Mizrachi Movement in Ostrowiec

Below is article from Ostrowiec Yizkor Book, 1971 Pages 253-256

Mizrachi (1)  and Tze’irei HaMizrachi as reflected in the press

Translated by Sara Mages

Mizrachi Movement

Ha-Tsfira (2)

Iyar 5677 [April 1917]:

On the intermediate days of Passover was a general meeting for the association “Hebrew Biblioteka.” From the report it appears that there are now 566 books in this library, of them 252 in Hebrew, 212 in Yiddish and the rest in Polish. The income for half a year was 1037 rubles, and the expense- 1006 rubles.

15 Tamuz 5677 [5 July 1917]:

Our city’s Zionists turned to the committee of Linat Tzedek (3) society to allow them to paste Zionist signs at the concert of the cantor Sirota which was held here by the aforementioned society. The committee did not reply. But, in a private conversation that one of the Zionists of our city had with the secretary of Linat Tzedek society, A.S., the latter explained that it is impossible to paste Zionist signs because it is an impolite. He also added that Warsaw should not be made into Jerusalem and to bring too much Judaism into Poland. Finally, we learned that Mr. Y.P., chairman of the aforementioned society, ordered his secretary to reply to the Zionists only after the concert…

12 Marcheshvan 5678 [28 October 1917]:

Yosef Czesler participated as a delegate from Ostrowiec in the Third Zionist Conference in Poland which took place in Warsaw.

19 Tevet 5678 [3 January1918]:

In the last few days our city was visited by our delegate to the Zionist Conference, Yosef Czesler from Warsaw, who gave a report from the third conference and lectured on the topics: “The influence of Zionism and Hebrew literature,” and “The vocation of the youth at this time.” The last two lectures were at the municipal theater. The speeches made a great impression and a Zionist association was founded in our city.

4 Shevat 5678 [17 January1918]:

On 14 Tevet [December 29], a public meeting was held in the library hall by the temporary committee of the Zionist association. Mr. H.S. Mintzberg was elected chairman. After those gathered rose to honor the memory of the great author, Mendele Mocher Sforim (4)  z”l, Mr. Riba spoke about Eretz Yisrael, and with thunderous applause a suitable decision was made unanimously.

13 Iyar 5678 [25 April 1918]:

On Monday, the intermediate days of Passover, the founding meeting of Mizrachi took place in our city. Mr. Y.M. Rappaport, who was elected chairman, opened the meeting and called those gathered to work. The number of members is reaching eighty.

The gentlemen elected to the temporary committee: A.Y. Mintzberg, A, Alterman, M. Szajner, B. Tropper, Y. Eiger, A. Baumfeld, A. Halshtok, M. Herceg, D. Brandspiegel,

  1. Zuran, Y.L. Goldstein, M. Kuperman, and M. M. Niskier. The committee planted in the name of the association eleven trees in “Ostrowiec Garden” of Mizrachi that the association has just founded. The Mizrachi organization set as its goal to start a broad propaganda in favor of the Mizrachi idea. On the seventh day of Passover, Mr. Rappaport gave a lecture that made a great impression on all those gathered.


HaMizrachi  Weekly (5)

In the Mizrachi conference, held in Warsaw on 28 Nisan 5679 (28 April 1919), Mr. Y.M. Rappaport participated as a delegate from Ostrowiec.

Mr. M. Katz participated on behalf of Mizrachi in the general conference of Mizrachi held in Opatów.

17 Tamuz 5679 [15 July 1919]:

HaRav Y. L. Grossbart of Staszów visited the cheder (6)“Or Torah” of Mizrachi in Ostrowiec and prepared a curriculum for it. This cheder has a good reputation in the whole city and the number of its students has increased. The Mizrachi association already has 178 members and it has almost no opponents in the city.

