Friday, November 10, 2023

Drink from the Fountain of Hope

 At Jewish Newport

November 4, 2023

Drink from the Fountain of Hope

By Aaron Ginsburg

Edited by Beth Ginsburg Levine

Thanks to Rabbi Stephen Belsky

Also on  facebook

Last week I got a call from Rabbi Loel Weiss, “Can you come to services at Touro on Shabbat morning?” Since COVID, I have strayed... I quickly agreed. I got up early and drove 1.5 hours from Andover, MA, arriving just as services were starting at 8:45 AM. Only nine men were present at Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI at 9:35. We took out the Torah and waited for a regular or a visitor to make a minyan so we could read from the Torah. And waited and waited.There was something about the way the sunlight played in the synagogue that gave a special glow. 

To help the minutes pass faster, Congregation Jeshuat Israel’s Interim Rabbi Stephen Belsky repeated his discussion from Friday evening. He has been reviewing the Friday evening service by discussing one paragraph each week. This week's paragraph was the first paragraph of the Shema. We read וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ which translates as, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” 

Rabbi Belsky recapitulated: The "heart" represents the mind, as the paragraph continues by saying that all of God's words should be on our heart. The "soul" represents life and its continuation from generation to generation, as the next verse instructs us to teach God's words throughout our own lives and also to our children. The "might” (or “resources,” as it is sometimes translated) is then elaborated on at the end of the passage, where the commandments of tefillin and mezuzah represent taking the words of Torah and turning them into action.

At 10:00 AM, a couple visiting from Cambridge, MA arrived. After talking with the guard about their backpacks, they entered. The young man had a distinctive accent. He hailed from Auckland, New Zealand. We proceeded to the Torah reading. There were honors and parts of the service for all. Rabbi Belsky davened the first part of the service, I led the return of the Torah and Henry Spencer davened the Haftorah and Musaf with his lilting voice. 

Rabbi Belsky’s Dvar began with a riddle. In describing the Torah portions of these recent weeks, he said, “We follow one man's story from cradle to grave. A birth is predicted, divine promises are sworn, families and individuals pass through struggle and trauma and come out stronger; and when this man leaves the world, the legacy of a great nation will begin to sprout like grass over his grave.” 

He said he was not referring to Avraham and Isaac, and added that, “And when he dies after a long and successful life, the very last paragraph of the parasha next week will tell us that [he] was the ancestor of twelve tribes who settled and spread across the Middle East.”

To my surprise Rabbi Belsky explained that he was referring to ישמעאל Ishmael. He mentioned that Ishmael is frequently seen as one of three main villains in the stories of the first book of the Torah. The others are Cain (who killed his brother) and Esau (who wanted to kill his brother). But Ishmael, on the other hand, does not seem to have done anything wrong. 

After Isaac was born, Sarah saw Ishmael playing or laughing and asked Abraham to expel Ishmael and his mother Hagar. Abraham consulted God and then expelled them. They were saved by an angel at a well, just as God had comforted Hagar at the well of B’eir Laḥai Ro’i when she was pregnant, the place where Isaac eventually settled down.

To our sages every word counts, and the commentator Rashi said midrash told us that Ishmael’s laughing referred to murder, idolatry, or sexual misconduct. 

But, Rabbi Belsky explained, in the midrashim that Rashi quotes, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai actually disproves that interpretation. The only reason given in the story of Ishmael's banishment is that he isn't supposed to be Avraham's heir. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai explains that Ishmael probably literally laughed because he was the first born son, and yet everyone was celebrating Isaac's birth as if the little brother would be the heir.

In any case, Ishmael and Isaac both fathered great nations, they buried Avraham together, and appear to have both gotten along with each other and treated their father with respect. 

Just as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai thought about Ishmael 2000 years after he lived, it is now 2000 years since the time of Shimon bar Yochai. Rabbi Belsky told us, “When we look…at the troubles in our lives and at our world of struggle and strife – and sometimes even horror – we have a choice before us: 

 “We can resign ourselves to bitterness, to the pain and disappointment of Hagar and our matriarch Sarah – or we can drink from the waters of B’eir Laḥai Ro’i like Isaac and Ishmael, [which is] not the legendary fountain of Youth, but something much more important – the fountain of Hope.”

