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From the Hebrew Press 1858 - 1900

The following are translations of articles, which appeared in several Hebrew newspapers which circulated in Russia during the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The articles have been selected for their relevance to the towns in which branches of the family lived. # denotes comments by this author not included in the articles. The style of the text is classical Hebrew, which the translation seeks to convey, often at the expense of correct English construction - Chaim Freedman

(Hamagid 1858; Jan.29)

The names of the colonies of our brethren of the House of Israel, workers of the land, and the numbers of their families, in Yekaterinoslav Government:

Novy Zlatopol 207 families 996 people.
Veseloy 71 families 381 people.
Krasnoselsk 98 families 555 people.
Mezirecha 96 families 471 people.
Trudoliubovk 109 families 444 people.
Nyechayevka 43 families 339 people.
Grafskoy 53 families 249 people.

(# The spelling of several colonies is incorrect).

(Hamagid 1861; March 20.)

Pavlograd

The telegraph line was extended from here to Kharkov and Mariupol.

 

(Hamelitz 1864; April 23)

Hulyaipolye

(# A lengthy letter from Nissan Shneur Rozov, a teacher in Hulyaipolye, or Gulyai-Polye, about the attempts of the traditionalist leaders of the community to suppress modern Haskalah methods of education).

 

(Hamelitz 1864; Oct.8)

Mikhailovka

Noted men united together until there were collected forty-five households; their corner-stone was the noble Mr.Elyakim Korenblit; and on the 15th of September 1863 they completed the work of the Beit Midrash.

 

(Hamelitz 1865; March 4)

Hulyaipolye

In our town there is no office to send the post and with great toil the people of the town and its environs receive or send their letters and the journals which circulate here in our town and its environs, by passers-by here, or to the nearby town of Orekhov. Also then many are lost without anyone knowing where they are. Therefore the esteemed man Reb Dov Kerner, good Gabbai of the Sick Visiting Society, saw fit to collect money from all the lords who dwell in their villages around our town, and from all the householders here who have correspondence, and with this money hired one man who would operate a mobile post in our city, to send twice a week a carriage to carry the letters of our city and its environs, which were collected in the shop of the noble Mr.Ostrovsky, to Orekhov to the post, and to bring from there the letters and periodicals which are sent to us.

 

Now I am obliged to advise that in our town has been established a library for Hebrew books, through the endeavours of my teacher the Maskil the Reb Nissan Rozov. Also through the teacher Mr.Dreksler was established a library for Russian books.

-Eliyahu Berdichevsky.

 

(Hamelitz 1871; June 22)

Tokmak

(# Another letter from Rozov pertaining to the state of education in the region and his problems encountered in the past when he sought to introduce secular studies against the wishes of the parents of students. Nevertheless he praises the progress in education since his arrival in the region)

 

There live here more than a hundred Jewish families and the word of the Maskilim is dear to them in this place.

-Nissan Shneur Rozov, teacher to the children of Yeshurun.

 

(Hamelitz 1871; April 12)

Berdyansk

(# a general letter signed by Yosef the son of David Hakohen,native of New Russia).

 

(Hamelitz 1871; July 8)

Tokmak

(# Continuing correspondence from Rozov regarding education and his personal feud with the traditionalists of the town).

 

(Hamelitz 1871; Sept.27)

Kherson

(# A report of the election of the government rabbi after the death of Rabbi Yitskhak Leib Deichmann. Elected was the `wise Rabbi Reb Feitel Blumenfeld '.)

 

 

(Hamelitz 1878; Oct.18)

Berdyansk

Not long ago there was founded here a society `Holy Writ', and the Maskilim of the city took it upon themselves to pay a set yearly sum to purchase books.

-Moshe Levin

(Hamelitz 1879; April 10)

Berdyansk

We have been informed that on the 23rd of March a certain woman gave birth to a boy who from his chest upwards was divided into two heads, like the image of the Russian eagle. One head was born dead and the other lived for a complete day.

 

(Hamelitz 1879; May 1.)

Berdyansk

On Friday the 17th of Nissan the students of the Talmud Torah here stood for the yearly examination by the honorable  Maskilim of our city led by the government rabbi Mr. Muhlmann and the supervisors of the establishment Mr. Horovitch (the lawyer) and Mr. Rotman. The youths aged nine and ten answered correctly and translated into Russian from the holy books.

 

The names of the people who supported the Talmud Torah are: Yitskhak Ostrovsky, Yisrael Sokolovsky, Oglitsky, Lutsky, Rozenshtein, Rolbroka, Rothaltz, Berdichevsky, Buchstov, Gelbuch, Tvibach, Aharon Sokolovsky, Chernikov, Donner,Kerner, Levinzon, Zolotorov.

-Moshe Levin (first teacher in the school here).

(Hamelitz 1880; April 22)

Village Tsarakonstantinovka

(# reports the need for donations for the colonies suffering from hardships and hunger)

-Yosef Reuven Lovovsky

(Hamelitz 1880; June 24)

Tokmak

There were elected Gabbaim of the synagogue Rabbi Dov Ber Luria and Rabbi Moshe Berger.

-Avraham Rafael Feitelzon

(Hamelitz 1880; Sept 20)

Berdyansk

The passing is reported of Rabbi Eichorn, son-in-law of the government rabbi Muhlmann, may his light shine on, now some ten years after his appointment here.

 

(Hamelitz 1880; Nov.25)

Alexandrovsk

There was a robbery at the house of the philanthropist Reb Naftali Hertz Berdichevsky.