24 Sivan 5680 [10 June 1920]:

When the happy news of San Remo came to our city, on that day all the inhabitants of our city stood in the streets in groups and only talked about it. On the Shabbat, most of the city’s Jews went to the synagogue and recited Hallel. Our member, R. Mandelbaum, spoke on current affairs. A special celebration was held on Lag BaOmer. All the balconies were decorated with blue and white flags. In the afternoon, a procession of all the national parties was held, and thousands of people marched under the Mizrachi flags. A public meeting was held in front of the community building. Now we started to collect funds for Keren HaGeula [Redemption Fund].

23 Heshvan 5681 ([4 November 1920]:

A general meeting of our members was held on the intermediate days of Passover. The meeting was opened by the chairman Moshe Lederman. In short and enthusiastic words he called the members to work. From the report it appears that despite the hardships of recent times, a decent amount was collected for Keren HaGeula and Keren Kayemet LeYisrael [JNF]. The members expressed confidence in the outgoing committee whose members are: chairman -Moshe Lederman, his deputy - Shmuel Westel, secretary - Yehusua Kuperman, treasurer - S. Westel,. The committee members: B, Stein, Tzvi Kleiman, Moshe Katz, Yakov Monheit, M. Szajner, E. Blumenstock, L. Hertz, Asher Birenbaum, Yakov Weintraub and L. Halshtok called the members to devote themselves to work. The meeting closed with the singing of Hatikvah. The committee immediately opened the Mizrachi cheder.

12 Tevet 5681 [23 December 1920]:

On 4 Kislev [15 November], HaRav Rozenblum visited our city and spoke at Linat Tzedek hall. On the second day he lectured in the synagogue before a large crowd. His passionate speeches left an indelible impression.

28 Second Adar 5681 (7 April 1921):

On Purim eve the Mizrachi cheder held a Hebrew party at the theater hall. It was attended by members, students of the cheder and evening classes’ students. The hall was full to capacity. The teacher, Mandelbaum, opened the party in Hebrew. The play Shalom Aleichem Yehudi was presented in three acts and the play David and Goliath in five acts. Songs were sung in an uplifting spirit, and to the sound of the singing of Hatikvah the gathered left the hall. The audience saw for the first time that the Hebrew language lives in our children mouth. With the participation of the teachers, and the female student Egar, we published a one- time newspaper called Or Torah, as he name of the cheder. In general, our work is progressing. Last Saturday our member, Brandspiegel, gave before the members meeting a report from the previous conference. The members expressed total confidence in the central committee in general and the decisions of the conference in particular.

4 Iyar 5681 [12 May 1921]:

On Sunday, 25 Second Adar [4 April], we called the foundation meeting of Tze’irei HaMizrachi in our city which was held at the Mizrachi hall. The member Brandspiegel opened the meeting with a short speech full of enthusiasm, in which he explained to the assembled the fundamental principles of Tze’irei HaMizrachi and their roles in the near future. Decisions were made after heated debates and a temporary committee was chosen that included the members: Brandspiegel - chairman, Topol - secretary, and the members:

Algazi, Kesenberg, Hertz, Y. Bliberg and A. Bliberg.

The talks and lectures on various topics, held under the management of the member Brandspiegel, work out well and with success. On the Sabbath, Rosh Chodesh Nisan [9 April], he gave a lecture on the subject, Tze’irei HaMizrachi and their development.

Many members participated in the discussion after the lecture. In general, a large and tangible movement is seen in our city in favor of our lofty idea.

10 Sivan 5681 [16 June 1921]:

On Sunday, 30 Nisan (8 April), we called the members of Tze’irei HaMizrachi for a general meeting. In the attendance of close to sixty members, the member D. randspiegel opened with a lecture on the Mizrachi idea and explained the roles of Tze’irei HaMizrachi. The member, Stanovic was appointed chairman of the meeting, and the member Katz blessed the meeting in the name of the Mizrachi committee. The chairman read the resolutions of the conference of Tze’irei HaMizrachi representatives. From the report of the committee’s activities, given by the secretary Topol, it appears that next to our association there is a Hebrew library named Seferot [literature], whose number of books and readers is increasing. Every Saturday, there are conversations with the participation of many members. There were several parties in Hebrew in which many of our members excelled. We collected about ten thousands marka (7) for the benefit of Keren Kayemet LeYisrael, our delegates in Keren Hayesod [UIA] and in the Eretz Yisrael office fulfilled their duties. A month ago, several people from our city immigrated to Eretz Yisrael, We already received letters from them informing us that they celebrated Passover, together with other guests at the Mizrachi Hall in Jaffa, and in three days each of them earned eight pound sterling. More than sixty people signed up for a trip to our country, among them a respectable number of young people.

