Pinkas:  Pruzany, Bereza, Maltch, Shereshov, Seltz
Table of Contents

4. Shershev:

4.1. Background

4.2. Our Home Town

4.3. Rabbis of Shershev

4.4. Ten Years of the Yavne School in Shershev

4.5. The Jewish community

4.6. The General "Gmiles Khosodim" Fund in Shershev





Thanx to Leah Watson & Stuart Levine for the Shershev section



Any one who is able and willing to help in anyway (e.g translation, donation..) to help post the 1958 Pinkas Pruzany please contact me.

Jay Lenefsky       CPSA Coordinator


Ten Years of the "Yavne" School in Shershev
(which was affiliated with the "Tarbut" Organization in Poland*

* Note: This account is taken from the Booklet that was published in honor of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Hebrew school "Yavneh" [run] by the "Tarbut organization" in Shershev.   It was printed in Shedlets in 1935.

In the Beginning…

There was once a Jew in Shershev by the name of Markl son of Bear Volf Pomerantaz. Various causes   drove him to cold Siberia , to the town of Irkutsk. Older people of "that" generation tell still how Markl’s  mother, poor thing, shed bitter tears over the tragedy which had befallen her and Markl. He was exiled
among non-Jews in cold, terrible Siberia and was removed and estranged from Jewishness.
Great was the grief of his parents over their unhappy, lonely son, captive amongst the Gentiles. And, for a long, long  time, the "banishment" of Markl was the main conversational topic among the inhabitants of Shershev; until the matter was gradually forgotten, just as many other things were forgotten from those "good times"  when the local Jewish settlement stretched from the end of Kamenyetsk street to the end of Pruzhene street. (Nowadays, these are "Gentile" streets.)

And the Son’s Hearts Return to Their Fathers

But it is difficult to measure the worth of a Jewish soul. From Siberia even, there began to come messages  of greeting from the exiled Markl who had worked up there, become a "wealthy man", a "pyervi-gildi-kupyets" [first guild of   merchants]…Even there, Markl had not forgotten his Jewishness; his warm Jewish heart could no  be chilled even by cold Siberia. True, Markl Velvl’s [i.e. Markl son of Velvl] became there Mark Vasilyevitch, but  his native town of Shershev and
its Jewishness remained deeply rooted in his heart. He carried in his heart the Jewish spark from his home, and when the "gracious Czar" forgave the "sins" of the Jewish people (granted an amnesty, that is) Markl too was able to get out of Irkutsk for a while and come to Shershev to visit his family’s graves. By then he was gray and old - such is the report of the ancient householders, natives of Shershev, who   were still young at the time.

The Charitable Gift

Markl’s father, Volf, left when he died a piece of land and a house on Kamenyetz street. In the house lived Markl’s sister-in-law, the widow of his elder brother Zelig. Markl bought the "inheritance" from his sister-in-law, and bought in addition a larger area of land and another house from Herr Yitskhok Stolar  (adding up to an area of 15 by 80 Klafter). He gave this to the Jewish Community of Shershev to build a hekdesh [poor house]. The income from the hekdesh he allocated to paying for the education of poor Jewish children in Shershev.

The Will

Markl returned to Irkutsk. More than one young man of Shershev probably, owed his "poor house" school  fees to him. (Unfortunately, we possess no documentation of this.) But Markl, when he was in Shershev, acquainted himself with the low educational level of the Jewish children in his native town. He, the "pyervi-gildi-kupyets" (first guild of merchants), could not understand how the Jews of Shershev, "ardent" Jews, full of Yidishkeit (Jewishness) could be content with the kheders (religious schools in which their children were preparing to be "healthy" invalids and "lively" ne-er do wells [or idlers] for the rest of their lives. Herr Markl took a risk, and in his will, which was drawn up in the notary of Irkutst, Vladimir Goryevitch Razumov on November 12, 1910 he decided to help his brothers in Shershev to found a modern school for Jewish children. Among the 14 points of the will, which contains various family instructions, number 2 is as follows (in the translation from the Russian original):

"In the name of the G-d of Israel, I, the merchant Mark Vasilyevitch, Marcus, son of Volf Pomerantz, in the case of my death, leave the following directions:

In the town of Shershev, in the Uzed of Pruzhene, Grodno gubernye, a school is to be founded to teach Jewish children Hebrew literature, religion and Russian literature, on condition that the school shall give the students a well-rounded education and prepare them to be loyal citizens of the people and the state. To build the school, I have decided to use a plot of land in the above-mentioned town, Shershev, on Kamenyetz street, which I bought from the heirs of Zelig Pomerantzs: his widow Feyge Pomerantz and her neighbor. The land is 80 Klafter (sazhen)
long and 13 ˝ Klafter wide. Besides this, I leave capital of 13,000 rubles of which 10,000 rubles are to be put into a state bank in perpetuity, in cash or paper bills, on condition that the profit shall go to pay the salary of the teacher and the annual expense of running the school; and the  3,000 rubles are to be spent on building a brick house for the school, on furnishing it and buying  teaching materials.

