Guide to the Records of CHOJREV (Centrala Organizacji Zydowsko-Religijnego Szkolnictwa/Central Committee for Religious Education), Vilna
1924-1939

RG 49

Processed by Fruma Mohrer

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, NY 10011

Phone: (212) 246-6080

Fax: (212) 292-1892

Email: archives@yivo.cjh.org

URL: http://www.yivoinstitute.org

© 2006 YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was converted to EAD version 2002 by Yakov Sklyar in September 2006. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Chojrev (Centrala Organizacji Zydowsko-Religijnego Szkolnictwa/Central Committee for Religious Education), Vilna
Title: Records of the Chojrev (Centrala Organizacji Zydowsko-Religijnego Szkolnictwa/Central Committee for Religious Education), Vilna
Dates:1924-1930s
Abstract: Chojrev, or Centrala Organizacji Zydowsko-Religijnego Szkolnictwa (Central Committee for Religious Education), was an educational organization active in Poland from 1924 to c. 1940. Founded at an Agudas Israel conference, Chojrev supported a system of orthodox Jewish boys’ schools. In Central Poland and Galicia, Chojrev maintained elementary schools (khadorim), preparatory yeshivot (yeshivot ketanot) and yeshivot gedolot for older boys. In the five eastern provinces the yeshivot were all under the Vaad Hayeshivot, an affiliated but independent organization. The Chojrev branch of the eastern provinces maintained only khadorim. The records of Chojrev span the period 1924-1930’s. They reflect only the activities of the Vilna branch.
Languages: Yiddish and Polish.
Quantity: 1.25 linear feet (20 folders).
Record Group Number: RG 49
Repository: YIVO Archives
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Historical Note

Chojrev was an educational organization active from 1924 to c. 1940. Affiliated with the Agudas Israel in Poland, it maintained a network of orthodox Jewish schools throughout Poland for boys of all ages. The central office in Warsaw was organized at the Second National Agudas Israel Conference in 1924 and was a response to the development of Jewish secular schools, which were viewed as a threat to traditional Jewish orthodox values. Before the founding of Chojrev most religious schools were in private hands and were not organized.

The Chojrev network included 1) preparatory or junior yeshivot 2) yeshivot gedolot, or yeshivot for older boys 3) elementary schools, or khadorim, with secular studies 4) khadorim without secular studies 5) summer camps 6) libraries 7) An Association of Religious Teachers and a teachers’ placement service. As of 1937 Chojrev maintained a total of 580 institutions with 73,311 students of which 150 schools and 18,000 students were located in Vilna. The following table was reproduced from p. 81 of M. Eisenstein’s book Jewish Schools in Poland, 1919-1939.

Table 20
Horev Schools For Boys, 1937
AuspicesHadorim and Talmud TorahsHadorim and Talmud TorahsYeshivothYeshivothTotalTotal
Shools PupilsSchoolsPupilsSchoolsPupils
Horev, Warsaw (central and southern voivodship)210 35,00013012,00034047,000
Horev, Warsaw (central and southern voivodship)21035,00013012,00034047,000
Vaad Hayeshivoth (eastern voivodships)786,000786,000
------------------------------
Total36053,00020818,00056871,000

Source: A.Z. Fridman in the Preface to H. Seidman, Dos Yidishe Religieze Shulvezen in di Ramen fun der Polisher Gezetsgebung (Warsaw, 1937). Specific cities in which large Horev schools were located were Bedzin Boryslaw, Baranowicze, Warsaw (Heder Amud Hatorah, Yessod Hatorah, Talmud Torah, Ahavath Torah, Ohel Yaakov), Zdunska Wola, Czenstochowa, Lublin, Lemberg, Mesericz, Stryj, and Cracow.

The “small” yeshivoth bore the character of preparatory establishments for the “great” yeshivoth. They were the bridge between the hadorim and the “great” yeshivoth.

The Vaad Hayeshivot, a separate organization aiding yeshivot in the five eastern provinces, had financial and ideological ties with Chojrev but was considered an independent office.

The religious curriculum of the Chojrev schools included prayer, the Pentateuch and commentaries, Talmud, Jewish law and Jewish history. In addition, the Hebrew and Yiddish languages were taught. The schools which included secular studies also offered Polish, History, Geography, Natural Science, Mathematics, Drawing, Music (vocal), physical activities. The Warsaw administrative staff included the following members: Rabbi J.M. Biderman, Moshe Lerner, M. Kaminer, A.Z. Fridman, Isaac Rawicz, M. Alter.

Chojrev enjoyed a good relationship with the state partly because it did not embrace any radical political philosophies such as left-wing Zionism or socialism. In the early 1920’s the Aguda introduced a program of secular studies in some schools, which were taught in the Polish language. In 1922 the Ministry of Education granted state-equivalent status to the Aguda schools. In 1932, in response to the Polish government’s new educational requirements the secular studies program was expanded.

Chojrev benefited from its Agudas Israel affiliation and received periodic subsidies from world-wide Agudas Israel collection campaigns, for example, from the Keren Hatora fund. Its other sources of income were membership dues and local fund drives. Dos Wort, the official weekly organ of the Vaad Hayeshivot also served the Chojrev system which had the same educational objectives and served the same circle of people.

