Thursday, July 23, 2015

life in pre-War Telshe and Lithuania

The following are pictures recently received via email. They were sent to me by R' Doniel Schochet, a grandson of the late Rabbi Dov Yehuda Schochet, last of Toronto. Mostly of Telshe and Lituania. Some Switzerland and other places. I'm not gonna bother and watermark all of them, but can you be nice enough not to take them and publish them as your own, please? 

Telshe Yeshiva, 1932/5692. Of the 5 members of the הנהלה pictured, Reb Avrohom Yitzchok Bloch, Reb Zalman Bloch and Reb Ezriel Rabinovich were murdered with the Yeshiva and townspeople on 20 Tammuz, 5701. Reb Elya Meir Bloch and Reb Mottel Katz were in America and were thus saved. Their wives and children, however, were murdered, הי"ד.

Telsher Bochurim, Elul, 5684/1924, Rabbi Dov Y Shochet, standing, 2nd from left

Telsher Bochurim, RDY Shochet seated 2nd left. Note picture on wall of Reb Yosef Leib Bloch of Telshe, aka Der Alter Rov, who passed away in 5690/1930.

a Chevra Shas, somewhere in di Lita, (after all, where else did they finish Shas?) Adar 5690/1930

First graduating class of Yavne, the Telshe Girls' High School/Gymnasium, 1926/5786. Reb Mottel Katz, son-in-law of Reb Yosef Leib Bloch, אב"ד ור"מ טלז, pictured, right, with long beard. I count 9 students and 8 (!) staff.


itzzy ikrzko. said...

nice photos some of them can be blown up and be sold for noi succah, although the lutwacs don't use noi succah, don't worry hirshel im not going to mess with you.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

who says they don't?

אייך קלער said...

מנהגי חב"ד שלא לנוח נוי סוכה, יש נוהגן שלא תולין תחת הסכך נוי סוכה אצל הליטאים אינו יודע, מ"מ לא ראינו

JS said...

Maybe I am over-romaticizing the past, but I've always imagined that yeshivas used to produce those collages of all the talmidim because people really respected yeshivaleit and it gave donors a warm, fuzzy feeling to look at all those bnei torah.

meyr apledorf said...

beautiful, can u follow up the people identified in yavne.
on left girls shochet 2rabinovitz klerman
staff center dir dr salzberg
kosgo r'cm katz
shochet shupokintzi
dr ?borer sec=holtznik
right girls 2yafe hus ?phelpin shekacleben?

ouch said...

meyr the girls got married, get over it.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

I think the fourth from right in the bottom row of the Chevra Shas picture is my great grandfather, Meir Shmaryahu Schochet HYD.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

The pictures of the bochurim are from '24, not '34. By '34 my grandfather had been in Basel three years and my mother and Reb Dovid shlita (perhaps also my Aunt Ruth) had been born!

rebcharles said...

I recently saw a wrteup in a Telz publication, a heart-warming stroy about a Munkatch refugee, visiting Telz, and the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Katz, asking him to meet outside the dorm at 2am in the cold Cleveland morning.

He then pointed out a light in a room , where future Munkatcher Rebbe learned late at night in his room, reassuring the refugee that there was hope for Munkatch continuity in America..

Also, a story of the Rebbe arriving from Brazil in 1955, together with his brother, and the entrance Farher, the Rebbe's Hakaras HaTov to Telz, and the Hanhala encouragement to learn "Chasidishe Seforim", which must have been as alien to them as Martian texts..

Got me wondering, how the Rabinovich brothers wound up in Cleveland, what were their contempoprary alternatives in the US, Torah VaDas?, Chaim Berlin?, certainly no quality Chasidishe yeshivas existed then, to my knowledge. Or maybe R Boruch'l davka preferred Litvish yeshivas, and the further from NY, the less distractions. I'm assuming that RMLR was about 15 years old at the time.

An interesting era in formative Yeshivish and Chasidish history in the US, coupled with influence of one of Tzig's (and mine) obsessions , namely R Boruch'l, der Choloner Rebbe.

Anybody with insight or anecdotes, please share.

גבאי שני said...

די צוויי ברודער רביס זייענדיג ר' ברוכל'ס קינדער און גדל אמעריקע זענען באמת א ווינדער, א דאנק אויך קומט זיך פאר הרה"ח ר'חיים בער ע"ה דעם מנח"א גבאי וד"ל

dovy said...

reb boruchel was not involved in choosing the yeshiva for his sons. the old chasidim traveled to s. america (where the boys were in public school) and had to beg him to let them take them to yeshiva in america (heard from two alter munkatchers who went). i don't know why they specifically chose telshe.

rebcharles said...

Just to follow up on above, why not Nitra, in Mt Kisco? Wasnt Nitra in its heyday at the time? I believe the Halberstam brothers, Boruch Duvid and Yakov Yosef were there at the time.

Nitra couldn't be called Chasidish, but still, much closer tzim Ta'am.

shraga favel II said...

here it is, you don't take someone from a brazilian public school and transport him into nitra yeshiva.

Klien Bes Medreshel said...

I think the 2 brothers were in Israel, I know that Reb Moshe Lieb was by Belzer Ruv in Tel Aviv

Klien Bes Medreshel said...

Maybe I mam mistaking but the spinker rebbe Reb Naftuli learned in Telz too

Kovner said...