(Hamelitz 1881; May 19 (31) (# two dates: Gregorian and Julian)

Berdyansk May 13

On the 5th of May a mob of peasants assembled from the village of Konsky-rozdor (Alexandrovsk district, Yekaterinoslav Government) and destroyed the shops of the Jews and spoiled everything therein. The priest of the village went out to preach to them with a gentle tongue andto implore them to desist from evil, but the crowd did not heed his words.

Like this incident so was it in the villages Popiko and Andreyevka and the city Orekhov. Many families came here naked as the day they were born, hungry and thirsty. Yesterday a rumor spread that also the Jewish colonies in the Alexandrovsk and Mariupol districts were set upon by persecutors who gave vent to their wrath. Against these there can be no claim, because they support themselves by the toil of their hands by working the fields, and sparingly support their households, and have no part of the Christian peasants around about. Nevertheless they fell upon them and smote them a foul blow. Their houses were wrecked, their sheep and cattle and all the spoil they took and left.

Therefore I call upon our people wherever they may be to awaken and take pity on the forsaken colonists who have been left devoid of everything, and whoever wishes should send his donation the address of the Rabbi Grunim in Mariupol or to the address of the Rabbi Bruk in Colony Grafskoy, and he will allocate the money to the desperately poor.

We here were in great fear and sent a telegram to the ruler of our land, the Duke Dondukovorsov. Yesterday a battalion of soldiers arrived from Pavlograd and the minister from Simferopol in person arrived, and assured us that peace and quiet would be in our city. A few families traveled from here to Kertch and also sent their merchandise to other towns.

All the Russians here signed a decision to expel all the Jews from here and at every corner can be heard a murmur that the Jews suck the blood of the Russians and now the end has arrived to remove their memory from the land.

Yosef, the son of David Hakohen.

(Hamelitz 1881; May 26 (June7))

From the Jewish Colonies in the Government of Ekaterinoslav May 13:

With weeping tears I write these columns, to announce to our brethren of the Children of Israel that also our brethren the workers of the land drank of the poisoned cup. On the5,6,7,8th of May the Russians fell upon the colonies Trudoliubovka, Nechaevka, Grafskoy and Mezeretch. With fury they denigrated like an empty vessel those unfortunates who live by the labor of their hands and have no hand in commerce with the peasants their neighbors, nor serve them wine or spirits.

Their houses they destroyed and whatever they found therein they smashed to pieces. The Torah scrolls and all the printed books they tore and defiled them with refuse. The fear of the Almighty fell upon all the colonies of the Hebrews because the Russian peasants boasted that after they had filled their packs with booty they would put an end to their lives. Men, women and children escaped with their lives by the skin of their flesh in the dark of night and hid in holes and cracks in the open field, far from where human foot trod. And from much confusion mothers lost their children and men their wives.

In vain I try with my poor pen to describe all the evil which came upon us, and the terror of death which engulfs us. Thanks are due to the government which sent soldiers to defend us and disperse our attackers.

But the bread has finished in our vessels; therefore it is to you, the generous of our nation, I call. Wake up please to have pity on your brethren who are supported from the toil of their hands, by the sweat of their brow, who were laid waste innocently, other than that they are called Jew. Call for donations to save the souls of the needy. Also our neighbors the Germans sent us wagons laden with food to revive the soul, surely you our brothers and flesh and blood, merciful ones the sons of merciful ones, and if not you, who will before us ?

The writer who signs in tears, the official government rabbi for for the Hebrew colonies in the Government of Yekaterinoslav,

Yaakov Bruk, my address is care of Mariupol, Yekaterinoslav Government in the Jewish Colony Grafskoy, Official Rabbin Bruk.

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Colony Nechaevka

On Wednesday the 6th of May in the morning our neighbors the peasants rose up against us like hungry wolves. At first the inhabitants of Colony Trudoliubovka succeeded to drive off the robbers with the assistance of the inhabitants of Nechaevka and Grafskoy and also some Germans who hurried to their help. But when we saw that we could not stand up against them, we fled for our lives. Then they broke into our houses and broke the windows and doors, and smashed the ovens and took all our property, also our horses and cattle, all the ploughing and harvesting implements, everything they took with them, and what was left they smashed to pieces. They destroyed the shops to the foundation and ten Torah scrolls and many books they tore to shreds and cast them to the earth and trod them with their feet. The Holy Ark and the pulpit they took with them. What was able to be saved from their evil hands we hid in the German Colony Marenfeld, about seven versts from us. They returned and plundered on Thursday and we were narrowly saved from death if we had not hurried to escape for our lives, and we were forced to flee at night, men, women and children and the elderly, about ten versts to Colony Vilner where we found the Trustee who had come to defend us. A number of children were lost at night in the open field because their parents forgot them and they were left to the winds of chance from great fear.

Thanks to the authorities who did all they could to shelter us and also the inhabitants of the villages who stood up to guard and not let those greedy for murder to leave their villages. Also the priests are worthy of praise because they also stood in the breach and preached morality to the mob and warned them against doing such abominations.

Now `Hamelitz', write this as a memorial lest be forgotten the deeds of the villagers and the priests and the government officials (even though I don't know their names) and let the publishers of the Russian Jewish periodicals copy these words of gratitude which come forth from the depth pf the heart. Let those Christians who have done us well know that Israel will not forget all who do well for them. So speak to the heart of our brethren to have mercy on the unfortunates amongst us who sit on the ground in the ruins of their houses without bread or clothes. The hair would be whitened of all who came to see this upheaval. Also the minister in charge of all the Hebrew colonies (the Popetchitel) Mr. Kovalevsky wept and moaned bitterly when he came to visit us.

