Transliterated by Judy Petersen
|son of Yocheved; fell in defense of the country
|died outside of Israel on the day the book was printed.
by S. Aviel
Translated by Emma Karabelnik
Shabtai Goren (Grodzenchik) Of Blessed Memory
Shabtai was gone at an early age. His death was a hard blow for all of us, maybe because we loved and admired him so much, or maybe because we were so young and couldn't cope with a friend's death who was of the same age as us, and who was a good friend with us the all the way since early childhood until that time, and whose soul was bound to our souls with unbreakable knots.
Shabtai was a typical Voronova man. This small and lovely town surrounded by forests and springs was a wonderful place settled by Jews and the Spirit of God, the Jewish Bible, and a longing for the Sacred Land and Jerusalem. Shabtai grew up in this fragrant spiritual atmosphere, absorbing the good spirit of a Jewish education in cheder, in school, in high school and later in yeshiva.
In the 20s, with the revival of Zionism, he was also awakened with a special enthusiasm. He founded Zionist institutions and organized all the youth. He agitated, took action, and drew many to Zionist-Halutz activities, to training, and to Aliyah. He was one of the first founders of HaShomer HaTsair in town and stood out as one of the activists devoted to the idea of an Eretz Israel tied to labor. After Aliyah he planted roots in socialist organizations in Jerusalem. He was member of Hagana and was always ready to respond to any call. During World War II he responded to the call and joined the British army. After the discoveries of the Jewish community's destruction in Europe and the liquidation of all our loved ones, he networked survivors and was always one of the organizers and speakers at Memorial ceremonies.
It was always a pleasure to be around and spend time with him. From early childhood until his last days in exile and in Israel we were always connected by strong ties of love and friendship. We all admired his joyfulness and constant optimism, his radiant face and sparkling eyes, his love of others, his devotion and loyalty to friends. His good spirits infected us with love, hope, faith and magic. Since early youth he had this effect on others.
I remember Shabtai during training, while working in a plywood factory. Nobody could compare to him as a hard worker, rolling beams from the huge pile to the steam cellar. The Ukrainian workers who worked with him called him the Palestinian Hero. He always worked hard without complaint or comparisons to others, always in a good mood which affected all who worked with him.
He was loved by everyone. We loved him with pure heart and soul. With great pain and sorrow, we escorted him to his eternal rest. He left an open wound in the hearts of many of his friends. His memory will stay with us forever.
Reuven Gol Of Blessed Memory
He was a young, joyful, and vibrant youth. When he escaped from Polish police he traveled to Cuba, which at that time had opened its gates to young people from all over the world. Yet, Reuven Gol, who was raised on the Zionist ideal, didn't conform to settling down in another Galuth [Ed. Note: Exile], although he did very well in Cuba. Reuven did everything to maintain his ties with the Zionist movement and its vision. He joined the Zionist movement and HeKhalutz in Havana. He wrapped up his business in Havana, acquired a certificate, and made Aliyah. After Aliyah he moved to Jerusalem, found a job, raised a family and found peace for his soul.
Reuven loved Israel with all his soul, Israel and all its residents. He was always joyful, content, hopeful, and energetic, active and devoted to Hagana. During the events of 1929 he participated in the defense of Jerusalem, and did so for every cause at any time.
He became a victim to malignant disease. He left us in the middle establishing our organization, and he'll always be a part of it. His loss left a hole in our society. He will always be missed.
Blessed be his memory.
Yakov Gurvits Of Blessed Memory
Since an early age he was raised in prosperity and wealth. He never knew want and was always happy, friendly, and in good spirits. In the 20s with the revival of Zionism and activities by the youth, he never joined any faction or movement. He used to say: I love everyone, so how can I choose whom to join? We loved and respected him. We excused his somewhat mischievous attitude and never demanded serious action from him.
In time, he left the prosperous house of his parents and made Aliyah. He experienced a drastic change in all aspects of his life. We simply didn't recognize him. He became serious and now devoted himself to work, defense, and creativity. For years he took any job no matter how hard it was. After his marriage he continued to work hard and live in poor conditions (one room) but he never complained. He was happy with what he had and never said that this country was too small for him.
During the dangerous years he enlisted and helped as much as he could, with loyalty and devotion.