I heard from a classmate of the Munkatcher Rebbe in Telz, that a bochur there once pranked the rebbe and cut off one of his peyos. The rebbe remained strong and did not cut off the other one even though that made him look comical.

דרעליאק said...

ר'משה לייב איז א לייב שליט"א עבגו"צ

curious bob said...

does any one know where the belzer "learned," i heard in zelem, i have seen a photos of him kvetchung his face to the kotel last week, they should mark that spot on the kotel, so all the yoshvim can kvetsh the same spot mamash! till moshiach comes.

Jász-Nagikun-Szolnok said...

Reb Charles,
Do a google search of the Munkatchers father and it"ll be clear why he did not want his kids in a Chasidishe yeshiva.The Munkatcher has a half brother in Israel who has some youtube videos about his father and his own kids.His father was very proud of him as a paratrooper in the I.D.F. The father who was Rov in Chulon wanted his boys to get a decent secular education and Telz had a decent highschool.He,the father, R'Burech became a Zionist, after the Holocaust, and lets be honest, after seeing such destruction, who would not want the Jews to have their own country andarmy?

Gedalya said...

Nice pics
You said there were pics from Switzerland?

YG Bechoffer,
Your mother is the second oldest after R'Dovid?

dovy said...

reb naftuli spinker did learn in telz. several other rebbes did too. (ziditchoiver rebbe of chicago is one that comes to mind.)

mizrachist said...

hirshel, this is real news although off topic but what the heck! litzman of the Aguda and ODA of the Anti, conspire to distribute klat kosher cannabis, the solution to calm the masses against their revolting trying to detrown them, get a head start!

lakewood'er joe said...

glad you post those pictures, perhaps post BMG photos of 1967 the year RAK died, In comparison to a photo of today's BMG the images are getting closer to a chasidishe yeshivah look.

והכרת פניהם ענתה בהם, כי זרע ברך ד' הם כן ירבו

אלי' דוד said...

"who would not want the Jews to have their own country and army?"

כגון קוה"ק חד משרפי מעלה רבן ופטרן של ישראל רשכבה"ג התנא אלקי מהרי"ט מסאטמאר זצוק"ל וכל קדושיו עמו

charter school dean said...

"why not Nitra"

you wanted him to learn in nitra yeshiva and then to become a rebbe for chasidum ?

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

Gedalya, My mother is the oldest, before Reb Dovid.

dovy said...

rav aharon died in 1962, not 1967.

joe said...

correction accepted ? למנפק"מ

yom tov in der vochen said...

You have alluded in some posts to your grandfathers proverbial trip to Lubavitch, you also mentioned when he took his last trip to the yeshiva in Cleveland.It truly is amazing how he became a full fledged member of chabad, you write that he even , eventually changed to nusach ari.
It's amazing because Telz,the Litvishe Telz, not the yeshiva in america who had boys from all backrounds, is so far from Chabad.I know Tanya was taught there, but i"m quite sure is was a small, voluntary shiur that was sparsely attended and i don't think intellectual study of tanya, makes one have a shaychus to chasidei chabad.
Additionally, the few Schochats I"m familiar with,R'Ezra, R'Immanuel zl, are so not your typical chasidim, that i"ve always wondered how they felt comfortable there.I don't mean to disparage chabad, im just saying that they are very, very different than the average lubavitcher chosid, in mentality,and socially. could be that im totally wrong, would like your erudite opinion

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

First, let me note that some family pictures have not yet been released because they show current highly prominent Chabad leaders clean shaven,,,


I met Rabbi Chaim Dalfin in the back of Tzemach Tzedek in Monsey the other day. When I introduced myself, the first thing he said was: "Your Zayde was not really a Lubavitcher."

Anyway, the biggest hashpo'o in my grandfather's affinity to Chabad was another gevorner, Rabbi Hodakov, his brother in law, who made a great roshem on him when he met him at Rabbi Hodakov's chasunah with his sister in 1938. Which is the first time he met Chassidim - which just goes to show you how much more polarized (on account of geography) European Jewry was than we are.

Meyr Apldorf,

The Schochet girl is my great aunt, Leah Holzberg a"h (who was like a thord grandmother to me). The Schochet sraff member is not familiar to me.

yom tov in der vochen said...

Understanbly you are only megaleh tefach.there must have been some tension with his alma mater i would imagine.
Rabbi Hodakov has always been an enigma to me.You write that he was the chabad biographies of him, its difficult to figure out what he was in his 18 he was already pricipal of a school or maybe even a school system according to them,i know chabad biographies are short on facts, either because what a person was before chabad does not interest them, or maybe there is some shame in being a gevorener, or maybe the writers are just young people with a very narrow worldview.whatever the case, i would think that your zeideh towered above him intellectually (though i don't know)so its interesting that he was taken by him.

im surprised your zaideh never met other chasidim before.R'shmuel levitin was a rov of a town not far from telz, and lita had chasidim and telz had boys from chabad backrounds, could bethat they all looked and behaved the same, and the small difference was nusach hatefilla, so maybe he had never ever see one that stood out as different

yom tov in der vochen said...

was rabbi blau,publisher of many rishoinim, also a brother in law,of r'chodakov, related to you?

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...


1. There was tension, vakm"l.
2. He was principal of the Torah im Derech Eretz school in Kovno. He learned in Novhardok.
3. I was surprised too.
4. Rabbi Blau was, of course, my great uncle.

yom tov in der vochen said...

"He was principal of the Torah im Derech Eretz school in Kovno"
I think you mean RIGA