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Zionism and The Mazheik Zionist Organization

In the period between the two World Wars, Zionism thrived in Lithuania. Many Zionist youth movements sprang up, and movements such as He-Haluts, HaShomer HaTsa‘ir, Gordonia, and Dror were active in interwar Lithuania.

membership card to HaShomer HaTsa'ir, courtesy Sara Glaser, card belonged to her late mother;

The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, to be published by the Yale University Press, attributes the success of these movements to "the growing sense of crisis" among the youth of the day (see  http://www.yivoinstitute.org/pdf/zionism.pdf). A Jewish yearning for national identity gained momentum (compare  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism#Establishment_of_the_Zionist_movement) and found expression in the aforementioned and other youth organizations.

The development of the Hebrew language, which since around 300 CE had ceased to be a spoken language (see  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_language), was seen as crucial and central to the success of Zionism. It was with that main purpose in mind (the development and usage of living Hebrew) that a network of secular, Hebrew-language schools was set up. It was known as 'Tarbut' (see under  Education and Culture) and was founded in 1922. (See also under  Mazheik Jewish School.)

Finally, the success of the Zionist movement became visible in what may be considered the most important outcome of Zionist educational, social and ideological development: Hachshara (Preparation) Camps, followed by Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael. (Compare the pertinent Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionist_youth_movement).

photograph taken at Hachshara Camp, possibly near Memmel, presumably organized by HaTsofim Movement (the emblem with the Hebrew words 'Heyeh Muchan' ~Be Prepared~ are of HaTsofim); picture courtesy Sara Glaser, whose mother, Tsipora Orkin, is second from the left (front row)..

 

At the present time we do not possess extensive information relating specifically to the Mazheik Zionist Organization. However, there is still much documentation from the YIVO archives in New York, awaiting sorting and translating.

Mr. Bruce Cohen of New York (see  Mazheik Jewish School) has sent us three documents from the Mazheik Zionist Organization. They bear YIVO doc. numbers 24242, 24247 and 24250 and appear in that order, here below. They have all been signed by chairman Yitschok Rubinstein, Bruce Cohen's grandfather, who is seated in the picture below, middle row, third from the right. Yitzchok's wife stands behind him third from the right, and Solomon Bein, Bruce Cohen's great-uncle (his grandmother's brother) is lying down on the ground in front with wide belt.

We do not know for sure that this picture relates to the Zionist Union., though the chairman of the Union is definitely in it. A number of those in the picture bear name tags, which may signify representation of the Union at some function.

 

all docs to be translated

 

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Compiled by Raymond Ravinsky
Updated: March, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Raymond Ravinsky

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