Friday, August 25, 2023

Parshat Re'eh at Touro Synagogue


Parshat Re'eh at Touro Synagogue Newport

By Aaron Ginsburg

Edited by Beth Levine

Hebrew text and translation by 

also at

I had the pleasure of attending services on August 12 at Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island. The beauty of the synagogue and Newport takes one's breath away. There were quite a few visitors and a sprinkling of familiar faces. I wore a name tag. 

When I had an aliyah, Rabbi Stephen Belsky, interim rabbi, suggested that I add my Hebrew name to make the aliyah process a little easier. My Hebrew name is Israel ben Moshe. I am named after my grandfather Israel Ginsburg. Aaron is there because my mother, Dorothy Pokross Ginsburg aka Dot, did not want me to be called Izzy and Aaron is the first name my parents found in a baby book of names. 

When I was a retail pharmacist a customer in Randolph, Massachusetts asked,  “Are you Jewish?” I tried not to laugh, saying, “Well, what do you think? By the way, my middle name is Israel.”

Rabbi Belsky chose the famous passage from the beginning Parashat Re’eh for his Torah message, 

רְאֵ֗ה אָנֹכִ֛י נֹתֵ֥ן לִפְנֵיכֶ֖ם הַיּ֑וֹם בְּרָכָ֖ה וּקְלָלָֽה אֶֽת־הַבְּרָכָ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּשְׁמְע֗וּ אֶל־מִצְוֺת֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֧ר אָנֹכִ֛י מְצַוֶּ֥ה אֶתְכֶ֖ם הַיּֽוֹם׃ 

“See, this day I set before you blessing and curse: blessing, if you obey the commandments of your God that I enjoin upon you this day;”

“So here it gets a little weird, " said Rabbi Belsky. “It doesn't say

 הברכה אם תשמעו The blessing – if you obey... It says הברכה אשר תשמעו The blessing – that you will obey.

Rabbi Belsky explained that some Rabbis, including Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, said that in this case “if" and “that” mean the same thing, and the word choice was a matter of style. Others say that “if” implies some uncertainty.

“But, Rabbi Belsky continued,  there's another way to understand that anomalous phrase...

“Ibn Ezra says, ‘For when you obey, behold, you are blessed.’ And Rabbi Shimon Raphael Hirsch explains. ‘The observance of God's commandments is itself part of the blessing.’

“Choosing the blessing means coming together as a congregation, united by faith and by learning, and by caring about each other.

“The blessing that Moshe offered wasn't a prize to win, but a life to live, together, in community, in choosing a life of Torah. Community in Jewish life is a wonderful thing. It's an essential thing. And it is a blessing.

“But it takes work, it takes intention, and it takes choice –choosing to join together
even when we don't agree on everything, choosing to work together to support all of our needs, and choosing to love and forgive each other; choosing to be a blessing for each other, and for the whole world.”

This is a lesson we can apply to all aspects of our lives.

Shabbat Shalom from Jewish Newport!

Friday, June 30, 2023

Who is wise?

 At Jewish Newport 

Who is wise?

June 24, 2023

By Aaron Ginsburg

Edited by Beth Ginsburg Levine

Also on facebook

On Shabbat there was a healthy crowd of locals and visitors at Newport, Rhode Island’s Touro Synagogue. Shul almost felt crowded. It was the last full day in Newport for Rabbi Marc and Jackie Mandel. Rabbi Mandel gave a short sermon quoting three Mishnahs from Pirkei Avot. He chose:

Chapter 2 Mishnah 5, “Don't separate from the community.”

אַל תִּפְרֹשׁ מִן הַצִּבּוּר

Rabbi Mandel praised the people for supporting the community by participating.

Chapter 4 Mishnah 1, “Who is wise? He who learns from all people.” 

אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם, הַלּוֹמֵד מִכָּל אָדָם

Rabbi Mandel thanked people for making him a better rabbi.

Chapter 1 Mishnah 2, “The world stands on three pillars, Torah, Prayer and acts of kindness.”

עַל שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, עַל הַתּוֹרָה וְעַל הָעֲבוֹדָה וְעַל גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים

Rabbi Mandel  said, “We just read the Torah. We just prayed. And I want to thank the social justice committee for all the kindness they did in the community.”

