Education and Culture

Jewish education in Tavrig was very developed. A Jewish Kindergarten and a modern "Kheder"-"Talmud-Torah" with 120-160 pupils were founded and directed by Lis. The "Kheder" was housed in a special building, built with the help of local philanthropist Leib Baikovitz.

About 200 children studied at the Hebrew school of the "Tarbuth" chain in its own building, which had been erected with the help of the 'Tavrigers" in America. Among the teachers were Lazovsky and Furman.

An additional 200 children studied in the four classes Hebrew pro-gymnasium until 1940, when it was closed under Soviet rule. A former Tavrig Jew in America named Miler donated money for the erection of a modern building for the pro-gymnasium, to be equipped with water supply, sewage and central heating. The inauguration of the building took place in February 1930, its last director being Chaim Mariampolsky. The first director was Efraim Leibzon.

(Picture supplied by Miriam Itsikovitz-Zilbersheid)

Sixth class of the Hebrew pro-gymnasium 1931

Standing from right: ------, Sioma Taitelman, Shoshanah Melamed,

Miriam Itsikovitz. Sitting in front: teacher Ch.Mariampolsky

(Picture supplied by Dora Epel-Jofe)

Standing from right: Mina Khi, Eti Cahan, Sarah Vatnik, Tserne Fridman

Sitting: Freide Bender, Dora Epel, teacher Ch.Mariampolsky, ----, ----.

Sitting on the floor: Levinson, Shemuel Shereshevsky, Noakh Holtsberg

Picture supplied by Eliezer Paluksht

First class of the "Talmud-Torah", farewell from teacher Meirovitz, 1937

Standing from right: Shuster*, Varpul Shelomoh, Galonsky Aharon*,

Shkolnik Noakh*, Epshtein Mosheh

Sitting from right: Bulovin*, Genende Dov-Ber*, Teacher Lis*, Teacher Meirovitz, Paluksht Eliezer, Shlekhter Chaim-David*

Sitting on the floor: Shmiltiner*, Baron Tsevi-Hirsh, Peshkes Matityahu*

(*) murdered in the Holocaust in Lithuania


(Picture supplied by Dora Epel-Jofe)

Seventh Graduating Class of Tavrig Hebrew Elementary School 1931

Standing from right: Devorah Varpul, Dora Epel, Mekhanik, Dinah Goldblat, Rivkah Kaplan, Eti Cahan, Ita Levitan.

Sitting: the teachers Fain, Furman, Lazovsky, Zimzon, Naividel

Third line sitting from right: Freide Bender, Gita Kaplan, Shemuel Shereshevsky, Sonia Most, Rachel Gitelson

(Picture supplied by Rivah Kreinovitz-Shnaider)

Graduating class of the Hebrew Elementary School 1936-37

First line standing from right: Hirsh Fish, Sarah Birshtansky, Sonia Shlomovitz, Leah Varpul, ---Gurvitz, Rachel Ozer, Zelda Fogelman, Leizerin

Second line standing from right: ----, Henia Borokhovitz, Reize Leizerovitz, ------, Tonia German, Khayah Fridman, Rachel Yezner, Henia Kofman, ------.

The Teachers sitting: Zimzon, Lithuanian language teacher, Lozovsky, Fruma Furman, Furman, Naividel, Fain.

Third line sitting; ----, ----, Devorah Gershon, Khanah Baron, Beile Kaplan,

Rivah Kreinovitz, Gershon Volfson.

Sitting on the floor: Frida Shapira, Guta Epshtein, Roza Levit (?), ----, ---.

There was a library of the Z"S party founded by Dov Gurevitz, with thousands of books in Yiddish and Hebrew. From time to time the "Lithuanian Government Theater" and "The Jewish Theater" from Kovno would perform in town. There were two cinemas in Tavrig, one of them owned by a Jew.

During the thirties a private music school was active in the town, whose piano teacher was Miss Roza Palangin. Her class consisted of 22 pupils in 1938, six of them Jewish girls. She immigrated to America in 1940. Her parents were exiled to Komi SSR in June 1941, where they died of hunger in 1943 before aid from America managed to reach them.

Zionist and other activities

All Zionist parties had their adherents in Tavrig. In the table below we can see how Tavrig Zionists voted for the various parties at six Zionist Congresses:




Total Shekalim

Total Voters

Labor Party


General Zionists





































































Most Jewish youth in Tavrig belonged to the Zionist youth organizations. There were branches of "Hashomer-Hatsair", "Beitar", "Benei-Akiva", "Hekhalutz", "Hekhalutz-Hatsair", "Netsakh" (Noar Zioni Khalutsi) and others. There was also a branch of the sport organization "Maccabi" with about 58 members.

