A few "minyanim" are gathered in the Trisker Shtiebel; they wear their Taleisim only on their shoulders, and not on their heads. This us a Zionist "minyan". When the time for "mi-sheberach" comes, I hear: "for contributing to the redemption of the people's land". The phrase sounds strange and never yet so near our hearts.
Hundreds of children gather in open space, facing Panske Street. For the first time in my life we foregather, Cheder boys with "peoth" and traditional Jewish hats, with girls from the secular school. We are given small blue-white flags and are marched along Breoditzer street to the nearby wood to the martial sounds of "seu ziona ness va-degel". The day was spent in song and dance. Tired and happy we returned home when darkness fell.
I became a "Hebraist"
My uncle Welvish, who was then engaged to toibe, a member of "AgudatZion", brought me the first books of the "prachim" and "nitzanim" dries. Soon I and several of my friends from the cheder started borrowing books from the AgudatZion library. We used to "swallow" them at the rate of three our four a week. Bunie janower once takes up one of these books, leafs through it and asks me: What is that there"Shezif"?. - "A fruit," I reply, "A Shezif is just a plum".
Thus I got used to read Hebrew and considered myself a "Hebraist". When I became "Bar-Mitzva", I lived with characters of "Ahavat Zion" of Mapu.
I became a "Apikoress"
The old Rabbi of Hrubieszow, Reb Isser Javets, was gathered unto his father and Reb Joseph Wertheim was appointed in his stead. As he lived nearby, my father was a frequent visitor at his home, and I was an avid reader of his books. To me they revealed a new world of Hebrew and world of literature: all Hatekufa volumes,Treivishe's translations of Tolstoy's "war and peace" and "Anna Karenina" and a good many other literature: Tagore, Goethe and Byron. My zest for Talmudical studies was translated to these books. Thus, all unknowingly, the Rabbi helped to deprive me of my orthodoxy.
The Rabbi's home became the headquarters of work for the Jewish National Fund. I took up this work with enthusiasm, and was forever busy collective with the help of the blue-white box. On a certain Hanukka evening (1924?) the Rabbi invited some 50-60 "baalei-batim" and obtained on the spot numerous contributions to the fund.
The Borukhov Circle
The revolution created many, sometimes conflicting, ideologies. In our town they found expression in big May-day processions, in which thousands of young men and women took part. Even among our ranks there were serious ideological conflicts, notably as between national and international socialism. The question of Biro-Bijan colonization served as bone of contention and serious verbal clashes. But National Socialism, along the line laid down by Ber Brorukhov, slowly and steadily gained the upper hand. It was not before the first Borukhov Circle was followed by others: Syrkin Circle, Chazanovitz Circle, Brenner Circle.
An attitude towards all problems
Looking back, I cannot but wonder at the interest which our youthful Socialist member showed in my social or political movement the world over: our own Russian revolution, the Labor government in England, "red" Vienna, the Chan-Kai Shek revolution in China, and others. We, the Jewish youth, could not rest until we crystallized our "attitude". Still more so as regards problems nearer our heart: dictatorship and democracies, materialism and idealism, Zionism and internationalism, Yiddish and Hebrew. The names of the great exponents of social theories were ever on our lips. There were particularly acrimonious discussions over Zionism when members of the Fourth Aliya (in the twenties) came back from Palestine, dispirited and despondent. But the devoted and loyal Zionists overcame this defeatist propaganda. They labored long and arduously to instill the right spirit into the minds of the other members. Thanks to them, many of our members are now happily settled as Histadrut members in the state of Israel.
In 1928-20, 15 trainees Freiheit and Poalei Zion came to settle in Eretz Israel.