Also Colony No.4 (# Mezhirech) near to Hulyaipolye was burst into by villains who wrought their desire as they did by us. And in Colony Kobilnye they threw one dead person out of a window and other such terrible things. And when we asked our neighbors who have dwelt securely with us always: "Why have you acted so to your neighbors? Like brothers we have dwelt with you, workers of the soil are we like you, we have done no evil to you, we have not encroached on your boundaries, nor harmed you or done anything bad. What spirit came upon you to turn from friends to enemies ?" And they replied simply that so were they commanded by a certain ruler who passed through all the villages, to do so to the Jews. There is no doubt that one of the Nihlists was our foe.

It is worthwhile and right that the leaders of Israel in the capital city should suggest to the mighty government to grant us support in our trouble. We are peasants; our hands do not touch commerce nor do we draw spirits for the Christians; from the fruit of our hands' labor we make a meager livelihood; from where can we revive our souls if everything was plundered, and we have nothing left save our bodies and our land ? If the government does not hurry to our help, who knows what will be the end of the matter, because the shelter of a few can save us at this time, lest we perish from starvation. Only the government by itself can improve our situation to strengthen our hands, to draw forth bread from the ground as formerly.

The writer with a hand shaking from much lamentation,

Yonah the son of reb SH.Z. Klaf.

--------------------

We have collected these two articles which are composed in the same style and complement each other and bear witness one for the other, so that our readers will be convinced of the truth of these matters, and furthermore will recognize that they have not exaggerated, nor is there any cause for the hatred of their neighbors, and their hands are confused to bring witness to show iniquity and to hate us."Nov. Vr." in all that it related from nearby Mariupol, did not spare in telling about what happened to the casualties.

According to that writer, the mighty government has for the past decades allocated from government property in Yekaterinoslav Government fields for the Jews, and now, according to the calculation of the authorities, the number of Jewish workers of the land in the Mariupol district alone has reached six thousand souls. They are divided into two sections: Zatishye and Grafskoy, and in both of them are seven colonies. In the latter (Grafskoy) which is located on the border of Alexandrovsk district, there broke out disturbances like in Yelizavetgrad. According to reports verified by the authorities, on the 8th of May peasants from the districts of Alexandrovsk and Mariupol, led by shady characters (unknown) fell upon two colonies and destroyed and took over the entire property of the Jews, and left them without food or the shade of a roof. At the first attack on the Jews, the police force of the Oryadnik and the supervisors of the Hebrew colonies did not stop the murder and more so the blood of the mob boiled and they went from house to house and confiscated whatever they laid hands upon.

And he adds that a great dark fear fell upon the Jews living in the other colonies, and many fled for their lives and abandoned all their property to chance, or deposited their belongings with their Christian neighbors who dwelt amicably with them.

From all these our brethren can understand the calamity of these unfortunates who even the worst and cruelest prosecutor could not justify the sentence, and against his wishes would admit that it could not be verified that which is claimed by the drainers of the sap of their land and their toil. The Russians wrought vengeance on their brethren the Jewish peasants, by the hands of dark disguised ones they were incited. Therefore they are worthy of compassion and we should hurry to their assistance , happy if by our hands be their salvation.

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(Hatsefirah 1881; May 12 (24) )

On the 1st (13th) of May there broke out a disturbance in Alexandrovsk, Yekaterinoslav Government. Workers on the railroad fell upon the Jews, plundered them and smote them greatly. They were assisted by local peasants. Eight hours the upheaval ensued, until after midnight the army arrived and put down the disturbance.

On the 2nd of May disturbances broke out in Lozova and in Nikolaev. in both these places the plunderers did not do much evil because armed forces came in time and restored order. Not so was it in the city of Smiela in the Government of Kiev.........on the day of disturbances near the railway line in Zmerinsk the Jews lives were at stake....... in the city of Konotop all the houses and shops near the railway line were destroyed. On the 7th (19th) of May came a report from Simferopol that the fire became inflamed also in the towns of the Crimea. In Berdyansk and Orekhov the disturbances broke out in a terrible manner and the minister of the district hastened there at the head of an army battalion. The end of the matter is still not known. The inhabitants of the villages abandoned their homes and gathered in the towns and cities, Kremenchug, Poltava and Yekaterinoslav which became besieged cities.

In the rural towns in Kherson Government the German and Bulgarian colonists awoke and chose armed men to guard our brethren of the House of Israel in their places. In Warsaw the last ten days passed quietly and safely; there are no outbreaks in the streets of Warsaw.

-------------------

(# A description of pogroms)

(Hatsefirah 1881; May 19 (31)

A town in the Government of Crimea, district of Melitopol, reports that disturbances broke out there on the4th (16th) of the month in a terrible manner. Of all the houses and shops of the Jews not a remnant was left. All the storehouses for spirits and other drinks were raided and plundered, and streams of spirits flowed all around the city. The terrible upheaval continued for two days, and when the armed forces arrived in the city, there remained nothing of the Jews, save their bodies and their destroyed and desolate houses. Fear struck all our brethren of the House of Israel living around about that they should not also be subjected to a massacre after all their property was plundered.

In the city a large mob collected last Sunday to attack all the Jewish houses, but the police commander advised the intending perpetrators and the mob withdrew.

