Thursday, August 26, 2010

......קיין האניג האט מען דארט נישט געלעקט

A Public school in Tac'ev, Hungary/Marmures. See how many kids with peyos and no yarmulkes you can count...

One of the dirty little secrets of Der Alter Heim was the fact that most kids in Poland, Hungary and Rumania went to Public School. We're talking chassidishe kids. There was no choice, there was compulsory education in those countries and you had to go. Maybe some of the Rebbishe kids got around it, but not the rank and file kids. So the kids went to public school and learned how to read and write and do arithmetic. After school was over they went to cheder and had to "make up" for all the hours of tumeh they had endured. Imagine a day like that - Public school from 8 to 2-3, and then cheder with a nervous melamed until 8 or nine. Try that one on for size and see how it fits... Public Schools back then were religious, and being Jewish didn't exempt you from doing what all other children did, if you know what I mean. You also were not allowed to cover your head indoors, KeMinhog haGoyim, no matter who you were. This was before the days of Moshe Sherer, you know. And it goes without saying what kind of bullying they often had to endure from the Gentile children who learned very well from their parents and teachers and priests who the Jews were and how they were to be treated.

some of the same kids in cheder - actually there are kids in Munkacs, a short distance away...

The picture is especially degrading when you have your kids of your own. Those of you who have kinderlach think for a minute what you would do if your child was forced to go to Public School without a yarmulke. It also makes you respect your grandparents and great grandparents so much more knowing what they had to endure from childood and on. I wonder if the same was true in America; I don't think I've heard about that. Did kids who went to PS in the States have to remove their beanies while indoors? It wasn't easy for them either, I would imagine. When I said dirty little secret I didn't mean it in the common sense of that term; it's not like they did this to have a good time or to make life easy for themselves. But we can appreciate what we have here in our post-WW2 world. Until now we knew that all was not well "in der heim," that it wasn't all learning and davening and kedisheh, but now we learn that even those who clung to their traditions with mesiras nefesh had plenty to endure, and not only when they grew older and could be swayed by the winds of the time, but from already from when they started school!

Photos from USHMM


Anonymous said...

A lot of people, not only Rebeshi kids, didn't go to PS. Especialy not in the shtetlach. The big cities were more affected by Haskalah and Chasidism

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

mr. anonymous

this is NOT about Haskoloh, the Government FORCED them to go to school. The Maskilic ones went to Gymnasium, probably after Public School, instead of cheder.

yoshe kalb said...

Pupils of the Orthodox school in Leipzig (Carlebach / Feldmann) were not allowed to wear yarmulkes on the school's premises except for Limmude Kodesh and davenning.
BTW, I grew up in a community that didn't have a frum Jewish school, so the few heimishe Yiden preferred to send their children to PS in the morning and to cheder in the afternoon and all day long on Sunday. Shabbos was quite difficult, since we had to attend, although we didn't have to write.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

VERY interesting re: the Orthodox schools ----------

were those kids in PS where you grew up allowed to wear yarmulkes?

snag said...

Yasher keyach.

Long overdue expose.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...


why do you say long overdue?

and why must it be "exposed," IYHO?

Expose???? said...

this is expose because you would not expose how the ReYaatz daughters went with their uncovered hear after marriage
you only expose negativism on ehrlicha yidden

Yudel said...

Expose???? said: you only expose negativism on ehrlicha yidden

Why is this negativism? IMHO, this speaks to the obstacles that ehrlicha yidden had to overcome, and often did overcome ...

S. said...

>Did kids who went to PS in the States have to remove their beanies while indoors? I

Beanies? They didn't wear them in the street either. They wore them in shul, and if they were frum, at home.

And yes, of course they took off their hat in school. That was what they wore in the street, duh. ;-)

snag said...

" Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...


why do you say long overdue?

and why must it be "exposed," IYHO?"

Hirshel -

Why long overdue?

Because it is not usually or sufficiently revealed in public, even if it may be given over privately in some cases. I am talking about this prat re widespread going to public school by the way, not the general idea of 'the alter heim was not the gan eden people imagine it to be', which is more well known.

Why must it be exposed?

