>>>The People of the Fifth Aliyah
The People of the Fifth Aliyah 2018-02-19T22:11:56+00:00

The People of the Fifth Aliyah

Fanya Bergstein (1908-1950)

(1908-1950)

Fanya Bernstein was an Israeli writer and poet. She was a member of Kibbutz Gvat. She was born in Szczuczyn in the Russian Empire (in Poland today). Her father was a Hebrew teacher who taught her Hebrew and literature. While she was in high school, she joined the youth movement, HeHalutz Hatzair, (the Young Pioneers). When she was 18, she took part in the first seminar of the Halutz Movement which was held in Warsaw. She joined a training center at Cherlona and began to publish her poems and drawings in the movement’s newspapers. In 1930, she came to the Land of Israel on aliyah with her lifelong friend, Aharon Weiner (Israeli) and she settled in Kibbutz Gvat. The couple had one son, Gershon. On the kibbutz, Bernstein worked in packing during the grape harvesting season. In addition, she worked in education. She was a youth leader for the Gvat children in the Noar Oved Movement.

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She also edited the kibbutz journal, conducted a literary circle and lectured. She was also chosen to be a kibbutz representative to the Kibbutz Hameuhad Committee and to the Histadrut. Later, she had to work as a seamstress in the kibbutz clothing depot because she suffered from heart disease.
Bernstein wrote mainly children’s poems. They are written from the children’s viewpoint and deal with children. Many of the books containing stories and poems which she wrote were published after her death. Many of her children’s poems and some of the poems she wrote for adults became classics: Our Car, I Ran, Circle, Let us Ride to the Field, You Planted Melodies, and many more.

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Shaul Tchernikovsky

(1897-1943)

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Shaul Tchernikovsky was a doctor, a Hebrew poet and a translator. He was one of the greatest Hebrew poets. He is identified with nature poetry. He was influenced by the ancient Greek culture.
From 1925-1932, he was one of the editors of the newspaper, Hatekufa (The Era). He was also the editor of the medical section of the Hebrew encyclopedia, Eshkol. He was in the United States from 1929-1930. On May 18, 1931, he immigrated to the Land of Israel, where he remained for the rest of his life.
He lived in a small house in Tel Aviv and worked as a doctor at Tel Aviv schools. He was active in writers’ associations and a member of the Hebrew Language Committee. He also edited of a book of medical and scientific terms in Hebrew. As much as Tchernikovsky was a worldly man of culture, he identified with the fate of his people. In 1938, during the Arab Revolt, he wrote the poem, “You See, O’Earth”, which laments the many victims of the Revolt in the famous line, “You see, o’earth, how very wasteful we have been!” After the first news of the Holocaust sweeping across Europe reached the Land of Israel, he wrote the poems “The Slain of Tirmonye” and “Ballads of Worms” in which he expressed his deepest emotions on the tragic fate of the Jewish nation. In some of his poems he expressed identification with Zionism and the rebirth of the Jewish people in its Homeland, such as in his poem, “I Believe” (known as “Play! Play!”): “Then my people too will flourish, And a generation shall arise, In the land, shake off its chains, And see light in every eye.”

They Say There is a Land
Lyrics: Tchernikovsky | Music: Naomi Shemer

They say: There is a land,
a land drenched with sun.
Wherefore is that land?
Where is that sun?

They say: There is a land,
its pillars are seven,
seven planets,
spiringing up on every hill.

Where is that land,
the stars of that hill?
Who shall guide our way,
tell me my path?

Already have we passed several
deserts and oceans.
Already have we traversed several,
our strengths are ending.

How is it we have gone astray?
That not yet have we been left alone?
That land of sun,
that one we have not found.

A land where shall come to pass
what every man had hoped for,
Everyone who enters,
had met with Akiva.

Peace to you, Akiva!
Peace to you, Rabbi!
Where are the saints?
Where is the Maccabee?

Answers him Akiva,
answers him the Rabbi:
All of Israel is sainted,
you are the Maccabee!

Where is that land,
the stars of that hill?
Who shall guide our way,
tell me my path?

They say: There is a land,
a land drenched with sun…
Wherefore is that land?
Where is that sun?

