Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Preacher, Letichev, 1913."

Photographs are reproduced from the An-sky photo-archive, courtesy of Petersburg Judaica, European University at St. Petersburg.

From Here - HatTip to ASJ

I'm a sentimentalist. A little too much, maybe. I see these pictures and others like it and I cry. literally. I know that sounds cheesy to some of you, but I can't help it. Which is maybe why I revel in discussing old time history, even if some of the squabbles no longer exist. What also "gets" me is how many of these towns are virtually unknown in Jewish history, despite the fact that they may have had thousands of Jews living there for hundreds of years. And then you may have little hamlets that had 12.5 Jews that are recorded forever in the annals of. How many of you have heard of Letichev before today? Do we know who this "preacher" was? He may have been the Rov there. Who knows? He looks like a yid who suffered all his life. The Litvaks will tell you that it's all about the "Teycheh," that wherever there were yeshivos etc. there was continuity and therefore legacy. The chassidim will tell you that wherever there were Rebbes that shared the love of Hashem with the people, dort iz yiddishkeit, and that's what we remember. Well, it may be partially true part of the time, but it definitely is not etched in stone. There are thousands of mekomos torah and chassidus that are totally forgotten, or exist only in book form. There are plenty of gedolei Olam who are forgotten about. That may be because they never published chiddushim or tshuves, but still. We might just say that it's all mazel. That way nobody feels bad about his ancestors or their Rabbeyim being forgotten about.


Anonymous said...

The 2 major countries Russia and Poland where Jews lived for more then 1000 years are undeserved by historians. The country that is over dramatized is Hungary, every Dick and Harry with a grandpa from their made already atleast a soft cover Kuntres for a bar Mitzva of his oldest son, plus if he was a semi Talmid Chochem he was the Dometz or the Rov.Kinstlicher made already 3 history books on Hungary, now their is a new one out by Mechon Yerushaliem

schneur said...

Yiddishkayt was not dependent on learning or Chassiduth in East Europe until 1914. There were thousands of erliche Yidn who could hardly read the siddur or zogen Tilim. Yeshivas were for yechidei Segula, Chassidim , even most of Galician and Polish Jews were just shul Yidden , not Chassidim . Rebbeim were either baale mofsim , gutte Yidden ,viberische rebbeim , or a few great ones like the Rashab authentic leaders and thinkers.
You read an essay like Heschel's DER MIzrach Eropeyischer Yid and you get a feel for what was going on.
You read the siches of the Rayaatz and you also get a wonderful portrait of the pashute Yidden in the Vais Russische shtetlech who were machnis Eyrech, gave a hlavo, and hoben gelofen ton a Mitzva.It was these peoples kids who filled the zal in Lubavitch not the kids of the rabbonim and greyse knackers
These Yidden were as holy and chashuv as a rebbe or rav and as Peretz said efser noch hecher !
And I posit these was the message of the Baal Shem Tov.
Today there is no one left to relay the message of Kol atzmosai Tomarna, learning, chassidus is impt s its the way of passing on the message , but frankly there were other ways too. Today only among Sefardim in Israel do you still see something of what I refer to.

schneur said...

Anonymous , most of the Jews in Oland were killed , most of lithuanian Jews were killed 90% to be exact, only 1 rav in the Lithuanian republic survived. Compare that to greater Hungary where over 50% of the Jews survived. In addition large parts of White Russia and all of the Ukriane slaved under Communism too.
So today the bulk of Charedim are of Hungarian, German and galicianer extraction. er is Polsih, Lubavitch is klomerst Russian , and the hanholes of the yeshivas are Litoim.

Anonymous said...

"only 1 rav in the Lithuanian republic survived"
who is this Oshri? but there were many that left earlier as Rav Sorotzkin,Rav Wolkin etc.. every day that passes the world is losing out on the rich history of this glorious Jewry

Mottel said...

-Tzig: amazing photos. When I was in the Bolshaya Synagogue in Petersburg, they would give special tours of the Chupa room there. The room was set up as a museum and some of the photos in this collection were on display there.

-Anon: I would assume it's Oshri, yes.

lipovitzer said...