I have already given the 3,000 rubles for the above-mentioned purpose, to the committee of the "Society for the spread of education among the Jews of Russia". The practical accomplishment of this matter has been undertaken - with thanks - by the Society, whose headquarters is in the capital city of Petersburg, on Zamyatina street #4. If the above-mentioned society is unable, for any reason, to carry out my instructions, then my heirs will do so. They will exert themselves to build the school, and receive from the above-mentioned Society the 3,000 rubles.

Once more, I emphasize that the school is to be founded unconditionally in the town of  Shershev and not in any other town. The future management of the school, its leadership and its practical educational activities are to be supported on the responsibility of the Jewish community in the town of Shershev - in the persons of a committee elected by the Jewish community and consisting of four members under the chairmanship of the local rabbi and the supervision of the "Society for the spread of education among the Jews of Russia". After my death the guardian of the school will be my son Moyshe Pomerantz; after him, the eldest member of my family in order [of birth]."

We can see from this will how far, and how deeply, the exiled and yet near Markl Pomerantz understood the noble mission of educating the children of the Jewish community of Shershev.

In the Year of Destruction and Ruin (in the first world war)

But it was not fated (and perhaps Shershev was not worthy?) that the will should be carried out and that the Jewish children of Shershev should be rid of the old, narrow, moldy heder bui9ldings and get their education at a modern school. The terrible, fatal year 1914 came quickly upon them. The younger, better energies of the local Jewish society were torn away from their home to the various positions and fronts of the w2ar. Those who remained in the half-burned town, the old people and the juveniles, were occupied with the daily problems and worries that have etched themselves in all of our memories…The former rabbi, Rabbi Yitskhok Meyer Meyerovitz, who had the will in his charge, left the town at the time with the front approached Shershev (in 1915). When the rabbi left, the matter was entirely forgotten. In the "tsavor-hayzer" [buildings erected under the terms of the
will?] there lived during the war the widows and victims of fires, [belonging to the families] of various former local "kley-kodesh" [religious officers, rabbi, gabai, etc.]. The town became impoverished. The German occupation completely ruined the town. The typhoid epidemic, which came in the train of the combating armies, snatched away many dozens of young lives prematurely. Because the occupying soldiers requisitioned the foodstuffs of the [local] population the famine increased the result was countless deaths. The edict concerning "tsvangs-arbeit" [forced labor] came from the German occupying force. A shameful hunt after the young people began. Some were sent to different places. Some of these ended up in the bigger towns where the persecutions  were, to some degree, weaker. Others went to a konditsye [? ] run by a Jewish farmer, and so on.

Study houses were transformed into hospitals and theaters. The casualties of the war were treated there. Money was collected for the destitute, before they became sick…Elderly people were driven into the bath-house where, with cold, cynical brutality their beards were shaved. Among those who lost their beards was the Rabbi Avrom Ahron. He had stopped in Shershev to replace the Rabbi Meyer Yitskhok Meyerovits. The brutality reached its climax: Reb Avrom Velvl, the melamed {teacher in a heder], Reb Shalom Pinski and other old, infirm Jews were
put in harness and used to plow the gardens…Various vegetables were needed for the occupying forces in Shershev! In those difficult times, no one was interested in such "frivolities" as schooling and education. Meanwhile, as a result of the war, there were great political and economic upheavals in the world. People were
cut off  from their friends in Russia, not to speak of Siberia.

The 3,000 rubles in the keeping of the Society for spreading education disappeared together with the Society itself. No more news arrived about Markl. Of his goodwill and noble plan there remained, as a remnant saved from destruction, the above-mentioned place. (The two houses were burned during the Bolshevik invasion). There was a memorial to a "Jew who was once in Shershev".

Your Heirs, Shershev

Between the houses of two Byelorussian farmers on Kamenyets Street #11, there was a big empty place that waited for its redeemer. In Pruzhene lived Markl’s relatives; nephews Borukh and Moyshe Pomerantz. On a dark [i.e. deplorable] morning they came to Shershev and sold "their" inherited piece of land to a certain farmer, Kaleneyko, who sowed a grain-crop on the land…The farmer, afraid of the Jews of Shershev, did his work in the morning hours on Saturdays, when the Jews were comfortably asleep, resting their weary bones after the days of earning a living during the week.

