||Tzalallichin Yehuda Idel
Yehuda Tzallalechin was born in Shklov, Russia. In 1882 he joined the "Bilu" group and immigrated to Eretz Israel with them. And this is the story of his entry to the country at the Jaffa port: "His 'tazkara' (a type of passport) was not in order and so Yisrael Belkind sent him a "naphus" (Turkish birth certificate) and also wrote him to show only it to the Turkish police in charge and to every question asked by the clerk he should answer with one Arabic sentence: "Ana min hon" (I'm from here). And indeed, that is what he did while, during the whole time, his friends pushed him slowly forward until they passed through the customs house. For days afterwards he was jokingly called: mister 'ana min hon'.
Upon his arrival to Eretz Israel he worked in farming together with his "Bilu" friends at the Mikveh Israel School. In 1884 he married Hasia Beninson and the two built their home in Rishon Le-Zion. When they arrived here they brought the first pair of cats to help control the many field and house mice. In the beginning, upon his arrival to the village, he worked and took care of the mules belonging to the "Bilu" group.
Later, together with his wife, he worked as a farmer in all branches of agriculture. In their home, always open to visitors and passers-by, you could always find bread, milk, eggs and vegetables. The couple always did charity work and gave advice to the needy. Yehuda Tzallalechin was one of the few settlement farmers who planted olive trees and produced olive oil. For a period he also tried his luck in business and opened a textiles shop but it closed after a short time.
He was one of the first who took on Turkish nationality and many plots of land were purchased in his name because of this – the lands of Ben Shemen, Ruhama, Nachlat Yehuda and others. As well, being a specialist in detecting the quality of the land, many asked his advice before buying their land and even Yehuda Hankin, the land redeemer, consulted in him.
Yehuda Tzallalechin was among the first five settlers who offered to start repaying the Baron Rothschild the money he loaned them in order to become independent. And indeed, in time, he purchased his own lands and had fields, vineyards and orange groves in Rishon Le-Zion, Rehovot and Gedera. He used to ride his donkey from property to property even in later years. He was a member of the "Ahuza" Association and "Rishonia" Company – associations for purchasing land.
Together with Asher Levine and Katriel Rappaport, he was an owner of "diligence" (coach) wagons which travelled between Rishon Le-Zion and Jaffa.
He was among the founders of "Kupah Haklait" (Farmers' Fund) and was its first chairman; served as the first chairman of "Mutual Insurance for Animals"; for a period held the title "Rav Metaem" - appointed by the Turkish government to be in charge of the Jews in the settlement and as such, was one of the members of the "Mukhtaria"; was among those who wrote the letter to the Baron's administrator against erection of the platform in the synagogue – which was built for the administrators; for years served as member of the "Village Committee"; member of the "Agricultural' Committee"; signatory on the original charter in 1936 for the establishment of a museum in the name of the Baron Rothschild; was among the members of the first "Keren Kayemet"