Thursday, November 7, 2013

The First Graduating Class of One of the Yishuv's Great Institutions, the Gymnasia Herzliya

We are again thankful to the Marks family for sharing pictures of their Jewish "Palestinian" family from the start of the 20th century, including the picture above of Rachel Churgin's graduating class.

Earlier this year we featured the Marks' pictures of Pvt. David Blick, an American who joined the British Jewish Legion to fight the German-Turkish army in Palestine.  Blick was one of 500 Jewish Americans and Canadians who fought for the liberation of the Holy Land.  According to Blick's biography, "While camped in the area of Rishon LeZion [see here photos related to the battle for Rishon in 1918], he met and later married Rachel Churgin of Yaffo. They were forced to leave Eretz Yisrael by the British."
Students from the Gymnasia visiting Rachel's Tomb (circa 1920,
Wiki Commons)

The Hebrew Gymnasia Herzliya was formed in 1905 and was the first Hebrew-language high school in modern history.  We suggest that the date, 1900, written in the caption of Marks' photo of the school's first graduating class is mistaken by 10-15 years, considering that Rachel married David around 1919. [He was discharged from the British Army in 1920.]

The Gymnasia produced several of Israel's prominent leaders, such as Moshe Sharett, Israel's second prime minister.

Gymnasia Herzliya (circa 1920, Library of Congress)
Its first building, constructed in 1909, stood as a Tel Aviv landmark for half a century.  It was torn down in 1959 to make way for the Shalom Tower.

View a film of the Gymnasia in 1913, starting at 8:45 in a rare hour-long film of Eretz Yisrael.

Screen capture of the school. View the film here

Click on pictures to enlarge. Click on captions to view the original pictures.
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  1. Gymnasia Herzliya was was NOT the first Hebrew-language school, it was the first Hebrew language High school in modern history.

    1. The first "Modern Hebrew" school was the Talmud Torah founded in Neve Shalom in 1881 by HaRav Shmuel Yitzhak Churgin a compatriot of Eliezer Ben Yehudah and Rav and Melamed of Mikveh Yisrael