After the establishment of the State of Israel he worked in the military industry and was a great success. He was appointed foreman and performed his job with great devotion. He was loved by all, the workers and his superiors. He managed to settle in a residential area of Kiryat-Shalom and later moved to a larger apartment in Givataim.
He loved us, his fellows from the old town, with all his soul. He devoted all his warmth and spare time to us. Saturdays were devoted to visits with landsmen. After he finally reached his peace and prosperity, he got was struck by heart failure, from which he never recovered.
The union and his friends will miss him and his solid friendship. T.N.Ts.B.Kh [Tr. Note: may his soul be bound up in the bond of life]
Yosef Dvilianski Of Blessed Memory
Pioneer, laborer, movement member in full heart and devotion. That was dear Yosef, a devoted friend to everyone he knew since childhood. His house was always open, everyone welcomed with joy and warm-heartedness whether a friend, an acquaintance, or just someone he knew. He was always ready to help out, and when he succeeded in such an effort he was the happiest man. Yosef was known for his hospitality. Most of us will never forget him and his wife Rokhl, l'chaim. We will never forget their house and their bountiful table during times of poverty and shortage. He was a man of hard work, never afraid of any job bricks, blocks, and any other hard labor. For many years he worked in a bakery near the hot oven, always with a big smile on his face. He was always happy with what he had, although he lived a hard and poor life. His miserable shack was always warm and clean, filled with light and the joy of life. Many of us found peace and quiet in his home, always with a hot meal, a glass of tea, and comforting talk. He never complained that his place was too small. That's why people were attracted to him. He never complained, always loved his country, his neighborhood, and his numerous friends. He became happiest when he finally moved to a new spacious neighborhood, surrounded by a fruit and vegetable garden and flowers. When he worked his garden, it was as if the Holy Spirit had settled upon him.
He was a man of culture and he did a lot to implant literature when it was still in abeyance.
Yosef was one of the founders of the Voronova library containing thousands of books, and continued this tradition all his life. In Newe-Kibush in Petah Tikwa he was known for his knowledge and activity in the field of literature.
Lately, when he became exhausted of hard labor, he was hired at the Workers' council in Petah Tikwa. He was given many responsibilities, including being in charge of housing. He performed all his responsibilities with endless devotion and happiness, everybody loved and respected him. Lately he became ill with a malignant disease which put an end to all his hopes and aspirations.
He didn't have the privilege of seeing this book, which was so important to him. He was taken from us while still in full strength and energy, and now he is gone. His death created wide circles of mourning, and his funeral was a presentation of love and respect felt by many. Many people from the town [Tr. Note: Petah Tikwa] and from outside participated in his funeral. The police had to close public transportation in town to let through hundreds of vehicles carrying his friends and relatives. May the memory of the righteous be a blessing
Yehoshua Shomroni Of Blessed Memory
The setting for Yehoshua's growth and development was Voronova.
This small town, a piece of beauty surrounded by forests and green fields, grain and wild flowers of all colors, springs flowing into a lake in the middle of a forest like in ancient dreams. This town infused his spirit and enriched his soul with a variety of feelings and emotions.
Yehoshua was a gentle youngster, sensitive to the surrounding world and its people.
His warm heart and enthusiastic soul characterized him from childhood, and he dedicated himself to service of society. He took upon himself public service in any field. He was one of the managers of our famous library, participated in drama studio, was a member of the Zionist union, was active in K.K.L. [Tr. Note: Jewish National Fund], and was one of the founders of the HaShomer HaTsair nest. His life and energy were dedicated to this movement. After the first founders of the movement made Aliyah, he took upon himself the burden of the nest's existence, dedicating day and night to its activity.
He was tall and handsome, with a black curly mane covering his head and pretty face. He had dreamy, smiling eyes, and he always drew attention. His greatest dream was to learn Hebrew and to make Aliyah.
With time he met Doba, a teacher at the Tarbut school in Voronova. Their hearts met and fell in love, and together they fulfilled their dream of making Aliyah.
They built a gorgeous house in Ein Ganim in Petah Tikwa, a house filled with Hebrew culture which inspired the whole surrounding. They created an enviable cultural society. They educated their children to Torah, labor and good deeds, to grace, glory and beauty and they took a lot of pride in them.