The [?] From Small to Great

However, the neighbor Daniel Mayster accidentally noticed the farmer’s work. He ran and raised an outcry; he roused up the leaders of the community; Herr Yekhezkhel Krugman, Yosef Pomerantz, Yosef Pantel and others. With the speed of lightning the whole town was on its feet. It seemed that they felt the danger that threatened the future education of the young generation in Shershev. After much argument, they drove the farmer from the place by force. They appointed a powerful guard so that the farmer would not resume his invasive work.

On Sunday, May 12, 1924 at eight o’clock in the morning in haste and at no charge, the "podrubes" [] for a school building were laid down: the podrubes were manufactured at no cost by almost all the smiths of the town. The historic day will stay etched in our memories forever because it marked the beginning of a new era; an era of extraordinary hard work by the dogged parents in the field of modern education, in awakening the national spirit of the young people. The building committee, which was founded on the same historic Sabbath and which was headed by the untiring, energetic and stubborn man, full of initiative, Herr Yekhezkhel Krugman (he has worked ceaselessly up to this day), understood that if the opportunity was not seized to wake up the energy of the petrified, backword elements in Shershev, then it would not happen in a hurry. The prezes [chairman], Herr Yekhezkhel brought all of his initiatory power to bear in organizing the members of the building committee and arousing in them the ambition to carry out the noble undertaking of building a schoolhouse for the children of Shershev. The active, stubborn Herr Shloyme Auerbach helped a lot. He is now in America.

It is worth emphasizing that not a single communal shilling was the the disposal of the chairman. Herr Yekhezkhel was not the kind of person to be easily discouraged. With his iron determination to carry out his plan in full he was not put off by the lack of money. He paid for the necessary building materials with his own money, or put them on his account.

Sources of Income "From the Threshing-Floor and From the Wine Press"

Due to his initiative the young people were organized and they formed a drama group which played from time to time in order to raise sums of money for the school which was then being built. Among the members of the drama group, the one who was most distinguished for altruism and devotion on behalf of the school was Herr Moyshe Mordche Gelman. In spite of his poor health, he appeared on stage and performed in top-ranking roles. Moreover, he was until his death, an active member of the building committee and later, of the school committee. May his memory be honored. The drama group consisted of the following people:

1. Gelman, Moshe-Mordche
2. Shmulitsh the barber
3. Lerer Rak, Shmuel
4. Kantorovitch, Ruven
5. Kagan, Hirshl
6. Rakhmanes, Bubl
7. Kantorovitch,Khaske

8. Sore Pomerantz
9. Kirzner, Ester Leah
10. Feldboym, Sore
11. Rasikovski, Alter
12. Layenman, Shimen.



Herr Krugman also had the task of creating for the production the appropriate mod (by agitation) in the population so that people would visit the theater in droves.

It is remarkable that his social and commercial sense never failed him when he looked for the other sources of income that he created. A characteristic source of income that show how devoted, body and soul, Herr Yekhzekyel Krugman was to the idea of a school ws; the esrog business that he founded. In 1924 esrogs, for vaious reasons, were a great rarity. He opportunely brought an esrog from Warsaw and the whole town used it. A comparitively large sum of money resulted from this and was devoted to the building.

He thought of carrying out a "plet-aktsye" [] and of other one-shot sources of income. His impulsive spirit was not completely satisfied however, until he founded (with great effort and superhuman energy) stable, permanent sources of income, such as neydarim [promises] for weddings, Yom Kippur collections, payments for ritual slaughter, tax from the burial society, grants from the magistrate [municipality], tax from the sale of leaven, weekly subscriptions from the population of Shershev and payments for authorizing birth certificates. For this purpose, special "year witnesses" were appointed who, whenever a birth certificate had to be authorized, took a certain fee for the school. By such ways and means the idea of a school penetrated the broadest masses, until everyone formed the image of the school as the darling of Shershev’s Jewish community. This was a very important educative proof for the conservative elements which are not absent from any town, especially a small town. The task was carried out excellently by the recognized and worthy activist and chairman, Herr Krugman. All the permanent sources of income lasted, more or less, until the years of crises, and until the Kehilah came to exist in Shershev. At that moment everything was erased from the surface, as if with a magic wand. It is true that many of the sources of income were dependent on the conditions of the time, but many were affected too, by the weariness and exhaustion of the chairman. The active members left and "one person at the front is no soldier" as the proverb says.

"Unless the Whole Town Builds, the Work of the Individual Will be in Vain!"

