Compilation of Memories (Memoirs)
Grandfather’s 90th Birthday – Visit by David and Ruth Keusch and Daughter-in-Law Rivka
On כח שבט תשכז, February 10, 1956, my grandson David Louis (Arie), the older son of my son Nathan זל together with his wife, Ruth, daughter of Mr.Tzvi HaCohen Rapaport, came to Eretz Israel. My son David met them at the Haifa Port after they came off the fourteen day trip from New York. They stayed a few days at my son David’s apartment. The Thursday after they came, they found a place to stay while they were in the country and paid $35 for the month. (Note* This was a room on the top floor opposite the Habima Theater. Uncle David had to give a strong guarantee that we would leave. RDK) They brought gifts for everyone in the family and gifts also from friends of the family in New York. On February 19, I went with them in a taxi to Bnei Brak, in Shikun Mizrachi, to visit Rabbi R’Shaul Bick. They brought the Rabbi a gift from his son, Rabbi Abraham Bick in New York, who was the Rabbi who married David and Ruth on June 12, 1955. We walked around the neighborhood of Zichron Meir and returned on a bus from there. They brought me a gift from my brother David in New York, a beautiful shirt that cost $4. There was also a gift of another shirt from my daughter-in-law Rivka,the widow of my son Nathan זל, long may she live.
My daughter-in-law Rivka came from New York on the ship “Israel” on March 23rd. She found a room in a hotel on Rechov Hayarkon not far from where her son and daughter-in-law were. The two Davids met her at the boat in Haifa. The whole family received her warmly at a dinner in my son David’s apartment.
We all celebrated the Seder together with my son David’s family and we sat until after midnight according to tradition and Halacha.
On the 2nd of Iyar 1956, I thank God that I reached the age of 90. The idea was raised to have a party and invite the family and friends to celebrate. My son David hinted, even before my birthday, that close friends got together to plan a party in my honor. They chose a committee of six friends and decided they would have a party on the 22nd of April. Even though at first, I did not agree, I was finally convinced. Those chosen to arrange the party were: Menachim Gelerter, a teacher in Stanislau, Meir Heinish born in Zablotov, Isischar Dov Weiss from Stanislau, Dr. Nathan Meltzer, the son of my uncle born in Kolomyea, Abraham Keren born in Kosov, a teacher in the school “שפה ברורה” in Stanislau and the known G. Kressel born in Zablotov. It took place in the large hall of Keren Kayemet. We received the hall without cost due to the influence of Kressel and the fact that I had been active for Keren Kayemet in Galicia.
The party started before 8:00 in the evening. There were more than 100 men and women from Jerusalem, Haifa and the area of Tel Aviv.
All my family in Eretz Israel was there as well as my daughter-in-law Rivka, her son David Louis (Arie) and his wife Ruth from New York. The long tables were set with delicacies and tea. The chosen chairman for the evening was my old friend, the elderly Isischar Dov Weiss from Jerusalem. His speech describing the things I did, both abroad and in the country for Eretz Israel. After him there were greeting from Joseph Eisenstein, Ramat Gan and Rabbi Dr. B. DePris, who teaches me Gemorrah every Saturday in the hall of Ohel Shem. He is also a teacher in a regular school in Tel Aviv. The other speakers were; Joseph Tischler, Jerusalem, Menachim Gelerter, Jerusalem, an old friend Meir Henish, Abraham Keren, Kfar Saba, the great Dr. Nathan Metzer, Holon, an old friend R’Moshe Hellman, Tel Aviv, Dr. Sussman, the head of the Stanislau organization, S. Z. Yavitz, an old friend and writer, the great R’Baruch Sperber son of the Rabbi R.D. Sperber who blessed in his name and read a long letter from his father שליטא, the great writer G. Kressel as well as his sister, Rochelle, from Holon. I answered the greetings briefly and the party ended at 10:00 o’clock.
