Zareby Koscliene


By Zelig Darfxnan

I .

Jews from Zaromb started emigrating to America in the 1880's. Among the first immigrants were Moyshe Grossman and Shaye Zelig Cohen.

By 1902, there were enough Zaromber Jews for them to form their own congregation. The synagogue of the "Chevre begel Itkhak Anshei Zaromb" was officially founded on September 23, 1902. Abraham Mikhl Pevka, the present secretary of the synagogue, describes the founding this way:

"We were homesick. We dreamt of the old home, the old ways. So on September 23, 1902, we gathered at Velvl Melakh's apartment at 136 Christie Street, and decided to establish a 'Khevrel which would immortalize the name of our shtetl and of the Zaromber Rabbi Reb Itzkhak H'Makhone, son of Rabbi ItChele, whom our parents had known. So we decided to call our Khevre 'Degel Itzkhatk Anshi Zarombl and that the name of our Khevre would never be changed.

"A few weeks later, we had 28 Zaromber landsleit and we opened out shul on 156 Christie Street. The number of immigrants &Orom Zaromb increased and the new arrivals found close comrade- ship in our Khevre. On April 15, 1903, we received our state charter issued to: Yakov Kosher, Itzkhak Pivka, Berish Rezen, Mordecai Malina, Yosef Yasolka, Max Rozen, Henekh Weinberg, Leybl Zbinovitch, Yakob Rotenberg and Abraham Hertzke Lashitzka.11

Soon thereafter, the Chevre set up a "Gemilles Khessed" fund (free loan fund) to help provide interest-free loans. They purchased 2 cemetery lots at Mount Sinai and one at Beth David cemeteries.

Now, in 1947, the Chevre has 82 members.

The first president was Leybl Zbinovitch. He was followed by Max Rosen, Max Grossman, Henekh Weinberg, Berish Rozen, Ytzkhak Moyshe Fivoko, Mordecai-Mendl Weiss, Yakob Sendak, Aaron Yosef Paluba, Abraham nathan Shoynberg, Menakhem Rotberg, Sane Drukman, Yakob Sendak again, Khayim Yosef Evrei, Artshe Richman, Zalrnen Apel and Abraham Itzkhak Zomberg.

The current officers are: Shmuel Levine, President; Mordecai Zlotogora, Vice-President; and Abraham A. Levitz, Khayim Mordecai Sir, Berish Rosen and Abraham Itzkhak Zomberg.

The treasurer is Ben-Zion Kendel and the trustees are Yoseph Levits (Yosl Kosoter) and Khayim Mordeoai Sir. The secretary is Abraham M. Pivko.

Just because the synagogue was the first organization of Zaromb in America, one should not assume that the first Jews to leave Zaromb for America were orthodox. It is quite possible that the first to be on their way were individuals of a revolutionary bent, young men who were looking for expression of their ideas, which was punishable by penal hard labor (usually in Siberia) under the Czarist regime. it is understandable that those to whom the religion was of primary importance had to build a home for the practice of their religion. They all lived in one neighborhood, New York's Lower East Side. They waited the whole week for the holy Sabbath, not only to pray but to share a drink together, to tell each other stories of Zaromb, the old home. Everything revolved around the synagogue. The synagogue served a double purpose.


Those Zaromber who either did not want to or could not become members of the "Chevrell because of the point in the "Chevrell constitution which stated that only those who did not work on Saturday could belong, had no regular place to go. They would meet privately at each others apartments or at celebrations or by chance in the union. But this did not satisfy their need. They wanted, a place, their own corner, 'Where they could meet and discuss their daily problems.

In February, 1913, at the initiative of Abe Yarmus, Yankl Kafkevitch, Khayin Segal, Isidor Greenspan, Harry Albeck and Henry Gonsher, a meeting was called at 73 Ludlow Street and the Zaromber Progressive Young Friends Society was born.
All Zaromber were accepted into the Zaromber P.Y.F. Every one felt at home there. The organization was ready to help any individual who was in need. During its existence,
the P.Y.F. gave many thousands of dollars to important causes. The P.Y.F. was a permanent member of the United Jewish Appeal, Hayas and the American Red Cross. During WWII, they con- tributed to the Russian war relief and to Histadrut. But their greatest contributions went to the "United Zaromber Relief Committee." Since the founding of the Relief Committee in 1937, the P.Y.F. contributed large sums of money. Such members as Nathan Lava, Haymie Segal, Itzkhak Steg, Nathan Skalka and Max Steg must be mentioned for their never-ending efforts on behalf of the relief committee with both their physical work and financial contributions.

[Page 57 is a-full-page photograph of the Young Friends.]