(Hatsefirah 1881; May 26 (June 7) )

We will repeat in order that there should be a memorial for all the places wherein the persecuting hand prevailed in the last three weeks. Aside from the city Orekhov which we mentioned in the previous edition, the following villages were victims: Konskiy-Rozdor (Yekaterinoslav Gov.), almost all the Jewish colonies in the Alexandrovsk and Mariupol districts were plundered, their stock destroyed and their work tools smashed, the houses destroyed and every good allotment covered with stones.

In the town Gulyai-Polye where there are Jewish businesses, the peasants gathered before the senior nobleman and the village priest and demanded that they be read the religious writ about annihilating the Jews. It took much effort by the priest to quiet the tumult. But after a few days the disturbances were renewed and the Jews were subjected to derision and attack in a terrible manner.

On May 5 (17) the plunderers broke into about seven villages and the Jewish agricultural colonies and had their way with them. Many were beaten and wounded and all their property pillaged. The small and large animals were captured, the ploughs and field implements were smashed, and all the good allotments were covered in stones. Most of the attackers were from the villages Voskresensk and Gatshuri (# Heitsur).All the villagers said unanimously that there had not been any command to act so, for now it seemed that such deeds were not done in the larger cities by the light of the sun and in view of the judges and polices, other than if restraint had been held back.

The haters of Israel knew of no guilt amongst the sons of our people, save that we don't work the land (# the urban Jews), but now it can be seen what was in store for the Jewish agriculturalists who suffered tragedy and wounds from such a tumult. Aside from the colonies in Alexandrovsk district whose names we have mentioned, we have been informed from the environs of the city Orekhov that there broke out disturbances in a terrible manner as reported last week. Three villages of the Jewish colonies were destroyed and two large estates near Orekhov belonging to property owning Jews were made desolate. 500 cattle and horses and 10,000 sheep imported from Spain and praised for the quality of their wool, were captured. Household and field implements were smashed to pieces and all the ploughing and harvesting tools were broken and the produce found in the stores was laden onto carts and removed.

In many were arrested who were known to have aided the plunderers and murderers.

(Hatsefirah 1881 June 9 (21) )

The vile adversary `Novi Vremye' itself wrote that Israel had been reviled and its faith defamed. It reported everything that occurred to the Jewish agriculturalists in the colonies of Grafskoy and its sisters Zatishye, Sladkovodnaya, Tsarakonstantinovka, and Alexeyeva and tens of others in the districts of Alexandrovsk and Mariupol. Hundreds of families were left destitute in the fields. Hundreds of Jews who were owners of houses and fields are now asking to become servants to the peasants in return for a loaf of bread. These unfortunates have nothing left save their bodies. Also the sown fields were covered with stones and the houses and cattle captured. The foundations of the houses and the farm implements were destroyed. The attackers warned that if the German colonists helped the Jews they also would not be spared. In the district of Mirograd in the two towns Shushkiand Tukhi, the Jews were beaten with whips. Hundreds of naked and barefoot families found refuge in the German colonies, and the Germans gave every person seven Koppeks per day lest they died from hunger.

(Hamelitz 1883)

Trudliubovka

(# A letter describing the depressed condition of the colonies a year (# should be two years) after the pogrom when the farmers had not yet recovered and again they were smitten by a plague of murrain and most of the cattle died).

(Hamelitz 1884; February 2)

These past few years in succession the land has ceased to give its strength nor is the grain which was planted last summer successful. The children ask for bread and there is none. Also the cattle have fallen to a plague. The supervisor assisted three of the colonies in this Government, Priyutnaya, Roskoshnaya and Rovnopol, as the committee gave a sum of 1500 rubles.

Yaakov Bruk.

(Hamelitz 1884; May 23)

The state of Haskalah (#Enlightenment) amongst the colonists in Yekerterinoslav Government.

The system of education in all the colonies is mournful, nor is there one school nor an upright teacher. Only the Melamdim are the pedagogues and their Kheders are the schools. The main things which the youth learn at this time are: Khumash with Rashi's commentary; Prophets and `Khayei Adam'. A very few of the boys learn Gemarah, because these past ten years the Talmud has been removed from the Kheders. But two colonies, Novozlatopol and Zatishye are also now outstanding in Talmud learning. The hatred of Haskalah which prevailed amongst the colonists has passed and the love of knowledge has taken its place. They have requested to build a school and donated 200 rubles, but they have yet to be answered by the authorities.

Yisrael Benyamin Levner

Col.Altnossov, Tavritch Gov.

(Hamelitz 1884; June 2)

The colonies are built on a high place on salty land. Therefore it is very difficult to dig wells, and even after the digging, the water found is bitter. The other fourteen colonies are slightly better off. Only one colony is blessed with sweet water, and therefore it was called (# meaning sweet water in Russian).

The water which is brought from the village (sic)

the day before the Sabbath had to last for the entire week. In 1879 the colonists petitioned the supervisor and they received an additional desyatin and three quarters per family. In 1880 the inhabitants of Trudoliubovka and Nechaevka took advice to purchase an area of land (mastov) of 200 desyatin. Since the land was not close to those colonies, they were forced to buy land at a distance of ten versts.

Great is the colonists' desire to cultivate the land. In each and every colony there is a rabbi, Shokhet, Melamdim for the children, Shamash for the synagogue, and all these people receive their salaries be they little or great. The rabbi receives not less than three hundred roubles a year, aside from which all the colonists must pay the rabbi for the sale of Khametz `a fitting donation'. The Shokhet is paid every year one hundred and forty rubles and he who desires a fowl to be slaughtered must pay 2 koppeks, for a duck 5 kopeks, a sheep 10 kopeks and a large animal 80 kopeks. The Shamash of the synagogue receives 40 roubles per year and is supplemented by other small donations. There are eight Melamdin in each colony.