Such was the slogan proclaimed by the building committee that was founded on that historic Sabbath.

The Enthusiasm

Thanks to the well-organized building committee, an atmosphere of extraordinary enthusiasm was created. Everyone helped with what he could: with a donaiton, or with labor - like the Jews of long ago when they built the tabernacle…

I still see before my eyes an impressive picture which illustrates most clearly the assistance given by the town in building the school, and the enthusiasm. It was Chol Hamoed Suchos in 1924, on a beautiful sunny day. The streets were alive with well-rested people in carefree holiday mood - Khalemoydnikes. I was was walking with them. Suddenly, a dense crowd of people, old people, yound people and small people. And voices crying up to the sky: "Rocks!" "Here’s a rock!" I stopped and saw: a dozen wagons driven by our communal leaders with the chairman, Herr Klugman at their head; around them, the real schoolchildren! They were collecting rocks for the foundation of the school building. Every rock called forth great jubilation on the part of the activists, as if they had found something wonderful. Every rock was acoompanied by the exultant shouting of the crowd of the crowd of children. And now they had found the biggest rock of all! To lift it at least a dozen strong hands -----of Esau are needed. I don’t know how much strength was required to roll the rock into the wagon, which could scarcely tolerate the load. It must have been done with hidden strength. In a state of this sort of enthusiasm, the potential energy in people is revealed. I thought, "A person would be able to achieve wonders if this kind of enthusiasm could be aroused in him". For much of this enthusiasm, perhaps 99% of it, we can thank the chairman. A great psychologist has said, "in order to bring forth enthusiasm in another person, or to bring forth his belief in anything, it is necessary first for the person to be himself, full of the same enthusiasm or belief, right to the depths of his soul." Whoever saw this scene, was easily convinced that the young man who was in charge of collecting rocks owned it (ie enthusiasm) in a great measure.

Judge, Please, Between the Inheritors and Us

The heirs did not give up "their" inherited plot of land. After the farmer had been driven from the site, the heirs took the community leaders to court for taking possession of "their" property. And when the court found that the inherited land belonged to the city, they took the matter to a higher court. Not wanting to waste energy on such matters, the building committee decided to make a peaceful settlement with the heirs. For this purpose, a delegation was chosen: The Rabbi Reb Avram Aron Valdshan, Herr Shmuel Mayster, and Herr Krugman, who tRabbielled to Pruzhene on October 27, 1924. They discussed the dispute for whole night with the rabbi of Pruzhene, and then with Herr Zalman Grinzburg, and did not reach any agreement. It was not until the next morning, in the Hotel Galubovich, that the disagreement between the different parties was settled. The heirs were given 125 dollars. The contract which the heirs gave to the Jewish community of Shershev is as follows (in literal translation from the Hebrew):

By the help of G-d, as a permanent proof of the fact before the Jewish community of Shershev, will serve the statement signed hereunder by us, the brothers Borekh and Moshe-Shmuel Pomerantz. That the plot of land in the town of Shershev, on Kamenyetz street, which we inherited from our parents, and which we sold to our Uncle Markl Pomerantz, who gave the above-mentioned land as a donation to the Jewish Community of Shershev for the purpose of building on it a Talmud Torah building. We have, with our good will arrived at a mutual agreement about the above -mentioned plot of land, receiving as compensation 125 dollars. From now, and for the future, the land belongs to the Jewish community of Shershev which can do with it what it likes with it. Neither we, nor our children have any hereditary right to the land. We sign the above of good will and we confirm that without being forced or pressured we have settled the dispute with the Jewish community of Shershev on Thursday, the second day of the month of Markheshvan, in the year 5685 [1925] in the town of Pruzhene" Signed Borech and Moshe-Shmuel Pomerantz. The above-mentioned settlement took plave according to Jewish law, in our presence and in from of our eyes: Herr Boreck and Herr Moyshe-Shmuel Pomerantz signed with their own hands. TO confirm this, we sign below, on t he above-mentioned date, Signatures Shmuel Pinski, Feivl Galubovich.

The Organizational Preparations for the School Year

At the end of 1926, the building was nearly finished. In order to form a basis on which, immediately after the school had been built, a normal and appropriate program for children could be organized, the building committee invited Herr Yankel Shreibman of Pruzhene, who is today the general secretary of the "Histadrut of Teachers" in Poland (and was then a graduate of a seminary) to visit the local teachers in order to establish which of them would be suitable as a future teacher in the school. Those who were chosen were: the writier of these lines and Herr Bokser who followed the same reommendation was engaged from the Vilna Teachers Seminary. We were entrusted with the task of dividing the school-age children into classes and getting them ready for the new shcool year. We pioneer teachers worked in exraordinarily difficult conditions in a house rented from Herr Asher, the barber. We sat in two cramped rooms, together with children of various ages and degrees of knowledge and labored at the "sacred craft", enduring trials on all sides. After much effort, we succeeded in dividing the children into three groups: We invited Freulien Glotser from Pruzhene.