Shabbat after Kiddush, my friendly neighbor and the Gabai of the Beit Knesset Rabbi Rosenheim and R’Abraham Hacohen Monk blessed me with the blessing “מי שברך”, after I went up to the Torah as a Cohen. Seven others went up to the Torah to give me the same blessing. After the Minchah prayers, the reading of the prayers of the Cohen and before the lesson in Gemorrah as every Shabbat, the teacher R’Chanina Hacohen blessed me with an important speech.
On Tuesday May 1st, we had a gathering to welcome our guests, my daughter-in-law, Rivka, and her son David Louis (Arie) and his wife Ruth. About 35 men and women of family came. I blessed them. Rivka, her son and daughter-in-law replied with blessings, of course in Yiddish. I gave copies in Yiddish of the speeches that were given at the party for me on 12th of Iyar. It is a shame that my grandchildren as well as my daughter-in-law do not know the Holy language.
I received congratulatory letters and telegrams for my birthday. Among them a telegram from the Admor of Sadagorrah Rabbi Abraham Jacob Freedman and a long letter from the Head Rabbi of Tel Aviv–Yaffa, R’Issar I. Untermann. Telegrams and letters from the elderly R’Jacob Rosenheim were read at the party by R’Dov Weiss, the chairman.
On Friday, the first day of the month Sivan, I took the train at the Arlozorof Station to Haifa. In the train I found my seat according to the number on the ticket. There were special cars for those who added 15 grush to the ticket. This car was sophisticated with padded seats as in first class abroad. Everything was clean including the bathrooms. The trip was comfortable and not crowded. The train left Tel Aviv at 9:10 and arrived in Haifa 10:45.
I was met at the station by the Dr.Eliyahu Meltzer, Shmuel Meltzer and Sarah Meltzer. Shmuel rented a car and took me to his house in Kiriat Bialik. I was to spend Shabbat with him and take part in the celebration of his son’s Bar Mitzvah. On Shabbat he will read a portion of the Torah.
One of those who came was Shmuel’s father-in-law, Rabbi R’Simcha Halevi Broomberger, born in Germany. He was the Rabbi of several towns in Germany for over fifty years. Some years after the murderer Hitler came to power, he left and came to Eretz Israel with his family. He had three daughters; one of them is the wife of the great Shmuel Meltzer. Rabbi R’Simcha became the Rabbi in Kiriat Motzkin, not far from Kiriat Bialik. The source of his income was payments from Germany where he had worked as a Rabbi for many years.
We went to the Beit Knesset, close to Shmuel’s house, for the Shabbat Minchah and Maariv prayers. Thirty men and women, family members, from far and near were sitting around the table for the first meal. Several rooms in a hotel were ordered for the guests. This was near Shmuel’s house. I had a light and airy room and slept well.
In the morning before 8:00, Shmuel, his Bar Mitzvah son and guests walked to the Beit Knesset, which took about half an hour. The Beit Knesset was beautiful in accordance with the German spirit and the prayers were in the Sephardic version. Everyone participated in the songs and prayers. I was given a respectable seat and called to the Torah for the blessing of a Cohen. I promised to give two lei, which I paid. When the Bar Mitzvah ceremony was over, Rabbi Shimon Halevi blessed the Bar Mitzvah boy with a twenty minute speech of in good Hebrew. I went up to the Torah and gave a prayer according to the German tradition. Rabbi R’Shimon splashed water on my hands, a real Levi.
We returned from the Beit Knesset in the overbearing heat after 11:00. A large group gathered in R’Shmuel’s house and stayed for the Kiddush and the delicacies until 13:00.
Close to 15:00, there was the second Shabbat meal, during which the elderly grandfather of the Bar Mitzvah boy gave a speech in German. I did not understand the south German accent which was strange to us who came from East Galicia. The Bar Mitzvah boy gave an unimpressive speech. I blessed him in our Hebrew language. The audience seemed to like the speech. The third Shabbat meat was together with “מלוה מלכה”. Most of the visitors left including the Rabbi R’Simcha. We parted with warmth and blessings with hopes that we would meet again. “מי יתן ונזכה” (Who gives this right?) He was a wonderful educated man but was deaf.
