Yisrael was born on April 11, 1927 in the town of Gora Kalwaria, also known as Gur or Ger, in Poland. Most of Yisrael’s immediate and extended family lived in Gur. Mr. Rosenblum, Yisrael’s father, made a modest income as a baker, and Mrs. Rosenblum spent her time taking care of the children. Yisrael was one of five boys: Hirsh-Chaim, was the eldest, then Yisrael, Pessach, Yosef, and Reuven. Mrs. Rosenblum was devoted to the Jewish education of her children.
TESTIMONY: “A JEWISH HOME”
“We were five children…”
Yisrael’s house was located in a large courtyard, next to a building where the pious Jews called Chassidim gathered. Chassidic men in their long black coats, black hats, and beards would come to this building from all over the area and stand in long lines to see their leader, who was called the Rebbe in Yiddish. Yisrael would watch as the large parade of Chassidim would sing and dance with the Rebbe during the Jewish holidays. The town would fill with Jews from the region, and the local families would welcome all the visitors as guests in their homes.
TESTIMONY: “THE Rebbe ”
“The locals would clear out their rooms and homes…”
Yisrael’s father was not a Chassid . He would go to a small synagogue where the locals prayed, called a shtibl . As for Yisrael, he went to a Jewish school when he was young, but began attending the local public school at age nine. Most of the students at school were not Jewish. Yisrael and the other Jewish children often experienced anti-Semitism .
TESTIMONY: “anti-Semitism ”
“They were intimidated by me.”