After five months of hard work we were able more or less, to bring all the children up to the same norm of knowledge and to introduce them to the discipline of school life. In this way, we laid the foundations on which later, would have to be built the whole inner work of the school which would form the corresponding outward aspect of education in the years to come.

The Founding of the Snif (branch) of thr Tarbut Organization in Shershev

On the 9th of March, 1926 the building committee contacted the central "Tarbut" offices in Warsaw with the goal of creating a legitimate Snif-Tarbut, in the name of which the school would be opened in the new school year 1926-1927. The central committee, with Herr Moyshe Gordon at its head, then took an intensive, serious interest in giving us the appropriate information and interceding with the relevant administrative authorities. On April 19th, 1926 took place the official general meeting at the house of Herr Yekhezkyel Krugman where a Snif’Tarbut committee was elected and constituted. The apothecary Herr Eliyohy Boymriter of blessed memory, was unanimously elected as chairman. On April 23, 1926 the Snif-Tarbut was confirmed by the authorities and entered into the register of the societies and organizations of the Krayz [ ] of Pruzhene – under the number 243.

The First Inspection

The Snif-Tarbut wanting to convince itself of the progress of the children, invited the then and well known pedagogue of the Tarbut school in Pruzhene, Herr Okin. He inspected our school on June 18, 1926 He acquainted himself with the pedagogic work of the school and the conditions in which it was being performed. As part of the entertainment of the visitor to Shershev, a meeting of the people was arranged in the large bes-medresh (House of Study). The speakers were the writer of these lines and the visitor, Herr Okin. The visitor impressed the Jewish population of Shershev favorably. He created a pleasant atmosphere around the school.

The Khanukes-Habayis [House warming]

After hard work and extraordinary efforts on the part of the building committee, we at last merited to celebrate the khanukes-habayis holiday. Whoever did not see the joy spread out on the faces of the members of the building committee has never seen any really happy people in his life! This was especially noticeable in the case of chairman Herr Yekhezyel Krugman, who was devoted with life and soul. He had reason to rejoice, seeing the fruit of his hard work. (Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy).

On the Sabbath [Parshat Balak], 1926, the building committee, together with all the sympathizers, celebrated the khanukes-habayis. The teacher of the "Tarbut" school in Pruzhene,Herr Tinski, was invited. There was an intention to engage him as the official [ ] of the school. On the Sabbath, after prayers, came the guests who had been invited with the Rabbi Reb Noyekh Liverant at their head. We celebrated in a very elevated mood, expressing our good wishes, and also our appreciation of the worthy members of the building committee. Special thanks were unanimously given to the tireless [] worker for the good of the community, the chairman of the building committee Herr Yekhezkyel Krugman – and to the American aid-committee, which had helped to build the school. After eating sweet things and drinking a glass of shnaps, the celebrants departed in a happy mood.

The Parents Committee

With the Khanukes-habayis, the noble, inestimable task of the never to be forgotten worthy members of the building committee came to an end. Now a second task appeared: to organize the school for the new school year, 1926-1927. The task consisted of organizing the teaching staff and bearing material responsibility for the school. On the same Sabbath, in the evening, a general meeting of the parents’ committee was held in the big bes midrash. The young people also participated. The guest, Herr Tiniski, lectured on the topic "The Hebrew school and its importance for the revival of the national spirit". Following this informative lecture there was a secret ballot to elect memebers of the parent’s committee The following were elected:

1. Herr Yekhezkheyl Krugman (chairman)
2. Herr Averbakh Shloyme
3. Herr Kantorovitsh, Kopl
4. Herr Kantarovitsh, Ruva
5. Herr Sheynboym, Borekh Zelik

6. Herr Kabizetski, Yankev Meyer (secretary)
7. Herr Shnayder, Zalman
8. Rasikhovski, Avrom
9. Herr Malekski, Peysakh


As honory members the following were unanimously elected:

The Chief Rabbi

The apothecary, Herr Elyohy Boymriter of blessed memory

The teaching Staff in 1926-1927

Shteyn (principle)
Yoyel Valdshan
Gurevitsh, B.