On Sunday after the morning prayers and the morning meal in Shmuel’s house I left after 10:00 together with the Sarah Meltzer, daughter of my brother-in-law Feibush זל. Sarah and her sister Nechamah accompanied me on Saturday and Sunday, taking care that nothing happened to me. Sarah traveled with me on the bus from Kiriat Bialik to Haifa. She paid for the trip and refused my offer to reimburse. She went with me to the house of Dr. A. Meltzer, who called himself Ludwig Yehuda, on Rechov 24, Shivat Zion. I was warmly received by his wife, Palia. Toward noon, A. Meltzer, my son David and the guests from New York came. The guests were to sail to Italy on the ship “Negba”. After an hour in Meltzer’s house where we ate a light lunch, all three visitors boarded the boat.
I stayed in the house of A. Meltzer but did not enjoy the cooked food, just bread, butter and sour cream from Tnuva. About 7:30 in the evening, Dr. Chaim Shatner came in his car to Meltzer’s apartment to take us to his apartment on 7 Rechov Joseph.
In his apartment there were invited guests: Mordechai and Shmuel Shatner and someone who knew the son of M.D. Tau from Stanislau who lives in Haifa. They all came with their wives. We sat for more than two hours talking about family and friends, over tea and sweets.
I slept at the Meltzers. At noon my son came to Haifa again on business. In a company car we traveled from Haifa about 4:00 and went by way of Natanya. We visited two places where they cut wood in order to see the latest improvements and developments in the machinery of this business. About 8:45 in the evening we reached home.
Shmuel’s Bar Mitzvah son, Yitzhar, did not understand my speech and asked me to send him a copy which I did.
When I returned from the trip, I found that my wife Chaya had returned from her nephew Chaim and his sister Feige Katz. She went there to rest after the aggravation over the fight with the wife of Alexandrovitch and my daughter-in-law Rochale.
On the 10th of the month of Sivan, my wife fell on the couch and was bleeding. The doctor determined that the bleeding came from her stomach and it was necessary to get her to Hadassah Hospital. With the efforts of the doctors A.N.Sachar and Itzchak Keusch she was admitted that same day. There, the doctors took care of her. On the 24th of the month she returned home to Tel Aviv in good health.
On the 3rd of Tamuz there was party arranged by those who studied Gemorrah taught by Rabbi Chananiah Cohen, to celebrate our completion of the study of “מסכת פסחים” (tractate of holidays). Usually we had a party in the Bilu School but this time it was in the apartment of one of the students, Zeev Shapiro. His wife prepared food and drink. In addition to the chaverim there were invited guests and speeches and blessings were given. R’Chananiah gave a long, interesting speech. I gave a speech and blessed everyone including Zeev Shapiro and his wife. I was honored to give the blessing over the food.
In August of 1953, Tzvi Alexandrovitch, his wife and son came to live in the room that my son Jacob, his wife and daughter left. This was on the condition that he would pay part of the monthly charge as well as key money of 500 li to the owner of the apartment. He did not reimburse my son David for the 500 li that David had paid. Alexandrovitch paid part of the monthly cost. It was not easy for them since three adults were living in one room. 1) It was very crowded, 2) Two women were using the small, narrow kitchen, and the verbal fights almost became physical. Even before they came into my apartment, they signed a contract with Chevrat Shikun to buy an apartment of two and a half rooms. Two months previously, the building of the apartment was completed and they could move there. They refused to leave my apartment until I paid them 70 li in order to leave, in addition to the 500 li key money. It cost me 1,200 li to have them leave. On the 16th Alul, 1956 they left the room and moved to their apartment.
Thursday, the 1st of Cheshvan, R’I Rosenheim had a Simcha of Seven Brachot for his daughter who married Yitzchak from the known family, Hildatheimer, from Germany. Both the bride and the groom are members of the kibbutz “Shalhevet” that was founded by Agudat Israel. The groom is a shepherd on the kibbutz, is educated and is God fearing as is the bride. There were tables set with food and drink and some thirty men and women were there. Speeches of congratulation were given and I was honored to give the blessing on the food. We took part in this Simchah from 8:00 until 11:00 at night.