Rabbi Mandel’s first Shabbat at Touro synagogue was on June 29, 2012. Around one year later, I decided to go to services at Touro Synagogue. Rabbi Mandel was very welcoming and the services were short. Subsequently the Mandels hosted me so I could spend Yom Kippur in Newport. I commented on the short services and Rabbi Mandel told me, “People don’t like sitting through long services.” I decided to continue coming to Saturday mornings at Touro.

Rabbi Mandel was renowned for his short sermons, which usually were less than 500 words. That left him time to greet members and visitors by name. Sometimes after introducing a visitor, he ended with, “We would be very happy to hear you speak at Kiddush.”

Rabbi Mandel worked closely with and inspired many people in the community. A few of them shared their thoughts:

Former co-president Paul Tobak wrote,


“Rabbi Mandel and his family were an asset to our community. His skill as a baal korei (reader of Torah) elevated our services. Rabbi Mandel was always gracious and respectful of the officers and members of Congregation Jeshuat Israel and was a good match for our congregation. 


“We were fortunate to have had him as our rabbi and his new community and Congregation in Montreal will be enriched by his knowledge and personality. I wish Rabbi Mandel and his family good health and many pleasures in their new home.”

Jim Herstoff added,

“I certainly agree with the comments that Paul so eloquently offered. It was my privilege and enjoyment to have Rabbi Mandel as our rabbi. I enjoyed working with him very much in my position as chair of the ritual committee and gabbai of the synagogue. He understood the needs of the congregation. We worked easily during Covid to adjust the services to ensure the safety and comfort of everyone. 

“Rabbi Mandel is a gentleman. He always put his congregation first...he often declined accepting aliyot that traditionally are given to the rabbi to instead honor congregants. May he and Jackie have much peace and happiness as they assume their places in Montreal.”

Delia Klingbeil recounts how the Mandels taught her and inspired her to keep learning,

“About 10 years ago I met with Rabbi Mandel because my mother had just entered Saint Clare’s (down the street). She was 95 and she had just fallen. We thought this was the end. My mother, a daughter of Polish immigrants, had already decided that she wanted to be cremated. She was not observant or religious, but she definitely was a NYC Jew!

“Rabbi Mandel told me, ‘We can work around this. Can I visit her?’ And every Friday morning for the next 5 years he walked down the street and spent 10 or 15 minutes with my mother. They mostly discussed the books that she was listening to. 

“My mother Frances Weiss Zelenko died in October 2017, a week before her 100th birthday. Rabbi Mandel held a service for her at the chapel on Fowler Ave. We then went, including the Rabbi, to our house in Jamestown where he conducted a shiva service with me and my sister.

“I became involved in Touro, helped with the Hebrew School, and attended services. 

“During Covid, I learned about Sefaria, and spoke about several weekly parshas, including Korach (on zoom) which the rabbi ended with last week. I’m a NYC Queens girl who never attended services until I married and had 2 daughters. I never was Bat Mitzvah-ed and I can read a bit of Hebrew because sometime ago Jackie ran a Hebrew Class in their dining room and I attended, most of the time.

“Ralph and I were honored to have Friday night dinners at Rabbi and Jackie's house after services. Wonderful meals and memories…


“I will miss the Rabbi. He was always non-judgmental and I have great memories of being upstairs during inspirational evenings and mornings at Touro.” 

The next day the Mandels started their journey from Newport to Canada. The rabbi's new position is at Congregation Beth Tikvah Ahavat Shalom Nusach Hoari. That's quite a mouthful. The short version is CBTASNH. Now how do you say that in French?

During the summer Rabbi Stephen Belsky will officiate at Touro. Welcome Rabbi Belsky! 

@tourosynagoguenewport @newportri

Thursday, July 14, 2022

The Problem with Perfection

The Problem with Perfection

At Jewish Newport

July 9, 2022

By Aaron Ginsburg

Edited by Beth Ginsburg Levine

Also at

The band Aesthetic Perfection
Exoport, CC BY-SA 3.0,
via Wikimedia Commons
On Shabbat we were a small group, fifteen men and a handful of women. Our shul, Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, is small, and our voices filled the room. Several of the guests were lawyers attending a convention of family lawyers from New York State. In the Parsha, Chukat, Moses and Aaron were punished because Moses struck the rock to get water rather than speaking to it as G-d commanded. They were told that they would not be admitted to Eretz Yisrael. Unfortunately, Moses and Aaron did not have members of the New York Bar to speak to G-d in their defense.