In colony there is also `the Society of Book

Collectors' (for buying books). The village headman (Starosta) takes one hundred and forty rubles per year. Thus do they outsmart their poor brethren and strip their skin.

Y.B.Levner

(Hamelitz 1884; September 7)

(# An article about education in Tavritch Gov. mainly directed against the Melamdim in Simferopol, Berdyansk and Melitopol).

Y.B.Levner

Col.Altnossov, Tav.Gov. Melitopol District.

(Hamelitz 1885; July)

Tokmak

(# a general article)

Elimelekh, the son of Rabbi Yissakhar-Ber Milner

Rabbi of Tokmak and Moshe Aharon Luria.

(Hamelitz 1885; August 9)

Berdyansk

On Sunday, the day before Rosh Khodesh Av, fire broke out in Colony Bakhers, called Zatishye, which belongs to our brethren of the House of Israel. Nineteen houses were burnt to the ground together with the barns. The unfortunates who have until now supported themselves by the toil of their hands are in dire need of assistance.

Levi Reuven Zimlin

Certified: The notary Reuven David, son of Rabbi Shalom Feinberg, living here in Berdyansk.

(Hamelitz 1885; November 4)

(# An article about education in Tavritch Gov. calling for its improvement with the assistance of the government rabbis, including Muhlmann of Berdyansk).

(Hamelitz 1887; May 22)

Mariupol

A number of families of our brethren living in the nearby villages decided to leave their places and emigrate to the Holy Land of Israel, to buy there a plot of land, to work it and look after it. From Colony Nadezhnaya, or `the colony from Vilna' and from Colony No.4 (# Mezhirech) they sent three men to buy an estate in the Holy Land for nine families. Most of the emigrants to the Holy Land are very rich. One of them has thirty thousand rubles and also the moderate ones have in their pockets more than four thousand rubles. All of them are agriculturalists from their youth till today. The men who went to buy an estate took with them six thousand rubles for the cost of the journey and to pay a deposit for the land they will buy.

N.

(Hamelitz 1889; February 19)

Mariupol

(# an article about the building of the hospital and the donations of Dr. Averbach and the noble Reb Yeshaya Segal).

(Hamelitz 1889; April 27)

(# an article about the murder of the father-in-law of Eliezer, the son of Menakhem Zigolin).

(Hamelitz 1889; June 27)

Melitopol

(# an article about a man aged twenty eight who hanged himself in the forest and left a note at home.)

(Hamelitz 1889; August 1)

Melitopol

(# an article about the building of the hospital funded from the meat tax).

(Hamelitz 1889; August 12)

Mikhailovka

A list of donations for the victims of a fire in the city of Ostroah, includes the renowned Elyakim Kornblit and`M.Luban - one ruble. The latter was KHAIM-MOSHE Luban, a son-in-law of Rabbi PINKHAS Komesaroff).

(Hamelitz 1890; January 1)

Novozlatopol

This colony was the first of the colonies in Yekaterinoslav Gov. to be settled by our brethren in the early years when they left their birthplace, an established land, to wander to a desolate place, and they chose to work the land as the source of their sustenance. He who saw this colony twenty years ago, if he would come now to visit it would be distressed to see it. Even the few oak trees which stood before the houses stand now bare. The poor houses stand naked like deserted orphans, and throughout the large and veteran colony, spread over three versts, there is not to be found one fence dividing the yards. You will not see one garden which gives forth its fragrance for the farmers in the days of summer, and sparse greenery bears witness to the coming spring.

Our synagogue which stands high above our colony is full of cracks and on all sides birds nest such that during prayers when the Khazan raises his voice to lift his prayers on high, the birds are awakened and declare: "Blessed be the Gabbai of Novozlatopol who provided a shelter for us."

All this is the fault of the leaders of our community, who instead of fulfilling their duty to uplift and repair the colony and restore its glory, lift the cup in their hands, and daily after leaving the synagogue, direct their steps to the wine house, and the Gabbai at their head leads them like the goat leading the flock.

Last summer they had the idea to dig a well to provide freshwater for the community of a better quality than to date. Butin the accounts of the headman from last year one will find only spirits and wine in the well. To date the costs of digging the well amount to about two thousand rubles, and the well is empty with no water.

There is no school in our colony to teach the children knowledge and science according to the spirit of the times. The boys even after completing their studies in the Kheder are devoid of knowledge, for throughout the days of their study they suffer under the Melamdim who are devoid of knowledge and who would anywhere else on earth be driven away, yet find shelter in our colony.

One of the people, Yitskhak Politsk.

(Hamelitz 1890; February 9)

Slavlanka

I was astounded by Mr.Politsa who writes about what he saw fit to denigrate the name of the Gabbai there, and the man is elderly, honorable and respected and beloved by mankind. For more than forty years he has held an honorable office (aside from being Gabbai), and was honored by the government with a silver medallion for his diligence at his task, and aside from this he is a descendant of a distinguished lineage, as is known to the above writer, so why should he defile his honor in vain ? And if he is displeased that the Gabbai has not seen fit to renovate the synagogue, I ask him to advise from whence should the money be found ? The income from the synagogue is very meager and to restore the synagogue would require a handsome sum, and there is no reliable source from where to acquire the money. What is the Gabbai that he should be slandered ? And should it be asked: why has the income decreased suddenly; then it should be known that over nearly twelve years (during which the Gabbai has carried the load of office single handed) the bathhouse has been almost completely rebuilt and many repairs have been done to the synagogue. Even these were financed not from the income but from money allocated by the committee which was then in Odessa, through the efforts of the heads of the community, including that honorable man who the writer has singled out as a target.

