Compilation of Memories (Memoirs)
Aliyah to Eretz Israel – 1924
On the Big Shabbat, April 12, (Note* the dates as noted above don’t seem to match the time spent. RDK) the ship dropped anchor off Jaffa. After all the paperwork was cleared we left the ship. The luggage was not taken out of customs because of the holy day. I reached the house of Mr. Joseph Tischler, an engineer in Tel Aviv. He received me with honor, wine and food. He suggested that I find a room with Rabbi R’K Tabachnik on Allenby St.
On the next day after taking out my luggage from customs, I got on the train to travel to Jerusalem. The train was full of Jewish pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem. It was a pleasant trip that took three and a half house and was difficult. We arrived at eight o’clock in the evening. I went into town with some of the people and they brought me to Hotel Sheba שבעה in the neighborhood of Shaba. It was a low level hotel and I did not find any rest.
On my way to find another hotel, I accidentally met an acquaintance from Stanislau, Mr. Moshe Neiman who was a lawyer in an old age settlement. Some time previously, I had helped him to move to Eretz Israel. He invited me to stay at his father’s house, R’N Neiman, was the Rabbi in this institution. I accepted the invitation to spend Pesach with them. He brought me to the Rabbi’s house and gave a few shillings to the Rabbi’s wife to cover the cost of my food.
Moshe Neiman suggested that we walk around the old age settlement. It was very touching to see this place that was outside of the city on the crossroad through Arab villages and the road to Motza. The clear air of the hills of Judea gave one a taste of Europe. There were three Beit Knesset and Midrash (study halls) with a large collection of valuable old books. This institution was a haven for three hundred old people from all over the country and from other countries who wanted to live out their lives in Eretz Israel. There are not enough words to praise this worthy place.
After this tour and eating a light meal at the table of Rav Neiman, Moshe led me on a long walk of about an hour until we got to the Western Wall. It was not easy to pass through these narrow streets filled with merchants, foreigners and Arabs noisily shouting their wares. On both sides of the last street heading down to the Wall, there were beggars of all kinds and all ages. They did not let you pass, shouting and waving their hands in your face. With great awe and wonder I approached the sacred Wall. The path was a narrow strip of about four meters wide and about twenty-two meters long.
The area was crowded with all kinds of people: men, women, children, Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Europeans from the East, Bucharim, Gruzinim, Yemenites, etc. I barely managed to push myself through to the holy stones. Laying my head on the stones, with tears and prayers to the heavens, in my name and in those of our brothers in the Diaspora, bewailed the destruction of the Temple and our nation. After an hour of prayers and psalms, we left this holy place as sunset was approaching and we had a long way to walk.
We hurried on our way so we could pray mincha and mariv at the Beit Knesset of the moshav. It was full of old people and neighbors from the area. Rav Fishman, president of Mizrachi, who had a house on Ruchama Street, was among those praying.
That night we sat leaning מסובין in the room of the old man, a member of the Jerusalem court, eating, drinking wine and talking about our exit from Egypt. After the third part of the night אשמורה השלישות Moshe brought me to a room where there were four beds and that night I spent with three old men. They were angry with Moshe and me for allowing a stranger into the room. Before dawn, I left the room and went to the Beit Knesset to pray Shachrit. I lunched with Neiman, his family and Moshe.
The second night, we of the Diaspora have a second Seder, while in Eretz Israel, it is one of the in-between days of Pesach. I came to meet my acquaintance Shimon Bernstein from Petshenishin, who was at the hotel in Kiriat Moshe. We sat leaning all that night with him and his wife telling the story of the exit from Egypt while eating and drinking. I slept at the hotel that night. In the afternoon, we all went to see parts of the city, visited some institutions, eat an evening meal and slept in the hotel.
After Pesach, Bernstein and I went to look for Dr. Federbush and found him in head Zionist office. Together we visited several Zionist organizations to get information on buying land for the East Galicia Mizrachi Organization. We visited the head rabbi Fishman and Prof. Pik for several hours to get advice and left there without any satisfaction. My friends and I decided that we would try to find land and buy it by ourselves.
During this eight day period, I returned to Tel Aviv and found an apartment in the house of a friend, Menachem Heisler, son of the Gabei and a writer for the Admor R’Moshe from Kosov, Galicia. The apartment was on 6 Sirkin Street. Heisler’s wife was abroad and we settled in with him together with Meyer Kaufman, who I knew from Kosov. The rent was half a lira (pound) a month. I gave a deposit of two lira. The room was not too big, four meters on four meters. I slept on a narrow short board that was not padded. I had a pillow and covering that I brought from home. I found a Mizrachi kitchen which was a distance from the Heisler house, and took my meals there during Pesach. On the week days I prepared for myself a simple meal of rice, potatoes, etc.
Content last updated Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 09:10 PM Mountain Daylight Time