One of the guests, Attorney Ira Treuhaft, spoke highly about the kosher food by Andrew’s and Ahava that he received at the convention.

Ira gave a brief dvar after services. Parashat Chukat begins with the ritual of the red heifer. A perfect red heifer (in plain English, a cow on which every hair is  red)  is sacrificed. The ashes are the base of a mixture that is used to purify people who come into contract with a dead body. It’s a ritual that is hard to understand.  

The person who performs the sacrifice, even if it is performed perfectly, becomes ritually impure. Ira told us that Judaism is skeptical about perfection. 

A quick perusal of the literature shows that although Judaism strives for perfection, it recognizes that is unobtainable. We know this both from our own experiences and from science. If people set their goal as perfection, they are bound to be a disappointment to themselves, and to be disappointed in everyone else.

This week I was discussing Carl Orff with a friend. Orff was a German composer. His book Schulworke is very influential in music education. He wrote his most famous work, Carmina Burana, during the 1930s in Nazi Germany. The Nazis decided they liked it, which was not a given. They had their hang ups about anything that had a taint of modern. Orff was rewarded financially. He never joined the Nazi party. For years many people avoided concerts that included his music. 

Richard Wagner  was notorious for his antisemitism. He was a writer as well as a composer. An 1850 essay, Judaism in Music,  criticized Jews and the Jewish composers Meyerbeer and Mendelsonn. He repeated an idea from the French philosophers of the 18th century, claiming that Jewish speech was "intolerably jumbled blabber", a "creaking, squeaking, buzzing snuffle", incapable of expressing true passion[6] which prevented them from creating song or music. The essay was not a best seller and had no discernible influence. In spite of these opinions, he had many Jewish friends, including Mendelsohn. In his writing he expressed his antisemitism repeatedly.  Wagner died long before the Holocaust. He was a favorite composer under the Nazis who also approved of the three B’s, Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. 

The subject of Wagner’s antisemitism came up in Cleveland when Christoph von Dohnányi, the conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, was preparing Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Asked about Wagner’s antisemitism he said, “You have to know about it, but then you have to forget about it pretty much.”

Christoph von Dohnányi was very aware of life in Nazi Germany. His father Hans, his uncle, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and other relatives were in the resistance to Nazism. They were executed on April 9, 1945, when Christoph was 15 years old. 

Von Dohnányi, who is not Jewish, is sensitvive to antisemitism. In 2011 he canceled appearances at the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest, saying he did not want to "appear in a city whose mayor entrusted the direction of a theater to two known, extreme right-wing anti-Semites."

These reflections dealing with the Holocaust might seem dated. But how should we treat the legacies of people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who were slave owners, and Aaron Lopez of Newport, who was involved in the slave trade?

Human beings are not perfect, nor are heroes!

Shabbat Shalom from Jewish Newport!


Judaism in Music

Von Dohnányi on Wagner's antisemitism

about Carl Orff

about Christoph von Dohnányiányi


Thursday, March 10, 2022

From Dokshitz to Newport-America Part two

From Dokshitz to Newport-America
by Rev. Nathan Friedman
translated by Aaron Ginsburg
puliished in Gluboker Leben
March 18, 1932

The story continues. Thanks to Margarita Kozhenevskaya for finding this article which was published in Yiddish in Glubokie, then in Poland. Nathan Friedman immigrated to Newport, Rhode Island, where he died after many years of serving the community.

From Dokshitz to Newport-America
by Rev. Nathan Friedman

In the eighties of the 19th century, the stream of enlightenment poured into our riparian region. The Jewish youth then believed that redemption, the richer life, could come only through education. The urge for enlightenment, which had a strong impact in Germany for many decades, thanks to the theorist of the Romantic Enlightenment, Mendelssohn, finally came to Russia.

The Haskalah infiltrated the balabatish households, whose sons studied in the yeshivot and represented the religious aristocracy. In those days yichis (genealogy) played a great role, the so-called liberal man, the scholar, the priviledged were strrictly separated from the craftsman and simple man, the balabatish psychology was a whole cult that stood above the masses.

With the greatest effort, the young man used to try not to be a soldier. Apart from going to worship, it was a difficult thing because it took 6 years and people had to live in the filthy Russian barracks, eat treif and violate the Sabbath, worship was not considered a fine thing and every father had an assignment. “Avoid the draft.”

