Dovid Cohen: The first child in the orphanage

by Aba Rutkovski
Translated from Yiddish by 0. Delatycki
Written for the fifteenth anniversary of the existence of the orphanage [1932].

"I was the first, literally the first child to come through the doorway of the orphanage in 1917, when it was first opened."

"I would like to describe briefly what the orphanage meant to me and for many other children. When all inhabitants were expelled from Lubch during the war, my mother was sent to Novogrudok. I was 4 years of age at the time, with both of my legs crippled. My father had gone before the war to America ...Thus, broken hearted, mother was left carrying me in her arms, with no place to rest her weary head. She was hoping to find shelter for her crippled son so as to be able to earn a crust of bread. However suddenly one evening, I remember it as if it happened today, the door opened and in the light of a stub of a candle two young men entered our room. They came to view our tomb like accommodation. They asked mother to send an application to Dovid Cohen, so that the orphanage would accept me. I remember my mother started to cry for joy. She said that God listened to her prayers and now she would be able to work and afford a piece of bread. On the 7 November 1917 a member of the committee of the orphanage Chaim Izikovich took me in his arms and brought me to my new home. My joy was great. I was rid of my mother's beating and cursing and I was given not only a piece of bread, but a piece of cheese with it. And at night, before going to bed, a clean nightshirt was put on me. In this manner I lived in the home for years."

"I spent eight years in the orphanage. I was growing up and I learnt to become a tailor. I started gradually to earn a living and become independent. I, together with all others, am feeling now the effects of the economic crisis. Yet I am not forgetting and will never forget what the committee of the orphanage did for me. I send them my blessings and the blessings of all the children of the orphanage who were made into independent men."