But now help cannot be had as previously to repair the synagogue, for which there are various reasons, and this is not the place to go in to them. I have several other things to say about the well referred to by the writer, but I do not want to burden the readers further. Only this do I wish to state. That not for the truth wrote he who wrote, but to gain honor at the expense of his fellow man.

Note Zeev Shoyer.

(Hamelitz 1890; February 22)

Nadyezhna

Amongst all the seventeen colonies in Yekterinoslav Government, the most advanced is Colony N. whose farmers uplifted honorably the work of the land by their diligence and their wonderful care. The houses are large and of good standard like their German neighbors. They possess various work implements, harvesters, new iron ploughs are soon due, and the families with ease work the land. There is hardly a farmer who hasn't a plough or machinery. Most sow 80 - 120 desyatins, and the least is not less than 20. From the fertile land they harvest twenty meastres and more, but occasionally it happens that the sowing was in vain. Their only interest is the work of the land and there is no commerce. Thus when they finish their work in the fields in the summer, they begin to plough the land to prepare for the spring sowing, so that their labor will not be prolonged then, and the festival of Pesach will not interfere their work, for most of the fields planted before Pesach will bring forth their produce doubly in comparison to those sown after the festival.

As their physical condition, so their spiritual state. Most of the farmers are not ignorant, and throughout the winter they arise early several hours before sunrise and go to the synagogue to listen to learning before the rabbi who preaches his teachings every day. He who can study by himself sits and learns from some book. In their wisdom they support the rabbi and make sure he lacks nothing. If one has less the others help to make sure he lack nothing required to work the land. If one collapses all rise to support him, each according to his capacity. Would that all the colonies were like Nadyezhna their sister !

The members of the community of , a distance of two versts from Colony N. finished not long ago the work of the Holy Ark which they began twelve years ago when the synagogue was founded. They used to lay the scrolls of the Torah in a simple wooden box which was more broken than whole. The Shokhel Mr. Yeshayahu Wittenberg blessed all the people who contributed to this holy task. Those who strove much for this matter were the headman Mr. Eizik Tankhum Svidler and the Gabbai Mr.Abba Khadosh. The cost of the ark reached 1000roubles.

Yitskhak Politsk.

(Hamelitz 1890; March 2)

Novozlatopol

In Hamelitz one of our townspeople saw fit to cast insult on the leaders of our town in particular, and in general on all the inhabitants, by saying that the people are not engaged in agriculture. This is an absolute lie. In evidence is the fact that each desyatin of land which to date was valued at 1.85to 2.0 rubles, now is worth up to eight rubles, and the better plots up top 10 rubles. All who work more on the land are to be praised, and from morning to night, father with son, mother with daughter, all as one work the land with all their heart and soul.

That which the writer wrote that they desired to dig a well for better water for the community, and he went to great lengths to deceive as if they filled their throats with wine, this is falsehood. We wandered far from our birthplace in Vitebsk Gov.(# most came from the town of Lutzin) until we arrived in 1846 here in Novozlatopol, a dry and desolate place, with bitter water unfit even for the animals to drink, how much more so for humans. We have to bring water from seven or eight versts away, and some of us buy their water with money, and even then not always at the required time, once a week or a fortnight, Sometimes we have to eke out a drop of water for seven days. Everyone who has not seen this evil will be astounded at the sight. At Shavuot time when there is the harvest, we have to waste half a day to bring cold water to sustain our souls. So we sought to dig a well to provide fresh water in the center of the town. The cost of excavation to a depth of forty sezyashin was 1525 roubles. Next summer we hope to dig until we find water.

Now the writer casts aspersions and claims that the expenses exceeded two thousand rubles, and that this was spent only on spirits. This is exceedingly imprudent to spread such falsehood. Also nothing was said about the leadership of our synagogue which is gloriously constructed, in which the writer finds blemishes in that which is holy, and states that the synagogue is full of cracks and nobody pays attention. This is an absolute lie.

The assistant government rabbi,

Yitskhak Tsvi Weisman, Shokhet here.

(#)Reference to `Hersche' Weisman is made in the memoirs of Bill Comisarow, including a photograph.

(Hamelitz 1890; March 28)

Novozlatopol

We have seen fit to advice through Hamelitz of the integrity of the noble Mr.L.Einhorn who entered into a transaction with us to dig a well for fresh water last year (because our colony has no water fit for drinking), and he dug to a depth of 40 sezyashins and did not find water fit to drink. In his good will he began to dig a different well with a new machine, but all its expense to date (more than 1500 rubles) has been in vain. But if also in the other well it will be necessary to dig more than 40 sezyashins, we will be obliged to pay him for each sezyashin, and also in this respect he has given us a considerable discount as compared to our original contract with him. But we are in fear of not finding water even at 80 sezyashins, or he may encounter hard rock, in which case we must pay him twofold for each sezyashin, and where will we find finance for that ?