As a member of our committee, he was dedicated to his work, especially after the Shoah. He was in charge of all meetings and memorial ceremoniesone cannot imagine them without him. He dedicated time to the writing of this memory book, and despite his illness he was active and ran around organizing and planning. He was impatiently waiting for the book to be published.
One day his medical condition worsened and he was hospitalized. We were very worried and we prayed for his recovery. After some time he was released home, and we were hopeful that he'd get better. But our shock was huge when we suddenly found out that the man was gone.
Matetyahoo Kuznitz Of Blessed Memory
And again we received tragic and awful news that Matisyahu, best and warmest friend, adored and loved by everyone, was gone. Only a few days ago we were so happy that his condition had improved and he'd soon be with us. Matisyahu was an institution in the eyes of our friends, a symbol of friendship, comradeship, loyalty and devotion, an enthusiast and a sensitive man. He was so in his youth, in the movement and HaShomer HaTsair nest, and it didn't change to his last days of life.
We called his home in Haifa: the Masada 48 Hotel [Tr. Note: after the street address] because Matisyahu was a man of unseen hospitality. He lived his social life with all his heart and devotion, happy and grieving with others. Everybody who visited their home knew they'd find a warm and joyful household, arms open wide and a nice talk.
Matisyahu loved Israel with all his heart. After the Liberation War he was the happiest of all. After the 6-Day War his happiness was endless:
'Look what we lived to see' he said 'we are the happiest of all recent generations: Jerusalem is ours, Judea and Samaria. Eretz Israel belongs to us, we have everything. It's a pity that our parents, brothers and sisters have perished in Shoah and didn't live to see all this.'
Matisyahu was a member of Voronova community association committee in Israel. He was a constant participant in memorial ceremonies. Lately, when he was severely ill, his family members asked him to spare himself and to skip the long ride to Petah Tikwa, but he never listened. He came despite not feeling well, said goodbye to everyone, and left. And we didn't know that it would be our last goodbye.
His dream was to see the Voronova Book published, but who could know, and who could guess that his picture would appear on one of the pages in a black frame.
With his death, one of the typical folk figures of Voronova was gone, and it's a great pity. Blessed may his memory be.
Malkeh Levine Of Blessed Memory
At a very young age, in her best years, she became a widow and was left with 6 children. She gathered the whole family to discuss the future and it was decided that Asnat would move to Israel, son Arke would take over the wagon left by his father, and all the rest will adjust to life as orphans.
In those days there were several sewing workshops in town, which provided men and women clothing and sold wholesale to merchants from big cities. Malkeh sent her sons and daughters to learn the sewing trade in the workshop of Binyamin Levine, and that had an unexpected outcome. The apprentices joined the tailors union and there they were exposed to the new ideas of Marxism and the World of the Future. Malkeh's house shortly became the headquarters and secret meeting place of the Communist Party. With time, two of her sons were arrested. One was sentenced to imprisonment and was tortured; he became sick with tuberculosis. The other escaped to Russia, was arrested there, and sent to Siberia. Since then nobody has ever heard anything more about him.
Asnat, the eldest, who made Aliyah to Yavniel [Tr. Note: a town in Israel] immediately became a devoted pioneer. She didn't forget her family. She managed to arrange certificates for her two sisters Taubeh and Masha, who had meanwhile become disappointed with the World of the Future and made Aliyah. Taubeh OBM also built her home in Yavniel, and after several years they were joined by their mother Malkeh. Here she was finally content, happy with her daughters who had settled in Israel, and established a new generation of healthy and pretty grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She found her peace and quiet, made connections with local residents, and loved them. Here she was happy and joyful. During the dangerous years she volunteered with Hagana, smuggling weapons from town to town, and was even in Naharaim [Tr. Note: today's Jordan]. She did it with the assumption:
'They won't look [for weapons] on an old lady.' [Tr. Note: same sentence appears in Yiddish]
One day while she visiting her daughter in Tel Aviv she felt a weakness. She called her daughter and said:
'You know, I think and I feel that I am out of gas. I am going to father. Notify your sisters of my death, do it quietly and without rush, because Taubeh has two little children-- don't scare them.'
