JewishLife in Poland 79-90 years ago

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Slide 1: 

Jewish Life In Poland

Slide 2: 

Wysock, a tiny village in Volhynia, 1937

Slide 3: 

A well in a rural area of Volhynia, not far from the Polish-Russian border.

Slide 4: 

Mountain Jews in Rosachacz, a village in the Eastern Beskid range of the Carpathian mountains.

Slide 5: 

Mountain Jews in Rosachacz, a village in the Eastern Beskid range of the Carpathian mountains.

Slide 6: 

Jews and peasants in a village in the Carpathian mountains, 1921.

Slide 7: 

An elderly wanderer and his grandson en route between Warsaw and Otwock, one of the many rural towns that surround the capital, 1928.

Slide 8: 

Wooden foot bridge in Maciejowice, one of the oldest Jewish settlements in Lublin province.

Slide 9: 

The store and home of Yankev and Perl Rebejkow on a street in Jeziory, ca. 1900.  The sign in Russian advertises their wares - grain, flour, groats, and bran.

Slide 10: 

The store and home of Yankev and Perl Rebejkow on a street in Jeziory, ca. 1900.  The sign in Russian advertises their wares - grain, flour, groats, and bran.

Slide 11: 

The store and home of Yankev and Perl Rebejkow on a street in Jeziory, ca. 1900.  The sign in Russian advertises their wares - grain, flour, groats, and bran.

Slide 12: 

Zabludow, 1916.  A town famous for its seventeenth-century wooden synagogue.

Slide 13: 

Market day in Hrubiesz, 1925.

Slide 14: 

Water pump in the fish market in Otwock, twenty-eight kilometers southeast of Warsaw.

Slide 15: 

Entrance to the Jewish quarter in Cracow, 1938.

Slide 16: 

Jatkowa (Meatmarket) Street in the old Jewish quarter of Vilna.

Slide 17: 

The Jewish quarter in the old section of Lublin, 1938.

Slide 18: 

Market day in Kremieniec, 1925.  One of the oldest settlements in eastern Poland.

Slide 19: 

Sale of clothing at the market in Kazimierz nad Wisła (Yiddish: Kuzmir), ca. 1920.

Slide 20: 

Jews praying at the tombstone of REMA (Rabbi Moses Isserles) o Lag ba'Omer, the anniversary of his death.  REMA, who died in 1572, is buried near the synagogue in Cracow that bears his name.

Slide 21: 

The tomb of Rabbi Elijah (1720-1797), the Bilna Gaon.  Behind the tomb can be seen the tree which sprang, according to legend, from the graveside of Walentyn Potocki, Polish nobleman and convert to Judaism.

Slide 22: 

Tombstone of Jacob Meshullam ben Mordecai Ze'ev Ornstein (1775-1839), the great Talmudist, in the old cemetery in Lwow.  The relief on the tombstone shows the four volumes of his famous work, the Yeshu'ot Yakov, a commentary on the Shulhan Arukh.

Slide 23: 

Tombstones in the old Jewish cemetery in Stryj.  The 18th-century tombstones in the foreground is decorated with a relief of the Polish eagle.

Slide 24: 

Family gathered at a tombstone in the cemetery in Wloszczowa.  The tombstone bears the inscription:  "A righteous man who led a life of good deeds, who lived from the fruits of his labor all his years, who died young, who was a giver of charity, the worthy one, Yisroel Yitskhok, son of Shmuel Zindl, may his memory be blessed...May his soul be tied in the knot of life."

Slide 25: 

Proffessional mourners (klogerins) in the cemetery in Brody.  During the month of Elul, it was customary to visit the graves of relatives and of very pious Jews to pray for eternal rest for the deceased and to beg them to intervene with G-d on behalf of the living.  Professional mourners were sometimes hired to improvise prayers and entreaties in Yiddish; they wailed and fell upon the graves, in a show of mourning.

Slide 26: 

Interior of the Old Synagogue of Kazimierz (Cracow).  Built in the late fourteenth century, it is the oldest remaining synagogue in Poland.

Slide 27: 

The great fortress synagogue of Luck, built during the seventeenth century on the site of an older wooden synagogue.  It was constructed in the form of a fortress to help defend the city against the invasions of the Cossacks and Tatars.