My son David left on September 17 to Vienna, then to Finland and France to take care of government and HaArgaz business relating to wood. He was successful in all aspects of this trip. On October 12, he returned home with gifts for his sons and fruit for me.
We celebrated the end of the study of “וההדרן”with the teacher R’Chananiah Hacohen. This was on Shabbat, after Minchah prayer at the “Bilu School”. He gave an hour long explanation that was sharp and logical. After the prayers there was a party, first for the end of studies and second for the appointment of R’Chananiah to be the Rabbi in Amsterdam. I had decided not to take part in the party. As I was leaving, I was stopped by the Chaverim and the Rabbi himself and they did not let me leave, even thought I had given them an apology and reasons beforehand. The party was organized with the help of the women. Most of those who studied were there. About fifty men sat around the table that had food and drink. The principal of the school, Mr. Chaim Meshurrah, as well as the Rabbi Chananiah, invited me in the honorable seat next to them. After washing hands, blessing the bread and L’Chaim on glasses of wine, the chairman of the party handed the floor over to R’Chananiah, the teacher of the course and the recipient of a new high position. They asked me, the old man of the group, to given the blessings, even though I had not intended to speak. One does not refuse the request of a Torah scholar. I acquiesced to his request and this is what I said:
“To the honorable chairman, may his days and years be long, honorable guests, my fellow students, my honorable teacher and Rabbi, R’Chananiah Hacohen, שליטא (may you have good, long days Amen).
What is difficult? It is difficult for me to part from my teacher and my Rabbi. “עקיבא כל הפורש ממך פורש מן החיים” (all who leave you Rabbi Akiva, leave life). That is to say, the Talmud that is studied in the Yeshiva that was established by the Gaon Rabbi Akiva Eger זצל from Posen was passed over to his son-in-law, the Gaon Rabbi Moshe Sofer זצל. He, who leaves the Talmud Akiva, leaves life. There is no life like the Torah. For five years we drink from the well of your Torah. Now you are leaving us. Who will give us Talmud interpretations?
Your students are happy to join you in your Simchah. You were chosen to be the outstanding Rabbi and teacher here in Israel and in the large city of Amsterdam. You will sit in the seat of important Rabbis of the Torah. They were spiritual giants, famous throughout the Jewish world for generations. For these important reasons, my teacher and Rabbi, your young student has the honor to bless you. These are the regular blessings that come out of our mouth daily, the blessings of the Cohanim.
These blessings include temporary and permanent successes. May you go and arrive in Amsterdam in peace. Don’t worry about what will happen to your students. It was Rabbi bar Susi that came to sit on the chair of the Rabbinate of “Siminya”. They absorbed the strength of the Torah in the Yeshiva of geniuses, the greats of the generations. You worked day and night for seven years and came out overflowing with “גפת”. Your ability and sensitivity expanded the Torah upward.
These strengths will help you in your position in Amsterdam to grow and establish a new generation that will learn Torah and see the heavens. You will educate a young generation of loyal sons whose souls are connected and dedicated to God’s Torah to love the Jewish people and Eretz Israel. After a number of years on the seat in Amsterdam, you will come back to our country with your students like “Akiva ben Yoseph” in his time. Here in our country, you will sit at the head of the Rabbinate with the large community that came from Amsterdam. May your days and years be long, may you have desire and strength all your days.”
The new principal of the school, Mr.Glick, spoke and after him, the teacher Joseph Alperin andone of students of Rabbi Cohen, Mr. Gras. The last speaker was Rabbi Cohen, who blessed the speakers and the entire audience. What happened to R’Levi bar Susi is told in my dairy on pages 149/150.