Because, as the Rebbe said, you have to have emes la'amito. When you teach kids an untruthful or less than fully truthful picture of the alter heim, it does damage, like any sheker basically. Chosmo shel Hakodosh Boruch Hu emes.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that anybody sees this as new information, maybe even an expose. Did you never ever speak to your parents or grandparents?! If you would ask them all of them would tell you the same.
I remember when I was approx. 8 my sister got engaged, the other I was in a store with my mother, and she met Reb MYP, they were happy to see each other, and he gave my mother a big mazl tov for my sister, and asked about each other's life.
Imagine myself a 8 year old Willi boy how surprised I was that my mother knows and is friendly with other men... I asked my mother and she said: "well, we went to school together and der alter heim (in M. Hungary), so we know each other ever since".
similarly my father from a city next to Budapest was beaten up by his non Jewish teacher for not going into a Neolog Temple together with the whole class.
Who said the shtetlech were different? M. is also a Shtetl! And don't believe the the Rebbishe kinder got away with it.
And they were still good Jews without Mishmeres Hatznyus watching over them!

yoshe kalb said...

Tzig, to tell you the truth, it didn't even enter one's mind to wear a yarmulke in school. It was bad enough to have to expose your tzitzis during sports lessons.

Russian Chusid said...

Rebeshe kinder did not get away. My grandfather learned with a rebeshe Hager (mit peyos etc.) in Chernovits in one class.

I also heard from a lot of people that very few got away.

Richard said...

How old is the custom of wearing a yarmulke all day long, both in- and outdoors?

schneur said...

I don't see the point.
We all know that begashmius life in East Europe was not great. Its an old story.the anti semitism was overwhelming nit zu gleyben !
In Poland and the independent republic of Lithuanai there were Jewish orthodox school like we have them they ran under names like Yavneh, yesodei hatorah (Poland) and others.I also think such schools existed in Pressburg, Grosswardein and other Ashkenazi cities in Hungary.
These schools were run by the Aguda yet our heimishe religious fanatics attacked them and criticized them, especially in Poland. The Munkatcher was on the warpath against the Aguda yeshiva Mesifta in warsaw, as if his own city was already rectified and purified and I say this with Yiras hakavod of Oso Zaddik who spent his whole life trying to bring Mashiach .
Ober und dach davka in the so called secular regions like Lita and White Russia the old fashioned full day cheder still existed until 1939 with terrible results while the Torah Im Derech eretz schools iN Riga(Hodakov was the director) , yavneh in lita and yesodei hatorah in Congress Poland all had good results.
Yet the rabbeim achutz the Gerer Rebbe were opposed to these schools including the Rayaatz who spent a great deal of time and energy blasting the TIDE schools in Riga. yet I have met Latvian Jews who attended these schools who knew tremndous amount about Judaism including how to learn Gefes and unlike many of their compatriots from other regions are religious.The gedolim were blind ,had they opened a dozen orthodox gymnasiums in Poland and Lita and white Russia training people in TIDE Judaism would have looked different in 1939.
And finally your post proves how chitzonius we have become its all about the yarmulka. In East Europe there was more to Judaism than a yarmulka. Jewish values, the total yiddihse mahus Tore knowledge as a Galitzianer chasid once told me watching my father (his father) I learnt how a Jew receives good news , how he receives bad news how he eats , how he walks, how he takes a nap he continued a baal teshuvah could not pick up these things in 10 lifetimes . How right and as for us( I include myself here) we are left with a yarmulka , peyoth , , black hats , white shirts and the rest, but how does an erliche Yid eat and sleep ?Dos is gor an eydele zach ....

makir es mekomo said...


These gedolim were blind???

Who are you to judge those giant,

And what's your opinion on the ribono shel olam???

Stop measuring our sages with your narrow yardstick, as you don't even comprehend their sichas chulen.

You come across fairly as quite a scholar with lots of yedios, but its being overshadowed by that delusional grandiose perception of yourself.

Please pardon me, but sometimes one just has to speak up.

yoshe kalb said...

The crux with TIDE schools was, that German Orthodox Jewry didn't produce a single, widely accepted ga'on for the last 60 years prior to the churban ( maybe with the exception of Rabbi Chaim - Eduard Biberfeld ). Most renowned German Rabbonim were imported from Hungary ( Hildesheimer, Breuer, Ehrenthreu ) or Lita ( Weinberg ).

Anonymous said...

yoshe kalb said...

