The development of Yiddish language and culture
In the Shtetl Turisk
Yiddish was the most spoken language among the Jews in east Europe (Poland, Russia, Ukraina)during the last three hundred
Years. A widespread theory- assumption tells that the earliest
Yiddish writing in Hebrew letters started in the midst of the 18th century. In those years in Turisk was operating the physicist Dr. Moshe Marcoosy. He has done a very serious job in changing
the attitude of the Jewish population towards hygienics and medicine. Working as a physician for many years, among the poor
population he acquired practical knowledge. He investigated the
than popular diseases and epidemics. He was very popular among
the Jewish and general population, and good relations with the
Authorities and nobility in the region. After many years they supported him to enable to publish a medicin hand book written
In the Yiddish language in Hebrew letters for the use of the poor.
This was the only medycin book written in Yiddish ever.
The book was published in 1770. According to the a.m. assumption
and also researchers of Yiddish this book was among the first published Yiddish books in Hebrew letters. Only two or three samples of the book can be found in libraries (Bar ?lan and the
national library in Jerusalem)
As of the middle of the 18 th century Yiddish literature is published
And spread in the eastern regions of Poland ,Russia and Ukraine.
Some interesting facts are telling us that Yiddish printed books were
Spread and read in Turisk.
From the middle of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century groups of young" Yeshive" graduates erected a modern
Cheider, they stuied , beside religion "tora" also mathematics, Hebrew,and Yiddish. When the first world war ended, they opened
In spite of the Hassidim opposition, a Jewish school, with Hebrew and Yuddish as teaching languages. They choose a committee to
Open a library. Books were collected from house to house,mostly
Yiddish but also Hebrew books.
The split among the school teachers.
When the Zionist group decided to Join the "Tarbut" school organization, a group of teachers with the writer-teacher Leib Olizky
decided to split and to found a separate school, with Yiddish as the
teaching language. Leib Olizky donated his late grand fathers house
to enable the opening of the school. This act divided the Jewish community into two opponent camps.
The leaders of the Yiddish teaching school aimed their efforts towards the children of the weak part of the Jewish community. Mostly children whose parents could not afford monthly salaries,
Therefore they attendet the free of charge Polish school,or studiet in
The cheider. During the beginning period they managed to convince
Families of skilled workers and proffesionals, paid only partly…
Yiddish was their spoken every day language, they loved it, and when the school Joined the "Zisha" school net, it became a success.
The school was under the influence of the Socialist Bund Party.
It was the first Yiddich school among 44 towns and Shtetlach in the
Wollyn region. About 150 pupils attendet the school, in spite of the
poorness, The school flourished, the studying standards were on
a high level. The graduateshad no problem to continue studies or
find a job in partime teaching. Tey went to bigger cities to study,
very soon they started writing Yiddish poetry or books ( tales,
romances e.t.c.) The shool became the battle field between the
Bund party and the underground Communist party. The Polish
Authorities could not afford it, and caued many difficulties to the
Leading teachers. Leib Olizky left for Varsaw ,he became a very
Considered Yiddish writer. In his absence the situation of the
School worsened ! A change for better occurred!
The 1st of September 1939! The Soviet army entred Turisk as
part of the German-Russtan pact. Leib Olizky came back to be
a teacher in the school…It lasted less than two years.
The soviet authorities shut down the Tarbut" Zionist school and
The Hebrew library. All the Zionist organizations were forbidden
By law. The Zionist youth activist were "asked" to join the
Communist Comsomol. Zionists activities went underground,
Some left Turisk to prevent arrests.
From the beginning of the 20ties Yiddish language has a rejuven-
-ation. The Yiddish library grew very fast. In those years the best
of the foreign Literature were translated to Yiddish, and enriched
the horizon of the fellow-members of the library.
With the foundation of the Culture-Ligue club the cultural activities
gained momentum, a Yiddish amateur drama club was founded( in
addition of the existing Hebrew club) It happened ,when Yiddish
club performed a foreign piece translated to Yiddish, the Hebrew
club performed a Yiddish piece in Hebrew(of Sholem Aleichem,
Mendely,Perez) a wonderfull competition it was, and a successfull
One. The Bund party was very active in organizing political-litera-
ture evenings. Several times a year, the club choose a book for
this purpose, the club members were asked to read it,and prepare
for a public trial. Many such public trials ( with a political meaning)
took place, in Yiddish by both sides. Each one trying to convince
the public. Such was the public trial on the famous Perez tale :
"Bonche Shwaig" the Bundist prosecution accusing the public of
being passive e.t.c. So called cultural evenings took place every
week, reading poetry, musical evenings. The Culture Lige club
also invited famous writers and lecturers to trisk to lecture and
discussions. It was a big holiday almost a festival, when the poet
Zoosie Weinper, who was born in Turisk,on a lecturers trip to
Europe ,arrived for a long visit. Both sides were very proud of
Him, the famous Turisk born American writer. The Yiddishists
Him being a Yiddish poet. The Zionists because he was an
Active Zionist who even volunteered to join the Hebrew Battalion
In Palestine to figth the Turkish Empire. In one of the meetings
on the Turia shore he told the audience of his experience during
the war. He also told about his feelings and experience while
visiting the Jews in many countries and cities in Europe. With
tears he read an allegory song concerning the Jewish fate in
Europe." Of a dreaming shepherd with a heavy stick, that was
not avare of the nearing danger, although the sheep were
mooing…The end we know. The song had already a melody
and he sang it. Almost a prophet.
Many lecturers and writers came to Turisk,but nobody, beside
Zionist were warning of coming. The hopes of the twenties,
overturned to a disaster in the end of the thirties . In 1942 the
Jewish people and culture in east Poland,Ukraine and Russia
Were inhiliated, nobody stretched out a hand to help. The
Shepherd with his stick did not awake!