Slide 28: 

The synagogue in Orla.  Originally a Calvinist church, the building was sold to the Jews of Orla in 1732, after the failure of the Calvinist movement in Poland.

Slide 29: 

The Tlomackie Synagogue in Warsaw.  Built between 1872 and 1878, and designed by Leandro Marconi, an Italian architect, it was destroyed by the Germans.

Slide 30: 

The synagogue in the Free City of Gdansk (Danzig), built in 1881 and destroyed by the Germans in 1940.  In 1939 the Jewish comunity in dgansk, realizing that war was imminent, sent the treasured objects from the Gdansk Synagogue to the Jewsih Theological Seminary in New York for safekeeping.  Today these objects are at the Jewish Museum in New York.

Slide 31: 

Worshipers leaving the Altshtot (Old City) Synogogue on Wolborska Street, Lodz, 1937.  On November 11, 1939, the twenty-first anniversary of Poland's independence, this and three other great synagogues and the Kociuszko monument in Lodz were destroyed by the Germans.

Slide 32: 

Exterior of the famed eighteenth-century wooden synagogue in Wolpa.  The interior is elaborately carved and decorated.

Slide 33: 

Interior of the magnificient seventeenth-century wooden synagogue in Zabludow, showing the bimah, the raised podium from which the Torah is read and, on Rosh Hashanah, the shofar sounded.

Slide 34: 

Exterior of the eighteenth-century wooden synagogue in Jeziory

Slide 35: 

Moyshe Pinczuch, a shames (sexton) for forty years.  Wysokie Litewskie, 1924.  The shames served many functions.  His main function was to care for the synagogue.  He might also serve as leader of prayer, charity collector, notary, clerk, or bailiff.

Slide 36: 

Yisrolik Szyldewer, a Hasid and baldarshn (preacher), in Staszow.

Slide 37: 

Dovid Elye, the soyfer (scribe).  Annopol, ca. 1912.  The syfer prepared Torah scrolls, phylacteries, mezuzoth, amulets, and wedding certificates.

Slide 38: 

The Gerer rebe Abraham Mordecai Alter (d. 1948), the great-grandson of the founder of one of the most famous and powerful Hasidic dynasties in Poland.

Slide 39: 

Hasidim outside a house of prayer on Saturday.  Cracow, 1938.

Slide 40: 

Hasidim and others at Krynica-Zdroj, the most famous spa in Poland, in the 1930.

Slide 41: 

Sholem David Unger (d. 1923), the Zhabner Rebbe, of Zabno.

Slide 42: 

Yitskhok Erlich, the belfer (helper of the melamed), carries youngsters to kheyder in Staszow.  The belfer was responsible for bringing the children to school and for keeping order once they were there.

Slide 43: 

Galician Jew.

Slide 44: 

Kheder boy.  Warsaw, 1938.

Slide 45: 

Boys' kheder.  Lublin, 1924.  The melamed uses a special pointer to teach the Hebrew alphabet.

Slide 46: 

Girls' kheyder in Laskarzew.

Slide 47: 

Yeshivah students on Nalewki Street.  Warsaw, 1928.

Slide 48: 

Men studying the Talmud in the bethmedresh of a home for the aged at 17 Portowa Street, Vilna, 1937.

Slide 49: 

Women's executive board of the Orla Talmud Torah, 1930s.

Slide 50: 

"Very good and beautiful hallahs for the Sabbath.  Egg hallahs also."  Cracow, 1938.

Slide 51: 

Housewives in Bialystok carry "tsholnt", a dish of meat, potatoes, and beans, to the baker's oven on Friday afternoon.  The heat retained by the oven walls at the end of the day slowly cooked the tsholnt and kept it hot for the main meal on Saturday, when cooking was prohibited.  November 20, 1932.

Slide 52: 

Ezrielke the shames (sexton) was also athe shabes-klaper.  Biala, 1926.  He knocked on shutters to let people know that the Sabbath was about to begin.

Slide 53: 

The interior of the old mikve (ritual bath) in Zaleszczyki.  Men and women bathed at the mikve, especially before the Sabbath and other holidays.  Ritual immersion was required of women after menstruation.

