The first cheder was opened in Bodzentyn after 1867, i.e. after the local Jewish community obtained permit to establish an independent synagogue district. In 1878 there were already 4 cheders, attended by 50 boys and 15 girls. In 1904 a girls-only cheder was established. From 1912 onwards, majority of Jewish received elementary schooling[1.1]. In her memories Goldie Szachter Kalib writes that Jewish children "attended public schools every day, from the early morning till one in the afternoon, and attended cheders from one thirty till six, so they were exposed to both secular and Jewish religious teachings" [1.2]. In 1937 a girls school opened in Bodzentyn, run by the Beit Yakov association. It was attended by girls who could afford to pay the tuition. Less affluent girls received benefits from the Schooling Committee.

Educational activity among adults was run by a branch of the Central Union of Jewish Craftsmen, headed by tailor Chaskiel Rozenfarb. In the years 1928–1933 there was a Society for Evening Courses for Workers, led by Pinkas Szafir and Icek Rozencwajg. It engaged in fighting illiteracy among adults. The Society organised its own paid-for library which was opened for two hours per week, and held a collection of Yiddish books[1.3]. Courses for illiterate residents of the town were also organised in the years 1935–1936 by the Society for the Dissemination of Education and Culture among Jews ‘Kultura’. A secular Jewish library with a few hundred volumes was operated by Jechiel Mandelkern. Education societies as well as members of various political groupings jointly prepared amateur theatre performances which enjoyed great popularity. "All groups occasionally prepared dramatised performances on topics of Jewish interest, yet due to a small number of members, groups often lacked performers. In such cases party rivalry and ideological differences were set aside, with benefits for brotherhood: members of competing organisations gladly offered their talents for the needs of amateur theatrical rehearsals with their peers" [1.4].

Translated by LIDEX

 

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Rak J., Gmina wyznaniowa żydowska w Bodzentynie (1918–1939), [in:] Bodzentyn. Studia z dziejów miasta, Kielce 2005, p. 212.
  • [1.2] Szachter Kalib G., Z Bodzentyna do Auschwitz i Bergen Belsen, Bodzentyn 2009, p. 56.
  • [1.3] Pawlina-Meducka M., Kultura Żydów województwa kieleckiego (1918–1939), Kielce 1993, p. 69.
  • [1.4] Szachter Kalib G., Z Bodzentyna do Auschwitz i Bergen Belsen, Bodzentyn 2009, p. 27.