The year in question in its main pedagogic work can be characterized as a year of unceasing struggle with the deeply rooted bad tendencies of the children, and of searching for means to alleviate the material situation. The question of discipline was never taken off the day’s agenda. Psychological descriptions of the student’s characters were carried out, and the methods appropriate to each kind of juvenile character were adopted, in order to improve it. From the programmatic, didactic point of view of the work was not satisfactory. There were various reasons for this. Many of them had nothing to do with the teaching staff. The causes were that the Tarbut school network in Poland was not yet fully organized, and the as yet incomplete school inventory and lack of necessary teaching materials.

The methodological aspect of the work, went in the direction of and followed instructions of the modern pedagogic handbooks. The work of the teachers was very much disturbed by the mood of apathy which got the better of them on account of irregular pension payments and the economic dispute between the teachers and the school committee, especially about wages for the two months of vacations. The "Vaad" [council] wanted to recognize only six weeks of vacation. The issue even led to a teacher’s strike lasting two days. The teachers got involved in no cultural activities except the school.

The Year 1927-1928

The Teachers:

Broyman – acting chair of the teachers’ council.
Goldberg, Mushe
Valdshan, Yoyel
Gurevitsh, Borekh

During this year the teachers introdced no novelty or changes into their pedagogic work. It followed step by step the achievements of the previous year. There was even a perceptible decline in some respects. There was not mutual understanding among the teachers with regard to their methodological and didactic practices. To a certain extent there was a spirit of "anything goes."

There was no head teacher to take responsibility for the pedagogic work of the school. Herr Broyman was appointed acting chair of the teachers’ council. Except for the work of the school, no cultural activities for young people were organized.

The Year 1928-1929

The teachers:

Shnayder, Yankev – principle
Buzhinski, Sh.
Broyman, Shimen
Grober, Dovel
Valdshan, Yoyel

This year brought with it many positive changes in all particulars. It could therefore be called a year of achievements. From the programmatic, didactic point of view, a tremendous change occurred. There was a normal, stable program: the teachers worked on the material in advance, according to a plan. They divided it into the months of a whole year. There was system and a sense of responsibility in the work. The topic of Erets-Yisroel was used by the teachers at every opportunity and the work of the KKL [Keren Kayemet Liyisrael - The Founding fund for Eretz Yisrael] among the children was very lively and interesting. Apart from this, cultural work was also carried on among the young people in the form of lectures on the following subjects: history, literature, and political economy.

The Year 1929-1930

The teachers

Shnayder, Yankel – principle
Buzhinski, SH.
Grober, D.
Valdshan, Y.

The work of this year was a continuation of the previous year, together with improvements. A warm, friendly environment was created around the school. The authority of the teacher grew in the eyes of the population of the town. In this year the first graduation of the seventh class took place (not a normal graduation as the children had not attended the school from the first class on). This year also, was arranged an impressive exhibition of the children’s work, reflecting all areas of study.

The Year 1930-1931

The teaching staff

Kutshinski, M. – principle
Kutshinska, Dvoyre
Trunska, Taybl
Valdshan, Yoel

This year, the pedagogic work was like an imitation of what went before. There were no innovations. There was no corresponding sense of responsibility and appropriate dedication on the part of the teachers. In general, this year can be designated as one of decline.

Cultural work, apart from the school was expressed in the organization of the graduating students under the name, The School Alumni Committee.

The Year 1931-1932

The teaching staff:

Peker, Yankev-Simkhe – principle
Valdshan, Yoel
Nitsberg, Yisroel
Hokhberg, Dvoyre

This year was correctly named "the year of organization" Excellent, disciplined work was carried out by the teaching staff. As a particular example, the administrative work will serve. The school archive was organized this year. Until then it had been in a state of chaos.

The Year 1932-1933

The teaching staff:

Peker, Yankev-Simkhe – principle
Valdshan, Yoel
Yudelevski, Yankev
Hokhberg, Dvoyre

The value of the pedagogic work of the teaching staff was expressed in a writted evaluation in the inspection book of the inspector of the central "Tarbut", Herr A. Eynshteyn. The literal translation of the Hebrew text reads:

"Three years have passed since my last visit to our ‘Yavneh’ school of the Snif Tarbut here in Shershev. I emphasize with pleasure the progress of this teaching establishment. This time I found good organization and pedagogic initiative, a sense of responsibility for the educational work of the school based on a complete Hebrew education. I emphasize in particular that in spite of the difficult material conditions of the institution, the teachers (especially the diligent principle, Herr Yankev-Simche Pekar) display great devotion to the cause of pedagogic completeness, and I say to them: More strength be to you! May their devoted work be an example to all our activists in the field of Hebrew education" Shershev, 7/1/1932.

The Inspector of the Hebrew Tarbut Schools in Poland A. Eynshteyn

This year saw the second normal graduation of the seventh class.