I think you'd be interested to know that anski made recordings on 'wax' disk s that were recently reproduced on cd. Among the pieces are some very interesting examples of niggunim and shtiklach of nusach. Most were sung by shtetlach yidden like the ones in the above pics. Agav. letichev is in the ukraine, i think near vinnitsa.
See you on FB.

lipovitzer said...
here's the content of the cd. I have a copy.

yehupitz said...

This picture inspires you? I don't understand: It makes me want to cry. I don't know this man. Maybe he had some vitality when speaking or inspiring others. But the photo drains the life-force out of me. It's a great picture for anti-Mesora types to use when they attempt to convey the musty and moldy side of Yiddishkeit.

Anonymous said...

I saw lately on Utube a new niggun of Reb Nachman that was found lately in the Ukraine.Is it from these recordings?

Anonymous said...

a beautiful 128 page booklet with many photos was printed in 1992 - called "Tracing An-Sky" which has many artifacts and rebbeshe stories. Can Lipovitzer advise how he bought the Music CD - would love to buy a copy

The Bray of Fundie said...


where do I find the heshel essay


whwre do I order the CD?

The Bray of Fundie said...

my zaide's Polish shtaitel (he was the last Rov) is utterly unknown outside of the few G2s who possess the Yizkor book.

Of my anscestral Polish khasidus' only one branch of one hoif survived the war in any fashion and IMO is sullied by charlatanism, rivalries and splintering a pie to small to cut slices from in the first place.

lipovitzer said...

I didn't buy it, it was a gift.I couldn't tell you about the breslov niggun.
What I did recognize was 'The Besht' nigun sung by Avremel Fried on the CD 'The baal shem tov's niggun'.
Also, nie zhutitze sung in real ukrainian as opposed to belosrussian. See link above for description of nuggunim. If I'll figure out how, maybe i'll upload them.

Anonymous said...

Is Avremel Fried Besht Niggun a new Niggun that wasn't known till today?

Shmerl said...

I bought six albums with Ansky's expeditions photos which were published by Petersburg Judaica. This photo is one of them. There are mostly from Ukraine, thus you have Slavuta, Letichev, Polnoye, Berditchev and etc. Letichev is pretty known as a major shtetl in Ukraine. So I wouldn't say it's "unknown" at all. Of course it's known by those who are interested in Yiddishkayt of the Russishe/Ukrainishe Yidden. Most Hungarians seem to ignore this history.

A gut Shabes!

Shmerl said...

I have all 3 CDs with nigunim from Ansky archive (in files form). It's hard to get them, but I can share if someone wants. No one can claim copyright on them, as Ansky intended it for all Yidden.

Anonymous said...

bahaltener, if there is no copyright why not upload the songs?
maybe hirshel can host them here or just put them on youtubue. everyone here is dying to hear them!

אַנשל said...

סיאיז אַפֿילו דאָ אַ בוך אין 2 בענד װעגן דעם שטעטל לעטישעװ

The Road from Letichev: v.1: The History and Culture of a Forgotten Jewish Community in Eastern Europe
by David A. Chapin (Author), Ben Weinstock (Author)

גיט אַ קוק אָן אויף די ערשטע זײַטן פֿון די 2 בענד דאָ

Anonymous said...

is this the Town that Reb Dovid Furkes talmid of the Besht died? I think in Shevoche Habesht their is story on his petira

SPG said...

This is the town (Letichev) where my great-grandmother came from. While they were not chassidish the town happens to be particularly close to places that were.

anshl said...

No idea, sorry. I only read a little part of this book years ago.

schneur said...

Rabbi Oschry was not a rav in pre war Lithuania. He was a ben Tore. He became arav in the Ghetto.He was a friend of mine and I learned much from my conversations with him. His book Churban Lita is worth reading for its portrayal of the local characters and rabbonim in Lita.
Rav Walkin was from Pinsk in Polesia (nor was he a shtot rav prior to the War)not from the Lithuanian Republic. Of course there were some rabbis from Lita who came to the USA and Israel before 1939. My point is that from all the rabbonim in LIta who functioned as rav, dayan, magid etc only 1 rav Kahanman survived and that because he was in South Africa fund raising when the war broke out. This clearly portrys the devisattion that was Lita !