Mendelevitch Tours US to Fight Assimilation and Anti-Ziionism
The translation of former "Prisoner of Zion" Yosef Mendelevtich's popular Hebrew book "Unbroken Spirit", describing his fight for freedom under the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain was published several months ago
The book was published due to the initiative of a group of American Jews who saw the book as an important weapon in the fight against assimilation and intermarriage in the USA and ther western world.
In fact, the late Torah luminaries, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Shneersohn, told Mendelevitch that he must make his inspiring story known to American Jews so that he can be a model for them to emulate. He has been doing just that and recently returned from his last speaking tour, where he spoke before packed audiences.
Mendelevitch's inspiring story of the courage to fight tyranny and injustice is one significant message of his book. He was one of a group of 17 "refuseniks" (those who rebelled against the Soviet government's repression and outlawing of Judaism and Zionism) who planned to hijack a plane and reach Israel. They were caught and Mendelevitch spent 11 years in prison before being freed and allowed to emigrate to Israel where he lives since then.
In these days of uncertainty about Iran and the PA negotiations, he told Arutz Sheva, it is important to emphasize that it is not numbers and physical strength that win the day, but belief in the justice of one's cause. One must fight for what is right, he declared
However, that is only one message that it is crucial to tell Jews the world over. The search for the meaning of his roots and the desire to act upon his discoveries that led him to engrave Sabbath lights on the wall of his cell and become a committed and Zionist religious Jew is a powerful catalyst for awakening Jewish identity.
Mendelevitch has travelled the length and breadth of the USA since the decision was made to publish his book in English,, going from coast to coast in order to maximize the influence the book can have on American Jewish youth. He has appeared in high schools, Ulpenot (girl's religious high schools), yeshivas, synagogues and public gatherings and has given interviews in the American media.
His speaking engagements, in which he has spoken to thousands of Jews, took place in New York and its suburbs, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Seattle and Los Angeles. Mendelevitch has met with the head of the Conference of Presidents of Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, the Dean of Lakewood Yeshiva Rabbi Malkiel Kotler and with many more Jewish American leaders, who have lauded his endeavors to strengthen American Jewish identity.
Mendelevitch's trips are underwritten by the "Od Avinu Hai (Our Heavenly Father Still Lives)" organization of Riverdale New York, headed by Gavriel Gozland.
The problem is acute. Intermarriage, according to the recent Pew Report, has reached alarming proportions and is hovering near 70%.