Wyszkow, Poland Yizkor Book

Synagogues (continued); The Last Rabbi's of Vishkov, pages 32-33

from SEFER WYSZKOW, ed. D. Shtokfish, 1964, Tel Aviv, pp. 32-33. Trans. Sheldon Clare

The Yeshiva, Synagogues, Study  Places, and Prayer Quorums (continued)

Page 32 - (Photo -Itsche Shkarlat- One of the first Zionists in town)

...began to cash in his “pension” - the weekly pay of 5-10 groshn. However, he looked bad.  When someone asked what was the matter, he answered that every night, he heard a voice from Heaven: ”Hershl, Hershl, what have you done?  What answer will you give the next world, when they will ask you why did you sell such a “mitzvah” (gave away such a mitzvah) for money?” Hershenkeh and Hinkeleh wept, screamed and the Vishkov Jews returned the 150 zlotys to the tailor.  Hershenkeh took back his right to wake the Jews for services.  But on Friday nights, Hershenkeh already did not go alone.  His Hinkeleh went with him; she was afraid to leave him alone.  His chanting became weaker and weaker. One Friday evening, Hershkeleh indeed fell (on his position?) during the awakening for services.  Singing his song: ”Jews, Jews, arise...” He fell alone, collapsed…

The small synagogue on Starazhatzkeh Street was for the “Psalms Society”. Owning 6 Torahs and besides praying several times a day, they also studied a lot.  They were called the “Synagogue of the Burial Society”.  On Varshever Street, one found the A.G. Zionist Synagogue, that carried the name of its owner, the late Eli-Meier Goldman who wrote it over to (during his lifetime?) to the Zionist organization, under the names of Henekh Kaluski, Itche B’herev, Shmaia Rapoport.

From the study houses came unconditionally the seniority of the Gerer study-house (Shtibl) on Strazhatzkeh Street, it was built by the wealthy Hassid Reb Z’khariya Kopolovitch.  There, praying and studying occurred during the whole day.  Through the window, the beautiful voices of the young men carried out while they taught a page of Gemora with Tosefet.  Every evening, about 60 Jews sat at a long table in the first room and studied the “Daf-Yomi- The daily page”.  In the second house, ordinary older Hassidim sat. Gossiped (talked) about Torah, told stories about rabbis.  I remember some of their names: Brukh Zeitog, Itche-Meier Tziviak, Hehoshua Sokol (my father-in-law), Motl B’herev (my father, a ritual slaughterer), Yakov Shokhet Blumshtayn, Izik M’lamed, Yitzkhok Mondry, Khaim-Henekh Shtelung - the Bal-musaf of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (I cannot until this day forget his sweet and exalted praying), Yitzkhok-Hirsh Bialistok, Berish Tchervonogureh, Sholem Zissman, Khaim-Khaikl Hiller, Yitzkhok Epshteyn - the (President?) of the community.

In the second Gerer study home on Varshaver Street, prayed the supporters of “Mizrakhi” and many young people, who used to travel to the Gerer Rabbi. They then understood that they could travel to Ger and simultaneously love “Eretz Yisrael.”  The trustees of the “Shtibl” were: Reb Moshe Oster, Khaim Kremer, Yakov Levin, Yitzkhok-Meier Visotski, and Leml Rubin.

In the Atvatzker study home, prayed the Vorker Hasids, who used to take advantage of every free moment to study Gemora and Tosefos.  Reb Borukh-Mendl Burshteyn used to sit there day and night and study, while his wife Kreyndl was the “bread winner”.  Borukh-Mendl for his whole life went only in one direction: From his home to the Atvatzker study home - and returned.  He sneaked along the walls so that no one would look at him, or to touch him. He became a martyr as other worshippers of the Atvatzker study home: Reb Yitzkhok-Ber Rozenberg, Reb Pinieh Pienik, M’shhaleh Psheshchelinietz, Yakov-Yosef Plonchik, Yisroel-Yosef Krishtal, Yakov Markuskhamer, Morkhe-Mendl Halenberg, Khiel-Meier Rubin, and many others.

One should also recall the Alexander study home with the dear Hasids and wonderful Jews, where the Torah-expert and scholar Shimon Srebnik (Khatzkls). The wonderful (SHEYNEH-actually means beautiful) Jews and Hasids: Reb Yekhiel Shultz, Berish Volinski, Zishe Kaluski, Mordkheh Khanhas, Feivl Shron, who together with their families, became martyrs. Of the distinguished Hasids in Rodziminer study home, I remember: Simkhe Shnek, who every Saturday, used to walk on the bridge after eating and there, said 10 pages of Gemora by heart, Dovid-Leib Domb, B’nyomin Brodek, Yosef Vangazh, Shepsl Borenshteyn, and others. In the “Pshedmiehshcheh” was found the large minyan of Reb Yoske Lakher. There, the neighborhood Jews prayed.  Also the Porendzher shoemakers had their minyan, where they prayed Minkhe-Meiriv and every morning.  Besides this, the dear artisans studied Ein-Yakov. They had praying and studying on their minds, rather than earning a living....

I will end my survey of the worship houses in Vishkov with the Amshinover study home and its dear Hasids:  G’dalyahu Shokhet Tentshe, Tzvi Rozenberg (now in Israel),...

Page 33

...Moshe-Yosef Avramchik, Avromcheh Holland (FAR-SHTAT?)

The Last Rabbi's of Vishkov

The last great scholars and Rabbis that Vishkov possessed before the Holocaust were: The old Rabbi Reb Ben-Tzion Rozenboim, his son-in-law the teacher-instructor, scholar and brilliant student Reb Mendele Bresler, the great scholar and brilliant student Reb Yakov-Arieh Morgenshtern, a grandchild of the Kotzker, the Lamazer Rabbi’s son, the son-in-law of the Amshinover Rabbi.  After the death of the Radzhiminer Rabbi Reb Mendele, he became the Radzhiminer until the day the war broke out.  His son, the scholar and sage Reb Dovid-Shlomo became the Vishkover Rabbi.

I do not remember the name of the last teacher-instructor in Vishkov - but also he - as all the pure and martyrs in town - all perished. I have attempted to recall from my memory certain figures of our annihilated holy community of Vishkov.  I know that this is only a part: These are only bits (crumbs) of what our town had and possessed.  I recalled the familiar, those who I knew. Those who I came together with them on various occasions, to cooperate or to see their activities.  I know that I have omitted many names - they should not have a grudge against me.  The (SHOROT) of mine should be a modest mourner’s prayer to remember all the martyrs and purified ones (T’horim), who, along with the sayer of the mourner’s prayer “perished for the martyrdom of being a Jew”.

Michael Tobin
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