Therefore we have drafted a petition signed by all the inhabitants of our town, and with the assistance of the supervisor of all the colonies I.V.Kovalevsky who always deals well with us, and we have sent it to the officials in charge of our colonies who reside in Kherson. In the petition we have implored them to grant us funds from the colony account or to provide for several years an amount of 2000 rubles. If, Heaven forbid, they do not heed our request, then we have no hope to drink water from that well and our toil will be suspended and we will be thirsty for water, for in our town there is no river flowing with water, only one reservoir (Prud) and in the season of melting snow it fills its banks with water, and from it we water the herds. But last winter very little rain or snow fell. Also we have no forest nor stone and therefore many people have abandoned their places and left.

Yitskhak-Tsvi, Shokhet, Weisman

Assistant government rabbi.

(Hamelitz 1890; March 8)

Nikolaev

Rabbi Avraham-David the son of Rabbi Yehuda-Leib Lavaut, passed away at the age of 75.

(Hamelitz 1890; March 12)

Melitopol

(# reports of the government rabbi Yehuda-Leib Miyatshon)

Genichesk

(# reports of Shraga-Feivish Halevy Nemtshonin, Shokhet and Khazan)

(Hamelitz 1890; August 10)

Genichesk

This is a city of traders from many nations, situated on the sea of Azov, and most of our brethren living here are engaged in trade in the agricultural produce of this region. Recently a new Yeshiva was built at a cost of 10,000 rubles, financed (partly) by the noble Yosef Neiberg.

Moshe Khaim Lyubimov

(Hamelitz 1890; September 2)

Genichesk

(# report of the visit of a preacher from Lithuania)

(Hamelitz 1891; February 15)

Mariupol

This city is a large city, situated on a great waterway, with traders of many nations numbering about twenty thousand people, most of them Greeks and a Russian minority, and about three thousand of our brethren of the House of Israel. Most find their livelihood in the agricultural produce trade. Every year the grain merchants send thousands of wagons laden with grain to our city .

There is a `Bread For The Poor' society; Mr.Segal's factory for wells; the Talmud Torah has 80 children with three teachers under the guidance of the government rabbi Grunim.

G.Gittelevitch

(Hamelitz 1891; February 25)

Mariupol

(# a report of a dispute between the colonists of Novozlatopol and David Segal who was engaged by them to dig a sewer. He suffered many delays and the price rose. Therefore they claimed damages from him.)

A.Einhorn

(Hamelitz 1892; August 27)

Mikhailovka

On Friday before the Sabbath of the portion Shoftim, the 3rdof Elul, returned his pure soul to G-d, the noble and elderly teacher of the people, the distinguished, the outstanding Rabbi Elyakin son of Zeev Kornblit of blessed and sainted memory, in the seventieth year of his life.

Eliyahu Leibinson.

Shokhet of the above colony.

(Hamelitz 1892; October 6)

Peterburg

A report has been received concerning the journey to the Jewish colonies in Yekaterinoslav Government of the Minister responsible for imperial property:

The Minister arrived at the railway station Volnovakh on Rosh Hashanah at six o'clock in the morning and traveled in a carriage to the colony Rovnopol. The colonists transported the Minister with Jewish cartiers and horses from the colony .In the colony the Minister was received with bread and salt by representatives of all the colonies. The Minister visited the synagogue and they came out to greet him bearing the scrolls of the Torah and blessed him with the benediction `Misheberakh'.

Afterwards the Minister toured the houses of the colonists and paid attention to every small matter in each house. He also climbed up into the attics in which they stored produce, visited the threshing tables, all the farm work, the animals, the barns, and the horses. He was very satisfied with everything he saw, and not only once exclaimed "Praised be the Lord, praised be the Lord". When he left Peterburg he imagined that the Jewish colonies were only drawn on the map, and aside from their ruler the supervisor, there was nothing there. Therefore he was glad that he had been mistaken.

From Rovnopol the Minister traveled to Zatish (# Zatishye) which colony found favor in his eyes even more than the previous one. When he had set out on his journey he had intended to inspect only these two colonies, but suddenly the Minister changed his route which had been set in advance and commanded to be taken to the third colony Khlebodarovka where they were not expecting him. Therefore they did not receive him with bread and salt. Also there he found everything managed in the best possible way. The Minister asked each colonist attentively what was lacking or needed and they replied unanimously: "We are happy with our lot other than that we have little land and it does not suffice. " The Minister advised them to lease land from the government and when they replied that they had no permission to do so, the Minister replied: "Don't let that bother you; you petition for that and I will do whatever I can for you." Upon turning to the supervisor of the colonies Mr. Kovalevsky he said: "It is no simple matter for seven thousand inhabitants; I will concern myself for them."

It is furthermore worth noting that regarding this honorable affair the great rabbi Reb Yitskhak Elkhanan (# Spektor), Chief Rabbi of Kovno, advised the colonists by telegraph and permitted them to travel to bring the Minister on the Festival of Rememberance, Rosh Hashanah.

(Hamelitz 1893)

Hulyaipolye

At the instigation of the Shokhtim here, my father and teacher Reb Arye-Leib Solovey and Reb Nissan Kronhoiz, all the butchers agreed to cast the animals prior to slaughter in the manner recommended by Dr. Demba in Hamelitz. They also attempted to cast animals in this manner and the attempt was successful. Would that such would be done in all the towns where the House of Israel live, and so the complaints of our adversaries against us would be removed.

Moshe-David Solovey.