The member, D. Brandspiegel, lectured on the necessity of learning the written and oral Hebrew language, and at the same occasion many members signed up for evening classes. The member, A. Birenbaum, talked about the classes for artistic training. The members elected for the committee: D. Brandspiegel - chairman, A. Bliberg - secretary,

Topol - treasurer, Blumenstock - delegate for Keren Kayemet LeYisrael, A. Birenbaum - our city’s delegate for the HeHalutz fund, Stevanovic, Kesenberg, Y. Bliberg and Algazi.

The member, D. Brandspiegel, gave the closing speech that aroused the gathered forwork and activity. The meeting closed with the singing of Hatikvah and with spiritual uplifting.

1 Tamuz 5681 [7 July 1921]:

On the first and second day of the holiday of Shavuot we held public meetings in which the following members lectured: the chairman Mr. Lederman, the secretary L. Halshtok, the teacher Mandelbaum, B. Stein, Brandspiegel, Kuperman and M. Katz, on current affairs and the political situation of our country. After the speeches this decision was unanimously adopted: “The meeting expresses its confidence, that victory will finally be on our side, and that the gates of Eretz Yisrael will open immediately. We are all ready to make an aliya to our country, to cultivate its desolate soil and build the ruins of our country in the spirit of our Torah.”

21 Menachem Av 5681 [25 August 1921]: On 25 Tamuz [31 July] a mourning party in memory of our great leader, Dr. Herzl z”l, was held by Tze’irei HaMizrachi organization. On the stage hung a picture of Herzl and the Mizrachi flag flew next to it. After we sold a cow for the benefit of Herzl Forest, D. Brandspiegel opened the party in Hebrew and gave the permission to speak to the teacher Wolman, who lectured about “Herzl and his history.” A memorial service was held and the choir sang mourning songs. The members Mendlbaum, Halshtok and D. Brandspiegel also spoke. The students recited various readings and the choir sang songs of Zion. The meeting closed with the singing of Hatikvah.

2 Marcheshvan 5682 [3 November 1921]:

Tze’irei HaMizrachi movement is well known in our city. We participate in all fields of work. Thanks to our member Mr. Lederman, member of the city council, A decent number of members of Tze’irei HaMizrachi were added to the population census committee. On Saturday, 1 October, our members spoke at the synagogue about the census.

On Rosh Hashanah, before the reading of the Torah, the member D. Brandspiegel lectured at the Mizrachi hall about HeHalutz HaMizrachi fund. Among others, he emphasized that we want to fulfill our ambitions - we must work for this fund that enables the immigration of the religious members to Eretz Yisrael. His words made an impression and at the same occasion decent sums were donated.

9 Adar 5682 (9 March 1922): On Saturday night, 6 Shevat [4 February], there was a lecture in our hall on the subject: “Our role after the Third National Conference.” The members Biranbaum and Brandspiegel, our representatives in the conference, gave a report about its meetings. At the end of their speeches they roused the members to actual work. We approached the opening of the reading room and, in general, it is necessary to recognize among our camp the desire to act in all areas.

1 Nisan 5682 [30 March 1922]:

Two weeks ago was the annual general meeting of Mizrachi members.

The chairman M. Lederman and D. Stein gave a detailed report of the committee’s achievements in the past year. A new committee was elected to which the following members entered: M. Lederman -chairman, M. M. Nihoz - secretary, M. Sheiner - treasurer, Y. Kuperman, A. Zilberberg, S. Wastel and M. Langer.

