From Encyclopedia Hahalutzim
Translation by Alexander S. Kohanski
Adina Kahanski was born in 1889 in Vilkavishk, Suvalk Gubernia (Lita). Her father was Jacob Joshua, son of Shalom Kahanski of Budvitch, and her mother was Shayna Traina, daughter of Yehiel Michl Abramson. (On her father's side she was related to the Butkovski family of Hadera.)
In 1890, when Russian (Jewish) immigration to Argentina was promoted by Baron de Hirsch, who had bought land for Jewish settlement there in order to arouse a feeling for farming among Jews, the Kahanski family also emigrated to Argentina and settled in the colony "San Antonio" and engaged in farming.
[Adina] attended the government school in Buenos Aires and finished her course of study with great distinction.
When Dr. Herzl appeared and Eretz Israel was being painted to the Jewish people in captivating colors, the Kahanski family liquidated its possessions in Argentina in 1902 and once more took the wandering staff in its hand; but this time it directed itself to its final goal in the land of its desires—Eretz Israel. When the family arrived at the port of Jaffa, the father requested all the members to kneel to show their love for the land and to kiss its dust.
The family established itself in Rishon Letziyon where they opened a restaurant and a grocery store. This was at the beginning of the Second Aliyah, and many of those who later became famous frequented the Kahanski house, which became their home and their adopted family. They ate in the restaurant and, in the house, many found a roof over head, including David Bader, Yitzhak Ben Zvi, Nahum Twesky, Yosef Hayyin Brener, Yosef Vitkin. Much later, the house served as a transition station for the members of the Hashomer, also a haven of refuge for Yosef Lishansky.
The house was always like a beehive. One could not tell exactly who were the hosts and who the guests. But all knew one thing, that the focus, the pivotal point to whom all hearts directed themselves and around whom they all turned was the young maiden, [Adina]. To many of them she was a mother and sister, and if one were to designate that house by a title that [was well known in those days] it would not be a an exaggeration to say it was as famous as the "Hayim Baruch" hotel in Jaffa.
Despite her numerous activities. Adina found time to learn Hebrew. Her teacher was one of her house residents, Elimelech Dvorkin. And she was not satisfied with just a superficial knowledge of the language, but delved into it and brought up all the pearls from its depths, and was able to use it as a means of expressing her beautiful and lofty thoughts and feelings. At the recommendation of Yosef Vitkin, to whom she had shown the prime fruits of her pen, her first articles were printed in the "Hapoel Hatzair". Later she was sponsored by the farmer writer of Rehovot and land owner in Rishon Letsiyon, Nehama (Feinstein) Puchatchevsky, who saw in her not only a precious soul but also a valiant fighter for Jewish women's rights.
Since then she wrote a great deal in "Haarets", "Haboker", "La isha". Her articles were distinguished by their clarity of thought and warmth of feeling. She held the people of the First [Aliyah] in high esteem and her evaluation of them always penetrated the depth of their experiences. Later on, when “Haaretz” started a column, "Our Language for the People", she kept up a correspondence on problems of the language with the editor of that column.
In 1907, when Beer Yaakov was acquired by Jewish settlers, the Kahanski family purchased a tract of 50 dunams there. And Adina—although her main communal activities were associated with Rishon Letsiyon—devoted herself to the [family] settlement in Beer Yaakov, planted trees and managed the farm with the same talent and motherly love with which she had managed her household.
In Rishon Letsiyon she was for fifteen years a member of the local citizens' Council of the Settlement, was active in "WIZO" (Women's International Zionist Organization), chairperson of the Election Committee of the settlement, and a member of the Loans and Savings Committee.
She took a very active part in the struggle for the inclusion of women in the Elected Assembly prior to the establishment of the State, for which she joined the Agudat Hanashim, a women's organization together with Sarah Thon and Ada Fishman.
When the "Hapoel Hatzair", a non Marxist Zionist Socialist organization, whose spiritual leader was Aaron David Gordon was formed, she joined it in the first few years. Later she went over to the Zionist Revisionists because her turbulent soul yearned for action. However, as she advanced in years, she despaired of the prevailing extreme partisan spirit and withdrew from all party affiliation.
She passed away in Rishon Letsiyon on May 7, 1950.
- ↑ Brener was a famous Hebrew writer, after whom the Kibbutz Givat Brener is named. -ASK
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