Culture and Education

The Russian authorities did not help its occupied territories' development, and Tomaszow was no exception. Representatives of the Tzar did all they can to prevent the entry of education and progress to the areas they controlled. A known event took place when heads of the community wanted to establish a library and authorities denied it.

Opposition and delays of progress of education also came from factions of the Jewish community who were against broadening education, especially in the Zionist discipline.

Close to 1910, winds of progress created a social and cultural revival.

Free professionals came to town and established a theatre group. They presented the show "Baba Yakhneh".

The Austrians conquered Tomaszow from the Russians in 1915, and they expanded the Jewish community's freedom. Organizations and forms of action began operating, Zionist and others (Poalei Tzion, Tzeirei Tzion, Bund, and others).

Between Two World Wars

Within the frame of organizing, members of "Hamizrakhi" movement decided to establish a modern Hebrew school that will provide for general knowledge along holy studies, and that will also teach the Hebrew language and the Zionist idealogy.

The "Mizrakhi" elementary school was established in 1918 in a two rooms school. Chaim Yoseph Lehrer was appointed its principal, and the Hebrew teacher was Gitlin. Unfortunately, the school burnt down at the same year, together with 80% of the town's Jewish houses.

After many efforts, school reopened at the home of Hirsch Vinder. The school went through another crisis during the Poland-Russia war (1920), due to abandonment of teachers and lack of funds. But this crisis had also passed, and the school progressed and the number of its pupils reached 150.

Following political constraints, the school's name changed to "Torah Vadaat" (Torah and Knowledge) in 1926, and the leadership of Hamizrakhi decided to change its name again to "Yavneh" in 1929.

Only boys studied in that school, and its language was Yiddish. The girls were sent to the Polish school in which the language was Polish (that is why girls knew Polish better than the boys, and that helped them during the war).

In 1938, a kindergarten was opened next to the school, forty children were in it.

Pupils who wished to continue schooling in high-schools and academies had to travel to the big cities of Lemberg (Lwow), Lublin, and also to Warszawa and Krakow.

A school for girls, "Bait Yaakov"(House of Jacob), and a "Talmud Torah" for children of the poor and the orphans, were opened at the end of the 1920's. The number of its pupils was 100.

But most youngsters continued old path, the world of yeshivas and Kolels, and when reached maturity, they joined family tasks.

Awakening also took place in the fields of culture and sports. A "Maccabee" sport club opened. The Zionist and the Bund parties established a library, and each was granted its own wing. Many and various activities took place in the library, including lectures, group activities, and readings of prose and poetry.

Theatre: a drama group was established by the attorney Sobol, Dr. Idel Garzon and Meir Boim, and its participants included Chaim Michael Horn, Abraham Knop, Nahum Schuldiner, and others. The group had produced many shows, like "Leil Seder", "Smashed Hearts", "Yeshiva Bokher", "Tevia the Milkman, "Jewish King Lear", and many others.

Media: Already in 1918, the Yiddish weekly "Tomaszower Vakhenblatt" was established, and it continued until 1931. It was replaced by another weekly, "Tomaszower Vort" which was published until 1938.