It is important to note that certain members of the "Young Friends" were active in many ways. Max Steg, for instance, was an important member of a children's home run by the Morris Morrison Society. He knew how to organize and thanks to him the United Relief Committee rented a complete theater in 1941 for a hugely successful evening. Nathan Lava, the secretary-treasurer of the "Young Friends", was also the president of the United Zaromb Relief Committee and active in the National Workers Parband Yiddish schools and in Histrad- rut. Max Rosenthal, whom everyone knew for his activities on behalf of the Relief Committee, was always ready to send money through his agency and never took a penny in fees. Once, when he was in Zaromb, he represented the committee in a most noble way. He laid out money from his own pocket to insure that the Zaromber children's kitchen would not shut down. He also helped to purchase various items which were needed by various Zaromber for their health. Schwartz, from the firm of Zuckerman and Schwartz, is also a respected member of "Young Friends" known for his generosity whenever a hand is reached out to him.

I must also mention Davie Cohen who died so young. He was one of the founders of "Young Friends". He was active in the Amalgamated Union and chairman of its loan fund. He was always sympathetic to the work of the Zaromber Relief Committee.

The first president of the "Young Men's Society" was Abie Rosen, the son of the baker of' Zaromb.  Khayim Segal had the longest term as president – I5 years.  Yavel Kafkevitch was secretary-treasurer for 15 years. Al Garfinkl, the founder of the "Young Ladies Friends" was recorder secretary for about 10 years.

Thus, we see that the leaders of the organization were people with varied social interests. All children of the poverty of Zaromb, they were always ready to give material assistance to those in need, both here in America and for the unfortunate victims of Nazism who are still unsettled in various parts of the world.

Although as an organization the Zaromber Young Friends had no political position, its decisions, when such questions do come up, are always to improve the well-being of the working class. The "Young Friends" office is at 151 Clinton Street; the officers for 1947 are Morris Richman, president; Jack Lauf, vice-chairman, Nathan Lava, secretary- treasurer; and Louis Lieberman, protocol secretary.


During the year 1927-1930, great changes took place in the Jauish life in America, especially in the worker's involvement. Under the pressure of left-wing unions, the Arbeder Ring (Workmen's Circle) was split apart and a new organization formed: the "Jewish Fraternal Folks Ordn.”

This split caused a great stir among the working Jews in New York. Not only were political groups involved but even landsmanshaften who, until this time, had very little interest in political issues. Under the leadership of Davie Charney, Benny Cohen, Moyshe Aaron Goldberg, and Abraham Applebaum, a radical block formed which set out to influence the Zaromber Young Friends" to either become a branch of the "Ordn" or to conduct the organization along more radical lines. There was a sharp battle within the "Young Friends" which ended by the "Revolutionary Group of Zaromber" splitting away to join with Ostrover in Branch 56 of the "Ordn.”

When, recently, I asked about the activities of "Ordn" Branch 56, 1 was told that this branch split away from the Arbeder Ring 17 years ago. The first Zaromber activists were Moyshe Finklstein and Ch. Silverman. Later, Sam Vertel, Moyshe Aaron Goldberg, David Charney, Ab. Appelbam, Benny Cohen and M. Segal joined. The reason for the split became well known. The "Ordn" grew to a national organization with branches all over the country. Zaromber Branch 56 was one of those.

Branch 56 gave heart and soul to the Zaromber Relief Committee. Branch members who were representatives in the Relief Committee were Benny Cohen, Sam Vertel, Moyshe Finkelstein, Alex Dorfman, David Charney, Moyshe Aaron Goldberg, Evelyn Rosen and Ch. Silverman; the branch has contributed funds to the Relief Committee according to its ability and the representatives contributed lots of hard work. Recently the branch included the Grayever, so now 3 landsmanshaften comprise its membership. They also now help the OsL@.rover Relief and the Grayever Relief.


The crown of the Zaromber organizations in America is the "Zaromber Young Ladies Friends." They participate in every activity of the Relief Committee. It is really a pity that many Zaromber women do not see the importance of this noble organization and have not become members. This is particularly the case now that Zaromb was destroyed and most of its inhabitants so horribly murdered.  Now is the time to close our ranks so that the Zaromber landsleit here in America should feel like one family.

The Zaromber "Young Ladies Friends" has written a very fine chapter. They help all the Jewish philanthropic institutions in New York. During the war years, they excelled in sending packages to children of Zaromber who served in the U.S. Army. For their tireless efforts on behalf of relief work, they earned plaudits from everyone. Special mention must be given to Rose Seval, Dora border, Bella Weissrian, Fanny F'rayrian, Celia Skolsky, Golda Lava, Paula Mekles, Mary Steginsky, and Elsie Steg. All Zaromber landsleit are proud of these women.

The "Young Ladies Friends" was founded in 1935. The first meeting was in the home of Dora Border. The founders were Yatie Lauf, Paula Mekles, Sarah Karp, Ida Levin, Dora Border, Gussie Ingster and Mary Steginsky under the leadership of Al. Garfinkl.

The present officers are: chairlady - Celia Skolsky; vice-chairlady, - Rose Segal; finance secretary - Fanny Frayman; recording secretary - Katie Lauf, and the trustees are Dora Border and Golda Lava. Many of the Zaromber Ladies are active in other worthy organizations.

Let me end with the thought that the Zaromber Landsmanshaften have contributed their share to Jewish life in America in a very fine and worthy manner.