From Cheder to Yeshiva
Education and Cultural Activities in Zambrów, Poland
From the Zambrów Yizkor Book (abridged English version), 1963

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The Yeshiva in Zambrów

Sitting: R' Meir Zukrovich; R' Leib Rozing; The Head of the Yeshiva Kaviar;
The Rav (R' Dov Menachem Regensberg), R' Yishe Gorosholtsani; and R' Avraham Shlomo Rosenthal.

There was during all those years in Zambrów one single Yeshiva, founded and consequently patronized by the Yeshiva of higher learning in Lomzha. The Zambrów Yeshiva was the preparatory school for youngsters in their first plunge into the depths of Talmud learning. With a definite degree of advance in their studies, they were able, at their choice, to enter the Higher School of Talmudic studies, the Lomzha Yeshiva which had close connections with the Zambrów Yeshiva.

The indigent scholars from out of town, studying in the Zambrów Yeshiva, were generously provided by board at the family table of the working people in town, each student dining each day in a diferent home, a way of sustenance which is known colloquially as "eating days". The Zambrów Yeshiva was reputed to be one of the outstanding amongst similar Yeshivat in the neighboring towns.

The preliminary schooling for boys was provided by the Hadorim, i.e. private schools conducted by private teachers (Melamdim), which is the universal form of Jewish education from times immemorial. The Hadorim attendance was of a most assiduos, vigorous, you might say, laborious variety: the hours very long, from early morning up to sunset, carving off a considerable portion of the evenings in winter, and no vacations all year round. The subjects of study: Humesh, or Torah (Pentateuch), with the traditional Rashi-commentary, some further books of the Holy Scriptures, very rarely in their entirety, and sometimes also the first tasting of the Talmud.

In later years the form and the methods of the preliminary education had undergone very drastic changes. Alongside the time-honored old schools, there sprung up in later years a new type of schools, secular schools, so named -- Folks-Shulen, in distinction from the Hadorim. The method that the new teachers applied was more of the rational, modern variety, putting the emphasis on teaching the Hebrew language as a language, with regular lessons in grammar, which was nonexistant in the old school. Acknowledged and encouraged as progressive pedagogues were: Israel Lewinsky, a graduate, inter alia, of a teaching course in the Russian language; Faivel Zukrovich, Jacob Tobiash, Zorach Kagan, etc.

Of late, in the years, when the new generation, especially of the proletarian part of the population, became more or less secularized, and as the lively Zambrów stepped in pace with the new movement, revolutionary in spirit, then came to life the new type of school, the one that recognized Yiddish as the dominating language, ofttimes idealized, even sometimes to the total exclusion of the Hebrew language. The course of study: the modern Yiddish literature, Jewish history. The powers that be looked askance at the new too radical trend in the Jewish education and ever so often put a padlock on them. Such for example was the eventual fate of the flourishing Folks-Shule by the name "The Borochov Shule." A different kind of a school was the Polish-Jewish school, founded by the Polish authorities with the aim to polonize the Jewish youth. Not to the liking, naturally, of the Jewish population at large, the school in Zambrów enjoyed nevertheless a considerable attendance.  next ►►

Zambrów 2




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