer, named Reb Mendele Bornsztejn, may G-d avenge his blood. This Reb Mendele, a relative of the Shem Mishmuel and one of those who sat first at his table, lived in the Lodz Ghetto under the direst of circumstances, when a slice of bread was nothing more than a dream… He sat and studied day and night. A difficult question was going through his mind. When will be after my death? Those around him did not know the answer to the matter that was bothering him.

After his death, his neighbors on 24 Zgierzka Street found an answer to this question. A will was found in one of the drawers of his house that bore the date of the day after Yom Kippur, 5701 (1942). Among everything else, the will stated, “The hairs of my white beard, which I cut on account of the wrath of the tormentors, I hid in tractate Baba Batra, in the middle of the chapter “Chezkat Habatim”. I wish that the hairs of my beard, along with my “Chovot Halevavot”[7] should be buried in my grave…” A special court of law constituting three judges, sat and decided, “It is a commandment to fulfil the words of the deceased”. The will of Reb Mendele was fulfilled in full.

Elimelech HaKohen Schwartz, Los Angeles

“Digleinu”, Nisan 5625 (1965)


Rabbi Moshe Goldberg of blessed memory

by A. Bornsztejn

{Photo page 504: Uncaptioned. Rabbi Moshe Goldberg.}

He was one of the most enlightened people from among the young leaders and activists in Zgierz. He was born in Lodz in 1898 to an Orthodox Hassidic family. He excelled in his talents and pleasant mannerisms already as a youth. The heads of the Yeshivas in which he studied and his teachers of general studies prophesied a bright future for him. He did not betray their vision. He succeeded well at his studies and was ordained as a rabbi at the age of 20.

He quickly became a blessed and talented leader of the Hapoel Hamizrachi Orthodox youth organization, and a member in the central organization of Mizrachi in Poland. He was a wonderful orator. He was invited to cities and towns throughout Poland. Through his rhetorical prowess, he was able to present his words, full of content, in a simple manner that was understandable to the masses of people from all strata who came to listen to his speeches and presentations on various political and cultural issues.

He was accepted as the principal of the Hebrew school of Zgierz in 1919, and quickly won the faith and admiration of the residents of our city. There, he met Chaya Bornsztejn. They married in 1921 and set up residents in Zgierz. Many from among the intelligentsia of our city were numbered among their friends, and their home became a meeting place of scholars.

M. Goldberg was active in almost all of the cultural, communal and Zionist organizations in our city, such as Mizrachi, Keren Kayemet, Keren Hayesod, the Office of the Land of Israel, and others.

The Goldberg family, along with their 5 year old daughter Hadassah, immigrated to the United States in 1928, where Goldberg's parents lived. He immediately became known, and was accepted as a rabbi in one of the synagogues of Oakland, California. At that time, he began to attend the University of Berkeley. His desire was to become a lawyer, and later to make aliya and settle in the Land of Israel. However, this fine dream was not actualized. He was killed in a severe car accident when he was only 31 years old.

During the time of his brief sojourn in America, he acquired many friends from all strata, who still remember the great loss to this day.

A. Bornsztejn


Chaya Bornsztejn-Goldberg

by Y. Lavie

She was the eldest daughter of Reb Yitzchak Menachem Bornsztejn (Reb Mendel Siedlicer). After the sudden, tragic death of her husband Rabbi Moshe Goldberg of blessed memory, she continued living in California, guarded his memory in hear heart forever, and remained a widow until her final day.

She possessed broad general knowledge and deeply rooted Jewish knowledge. She earned her living from teaching Hebrew in Hebrew schools, and English to new immigrants. During the Second World War, she was accepted, on account of her wide knowledge and command of various languages – as a senior official in the civic censor office of the United States. Along with this, she continued to teach and broaden her knowledge in many areas of study.

Her path was not paved in roses, and she raised their young daughter who came with them from Poland under difficult economic conditions. After time, her daughter married Professor Ralph Kramer, today a guest lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

About a half a year before her death, she went with her daughter and son-in-law to Israel, and lived in Tel Aviv. This was her fifth visit to the State of Israel. As a veteran communal activist, she quickly became involved here in communal and cultural life. She became active in the Organization Against Air Pollution, and gave classes in English to those of limited means. All of this was voluntary, without any expectation of reward.

She planned to finalize her move to the State of Israel, but a brief illness put an end to all of her desires. She died on the 16th of Adar 5731 (1971). She is buried in Holon, in the native Land, the desire of her soul from her early youth.

Y. Lavie
“Hatzofeh”, March 23, 1971


Aharon Cincinatus of blessed memory

by Shmuel Shachor

{Photo page 506: Uncaptioned. Aharon Cincinatus.}

He was born in Zgierz, Poland in the year 1895. At the end of his studies in the Gymnasium, he traveled to Vilna, where he studied at university and graduated from the faculty of law. His wide ranging communal and Zionist activities began in Vilna, where he served as chairman of the Organization of Jewish Students. He edited the Vilna Zionist newspaper “Di Zeit”, and represented the Jews of Vilna in the city council. He was also a writer from the Zionist Newspaper “Heint” of Warsaw, a member of the central Zionist organization of Warsaw, and an activist in the Keren Hakayemet and Keren Hayesod. His wife and two daughters were killed in the Holocaust during the Second World War. After the war, he rebuilt his life with his new wife, and returned to communal activities. He served as the head of the Zionist movement in Poland, the editor of “Unzer Vort” Zionist newspaper, and a representative to the first post-war Zionsit Congress in Basle. He moved from Poland to France, and served as one of the important assistants of the French “Unzer Vort”. He made aliya to the Land in 1950.

