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Kfar Shmaryahu

The Kliman’s original house in Kfar Shmaryahu, now serving as a museum, the Founders House

Photos by Yehudit Borman and Irit Weiser

When the American International School in Israel moved from Kfar Shmaryahu, known colloquially as the Kfar, to Even Yehuda, a farewell dinner was organized for the mayor and other council members of the Kfar, and members of the School Board and the senior staff of the school. The dinner was held in the garden of a small house in 24 Hazorea Street, the House of the Founders of Kfar Shmaryahu. The house was donated to the Local Council by Lily and Justin Kliman, who were one of the 56 founding families, all from Germany.

At the dinner Shraga Milstein, the then Mayor of the Kfar, gave a speech in which he thanked the school for its enormous contribution to the development of the Kfar.

He also told the story of the history of Kfar Shmaryahu and his own family involvement.

In the early 1930s the Kfar was bought by 56 German Jewish families from an absentee Arab landowner. The families divided the area into lots that were large enough for a house to be built and an area sufficiently large enough to grow trees that would provide fruits for the inhabitants. The 56 families had five medical doctors amongst them and they formed their own orchestra. As there were no roads linking the Kfar with Tel Aviv, all the people who worked in Tel Aviv rode on donkeys to and from Tel Aviv on a daily basis. Life was incredibly difficult in every respect.

The Klimans had no children and had received the horrifying news that every single member of her family in Germany had been exterminated by the Nazis. In her will, Lily Kliman donated the house to the Kfar to be preserved and used as a museum. The local Council restored the house to its original historic simplicity.

After dinner I decided to see the interior of the house. The house was small with a veranda that overlooked an orchard of orange trees. The kitchen consisted of a two-plate coal-burning stove and a tiny fridge of the type that was available at the time, as well as a small table and chairs. On the kitchen table was a copy of the newspaper called the Palestine Post from 1949. The headline read "Final status negotiations over Jerusalem to begin next week. It's been quite a week."

Neville Berman worked as the administrative manager of the American International School in Israel for over 20 years and was part of the Building Committee that was appointed to oversee the move of the school from Kfar Shmaryahu to its present location in Even Yehuda. He is now retired. 

 

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Monday, 22 July 2024

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