I was in friendly contact with Rabbi Chananiah Cohen. At the first meeting with him in 1953, I gave him the book “עיר ומתים” in which I was a writer. To order a copy of the book cost me 5 li. A short time before he was chosen as Rabbi of Amsterdam, I gave him as a gift my set of five valuable volumes of “עקידת יצחק”. They were printed in Vilna with a commentary by Rabbi Mitrevitch. I received this set fifty years ago from my dear brother-in-law R’Yehoshua Schrenzl זל, an unusual outstanding scholar, may his memory be blessed תנצבא. I gave the books to Rabbi Cohen with the condition, after the Shabbat sermon on the words of חזל and after the lesson in Gemorrah; he brings in the comments from “אקידת יצחק”. For several weeks he brought in a short version of these comments. After a few weeks, he left Tel Aviv to Amsterdam and the condition was cancelled. It seems to me that with the canceling of the condition, Rabbi Cohen should have returned the books to me. One can hope that he will remember my request when he sees the note I pasted in the cover of each book. If only he would. This is the year 1956.
Purim of 1957 came as it did each year without a spark of joy after the terrible Shoah that overtook the Jewish People including our family. My son David and his sons Yair and Aviam came to give me greetings. The grandchildren received money as “משלוח מנות”.
(Traditional Purim gift). I received my Purim gifts from those close to me like; Mordechai Dov, Tova, Chana and Rabbi P.A. Grupman. I also received gifts for the first time from the daughter of my brother-in-law R’Alter Gaster and her husband Tzvi Weissilber. They live in the neighborhood on 38 Rechov Shenkin. I also got gifts from the grandson of R Shlomo Blaustein זל from Zablotov, his granddaughter Chaya and her husband Mordechai Mondschein, neighbors from 123 Rothschild Blvd. Tzvi Blaustein the grandson of R’Shlomo, who regularly brings me gifts, came himself to bring me a beautiful gift. Alter Gaster Yoseph who lives in Kfar Saba, works in HaArgaz, brought me a cake. Of course, my son Jacob and his family did not come or send any gift. The reason is quite clear.
My son David’s family came for the Seder of 1957, brought good wine and a case of outstanding oranges. Six special matzoth were brought by Mordechai Dov Keusch as he brings every year. These large matzoth are baked by his Rabbi Brandwein. Every year we send each other bottles of wine for Purim to be used for the Seder. This year I received a gift from the Pri Hadar Company, a case of oranges. The four questions were asked by my grandson Avi, who stole the Afikoman as usual. We sat almost half a night telling the story of the leaving from Egypt. I requested that he send a case of fruit to the head Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa R’Issar Yehuda Unterman. He received them with thanks and blessings and wrote me a letter as follows:
“My honored friend, outstanding in Torah and good deeds, Mr. Abraham bar Aaron Hacohen Keusch, greetings and blessings!
Many thanks for the honor and the blessings of the Cohen that sent us gifts for Pesach. Thanks again for adding the blessings of the extraordinary citrus fruits of our country. We and our guests who visited for the holidays enjoyed. May God bless you and lengthen your days with goodness and pleasure. May you enjoy the holidays and all good things that come from them, with complete health, increasing knowledge and a feeling of complete redemption.
With honor to God as he watches over Zion. With great respect, Issar Yehuda Unterman, Chief Rabbi Tel Aviv-Jaffa.”
Erev Shabbat of “אמור להכהנים בני אהרן” (as stated by the sons of Aaron who are Cohanim) which is, 2nd of the month of Iyar, 1957 I reached the age of 91. Mordechai and his wife came to bless me, even though I didn’t notify them and they brought a special cake. Tova Flintenstein also came and also brought me a cake. My grandsons,Yair and Avi, came and blessed me. Their father sent blessings and congratulations but his wife did not feel obligated to say a word. In addition I received a greeting from the chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Issar Yehuda Unterman. On my birthday there was a prayer in the Beit Knesset of Hapoel Mizrachi where we prayed together every day of the week. They wished me long days and years of health. There were two other Rabbis who treated me with respect but did not know for what reason there were special blessings. I did not inform them.