The crux with TIDE schools was, that German Orthodox Jewry didn't produce a single, widely accepted ga'on for the last 60 years prior to the churbanand the same fact is true in lubavith they haven't produced one Torah giant in the last 100 years if any thing serious learner the had, is because the far chapt him from somewhere else

schneur said...

makir es mekomo.
I will not get into discussions of daas Tore and Emunas Chachomim. But I am interested to know if a gadol make a mistake ? and if not how is the gadol different from G-D ?
What does "asher nasi yechteh" mean and to whom does it apply ?
You also need to recognize that we live in the US not in a Jewish(Charedi) version of Iran , you are entitled to your opinion and I am to mine. And thanks for the kind words.
Yoshe kalb
By 1939 TIDE was only in existence for about 70 years and it was only moving to the stage of producing Massive lamdanim , but let me add it produced some great rabbonim like Rabbis Joseph Carlebach, Wohlgemuth, and the rabbis of the ABC Auerbach, Bamberger and Carlebach families.
I can name other home grown rabbonim from germany who were gedolim men like Rabbi Michel Schlesinger the founder of Kol Torah, Rabbi Dr. Ezra Munk the rav of Adas Israel in Berlin. The Hildesheimer Seminary produced many famous rabbis who not only prserved orthodoxy in Germany but by 1933 Orthodoxy was on the rise. Had Germany not been destroyed clearly many German students were going to Lithuania and Hungary to learn Gefes more in depth . This fact was obviously because TIDE encouraged it. And Rabbi Weinberg in Berlin was developing a new pride in talmudic study. at the Hildesheimer seminary But I am not talking about producing gedolim (as if these can be mass produced), there were thousands of proud German Jews in all wlaks of life who were Shomre Tore and these were the products of TIDE.

Anonymous said...

To the blogger known as makir es mekomo.
Schneur wrote with great respect about the Gedolim. Don't get so tzukocht. This is a blog where many controversial matters are discussed. Why don't you take up the kovod of the Belzer Ruv or The Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT'L when they are criticized? Certain Gedolim were constantly criticizing those who disagreed with them. Would you please explain that to me? This applies today and before the war.

schneur said...

Anonymous. Lubavitch produced geonim . This is just a bilbul. You are measuring gedolim on a Yeshivshe yardstick.
A Chabad gadol des not need to tell the world he is such and as a matter of fact a true Chabad chasid does not eevn know he is gadol. Only a "true gadol' knows he is a gadol. But a real anav does not know he is a gadol. Did the Chofetz chaim know he was a gadol ? But who was Rabbi Yankev Landau, who was rabbi Moshe Ber Rivkin ? Who was Rabbi Nissan Telushkin , who was Rabbi Yehuda Ever, and I won't even mention Chabad rabbonim like rabbi Zirelsohn in Kishnev, Rabbi Shmaryahu Medalie Vitebsk-Moscow , Rabbi Abraham Noe in jslm, rabbi Shneur Zalman Garelik the MDA of Kfar Chabad,Rabbi Rabbis Yudasin, Zislin in the Tel Aviv rabbinate (both were Tmimmim) . And rabbi Dworkin of CH was nothing , how about Rabbi Rivkin(dayan of Manchester, UK) and Dubov in the UK both Tmimmim and rabbonim there. There were many more Tmimmim who were rabonim and more importantly moser nefesh for Judaism , and mezake es harabbim.
I will leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

I believe you can also add Rabbi S.Y. Zevin ZT'L to the list.

yoshe kalb said...

Schneur, I beg to differ. The ABC rabbonim were - no doubt - solid talmide chachomim,who knew their Shulchon Oruch ( and Goethe & Schiller ). But that doesn't get you in the geonim league. At present I don't remember any lomdishe publications by TIDE rabbonim. Whoever wanted more than rudimentary knowledge had to go east.
TIDE may have saved German Orthodoxy, but eliminated lomdus.
If you have a chance, have a look at the curriculum of the Frankfurt Hirschian School and see for yourself how little limmude kodesh were taught.
Kessivoh VeChassimoh Tauvoh

Anonymous said...

A few years ago at a not frum cousin's wedding, I was surprised to see that when the band played a polka all of my olders aunts, uncles and their friends ran to the dance floor with great excitement. They were all chassidishe yidden before the war (Gerrer, Radomsker etc...) I asked my uncle where they learned to polka. He told me that they learned it in the compulsory polish public school that they attended before Cheder. It seems that we would be shocked by all that they were exposed to back then compared with our insular lives today.

schneur said...