The tsarist administration had allowed itself to be ostracized almost everywhere, but if it had been a stricter place, people would have to register elsewhere where the administration allowed itself to act.

In a word, the balabatish avoided military service. Therefore, all the yeshivas were filled with the balabatish bridegrooms.
Fathers used to take the young ones on trips, then they were forced to open a shop, and most of the women became the business leaders.

I was in Dvinsk for three years and could not do any business there, I came back to Dokshitz and went into business with Reb Iser Kaminkemich, a haberdashery shop, and as it did not carry the business for granted I turned over this business to my younger brother. I began to give lessons in Russian and Hebrew, and at the same time helped all Jewish organizations with deeds and with money, though it took a half part in a performance of the wisdom of Solomon for the benefit of Bekor Holim.

At that time our first son, Mordecai Matel, was born to us. We spent a very short time in Doskhitz then quickly returned to Dvinsk, and immediately I got a job giving private lessons from a rich man, teaching Hebrew to his two sons who were in the gymnasia. Through this man I became acquainted with other rich men. I became well known and friendly with the Dvinsk city administration, where I was able to help many people, make a living, give Hebrew and Russian lessons, and also with advocacy before the justice of the peace.

And in my spare time, I assisted my father-in-law, R 'Isaiah Meyerson, in his business dealings with the goods and grain on the Tavarni Station, on the Calcio Livov-Romansky railroad.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Russian warship, Go F*ck yourself!

 Russian warship, Go F*ck yourself!
At Jewish Newport
February 26, 2022 
also on facebook
Edited by Beth Ginsburg Levine

As I walked by the State House in Boston on Sunday I came by the end of a demonstration about Ukraine that had 5000 participants. I started thinking about the Jewish president of Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy had no political experience before he was elected president. He is an actor and a lawyer. I think those are related professions, both to each other and to politics.  Today he is a hero of Ukraine and an inspiration for the whole world. How did he do it?. It is his down home approach and language, and that is not an act!

Saturday we celebrated Shabbat Shekalim, the first of four special shabbatot leading up to Purim and Passover. Shekelim (shekels) refers to the half shekel each adult male was asked to donate for upkeep of the mishkan (tabernacle).

During services at Newport’s Touro Synagogue, Rabbi Marc Mandel told the worshippers that the parsha was about the decorating of the mishkan. “Moses conducted a fundraising campaign,” he said, “which was too successful, so he had to slow down the pace of donations.” 

Moses didn’t have fundraising tools like Facebook or advertising, but I think he had a good pitch, “Hakadosh Baruch Hu is on my side.” Since then many have used that line but without being able to provide evidence that it was true.

In the Ashkenazi haftarah, King Jehoash of Judah put the kohanim (priests) in charge of refurbishing the Temple. In the 23rd year of Jehaosh’s reign, someone realized that no repairs had been done. Perhaps the roof collapsed when the King was visiting. Being masters of ritual did not make the kohanim project managers or masters of design and construction. 

Custody of the donations was transferred to the overseers of the work, who used it to buy wood and other raw materials and pay the artists, craftsmen and workers who were doing the work. It’s something we all experience. Should I do it myself or hire a contractor?

During prayers for the sick after the sixth aliyah, the Ukraine defense forces were included. As we prepared to return the Torah we recited prayers for the American government, the Israeli government and a combined prayer for the American and Israeli defense forces. The Ukraine defense forces were included in the latter prayer, also.

Rabbi Mandel quoted the response of Rabbi Alexander Dukhovny to an inquiry about his well being. Dukhovny is the rabbi at the Hatikvah Synagogue in Kiev, Ukraine.

“Congregant Aaron Ginsburg wrote,” said Rabbi Mandel, “‘Rabbi, I am very worried about my friends in Ukraine. My prayers are with you, Best, Aaron.’

“Rabbi Dukhovny responded, ‘Thank you so much. I am in Kyiv! Just led a Kabbalat Shabbat service from a basement. Air strikes expected! Praying for peace together!’”