Slide 54: 

Blessing the Sabbath candles.  New Year's greeting card.

Slide 55: 

Reading the Tsene-rene, a Yiddish version of the Pentateuch.  Vilna.

Slide 56: 

Returning from the synagogue.  Chodorow, 1938.

Slide 57: 

Reform Jew wishes a Hasid a happy New Year.  New Year's greeting card.

Slide 58: 

Tashlikh - "and thou wilt cast all their sins into th edepth of the sea."  Micah 7:19.  On Rosh Sashanah, Jews pray at a stream and, according to custom, empty the contents of their pockets into the water, symbolically casting away their sins.  New Year's greeting card.

Slide 59: 

Shlogn kapores - a rite performed on the day before Yom Kippur.  A person's sins are symbolically transferred to a fowl, which is sacrificed on his behalf.  New Year's greeting card.

Slide 60: 

"As many sukkot awsw there are families."  Cracow, 1937. On Sukkot, Jews eat, sleep, and study in temporary dwellings like those in which their ancestors lived in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt.

Slide 61: 

Examining the etrog (citron) for imperfections.  The etrog is one of the "four species" of plants blessed on Sukkot.

Slide 62: 

Buying flags for children to carry in the Torah procession on the eve of Simhat Torah, the last day of Sukkot, when the year-long reading of the Torah scroll is concluded.

Slide 63: 

Khanike-gelt -- coins are given to children on Hanukkah, a holiday celebrating the victory of the Maccabees.  New Year's greeting card.

Slide 64: 

Purim-shpiler in Szydlowiec, 1937.  Purim-shpiler performed traditional plays on Purim, a Jewish holiday celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from Haman's plot.

Slide 65: 

Airing the bedding and cleaning house for Passover.  In preparation for this holiday, Jews remove all traces of leaven and during the holiday period eat unleavened bread like that prepared on the flight from Egypt.

Slide 66: 

Rabbi Binyomin Graubart, with teachers and students of the Mizrachi Talmud Torah on Lag ba'Omer, Staszow, 1930s.  Lag ba'Omer is a spring festival commemorating the revolt led by Bar Kokhba against the Romans.  Children traditionally carry bows and arrows or toy guns on this holiday.

Slide 67: 

Naftole Grinband, a clockmaker.  Gora Kalwaria (Yiddish: Ger), 1928.

Slide 68: 

Khone Szlaifer, 85-year-old grinder, umbrella maker, and folk doctor.  Lomza, 1927.

Slide 69: 

Yisroel Lustman, weaver of peasant linen in Wawolnica.

Slide 70: 

Zelig, the tailor in Wolomin.

Slide 71: 

Shoemaker.  Warsaw, 1927.

Slide 72: 

Chairmender in Vilna.

Slide 73: 

Watercarrier in Staszow, ca. 1935.  His father and grandfather were also watercarriers.

Slide 74: 

Khayim, an old ferryman, on the Vistula River near Kazimierz nad Wisla.

Slide 75: 

Sime Swieca, a feather plucker, in Kosow.  Feathers, especially goose down, were highly valued, and bedding made from them usually formed part of the dowry.

Slide 76: 

Woman spinning cord, 1938.  She is making cord for tsitses, the knotted tassels attached to the four corners of the arbekanfes (undergarment worn by Orthodox males) and to the tales (prayer shawl).

Slide 77: 

C. Nachumowski, the Jewish propietress of an inn.  Lubcza, 1930s.  Shown with her family and a guest, Dr. Jacob Wygodski, a Zionist leader and member of the Polish Parliament.

Slide 78: 

Jews and peasant on market day in Otwock, 1937.

Slide 79: 

Zisl, the street musician.  Staszow, 1930s.

Slide 80: 

Klezmorim - traditional musicians, most of them members of the Faust family.  Rohatyn, 1912.  Klezmorim frequently appeared with a badkhn (traditional wedding jester), who improvised humorous and sentimental rhymes.

Slide 81: 

Berl Cyn, age 87, the oldest blacksmith in the town.  Nowe Miasto, 1925.