(Hamelitz 1893; August 2)

Berdyansk

I have seen fit to announce that the new method of casting recommended by Dr. Demba, to bend the animal being led to slaughter and to fell it to the ground without damage, we have been using with no exception. The name should be well recorded of the doctor Mr. Benish who was most effective against the priests (# rabbis) who refused, who are all reprehensible people. Now such is the method used without compromising anything.

Arye-Leib Treves, Shokhet here.

(Hamelitz 1895; January 12)

Hulyaipolye

The death occurred of the great rabbi Reb Yaakov-Moshe Holliand of blessed memory, from nearby Mezhirech, aged 43 years.

Y.L.Kronhoiz.

(Hamelitz 1895; October 19)

Hulyaipolye

(# reports the murder of Y.Olevsky on the way to Yekaterinoslav).

M.D.Solovey.

(Hamelitz 1896)

Sladkovodnaya

(# reports the closing of a wine factory, the source of tax for the payment of the rabbis):

The only source for the wages of the rabbis in most colonies was, until now, the lease of the right to operate a tavern for spirits in the colony, in return for which the lessor paid a set sum to the community.

(Hamelitz 1896)

Hulyaipolye

(# report of the death of Reb Yekhezkel-Zev the son of Reb Avraham Itkin, aged 69 years.)

(Hamelitz 1897)

Sladkovodnaya

(# report of the request submitted to the authorities to build a school in the colonies Nadyezhnaya, Zatishye and Novozlatopol. The poor quality of the traditional Melamdim in comparison to the Maskilim is mentioned.)

Tsvi-Hirsh Port

(Hamelitz 1897; March 12 (24) )

Grafskoy

a Jewish colony in the Government of Yekaterinoslav).

The 27th day of Adar I was for us a day of mourning and grief, because during it passed away to his eternal life in the sixty-seventh year of his life, the Rabbi, the Gaon, Av Bet Din of this place, our Rabbi Pinkhas Komisarov, who officiated to the glory of our colony as rabbi and Shuv (#Shokhet and examiner of meat) for more than thirty years. Great honor was shown him on his death; all the rabbis of the surrounding colonies gathered, came to pay him the last honor and eulogized him according to the Halakha (# law). He was great in Torah and the Fear of Heaven, and in peace and righteousness he walked with his brethren the farmers.

Peace be unto his dust, and may his soul be bound up in the bond of everlasting life.

Kalman Bruser

(Hamelitz 1897)

Sladkovodnaya

(# reports on the problem of inhabitants of the colonies who are not engaged in agriculture.)

Tsvi-Hirsh Port

(Hamelitz 1897)

Sladkovodnaya

(# reports on the activity of the farmers towards the coming Pesakh):

At this time I saw in Sladkovodnaya and other colonies farmers diligently engaged in their gardens with the work of planting. In particular excelled the two large nurseries in the colonies Grafskoy (the site of the Prikaz -# the civil authority) and Nadezhnaya, under the supervision of the special gardener and scribe of the Prikaz, Mr.A.Gordon. (#perhaps a relative of Khaya-Sarah Pogorelske, nee Gordon).

Tsvi-Hirsh Port.

(Hamelitz 1897)

Nadeshnaya

(# reports the death of the rabbi of the colony Rabbi Yekhiel-Mikhal Fotz who was for ten years rabbi of this place, and previously was for twenty years rabbi of the colony Sladkovodnaya. He was aged 53 years.)

(Hamelitz 1898; October 29)

Novozlatopol

On the eve of the Sabbath of the portion Noakh this year we received an honorable visitor, a teacher of the nation, the doctor of philosophy and government rabbi of the Jewish colonies in Kherson Government, Mr.Kreps, together with the Popetchitel (# supervisor) I.A.Kovalskiy, he visited our colony.

At three o'clock in the afternoon he went with the Popetchitel to visit the school and to study the order of studies and to examine the students. Those who gained satisfaction from him, he shook their hand as a sign of affection. He was very impressed with the building with it shalls and order, standing in the center of the colony with a large courtyard surrounded by a fence more than 4800 measures, with three hundred fruit trees planted within it in correct order like a horticultural garden.

Yitskhak-Tsvi Weisman

Farmer and Shokhet and assistant rabbi.

(Hamelitz 1898; January 19)

Sladkovodnaya

On Thursday the 19th of Tevet in the morning we were astonished by the disturbing rumor from the neighboring colony Krasnoselka that the Rabbi, the Gaon, the veteran, our teacher Rabbi Shlomo-Yosef Weisman who lives there, returned his pure soul to G-d !

Aged 77 on his death, for a jubilee of years he served at the crown of the rabbinate in the above colony, for he came there together with the nobles of the colony, the first pioneers from the city of Lutzin. He left a family of ninety souls.

Tsvi-Hirsh Port.

(Hamelitz 1899; May 11)

Andreyevka

(# reports the death of Reb Tsvi-David Mosinzon who served as Shokhet and religious leader for about forty years. He was aged 57 on his death. He was the father of Bentzion Mosinzon, a leader of the Zionist movement Khovevei Tzion, who taught members of the Zhmood family living in Andreyevka and was a teacher at the highschool in Mariupol where he taught KHANA ŪREIZEL Komesaroff. Bentzion Mosinzon emigrated to the Land of Israel in the early nineteenth century, encouraging members of the Zhmood family to follow him. There he was one of the founders of the Herzl Gymnasium, or high  school in Tel Aviv.)

(Hamelitz 1900)

Krasnoselka

(# The colony is mentioned by one who passed through the region on his way back from the Zionist Congress. He gave are part on the proceedings at the Congress to the local farmers.)

 

    

 

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