By Prof. Ofra Nevo (Eshkol’s daughter)
|Born - 1895, in Oratova, Kiyev Region, Ukraine.
His mother, Devorah, came from an energetic business family that leaned towards Hassidism. His father, Yoseph Shkolnik was a son of a bookish, religiously devout family, that leaned towards the "Mitnagdim", the Lithuanian stream in Judaism. The seeds for the two traits - the business and the spiritual, finances and quotes from the Sages, the value of work and Biblical verses - were planted in him at home.
Home was in the midst of forests and orchards. The family traded in lumber, cattle and fish, and operated flower mills. A family accustomed to both industry and agriculture. His mother, Devorah, had nine sons and one daughter, of whom only four boys survived. Levi was the second.
At the age of four he and his brother Lippa were sent to their grandfather, to study in the "Heider". Later on he studied the Talmud, and students-tutors were hired to teach the two teenagers secular subjects.
Two years after the Bar Mitsvah he applied to a High School in the region, but was rejected because of the restrictions on Jewish students. He traveled to the Hebrew Gymnasium in Vilna, where he joined the "Young Zionists" organization.
Inspired by Yoseph Shprinzak (after 1948 - the first speaker of the Knesset) - a leader of "Hapoel Hatsair" - Levi decided to "make Alyiah" - to go to Israel. Levi declined his parents financial support. "Only if I come empty-handed will these hands be ready to work..."