The Year 1932-1933

The teaching staff:

Valdshan, Yoel – principle
Lifkind, Osher
Yudelevski, Yankev
Skubelska, Sheyne

During this year, the school changed over to a cooperative basis The school committee bore no material responsibility for the teachers’ salaries (except for an obligation to pay a few hundreds zlotys). The new economic arrangement, to which the teachers were unaccustomed, provoked misunderstandings which resulted in a worsening of the work, although the organizational and also the pedagogic part of the work was on an appropriate level. Taking into account the abnormal conditions, the government inspector who visited the school on February 21, 1934 acknowledged the great progress made by the children.

The Year 1934-1935

The teaching staff:

Valdshan, Yoel – principle
Yudelevski, Yankev
Skubelska, Sheyne
Pomeranyets, Lea
Zundovitsh, Yankev

This year brought a deeper pedagogic and methodological involvement and innovations in the work. The teaching staff fulfilled their task with full responsibility. The administrative and economic side of the work was worthy to serve as a model example. There was unbroken contact between teachers and parents. There was harmonious cooperation with the school inspector: A constant correspondence with the government inspector, and with the central Tarbut on the subject of pedagogic problems in the work of the school. A colossal amount of repair was carried out in the school, thanks to which the school acquired the appropriate aesthetic appearance. For the higher classes a club for reading and entertainment was organized and also an orchestra of ten children. Cultural work (apart from the school) was carried on in the form of lectures on the subjects of literature and hygiene.

This year can rightly be called a year of reforms in the school. As an evaluation of the organization of the school during the year the following letter from headquarters dated October 10, 1934 will serve:

This is the letter:

"To the pedagogic leadership of the Yavneh school in Shershev [sic]. A reply to your letter of October 25 number 218/34 from the account protocols of the pedagogic council. In the [] we have been able to look at your efforts in the direction of deepening the bases of teaching in the department and bringing system and order into the daily work.

Signed: Grinvald, Moyse

Rabinov, Borekh"

The Celebration of the School Graduation

While the school existed two celebrations held to mark the graduation of the children in the seventh class. The first graduation was in 1929-1930. The second was in 1932-1933. The latter was especially remarkable for its impressive celebration. More than a hundred people took part. Representatives of all the institutions and local organizations greeted and wished luck to the graduates in their lives. We were greeted warmly by our brothers and sisters in America. We cite here the worthy text of the greetings which shows the devotion of our American brethren to the town of their birth, Shershev and their intelligent grasp of modern education for the next generation.

"Most respected friends!

Fellow townspeople, energetic upholders of the educational institute "Yavneh" in Shershev great-great-grandchildren of Rebbe Yokhanen Ben Zokhai of blessed memory,

Worthy friends! I am very, very happy to have the honor and pleasure of greeting you heartily and joyously, in the name of Shershev landslayt in New York, the Shershev support society, the synogogue in Bronxeville and the newly-founded Ladies Auxilery. We take this opportunity to tell you that our soul is ruled by the thought and emoion which are now with you in our old hometown, Shershev.

On account of the great distance across the sea, and other circumstances, we cannot visit you now. But with an expression to you of our deep, heartfelt sympathies, we take part in your great celebration. We all wish you a happy holiday, which will, without doubt, fill everyone’s heart with fresh energy, courage and spiritual resolve to continue the sacred work of educating a future generation, which will bring honor to its people and beauty to mankind. We know quite well what you have gone through in the seven years of your existence. We can imagine your struggle, you disappointment and everygthing which is only to be expected, given unforeseen causes and the eternal conflict between theory and practice: they are always as it, hammer and tongs, but that should never hold us back, because the principle strength to which we owe our resistance to all attacks, is our tragic but noble history – in the most difficult conditions and terrible times, we never gave up. No persecutions have been able to weaken our spirit, stained our honor in our eyes. Grief and pain have not made our soul petty. This is our strength, with which we will overcome the present crisis; and we will go forward with victorious steps. Accompanied by courage and the perpetual optimism of the Jews.

On this path, you and we will continue the noble work of educating a generation which will bring honor and raise the cultural level of its hometown Sherehev, and of Jewry everywhere.

Secretary: Dovid Gringold

New York, July 6, 1933"

The Graduates and Children who Attended the School

32 Children – 21 boys and 11 girls graduated from the school after having gone through 7 classes. According to their present level, the qualification can be made:

Apart from this the number of children who attended our school was 60-70. They are all in the organizations "Hashomer hatsair" [or] "Beytar". The more important part of them are occupied in cultural organizational work. Most know a trade (see table, page 544[in original]).