On May 6th 1957, it was the 9th Independence Day of Israel. I did not leave my house to visit Tova on Rechov Arlozorov where the parade began and a stage was set up for the President, the Ministers and the foreign dignitaries. The reason 1) at the same hour we prayed Shacharit with an additional prayer for this important day, 2) the traffic made it impossible and thousands of men, women and children filled the streets. My son David came from his house at 7:15 in the morning to the Beit Knesset to take me by car to Tova’s apartment. The parade was to begin at 10:00 and end at 12:00. I was in the midst of the Hallal prayer and did not go. David could only drive part of way. He and his son Avi had to walk half an hour to get to Tova’s apartment. At her apartment they found: the Rabbi R’Shlomo Freedman, Aaron Lemberger and his family, Batsheva and her daughter and other guests who came to see the parade. My son David gave me all the details.
On the 12th Iyar 1957, was the memorial day of my wife Rivka Edel זל who died in 1906 and is buried in Stanislau. She was the daughter of Hinda and R’Jacob Menachim (Mendel) Gaster זל, born in Kuti and lived in Vishnitz, Bukovina. That day I wrote a will. I managed to reach the age of 91. The will is in the closet where there are articles and letters. This is not the first will I wrote. The first one was in 1923 before I went to Vienna to take care of my prostate illness which was life threatening. On November 13, 1923, I was operated by famous doctors led by Dr. Schwartzwald. May their names and memories be blessed. On January 1, 1924, I returned home. In addition to this will, I wrote another will in 1948 which is among the papers of my memoirs. There is a saying that the sick man is saved when he writes a will and so it was.
On May 31, 1957, my son David flew to Vienna on business for the HaArgaz Cooperative. He remained there several days and flew to several places in Europe and from there to Toronto, Canada. The biggest wood merchants and sawmills are in this city.
I knew one of the agents, named Krener and Gaz Pur who was the man in charge of the company. I knew Krener when I was in the wood business. He leased of the largest sawmill in Nodvorna, Galicia and Gaz Pur was the manager. When Pur found out that David’s father had been in business with him, he greeted him warmly. He and Krener and his partners helped David make the largest sale made by Israel of $600,000.
Pur remembered me and helped my son buy an amount of wood for me with a discount of 1,004 li. My son stayed in Canada for several weeks. He visited the forests and sawmills of Krener’s company that were spread over thousands of kilometers. He traveled by train and plane.
David traveled to Montreal and there he visited the daughter of Tova Flintenstein, Leah and her husband Dov Levy. David tried to persuade them to help her mother financially on a monthly basis, but he did not succeed. The daughter had no feeling or sympathy for anyone poor or sick, even though her family was prosperous.
On the return from Canada, David spent four days in New York with the family. He spent time with my brother David and the family of my son Nathan זל. Other relatives came to meet him at a family gathering. On July 11, he returned safely and told of all his activities.
In August 1957, my grandson Yair, son of David and Rachel, was found physically fit to enter the Israeli Army, one month after finishing his studies in the “Teitlin School”. With his outstanding marks, we hoped that he would be permitted to continue his studies for a year or two. He was inducted into the army November 10. He did basic training in a camp near Rosh Pina in the Upper Galilee. He entered into a religious unit that ate only kosher food, prayed every day, kept Shabbat and was satisfied even though the training was difficult.
On December 5, 1957, my grandson Aviam (Avi) ben David and Rachel reached the age of Bar Mitzvah. On Thursday morning, Avi was brought to the Hapoel Mizrachi Beit Knesset and began to lay Tfillin (Phylacteries). He went up to read the Torah as a Cohen. In a loud voice, his blessings were heard to the satisfaction of all those who were praying. The Admor of Sadagorrah as well as the chief Rabbi of Tel Avi-Jaffa I.Y. Unterman blessed the Bar Mitzvah boy, the audience, the food and wine.
At the Shabbat morning prayers at the Bilu Beit Knesset, the Bar Mitzvah boy read the portion “מפטיר והפטורה” in a loud voice and a beautiful melody. The Rabbi, P A Grupman blessed him and the Gabai of the Beit Knesset gave him a תנך (Bible).
