This new series of articles will feature photos of these families, whose story is the story of the renewed Land of Israel more than 100 years ago. The photos were taken from the album of Tamar Eshel, the daughter of Tzila Feinberg.
1. 1912 – Ahead of the graduation of the Herzliya Hebrew High School's first class. From the right: Rivkah Reznik, Tzila (who loved to wear manly clothes), Rivkah Shertok (Hoz).
2. In 1913, Tzila's first class of the Herzliya Hebrew High School graduated. After completing her studies, Tzila sought to go on to university studies, but as there was no university in the Land of Israel, she applied to a Berlin university to study agriculture and botany. In this photo she is seen with her family before the trip to Germany, with mother Fanny, brother Avshalom and niece Zohara, who joined the journey. Zohara's parents, Shoshana and Nahum, worked at a factory in St. Petersburg at the time. Tzila brought Zohara over to them and continued to Berlin.
3. November 1913. Before Tzila traveled to Germany, the family arrived at the office of photographer Avraham Soskin for a family photo: 1 – Aunt Olga Hankin, 2 – Tzila, 3- Mother Fanny, 4 – Zohara (the granddaughter), 5 – Ahsa (Israel and Duba Belkind's daughter), 6 – Uncle Israel Belkind and his wife Duba (7), 8 – Aunt Sonia (Belkind) Hankin, 9 – Avshalom.
4. 1914, Tzila meets her future husband Zeev, St. Petersburg. On the right: Zeev Finkelstein (who just graduated from law school). On the left: M. Blitzerkovsky (a chemistry student). When this picture was taken she had yet to decide which one of the two to choose. The dedication on the photo reads: "The lovable and beloved".
5. Tzila resided in Germany during the years of World War I. Her friends from the Herzliya Hebrew High School's first class, Moshe Shertok (Sharett) and Moshe Gvirtzman, served in the Turkish army and sent her this postcard on which they wrote, "To our dear friend Tzila, from the Diaspora to the Diaspora in memory of our days of suffering… Moshe and Moshe."
6. The Nili espionage network was founded in the Land of Israel with the goal of assisting the British in their war against the Ottomans who controlled the land and establishing a Jewish entity in the Land of Israel. The network's founders were Avshalom Feinberg (who came up with the idea) who tried to convince agronomist Aharon Aharonson of Zichron Yaacov to join the network. The two worked together on a farm for agricultural experiments established in Atlit in 1910.
In the photo: Sarah Aharonson, a member of the Nili espionage network. Sarah was married to a Bulgarian Jew and lived with him in Constantinople between 1914 and 1915. Her marriage failed, and on her way back to Zichron Yaacov she encountered the murder of the Armenia people by the Turks, which led her to become an active member of the network. When her brother Aharon was in Egypt as part of his work, she replaced him in the intelligence work in Israel. When the Turks began pursuing the Nili network activists, Aharon asked Sarah to escape to Egypt, but she decided to proceed with her mission. She was captured and tortured by the Turks, and committed suicide so as not to turn in her fellow network members.
7. In 1916, the network members failed to contact the British. On January 20, 1917, Avshalom decided to take the Sinai route with his friend Yosef Lishansky in order to resume the ties with the British in Sinai. They were discovered by Bedouins who alerted a Turkish guard, and the two were injured in a shooting battle. Lishansky managed to escape, Avshalom resisted and was shot to death. The place where he died was not located for many years. Only after 50 years, during the Six Day War, the mystery was finally solved by researcher Shlomo Ben-Elkana when Israel occupied the territory. In the photo: Avshalom's bones uncovered. Details conveyed by Tzila, Avshalom's sister, helped identify him. Avshalom was laid to rest in a state ceremony on November 29, 1967, on Mount Herzl.
8. Tzila with Emmanuel Kenig, the son of Rosa Hankin-Kenig, Berlin 1918, during her studies there. Rosa was the sister of Yehoshua Hankin. Emmanuel was killed during the siege on Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence.
9. Tzila with her daughter Tamar, 1922. Tzila was born in Jaffa in 1894, died in 1988 and was buried in Haifa. She was a graduate of the Herzliya Hebrew School's first class. She studied botany and agriculture in a university in Berlin. She spent the entire World War I in Germany, earning a living in censorship. She was active in Zionist groups. After graduating in 1919, she joined Zeev Finkelstein (Shoham), a member of the Zionist administration in London, whom she met in St. Petersburg, and married him. During the years she spent in London, she joined the group of women who founded the WIZO organization in 1920. In 1923 she returned to Israel and lived in Haifa. She was an active WIZO volunteer her entire life, established the department for women's status and run the department for agricultural schools for many years. She also managed the family orchard in Hadera. She headed the citrus fruit council's control committee till the age of 90.