HaRav Moshe Zvi Neria

(1913-1995)

HaRav Moshe Zvi Neria was a rabbi, an educator and a spiritual leader. He was the founder of the chain of Bnei Akiva Yeshivas. He is called the “father of the knitted kipa generation” because of his influence on the shaping of the character of the religious-Zionist culture which believes in combining Torah, work and nation.
In 1930, when he was 17, he learned that the Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook, the chief rabbi of the Land of Israel was working to save yeshiva students in Russia and trying to obtain certificates to enable them to enter the Land of Israel. He wrote a letter, rich in Torah quotes, to the Rabbi’s son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda. Shortly thereafter, he received an entry visa and a ticket to the Land of Israel. In 1930, he arrived in the Land of Israel and immediately went to Jerusalem. When he met the rabbi and his son for the first time, there was an immediate connection and he turned to public work in the spirit of Rabbi Kook. Through Rabbi Kook, he became acquainted with the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement, which was still in its infancy.
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In 1940, despite opposition within the movement, Rabbi Neria and 13 young people founded the first Bnei Akiva yeshiva in Kfar Haroe, a religious settlement. This was the first high school yeshiva. The yeshiva was groundbreaking in that it combined farming with holy studies. With the passing of time, as a result of the demands of parents, high school studies were added (instead of physical work) despite Rabbi Neria’s objections.
In 1978, Rabbi Neria won the Israel Prize for his special contribution to the advancement and development of the society and the state. The rabbi died in 1995 at the age of 82, leaving behind him a generation of students who spread his ideology and educational philosophy in tens of schools all over Israel. His last words, more than anything else, expressed his great love for Israel and its holiness; “I am cold, warm me up with Torah. Holiness I request. The holy of holies I request. Give me the holiness of Eretz Israel, give me the holiness of loving Am Israel”
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Hannah Senesh

(1921-1944)

Hannah Senesh was a Jewish poet and fighter. She was one of the Yishuv’s parachutists, who volunteered to serve in the British army during World War II and fight the Nazis. She parachuted into occupied Hungary, was captured, interrogated and tortured and then executed.

In 1939, she immigrated to the Land of Israel, studied at Hannah Meisel Shochat’s Girls’ Agricultural School at Nahalal for two years and then joined a group of young people who founded Kibbutz Sadot Yam. During this period, she was a leader at the Kiryat Haim branch of the Noar Oved V’Lomed. In 1943, she volunteered for the British army and joined a group of parachutists that was going to parachute into Europe as part of the struggle against Nazi Germany. For communication purposes, Hanna’s code name was Hagar. On March 15, 1944, Hanna and her comrades parachuted into Croatia, near the Hungarian border. There they joined a group of local. In June, 1944, she crossed the border into Hungary partisans and was caught by Hungarian soldiers. She was sent to prison in Budapest, the city where she was born. She was interrogated and tortured. Senesh was charged with espionage and treason (since she was born in Hungary) and tried in a Hungarian military court. However, on November 7, 1944 when she was 23 years old, even before her trial ended, Hannah was executed. After her death, two notes were found in the pocket of her clothing. One of the notes contained rhymes in which she foresaw her death and the second was to her mother in which she asked her forgiveness. Hannah wrote
a diary until her last day. It was published in Hebrew in 1946.
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Hannah wrote her poems in secret and all of them were found after her death. Two of her best known poems are “The Match” and the more famous, “Walk to Caesarea”, in which she wrote, “My God, may this wonder never end.”
Hannah Senesh has served as a role model for generations. She became a symbol of self- sacrifice for the Hebrew nation. While in prison, she remained steadfast in the face of torture. Her many poems, letters and writings contributed greatly to her symbolic status.

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Yehoshua Bruchi

(1910-1992)

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Yehoshua Bruchi was the “crowned head” of Kibbutz Tirat Zvi and of the Beit Shean Valley. He was active in the Poal Hamizrachi and in charge of absentee properties in Jerusalem and on evacuating the Old City of Jerusalem after the War of Independence. He was the head of the Religious Council of Jerusalem and Yakir (an honored citizen of) Jerusalem. Bruchi became a Zionist after his sister, Helena, came to Israel on aliyah. He joined the Union of Religious Pioneers in Sanok. In 1932, after a long period of preparation and after receiving the approval of Rabbi Moshe Friedman, he left for the port of Constanta in Romania. He sailed to the Land of Israel along with a group of young people that were pretending to be a group of tourists going to see the First Maccabiah Games.
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Bruchi joined Rodges, a religious training group, which at the time was located in Kfar Avraham, near Petach Tikva. He founded a farming settlement in Gedera and in the summer of 1937, he became the head of Kibbutz Tirat Zvi, the first kibbutz of the Religious Kibbutz Movement. It was established as a Tower and Stockade kibbutz near Beit Shean, which was an Arab city in those days. In 1946, Bruchi was appointed “the chief of the chiefs” by the Jewish National Fund. During this period, Bruchi acquired thousands of dunams of land all over the Valley thanks to his special relations with the sheiks. After the Holocaust, he became a Jewish Agency emissary to the Displaced Persons Camps in Europe. In this role, he went to the different camps, housing thousands of survivors. He took care of registering people for aliyah to Israel. Bruchi brought with him the Hasidic spirit. He went beyond his official role, as he brought encouragement and a spiritual uplifting to the broken souls as they moved from one camp to another after the terrible war years.

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