In 1933 a "Kibbutz Hakhsharah" (Training Kibbutz) "Hakovesh" was organized, most of its members emigrating to Eretz Yisrael, and in the beginning of 1940 there was a Kibbutz Hakhsharah with 60 members of "Hekhalutz" who had escaped from Poland.

Several Jewish youngsters were members of the underground Communist party. The "Tifereth Bakhurim" society, headed by Eliezer-Hilel Hofenstein, was active among the religious youth. There was a branch of the society of Jewish soldiers who had participated in the Lithuanian Independence War (Front Kemfer). This branch had 40 members and it held a significant place in public life, which was also noted by Lithuanian institutions, despite the propaganda of their comrades in arms against buying in Jewish shops.

(Picture supplied by Dora Epel-Jofe)

Memento of the visit of Meir Grosman-leader of the "Grosmanist" party

Sitting in the first line from right: Telem, Krivavnik, Dr.Shapira, M.Grosman, Dr.Vareta, ----, Mrs Batiah Shereshevsky, Mrs Krivavnik

Sitting in the second line from right: ----, ----, Reuven Katz, Benyaminovitz,

Mendel Fridman, Shereshevsky, -------------, Alter Gudel, Adv. Terespolsky,

Mrs Rabinovitz, (standing behind them) Salomon Fridman,-----, Leo Epel, -----,

Dr. Aronson Libe, ------.


Religion and Welfare

The religious life of Tavrig Jews was concentrated in four "Batei-Midrash": the great Beth-Midrash, a two storey brick building, the Beth-Midrash "Tifereth-Bakhurim", the Beth-Midrash "Beth-David" and the Beth-Midrash of Baikovitz. There were also two "Kloizim"- the "Shilel Kloiz" and the "Kloiz" in the old town.

For the list of Rabbis who served in Tavrig during this period see Appendix 1.

After the liquidation of the community committee at the end of 1925, the "Ezrah" society took over most of its functions. Its possessions included the modern bathhouse with bathtubs and a sauna which had been built with donations from former "Tavrigers" in the USA; the abattoir, also used by non Jewish butchers, its income paying the salaries of the Rabbi and the slaughterers (Shokhtim); the "Khevrah-Kadisha", which also added to the income of the society, its last chairman being Sh.Most.

Additionally there were in Tavrig two "Gemiluth-Khasadim" societies, "Linath-HaTsedek" as well as ladies’ societies.

After Rabbi Fridman emigrated to Eretz-Yisrael (see Appendix 1), a controversy erupted with regard to secret elections for the local rabbinate, which were opposed by seven public workers, which included members of the management of the "Ezrah" and the craftsmen societies. These workers were detained by the authorities for several weeks.

(Picture supplied by Dora Epel-Jofe)

Family group 1935-36

Standing from right: Dr.Yakov Shakhnovitz, his wife Zhenia Epel, Mrs. Etel Epel, Zheni Fridman, Leo Epel, Avraham Epel


(Picture supplied by Adah Leibzon-Kantorovitz)

The Leibzon Family

From right: Efraim, Mina, David, Adah

The original invitation to the Bar-Mitsvah of Menakhem-Eliezer Paluksht

When Mr. Paluksht arrived in Israel in 1990 he had no Birth Certificate and his Lithuanian surname Palukshtas did not sound Jewish. This invitation, which had been kept by his Israeli relative all these years, solved the problem of the uncertainty of his being a Jew.

(Picture supplied by Eliezer Paluksht, Ariel, Israel)
A wedding in Tavrig in 1937-faith of a Jewish family
(All the persons are described in relation to Eliezer Paluksht)

Standing from left: Parents: Rachel Paluksht *, Nathan Paluksht *; Uncle: Shemuel-Yankel Man **; Cousins: Meir-Zelig Man (in Cleavland), beneath him his 12 years old sister Pesa'le Man**; Aunt: Leah Man **; ----**,----**.----**, Eliezer Paluksht 11 years old.

Sitting from left: Sister: Ruth Paluksht (in Ariel); Cousins: the twins Simha-Yosef ** and Mosheh-Yehudah ** (children of Shemuel-Yankel and Leah Man); Granparents: Yitshak-Yehudah Paluksht **, Sarah Paluksht **; Aunt: the bride Peninah Paluksht** and her groom Rafael Muslin **; Grooms parents **; brother of Sarah Paluksht named Glaun**, his son **; Shemuel Paluksht (8 years old - in Tsefat).

(*)-died in exile in Russia

(**) murdered in Tavrig or in Rituva

From the 22 persons appearing in this photo only 5 survived the Holocaust


For the partial list of personalities born in Tavrig see Appendix 2.


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