David Toppel

David Toppel

David Toppel

David  Toppel was  the son of Reb Chaim Nochum and Chana Rochel Toppel, and grandson of the Ostroweic Rav, Reb Dovid’el Hakohen Rapaport - whose lineage stretches back to the holy Schach [Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Schach, 1899-2001] and to the Kotzker Rebbe, of blessed memory.

Below is  translation of Yizkor book 1971 article - Page 511 written by Shoshana Topel-Yisraeli

The late R’ David Topel

My brother, the late David Topel, his wife Batya, and their seven children immigrated to Israel in 1935.

David's first job was in construction, lugging buckets of cement up scaffolding. This work proved too hard for David, as he was no longer very young, and so he was forced to leave it. He approached the newspaper "Davar" and accepted the job of distributing the paper’s afternoon edition, which then came out in two daily editions. For an Ostrovtser Jew who happened into Tel Aviv in those days, it certainly must have been very strange to meet David in the streets, shouting, “Davar - evening paper! " He established himself in that business and eventually leased a small corner on Achad Ha'am Street. After a while, the Yediot Achronot newspaper approached him and gave him distribution rights for the entire city of Tel Aviv. With the founding of the newspaper Maariv, the newspaper's founder, the late Azriel Carlebach, offered him to join the cooperative and take on the distribution of Maariv throughout the country. Thanks to this, Topel & Sons became the largest company in the country distributing newspapers and magazines.

Once established financially, he devoted himself as well to charity as his home was open to anyone in need. In 1945, when the first survivors from our city began arriving, David's store on Achad Ha'am became their first address. The townspeople who had arrived before the war would also assemble there to discuss and solicit advice on how to help the remnant of their community who were arriving in the country bereft of all. The first result of those meetings was the establishment of the Society for Former Ostrovtsers in the Land of Israel, of which David was the first chairman.

David was the son of Rabbi Chaim Nachum and Channah Reitzis Topel. On his father's side, David was the grandson of Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Topel, the rabbi of Solec. His mother, Channah Reitzis, was the granddaughter of the late R. David Rapoport Hacohen, who served as rabbi of Ostrowiec prior to the Gaon Rabbi Meir Yechiel Halstock. Rabbi David Rapoport had five sons and a daughter. Four of his sons served as rabbis in towns throughout Poland, while his daughter Mali was the wife of the Ostrovtser moreh tzedek (decisor of Jewish law), R. Tuvia Guttman. Our father R. Chaim Nahum was called to serve as rabbi of Solec after the death of his father, but he refused to leave the Ostrowiec community to which he was very attached. There he served as both the supervisor of kosher meat and the head of the burial society.  He also gave a Torah class for the town’s laymen, served as cantor during the High Holidays, and blew shofar on Rosh Hashanah in the Great Synagogue.

Under the influence of his second son Moshe Yankel, who at first was a Chassidic artist and then became a Zionist, my father considered immigrating to Israel and even inquired about it, but then in 1935 he fell ill. Before his death he requested that I move to Eretz Yisrael and wrote a letter to David, who was then in Venezuela, asking him to leave that Gentile country and join me in the land of the Jews. So it was: A month after father died, I immigrated to Eretz Yisrael and David, together with his family, joined me a few months later.

On the day after the establishment of the State, the 6th of Iyar 5708, David lost his youngest son Mordechai, who was very devoted to both his parents and his homeland. Initially a member of the underground, he enlisted in the newly established Israel Defense Force just before the establishment of the State. Joining the Air Force, he helped to transfer water and equipment to isolated settlements in the Negev. During the first Egyptian bombing of Tel Aviv, he was killed while standing guard at the Sde Dov air field.

From then on David would walk about in a state of depression, as the zest for life was taken from him. He became indifferent to everything, and then a serious illness began to gnaw at his body. He died on the 25th of Sivan 5733 (July 17, 1963) and was buried in Nachalat Yitzchak, near the military section where his holy son was interred.