Yoshe kalb-
Please one needs to understand German Jewry when Hirsch and Hildesheimer became leaders every traditional yeshiva was closed - shut down. Lomdus was limited to a few old rabbonim like Seligman ber Bamberger.Chedorim were all closed , the Klausen were empty or a few foreign rabbis sat there.
But even worse most of German Jewry was turning away from the Old paths , Frankfurt did not even ahve a orthodox rav when Hirsch came there.In Bavaria many Jews remained frum but that area was always a center of ignorance .
So the work of men like Hirsch and Hildesheimer and others was to : 1. Produce a cadre of educated layman 2. produce orthodox rabbis who could relate to the German lay people and challenge the ideas of academics and Frankel (Posative Historical Judaism)and Geiger (reform). The later was done by Hildesheimer in his semianry with men like rabonim Hoffman and others.Many of the German rabbonim were very pious and highly regarded by their east European compatriots.
As I noted in 1933 TIDE was less than 4 generations old , it had no time yet to produce the type of rav you describe. yet it set in motion the a pattern of young TIDE people going to Lita to continue their studies producing men like Shlomo Wolbo, Michel Schlesinger (who by the way also studied in Hildesheimer and was a gaon in line with dayanim in other places)Rav Simon Schwab and many others. This process of travel to Mir and Telz was not yesh maayin , but a by product of TIDE education. And by the way TIDE recognized gedolim thus they brought in men like Rabbis Hoffman , Weinberg, Solomon Breuer,(who although Hungarian by birth was very German) Unsdorfer rav and others to guide them.
Take a look at Dayan I.Grunfeld's wonderful little book Three Generations and you will see what was going on, and what important rabbis Germany produced between 1870-1933. Several years ago a book was issued in Israel with all the graduates of the Rabbiner Seminar and you will see many well known rabbonim are listed.
A final note East European Jews started coming to the US in great numbers only in 1881 so count 70 years later 1950 how many gedolim did America produce in that time and the few you will name all studied in Mir or Telz (rabbis Gifter, Schorr etc) Vedal

Anonymous said...

On this whole attack on TIDE/Chabad...

Not sure why we even need to attempt to refute this argument about not producing a Godol...

Basically you are telling us that you fully support an educational system for the masses with catastrophic consequences to entire generations of klal ysroel so long as they produce 10 gedolim... Not to minimize at all the gedolim-building goal, but not sure it should come at the expense of the klal.

The Frankfurt IRG schools produced generations of ehrliche Yiden (and I mean ehrlich here, not our modern version of ehrlich), which was their goal. Their goal was not to produce 10 gedolim at the expense of the klal, had that been their goal they surely would have achieved it, trust me. Same applies for Chabad IMHO.

Open your eyes to what is going on around you today in mainstream yeshivos and dropout rates (and I know what I am talking about on this one topic), it is a disaster. I guess it is all right so long as they produce a few gedolim...

Get with it mate, Yidishkeit is not an elitist cult out to produce a handful of gedolim, it is for Kol Echad v'Achas Miysroel. And the educational system has to be aligned with that....

Unknown said...

We should not forget too, that it's more important for rabbonim "to know their Shulchon Oruch" than to produce lomdus.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

“He told me that they learned it in the compulsory polish public school that they attended before Cheder. It seems that we would be shocked by all that they were exposed to back then compared with our insular lives today.”

Anyone who wants a true idea of life in Europe should read the Hamodia daily interview with Holocaust survivors. See how many went to secular schools, and how many (ESPECIALLY the Hungarians) didn’t even speak Yiddish!! Especially the girls. Even amongst the Chassidim!!

“A final note East European Jews started coming to the US in great numbers only in 1881 so count 70 years later 1950 how many gedolim did America produce in that time and the few you will name all studied in Mir or Telz (rabbis Gifter, Schorr etc) Vedal”

While Rav Gedalya Schorr DID learn in Kletsk by Rav Aaron, by the time he went (convinced to do so by a close relative of mine) he was 25, married, a maggid shiur in Torah Vaddoth, and a budding Goan!

A short list of American (meaning raised if not necessarily born) Gedolim, Rabbis Bick, Miller, Pam, Schorr, Wachtfogel and Schisgal (who died young but would have suppressed them all).

yankel said...

What do you know about R'Moshes s-i-l R'Shisgal?
I heard he was a true odom godol but don't know much about him