Then Rabbi Mandel told us, “The parsha tells us, ‘וַקְהֵ֣ל מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֶֽת־כׇּל־עֲדַ֛ת בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל Then Moses gathered together all the people (literally, the entire community of the children of Israel).’  It would have been difficult to gather all the people. Moses must have gathered the leaders of the community. The word used, edah, refers to a community. For example, our minyan is an edah. You don’t have to be present to be part of an edah. The Jews of Ukraine are part of our edah.” 

After Shabbat, Rabbi Dukhovny wrote, “The second night I am in the basement of the residential building. Crowded. However, people are calm and full of optimism: peace will prevail and Ukraine will continue to keep its sovereignty and democracy! Amen!

Shabbat Shalom from Jewish Newport

From Dokshitz to Newport, America

From Dokshitz to Newport, America                                          At Jewish Newport                                                                    by Aaron Ginsburg also on facebook                                                                                         February 28, 2022

Rabbi Nathan Zalman Friedman was born in Dokshitz.  
He wrote several articles in the Gluboker Leben, a yiddish newspaper published in Glubokie, then in Poland. A partial translation of an article from March 4, 1932 follows. Thank you to Margarita Kozhenevskaya for finding it. 

Rabbi Nathan Zalman Friedman and his wife Dora nee Meirson settled in Newport, Rhode Island. In the 1930 US census in addition to English he spoke Jewish and his occupation was listed as Rabbi, industry as Hebrew teacher.

At the end of the article we learn that at Rabbi Friedman's wedding to Dvora Meirson the Rogatchover Rabbi Ilui officiated. I mentioned this to Rabbi Marc Mandel of Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI who told me that the Rogatchover was very prominent Talmud interpreter. You can learn more about him at

Rabbi Friedman's great grandson Bernie Friedman reports that his great grandfather, "retired in 1935 after 25 years of service to the Congregation. He was the chazzan, ritual slaughterer, teacher, and anything else the Rabbi delegated to him. He lived above my Grandfather’s [Bernard C Friedman] Dental Office. My dad would tell stories of his grandfather slaughtering the chickens in the basement and how exciting that was at the time. There was a tribute dinner to Nathan upon his retirement and a beautiful kiddush cup was given to him that we use today. There are photos of the tribute dinner."

From Gluboker Leben, 4 March 1932

Partial translation by Aaron Ginsburg 

Rav Nossin Friedman

From Dokshitz to Newport, America

The rabbis sent me out from Heder at the age of 16 years. I knew  the Talmud quite well, was a good baal Kore, was versed in the entire Talmud, and the Hebrew language, I learned math well, and had studied a bit of accounting. I spoke the Russian language fluently; my Polish language skills weren't bad. I also studied after that to take the chancellor's exam which I took in the Russian language. 

I had fine friends, helped my parents with their business and was familiar with the owners of the courtyards with which my parents used to do business. I also was active in public Tzedakah,  ?, talmud torah, bikur holim and Shul activities. 

We worked hard to collect money for bikur holim. Hevra went with charity boxes to different parts of town. I brought more money in than anyone else because each time I raised money from my cousins, about 40-50 people. I was a hero in collecting donations.  

I worked as a secretary in the Municipal government while my father was a magistrate? in the town.

In those times Jews were allowed to  stand for the government’s “Galileo'' exam and they did well. [discussion of other examinations and awards]

Overcoming my shyness, I became engaged in Dvinsk-Dinenberg to a beautiful woman from a large family, Dvora daughter of Reb Yishiyahu Meirson. who was born in Dokshitz and lived in Dvinsk-Dinenberg.  

Being in Dvinsk-Dinenberg to get married, I got to know  young people who were studying Russian from a teacher of Russian, a student in  the sixth class of the Realschule (name of school) which had given my bride a lecture in Russian.

I persuaded him to go to Dokshitz as a teacher and indeed I immediately brought him down to Dokshitz and all the young people of Dokshitz were enthusiastic and thanked me.

But the joy was not long away. It was seven weeks until my wedding on Erev Shavuot 1887. The entire town of Dokshitz was upset when the teacher had to depart for Glubokie. 

It was a second kind of learning… The teacher was named Robert Weiner. A few Glubokers must remember him. Today he is a famous  medical doctor in America in New York City, and still my good comrade and friend.

I had a big wedding in Dvinsk at a large hotel. Officiating at the kiddushin was the well-known rabbi from Dvinsk, the Rogatchover Rabbi Ilui. (to be continued)