He died on April 29, 1961 and is buried in the Kiryat Shaul Cemetery.

(From the book, “Happenings of Three Years, 1958-1961, by Shmuel Shachor, published by the archives of “Haaretz”.}

My Brother Aharon

by Tola Cincinatus

He was born in Zgierz and graduated from the local Gymnasium. He was a teacher in the Jewish People's School of Zgierz. Later, he studied in the University of Vilna, and graduated from the faculty of law. He married Rosa Berman when he was a student. Aside from his private work as a jurist, he was active in social organizations, particularly with Zionist tendencies. Aharon was the chairman of the Jewish students' organization. He worked in the “Yekapa” law offices. Later, we find him in the responsible position as editor of the daily Jewish newspaper of Vilna, “Di Zeit”. With his talented pen, he fought strongly against Communism among the Jews, and therefore later suffered from sharp tribulations after the year 1939, when the Soviets occupied Vilna.

During the time of Polish rule until the Second World War, Aharon was the Zionist representative in the Vilna city council, and also the Vilna correspondent of the “Heint” of Warsaw. His articles were also published in “Davar” of the land of Israel. He was a representative to the Zionist Central Committee of Poland and an instructor for the Keren Kayamet and Keren Hayesod.

In 1941, when the German murderers ruled Vilna, his wife and two daughters were murdered in the communal grave on “Polygon”. Her brothers and relatives were killed along with her. After the war, Aharon lived in Lodz with his second wife, Sonia. He again became active as a journalist. He was the editor of the Zionist “Unzer Vort”. He was the Polish delegate to the renewed Zionist congress that took place in Basle in 1946, the first after the great destruction.

{Photo page 507: The fifth grade of the elementary school (1918) with the teacher Aharon Cincinatus.}

He remained for a while in France while on the way to Israel. He worked on the local Zionist newspaper “Unzer Vort”. In 1950, he and his wife made aliya to Israel.

Aharon Cincinatus was active in the Zionist workers movement for all his years – in “Hitachdut”. He was a witty and talented speaker and writer. He used this talent to give over the Zionist ideal. When he arrived in the Land, he had a difficult time acclimatizing. Those difficulties and his difficult experiences during the war years took a serious toll on the sparkling personality of Aharon Cincinatus. He gave up his soul on April 29, 1961.

The Jews of Poland in general, and in particularly those of Zgierz, Vilna and their vicinities who live in Israel and knew, heard or read Cincinatus – will also remember positively that interesting personality.

May his memory be blessed!

Tola Cincinatus of Tel Aviv


Reb Yoshka Lewin of blessed memory

by Y. Sh.

{Photo page 508: Uncaptioned. Yoshka Lewin.}

Yoshka was a known personality in the city. He was a scholarly Jew, who cared for children.

There was no kiosk for Jewish newspapers in the city, for two reasons. First, one would need a special permit from the magistrate, and mainly – a kiosk would cost a few thousand Zloty. Reb Yoshka did not have available such a sum.

He took over the newspaper distribution from David Gotheiner, who had a printing press on Pilsudski Street. At that time, many Maskilim would come to the front of his store to purchase a newspaper and to snatch a conversation about Zionism or politics.

Yoshka was the only person who sold reading material in the city. On a Friday or the eve of a festival, his home hummed like a beehive – for who would want to be without a newspaper on the Sabbath or festival?

Yoshka, a Hassidic Jew who sat and studied in the Aleksandrow Shtibel every evening, simultaneously knew how to distribute, aside from the “Heint” and “Moment”, also Alter Katzizne's “My speaking film”, the “Jude” of the Aguda, and the Sabbath “Folks Zeitung”.

He worked hard, summer in the heat and winter in the cold. He carried the bundles of newspapers, and concerned himself that everyone in town should have reading material. He supported his wife and children modestly and honestly. May his memory be a blessing.

Y. Sh.


Machla Wronski (The Heaven Gazer}

by Vove

Machla was known as an honest and energetic woman who headed a growing family, in whom she instilled Torah and Judaism. She earned her livelihood from a large spice store in the old market, where there was always a lot of bustle. The farmers from the surrounding villages would gladly purchase, for the “Machlowa” is “Pobozna” (religious) and honest. She also had an open hand for the poor and needy. When her husband Moshe looked heavenward, Machla would look around to see if there was in some house a poor woman in labor, a sick person without someone to tend to, or just a suffering widow who did not have anything for the Sabbath. She would then fill a large bag with paper bags of rice, cereal, kasha, flour, and sugar, and hide it under the table. Later, women such as Chava Ita, Reitza the yellow Yosef's, Mindel Rivka and others would come and take the sacks to where they were needed.

Machla also occupied with other good deeds. For example, for 40 years, she would light the candles in the burial canopy of rabbis and Rebbes, every Sabbath and festival eve, summer and winter.

She was a trustee of the women of the Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society), and would occupy herself with those matters particularly on festivals, if a tragic event were to happen. She bore in mind the poorest people of the city. She considered this to be a special good deed.

Machla merited to come to the Holy Land, where she died – as was told by a grandchild – at the age of 110.


1. Both words connote teacher – although Melamed connotes the more traditional, cheder style, elementary teacher. Back

2. An anti-malarial agent. Back

3. The Talmudic section dealing with festival offerings in the temple. Back

4. Dated 27 Nissan 5627 (Yom Hashoah), May 7, 1967 – an award issued by the State of Israel. Back

5. Mordechai Anielewicz, 1919-1943, was the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Back

6. I.e. his essence and his exterior are both fitting. Back

7. Duties of the Heart – a book on Jewish belief written by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto. Back

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