Then she closed her eyes and died. It was death by kiss.
by Aharon Karni
Translated by Emma Karabelnik
I go back a long way together with Yehoshua: in the nest, during training, and aliyah. His maturity and personality led him to be the leader of the nest. We met frequently at various conventions, sail trips through wilderness areas, and meetings with nests from surrounding towns. We always knew that we had a leader. Due to his personality and natural beauty he stood out above other nests. He was an authority and he ruled with wisdom, responsibility, and dedication mixed with good humor, cheerfulness and enthusiasm. All this had a great impact on his dynamic development and cultural level.
It was the will of fate that Yehoshua didn't join any kibbutz group to do his training and alyah. All the others had made aliyah long earlier and he remained the Last of the Mohicans. Soon the years passed and he wasn't able to join a young kibbutz. What did Yehoshua do? He did his training in his home town of residence. He worked tirelessly in all areas and succeeded at every assignment, in the name of the ZionistSocialist project. His training was never ending, he missed no activity if there was a bazaar, he'd run around to collect various objects and art items for the KKL lottery. If it was time for the traditional Zionist prayers of Simchat Torah, he was the gabbai and the shamash. On the next day of Shmini Atzeret he went from house to house to collect the Ata hereta vows. If there was someone who went through aliyah difficulties, there was Yehoshua. Few knew what was happening to him during what was probably the most critical period of his life. After he was disconnected from everything, burnt all the bridges, and the soil slipped under his feet, still he saw no other option or alternative for himself. Yehoshua was very modest when it came to himself, never bothered, asked, or forced others. He was too ashamed. He kept his pain to himself carrying it in his heart. His yearning for Erets Israel was so strong that he couldn't think of aliyah without desperation and worry. The fact that he didn't receive an aliyah permit depressed him. It was too much for him to wait another year of anticipation and inactivity until some more certificates would be granted. I remember we once sat in the room of teacher Tova (his wife) and had an idle chat. As soon as the topic of aliyah came up I saw Yehoshua's spirit fall. He had to make aliyah or his world would fall apart. We took the initiative and he was saved.
He received his aliyah certificate, and when I made aliyah we parted with a blessing:
See you soon in the Erets Israel of the workers. After seven to eight months we met in PetahTikva. Yehoshua looked radiant. He rehabilitated himself in this town and his spirit was high again. Later on, he and his wife Tova built their home in Israel.
With his death, our small company lost heart and mourned our leader, because he was our heart and spirit and we'll always remember him thus.
Translator's and Editor's footnotes:
by Prof. Moshe Kuznets
Translated by Emma Karabelnik
Father was a man of amazing virtues: a proud man with a lot of knowledge, a religious Jew, a devoted and loving husband and father, a generous host, a sensitive artist, a joyful and honest man, a man of labor, books and order.
Love of work, love of books, and love of order are marvelous attributes which we inherited from our father on our independent paths. Above all, his integrity and his good nature made him very popular man. He was loved by his family, popular in his home town Voronova in Poland, and respected by his neighbors and friends at work. His warm personality will remain forever in the hearts of all those who knew him.
Since childhood I have always proud of my father's laboriousness and he taught me to appreciate everything that he gave me through his hard work. Father always tried to do a perfect job.
Father left behind diaries and notes that he wrote to himself. Due to his love to order, many details and documents were preserved which gave us a clear vision of Jewish life, beginning from his hometown, to the elementary school in town, to the Tarbut highschool in Lida, training days in Alkosh and Aliyah to Erets Israel on February 20, 1933, and finally through his life in Israel, taking care of his wife Nekhama, may she live long, of my sister Hadassa, and of me and our families. His love and affection towards us aligned him with all parents who know the secret of family unity, and of the children's education, based on affection and encouragement towards a better future, creativity, and hard work.
The notes that my father left behind are in almost perfect order. They tell the story of a meaningful period of time in the town in Poland, about the preparatory events, the training, and Aliyah, of the establishment of the Hebrew workers' movement in Israel and its role in the revival of the state of Israel.
