TRADITION TODAY: Let my people go!

Dedicated to the memory of Prof. Arkady and Mrs. Helen Mai – two brave souls whom I first met in Moscow in 1977 and then, several years later, welcomed to Jerusalem.

November 10, 2017 00:00
TRADITION TODAY: Let my people go!

OLIM FROM the Soviet Union right after their arrival at Lod Airport in 1972.. (photo credit: MOSHE MILNER / GPO)


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During Sukkot this year, I suddenly realized that exactly 40 years ago I spent Sukkot in the Soviet Union where I had been sent by Israel on a mission to meet with refuseniks. I was one of many who undertook that task during those years.

Israeli citizens who were also American citizens and could therefore travel to the USSR easily – as long as we were able to pretend that we were not Israelis and that we lived and worked in the United States. In other words, we were technically spies who lied to the Soviet government and, if caught, could have been imprisoned or, if lucky, thrown out immediately. I met my American partner in Amsterdam, where he brought me a ticket as if I had flown with him from New York.


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