On Saturday night, there was a celebration of the Bar Mitzvah, about 160 men and women, family and friends. It started at 7:00 with long tables set with delicious food and drink. Rabbi Grupman blessed the Bar Mitzvah boy with a long speech as did his grandfather, A. Keusch. The Bar Mitzvah speech was outstanding in its contents. At midnight we all left the big ZOA Hall where many had come in spite of the heavy rain which slowed traffic.
The boat loaded with Canadian wood for HaArgaz and fifty portions of wood for me landed in the port of Haifa on February 10, 1958. The wood was of good quality and the correct amount. G. Pur fulfilled his promise and chose the best wood he could for me so that I would be able to find buyers and profit from them in addition to the discount of $6 a metric cube that Krener, his agent, gave me. The world wide price of wood went down $8. a metric cube. Understandably, I could not find buyers at a price at which I would not lose. My son David managed to sell my wood to the Defense Department where they found this was the best wood for them. The price was such that I had a very little profit but above all, no loss. The general wood business was bad, according to G. Pur. He hinted in his letter that he would be generous and that his brother K. Pur might give me a portion of the profit made on the sale.
Hopefully my son David will go to Canada again and buy a large amount of wood for HaArgaz and buy a small portion for me. In that way I could make up for last year’s loss.
At request of the Pri Hadar Association, my son David traveled to Portugal. The manager of Pri Hadar was Mr. Itzchak Rokach and his assistant Dr. A. Arnon. David’s job was to inspect the sawmills of the Portuguese Wood Association. They were not Jews. There were more than 600 mills over several hundred kilometers. Could they supply three million orange crates in the year 1958 at the quality needed? David was delayed until the 10th Nissan, because he had to inspect all the places necessary. He liked the manager of a large organization, DeCosta who was born of a Marrano from Spain and Portugal. DeCosta suggested that David be the agent in the purchase of crates and get a fee of 1.5% in dollars. This would raise the price of the purchase to about two million dollars, a significant amount. My son, a worker for HaArgaz, could not be an agent. DeCosta’s suggestion had to be approved by HaArgaz. Call the “child” by my name, I would be the agent and would pay the income tax on the purchase.
When David returned from his trip and reported to the Association all the details of the trip, Mr. Rokach was furious at him. He said that the agent’s fee belonged to his brother-in-law who had been the agent on these purchases for several years. He demanded that the agent’s profit should be split between them. In the end, David explained to Mr. Rokach that this fee was my only income and they came to an agreement.
When David returned from Portugal, after taking care of all the business, three million orange crates were to be delivered by the end of 1958. I was happy with my share.
The Seder of 1958 was like the previous years together with my son David, his wife and sons, Yair and Avi. Avi asked the four questions as he did each year and stole the Afikoman in order to get a gift. We did not finish the story of the exodus from Egypt. I felt tired and sick and at 10:00 we finished and I went to bed. After the days of Pesach I felt sick and it was difficult for me to go each day to pray Shacharit. With the agreement of the chief Rabbi I.Y. Unterman שליטא I would come to the Beit Knesset on Mondays and Thursday, when the Torah is read. After a time, I felt worse and it was impossible for me to go to the Beit Knesset to pray Shacharit and Maariv, so I prayed at home.
From that time on, I am under the care of Dr. Sachar, who takes care of me and my wife with medicine and shots. After examining me, my blood pressure and heart are fine but I lost my appetite which made me weak. The doctor advised me to eat more, but I can not. I can’t go up the 33 steps to my apartment without someone helping me.
At the beginning of the month of Tamuz, Dr. Sachar found I had something torn in my right knee and a big tear in my left knee which worsened with each short walk to pray Shacharit on Shabbat.
(These are the last notes that Grandfather recorded before he died in February 1959.)
אברהם קויש נולד בזבלוטוב ב'באייר תרכ'ו – נפטר בתל-אביב ו' בשבת תשי'ט
Content last updated Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 10:04 AM Mountain Daylight Time