Apart from visits in the region nearby, two large excursions were planned by the teacher to Byalovyezh, in the years 1928-1929 and 1933-1934. The participants were children in the higher classes and young people who visited the school. The teachers and the children spent whole days in the dense virgin forest of Bielovyezh, looking at the beautiful, splendid panoramas of nature and at the various plants. They also visited the museum which is in the former royal palace, and the living []

[p 544 in original: Table of figures not translated]

The Traditions of the School

Every Hanukah, the schoolchildren organized an evening with a colorful program. The evening always made a good impression on the guests. On Lag B’omer there was a magnificent children’s march, with national banners, through the streets of the town and an excursion into the forect.


In the years 1926-1927, 1929-1930, 1932-1933 and 1933-1934 the school was visited by the inspector of the Hebrew "Tarbut schools" in Poland, Herr A Aynshteyn and the principle of the "Yavneh" school in Pruzhene, Herr Grinvald. In the years 1930-1931, 1931-1932 and 1933-1934, the school was visited by the government inspectors Herr Zavadzki and Herr Leshnikovski

The Children’s Library

When the school was opened, there were already books in a very limited quantity. Thanks to the teacher who organized various events, the library developed more and more. Today, the library numbers 513 books: 362 in Hebrew and 151 in Polish. In the year 1931-1932 principal Paker laid the foundation stone of a pedagogic library for the teachers. The library now numbers 153 books. 18 Hebrew and 35 Polish books.

Various Accidents in the School

As a result of carelessness there were three accidents in the course of the ten years: in the year 1927-1928 a child put a corked bottle into the hot stove. The student Lea Tenenboym, at the request of a younger schoolmate wanted to take the bottle out; but the bottle exploded with terrible force and ripped off the upper lip of Tenenboym, and slightly wounded several children. In the year 1932-1933, at the end of the school year, the teachers organized an excursion with the children into a nearby forest. In the forest the student Sore Basikhes (12 years old) strayed away from the teachers. She was attacked by a 16 year old, non-Jewish boy who wanted to rape her, but this was prevented by the accidental appearance of some of her fellow students at that place. On Sept. 9, 1934, the Christian Paulina, servant of the school, heated the stove on Saturday morning and left. The floor of the stage caught fire – this was next to the stove – and, later, the walls. Children who happened to be in the courtyard of the school noticed the fire. They gave the alarm about the conflagration. Neighbors ran up and, with great effort, localized the fire.

The "Tarbut" library of the Town’s Snif

The founding of the Snif’s Tarbut library sounds like a legend. In 1923, a group of children aged 14-15 got together and decided to found their own library. The leader of the group was Avrom Averbukh (a son of Shloyme Averbukh). They donated their last, saved up groshns [small coins], bought children’s books and called the library, Hatichiya -Reborn. The bookcase was in the house of Avrom Averbukh, There, the children gathered and read with confident joy the books in their own library! Gradually, the library came to the attention of other young people, who, with difficulty, became readers in it. The demand for books increased. Then they decided to open the "locked door" to everybody. They gathered the courage to carry out, from time to time, fund raising campaigns among the inhabitants of the town – and the library grew as if yeast was in it…In 1928, the library had 250 books. Meanwhile, in 1925, a second group of young people Khayim Shames, Avrom Kvelman, Yitzkhok Tenenboym, Alter Rasikhovski and Zeydl Beydatsh, of blessed memory – founded among themselves, a reading room in the house of Rokhel Glotser and called it, Zoinist Union. But the reading-room was soon closed. A certain sum of money remained in the communal chest. What should be done with it? The comrades discussed the matter. They could not come to an agreement. But then they decided to buy the works of Mendele Moykher Sforim. This awoke the "read appetite" of the friends. They became fervent, serious advocates of the plan to create a great library in the town. From time to time they put on theatrical performances an various other events. The library developed more and more. The attendance of readers increased. Their taste was developed by the books that were acquired. On March 3, 1927, the library was legalized under the name of the Snif Tarbut. It then held 180 books. The founders decided to combine with the Tichiya library and thus form one large, general library for the town.

After much negotiation between the representatives of both libraries a contract was agreed upon, containing large discounts for the founders of the Tichiya library. Thus a mutual agreement was arrived at. The 250 books were given to the Snif Tarbut library which now held almost 400 books all told. The library now contains 300 Hebrew books and 500 Yiddish books for a total of 800 books.

The board of the library consists, now [1936], of the following people:

Avrom Kvelman
Leybl Feynbir
Yitskhok Kirzner
Yankev Yudelevski
Moyshe Yakubovitch


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