10. Family photo of the Belkind family in Mogilev, 1882, before immigrating to the Land of Israel. In the photo:
1 – Meir Belkind (Minsk, 1836 – Rishon Lezion, 1896) was an outstanding yeshiva student. He was expelled from the yeshiva because he read in Hebrew and his ordination as a rabbi was cancelled. He introduced a new teaching method which included Hebrew, grammar, Bible studies and love of the land. Despite the haredi boycott, the town's dignitaries sent their sons to study at his school. His girls were taught according to the same program. After his marriage he moved to Logoysk and then to Borisov and Mogilev in order to provide his children with high school education. He did not immigrate with the Bilu pioneers to that his young daughter Sonia could complete her high school studies. In 1888, Meir, his wife Shifra and their daughter Sonia immigrated to Israel. Meir opened the first Hebrew school in Jaffa, which taught all professions, including science – in Hebrew.
2 – Meir's wife Shifra of the Glastock family (Logoysk, 1830 – Jaffa, 1910, buried in Rishon Lezion)
3 – Olga (Logoysk, 1852 – Passover, 1943, buried on Mount Gilboa). At 13 she was a telegrapher on the Siberian train line in order to save money for her tuition, and then left for St. Petersburg for midwife studies. In 1886, Olga was asked to travel to Israel to help her sister Fanny give birth to her daughter Shoshana. She was fluent in Hebrew and familiar with the Bible and its origins. She corresponded with the Hebrew writers of her generation. In Israel she married Yehoshua Hankin and was the force which motivated him to purchase lands for the Jewish National Fund. Her relations with Arab midwives assisted in the purchasing of lands for the Jewish settlement.
4 - Sonia (Alexandra), the Belkinds' youngest child (Borisov, 1870 – Rishon Lezion, 1943), immigrated to Israel with her parents in 1888. She worked as a teacher in the first Hebrew school in Jaffa, founded by her father and oldest brother Israel Belkind. In 1898, she traveled to Geneva to study medicine. After completing her studies, she returned to Israel as a doctor, but left for Paris in 1905 to specialize as a gynecologist. She was the first women's doctor in the Land of Israel. She also served as the doctor of the Herzliya Hebrew High School and worked in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. During World War I she wandered with those expelled from Tel Aviv and cared for them until she was arrested when the Nili network was uncovered. After the war, upon being released, she built her house in the sands of Tel Aviv. Sonia lived with Mendel Hankin, the brother of Yehoshua Hankin (who was married to her sister Olga). The two families lived in the home built by Sonia and Mendel in the sands of Tel Aviv (today 105 Allenby St.). Throughout her years in Israel she was active in the field of public medicine.
5 – Fanny Beldkind, later known as Fanny Feinberg (details in the Feinberg family history).
6 – Israel Belkind (1861-1929), founder of the Bilu pioneers idea, immigrated to Israel with the first Bilu group and arrived in Rishon Lezion. All his life he engaged in education and Hebrew teaching. In 1900 he established the Haviv school, the first Hebrew school in Rishon Lezion. After World War I, he traveled to Europe to gather Jewish orphans from the Chisinau pogroms and brought them to the youth villages in Shafia, Kfar Yeladim and Safed.
7 – Shimshon Belkind (1937-1864). In 1882, he immigrated with his brother Israel and the Bilu pioneers to the Land of Israel. He was expelled from Rishon Lezion due to his connection to the rebellion against the baron's functionaries. During World War I, his two sons Naaman and Eitan were arrested by the Turks for being members of the Nili network. They were both sentenced to death. In 1918, Naaman was executed in Damascus. Avraham Herzfeld, who was in Damascus at the time, managed to bribe a Turkish guard and helped Eitan escape from jail. After the war, Shimshon and his son Eitan brought the bones of Naaman and Yosef Lishansky for burial in Israel. Another of Shimshon's sons, Meir Belkind, was murdered in the 1936 events.
11. Sonia Belkind at 15, in Mohyliv, 1885.
12. Olga Belkind, while working as a midwife in St. Petersburg.
13. Five ladies drinking coffee, 1905. From the right: Olga Hankin, Manya (Vilboshevitz) Shohat (sister of Nahum Vilbosh), Sonia (Alexandra) Belkind, Duba Blekind, Shoshana (Feinberg) Vilboshevitz. Fanny would never forgive them for forgetting to include her in the photo.
14. Israel Belkind, founder of the Bilu pioneers, 1904. Israel Belkind wrote many books on the Land of Israel, history, Judaism, etc. At the end of the century he wrote a basic book in Russian about the country which was used by the Lovers of Zion in Russia for many years. When he opened a Hebrew school in Jaffa with his father, it lacked textbooks in Hebrew.
15. 1912 – A group photo of the Belkind family members marking 30 years since their immigration to Israel. From the right: Shimshon, Olga, Sonia, Israel and Fanny (mourning her husband's death).
16. From the left: Israel Belkind's daughter Ahsa with her cousin Zohara Vilbosh (daughter of Shoshana and Nahum). Father Israel was often absent from home in order to raise funds for the school he built for orphans he gathered in Europe, the orphans of the pogroms in Chisinau and World War I.
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