The counselor, Mr. Zukerman, who visited our city, brought great benefit to the development of our association. He lectured on Shabbat Kodesh at the city’s Beit HaMidrash and his words made a great impression on the city’s Jews. Our existing school is developing in a very desirable way. A fourth department will be open in the summer. On Purim we held a Hebrew ball by the school students in a rich program.

We are starting to collect the organization’s dues from our members and hope that the collection will be successful.

1 Nisan 5682 [30 March 1922]:

In Ostrowiec, the Shlomeim threatened that if a protest meeting will be held against the orthodox delegation in Jerusalem to Lord Northcliffe, riots and blows would break out. The City Rabbi, the genius and famous tzadik, intervened in this matter, and after a long conversation with the leaders of Mizrachi, a decision was made to draft a resolution that would also be signed by the Shlomeim. Such a decision has been made with the rabbi’s consent, but, the Shlomeim did not want to sign it... Then, the police commissar announced that the Shlomeim came to him and informed him that Mizrachi and “thugs” will hold meetings that would reach to beatings. When Mizrachi leaders explained the matter to him, and showed him the approval of the community’s authorities, he gave them the license to hold the meeting. At that time, the leaders of Agudat Yisrael came to him and informed him that Starosta 8 Bapet did not give a license for such a meeting last Saturday, and began to slander the community’s authorities… The commissar asked the Starosta by phone, and the latter allowed them to hold the meeting. The leaders of the Agudat Yisrael saw that they were not successful in delivering incriminating information, and turned to the rabbi with new incriminating information, because during the meeting “they will talk about God and his Messiah...” The end of the matter was that the rabbi himself came to the synagogue on Saturday morning and read the wording of the decision by himself: “Since they say, that irresponsible people spoke against Eretz Yisrael in the name of the  ltra-Orthodox Jews, and since we also belong to the ultra-Orthodox, I inform that they told a lie. We all want Eretz Yisrael.” But with that the matter did not end. The ultra-orthodox Jews held a protest meeting, and on Saturday night there were heated arguments between the members of Mizrachi and the Shlomeim at the rabbi’s house. The rabbi announced that he does not belong to any party, nor did he allow anyone to bless the Shlomeim on his behalf...

13 Nisan 5682 [11 April 1922]: The visit of the counselor, the member Elimelech Zukerman, in our city left a great impression. In a large public meeting in the Beit HaMidrash HaGadol, Mr. Zukerman spoke on Zionism and the people. His speech, which lasted about an hour and a half, received special attention from the audience. Our member, Mr. Y. Z. Wiener, lectured after him on the obligation of the people to Zionism. Before the member Zukerman left our city, we held a committee meeting with his participation, and by virtue of its decision we are already arranging the collection of the organization tax from our members.

Dos Yidishe Folk [The Jewish People]

5 Elul 5677 [23 August 1917]: The local Zionists joined to organize and establish a Zionist association, at which evening courses would be opened for Hebrew language, the Bible and Jewish history.

Translator's footnotes:
1- Mizrachi, an acronym for merkaz ruchani (spiritual center) is a religious Zionist organization founded in 1902 in Vilnius.
2- Tze'irei HaMizrachi was an organization of young members of Mizrachi founded in Poland in 1918.
3- Ha-Tsefira (The Morning or The Dawn) was the first Hebrew newspaper in Poland, founded in Warsaw and issued between 1862 and 1931.
4- Linat Tzedek refers to a hostel or boarding house to serve the poor sick or passers-by needing temporary lodging for free.
5- Mendele Mocher Sforim (lit. "Mendele the book peddler") born Sholem Yankev Abramovich, was a Jewish author and one of the founders of modern Yiddish and Hebrew literature.
6- HaMizrachi was a Hebrew periodical published in Poland between December 10, 1918 and May 29, 1924 in the format of a weekly, on behalf of the Mizrachi movement in Poland
7- Cheder (lit. "Room") is a traditional primary school teaching the basics of Judaism and the Hebrew language.
8- The Polish marka was the currency of the Kingdom of Poland and the Republic of Poland between 1917 and 1924.
9- Starosta is the chief administrator of a Polish county or region.