As of 1938 the average monthly budget of all Chojrev schools in Central Poland was 105,000 zlotys. In fact, only 75,000 z. were collected. The monthly budget of all Chojrev institutions (which include seminaries, libraries) was 287,000 z. of which 200,000 z. were collected, resulting in a deficit of 87,000. There are no budget figures available for the Vilna branch office. In general, despite energetic collection campaigns Chojrev faced financial problems throughout its existense and suffered from a constant deficit.

The Vilna branch of Chojrev was founded in 1926 at a conference in Vilna with the support of the Chofetz Chaim and Rabbi Chaim Oyzer Grodzienski. The Original Vilna administration included the following: The Chofetz Chaim (honorary president), Rabbi Ch. O. Grodzienski, R. Henoch Eiges, R. Menakhem Krakowski, R. Meyer Karelicz, R. Zalmen Sorotzkin and R. Joseph Shub.

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Scope and Content Note

Series I is arranged in Yiddish alphabetical order by name of teacher or job applicant and reflects the activities of Chojrev as a placement center for its own schools.

Series II is arranged in Roman alphabetical order by name of town and reflects the geographical extent of the Chojrev network.

Many letters from towns are written by the local Chojrev school administrators or sometimes by private Chojrev supporters.

Series III includes a folder of printed material, circulars, including some public appeals.

The collection is very fragmentary. There are few financial records and little intra-organizational correspondence. The correspondence, however, does throw light on the existing network of religious schools in the eastern provinces, and on the problems it encountered.

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Arrangement

The collection is divided into the following 3 series:

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Access and Use

Open to researchers.

For more information, contact:
Chief Archivist
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
email: archives@yivo.cjh.org

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Related Material

Vaad Hayeshivot, Vilna, (RG 25), YIVO Archives.

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Custodial History

Originally deposited in the S. Ansky Historical and Ethnographic Society in Vilna, they were transferred in 1938 to the YIVO Institute. During the Nazi occupation of Vilna, in 1942, the records were looted by the Einsatzstab Rosenberg and sent to the NSDAP Institute Zur Erforschung der Judenfrage in Frankfurt-am-Main. In 1945 they were recovered by the U.S. army and returned to the YIVO in New York, via the U.S. army archival depot in Offenbach. The records arrived in New York in 1947..

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should read as follows:

Identification of item, date (if known); YIVO Archives; Records of the CHOJREV (Centrala Organizacji Zydowsko-Religijnego Szkolnictwa), Vilna; RG 49; folder number.

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Processing Information

Processed by Fruma Mohrer in December 1982.

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Selected Bibliorgaphy

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Container List

 

Series I: Correspondence with Teachers and Applicants, undated, 1927-1932

Polish and Yiddish.
7 folders
Arrangement:

See Scope and Content Note

Scope and Content:

Series I is arranged in Yiddish alphabetical order by name of teacher or job applicant and reflects the activities of Chojrev as a placement center for its own schools.

Folder TitleDate
1א-גundated, 1927-1932
Folder TitleDate
2ד-זundated, 1929-1931
Folder TitleDate
3ט-לundated, 1931-1932
Folder TitleDate
4מ-עundated, 1928-1932
Folder TitleDate
5פ-צundated, 1928-1932
Folder TitleDate
6ק-שundated, 1928-1932
  

Includes unidentified teachers

 
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Series II: General Correspondence by town, undated, 1924-1939

Polish and Yiddish.
12 folders
Arrangement:

See Scope and Content Note

Scope and Content:

Series II is arranged in Roman alphabetical order by name of town and reflects the geographical extent of the Chojrev network. Many letters from towns are written by the local Chojrev school administrators or sometimes by private Chojrev supporters.

Folder TitleDate
7A-Bundated, 1927-1931
Folder TitleDate
8C-Dundated, 1927-1932
Folder TitleDate
9E-Hundated, 1928-1932
Folder TitleDate
10I-Kundated, 1927-1934
Folder TitleDate
11Lundated, 1925-1939
Folder TitleDate
12Mundated, 1928-1933
Folder TitleDate
13N-Pundated, 1927-1932
Folder TitleDate
14Rundated, 1927-1932
Folder TitleDate
15Sundated, 1929-1937
Folder TitleDate
16T-Zundated, 1928-1933
  

Includes unidentified towns

 
Folder TitleDate
17Correspondence with Chojrev, Warsaw, Vilna; Vilna School Districtundated, 1924-1932
Folder TitleDate
18Grodno Teachers Seminaryundated, 1932
  

Includes letter from R. Yechiel Gordon of Lomza

 
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Series III: Varioius, undated, 1932

This series is in Polish.
2 folders
Arrangement:

See Scope and Content Note

Scope and Content:

Series III includes a folder of printed material, circulars, including some public appeals.

Folder TitleDate
19Lists of students, financial materialsundated
Folder TitleDate
20Printed materials and circularsundated, 1932
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