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Exodus: Soviet Jewry and a Revival of Jewish Identity

During Passover, we read these words from “Exodus:” “In days to come when your son asks you ‘What does this mean?’ Say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery (13:14).” As a student in yeshivah (Jewish day school), I found these biblical words…

Bella Abramovna and the Jewish People’s University

By Dr. Yvette Alt Miller When Bella Abramovna, a young Jewish girl in the Soviet Union, was six, someone gave her a middle school math book. It was a huge volume with thousands of mathematical problems. Bella had solved them all within a month. Bella lived with her mother in World War II-era Moscow. When…

Why was Yosef Mendelevich so determined to light the Chanukah candles?

Not so long ago, the entire Soviet Union was one huge prison. Its citizens were deprived of many freedoms we take for granted, including the right to practice our religion and live anywhere we choose, or even to emigrate to another country if we so desire. Any Russian citizen who wanted to leave the Soviet…

Who was Two-Gun Cohen?

Who was Two-Gun Cohen?  by The Cape Jewish Chronicle The Chinese president’s Jewish confidant who mustered Chinese support of the creation of Israel. Despite the various accounts written of this powerful and colorful figure of the early part of the last century, few people have actually heard of Morris Abraham ‘Two-Gun’ Cohen. A glance into the…

Jewish Identity Vs. Universalism

by Natan Sharansky* The choice between freedom and identity is a false one. Twenty years ago to this day, the Berlin Wall fell. Two great wars were being waged in those years. The first was a worldwide struggle to free Soviet Jewry — a cause which galvanized Jews across the globe as no other cause had,…