Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982

Secular and Religious Education

Before the war, what was your education?

My education was uh, seven grade school uh, which is, which is, was the most available in our, in our city. After the seven grades uh, I could have attended gymnasium but we didn't have the means. Didn't have the finances to go to a different city, I should be able to go to a different city and learn. We were going to gymnasium and then they call it seminar. That's a community university and uh, I could have uh, I could have be some kind of a profession--a professional. But I didn't have the means for that.

Did you have any hopes to become a certain type of professional?

Hopes? No. I, I, I was uh, I would have liked it but I didn't have hope because of finances. We were in business--we were better off than lot of people--than other Jewish people in our town. But uh, the--even though we did not have the--enough finances for such things. This would be a luxury. In, in my case it would be a luxury at that time.

Were you bar mitzvahed?

Yeah, but uh, bar mitzvah in uh, in my times uh, was not like here. Uh, I just reached the age of thirteen and uh, I went to the--to my Jewish teacher and he taught me the halachos of tefillin, that's the laws of tefillin. Uh, and uh, they called me to the Torah when I was thirteen. I didn't have to, I didn't have to have ??? because uh, before you're thirteen you're not being called up to the Torah, except for simple story, the--you're all called up together with your--with all the men. That's the one ??? they give if you, if you know about that.


And this was all, this was all the--yeah, we, we, we made our kaddish that's right, in the house. After shul they called up--called in some relatives and uh, we made a kaddish, with whisky, wine, and cakes and so on, pop.

Wife: They didn't have a party ???

That was the, that was the bar mitzvah which we, which we had in my times.

How many synagogues in your town?

Five. And Shabbos, they were pretty much filled up. Not exactly every seat, but uh, pretty much filled up. During the week the, in all five synagogues, it was not filled up, but uh, there were three minyan ??? in the morning and in the evening. Of course, that was after certain times. There was more people in the evening because they used to come at certain times. The youth uh, was not--were not attending uh, synagogues in my town as in other towns. In other towns they were more religious. In my town um, majority of the youth was not religious.

Would you describe them as secular?

Some. Some secular, yeah. And some were just not practicing, that's all. Uh, like this uh, I told you about the Bu...uh, the Bund. My sis...sister belonged and, some other stuff. ???

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