In one of father's notes I found the following text: There is only one holy word in the hearts of Voronovers, Aliyah, to our land…our land
His memory will live forever in our hearts, a memory of love, perfection and devotion to the goals of the era.
by S. Aviel
Translated by Emma Karabelnik
|Reb Gottlieb Konikhovski, Of Blessed Memory
Towards the end of 1933 I was surprised to hear that Reb Gottlieb had come to Israel with his wife KhenyeChava'l. I was surprised because I had known all the Zionists in Voronova and I thought I could predict who'd be brave enough to make Aliyah under the hard conditions in Israel at that time. This list would not have included R. Gottlieb in my wildest dreams. He came across the opportunity and he took advantage of it, a brave decision.
He asked me how he to find a job in Israel. I told him to go to Histadrut and he replied:
Histradrut, zol zein, Histadrut. Where is it, how do I find it? I mean I don't care who gives me work and what it is called. The first smart move is to find work; after work is found everything else will be found. My absorption in Erets Israel will be a solid fact. Just let me work.
I was sitting with P. Mishori, who worked in a workers' committee, when suddenly he appeared. When Mishori heard what his professional skills are, he jumped from joy:
[In Hebrew:] Can you build a railing? [In Yiddish:] A railing? A railing for stairs?
Reb Gottlieb laughed out:
[In Yiddish:] A railing? Who? Where? When? [In Hebrew:] Who can't build a railing?
He didn't know that at that precise moment the construction of the Agricultural Bank building (AgroBank) on Allenby street in Tel Aviv had stopped because of the lack of a reasonable carpenter who could design the railing for the interior staircase leading to the upper floors.
Mishori was overjoyed. The construction engineer was even happier.
At the end of the conversation between Reb Gottlieb and the engineer it was agreed that he'd be paid 40 agorot per day, exactly twice the average wage of the period.
At the end of the working day, the engineer was satisfied and thanked Reb Gottlieb, to which the latter replied:
You are satisfied? Very good. But I am not working here anymore, I quit.
He didn't say this in order to bargain for wages. What upset him was the lack of professionalism on the site, the lack of appreciation for talent and skill.
The engineer begged and raised the wage up to 70 agorot, and it seemed that they came to an understanding.
But one day I met Reb Gottlieb walking around Tel Aviv's streets in the middle of the day. I wondered:
Why is Reb Gottlieb is walking around? Don't you have work?
I work, I work. But guess how much they pay me.
I tried to guess. 80? 90?
[In Yiddish:] Listen to this, he said, you can't count any higher? 110 piastres. (the money was called agorot, but he still called them piasters)
And thus, with no help of any organization he worked his own way, settled for good in Israel, and set deep and steady roots for a good life.
Reb Gottlieb succeeded in bringing his whole family to Israel, and they are all firmly established here.
During his free hours he used to go out and wander in the streets of little Tel Aviv, which was in his eyes a symbol of big city growth and development. He loved Tel Aviv deeply, and his life there provided for all of his spiritual needs. The city always made him feel content and satisfied an answer to his loneliness. He enjoyed walking alone the narrow streets with no need for company.
But as much as he was integrated in Israel's life, he didn't succeed in integrating fully into its society since he didn't learn the language. At first he was angry that they had decided to revive a dead language instead of using its living friend. He didn't understand the purpose of this.
Why Hebrew language, he complained. Yiddish is a language that every Jew understands. It is also respectful, because German is so similar to Yiddish. [In Yiddish:] You see? In Hebrew who, what, when?
He was upset that he didn't share a language in common with his grandchildren. This made him very annoyed, but with age he understood his mistake and was sorry that he didn't speak the language of his nation. His only consolation was:
[In Yiddish:] You know, you can get by in Israel with Yiddish. When I address a strazhnik (a police officer) in Yiddish, he understands me.
All this didn't affect his joyful and humorous nature. Nothing could destroy his good mood. His pride grew every time he thought about how he had been almost 60 when making Aliyah, and till this day he is totally independent. He used to declare:
[In Yiddish:] I ask you to look. None of your previously rich and powerful made Aliyah. They didn't have the courage to come, but I came. Farshteist!
Then he used to look at his hands, covered with blisters the source of his subsistence and his future and it made him happy. To feel young again, he joined a group of young people, and he loved to spend time with them.
When I try to visualize his image, I see a simple Jew, honest, with skillful hands and a wisdom of life, who embraced Erets Israel in his own simple manner formed back in his town of Voronova a town of hard work and a yearning for simple salvation.
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