How I became a member of the illegal Jewish movement in the USSR

I knew nothing of Judaism, but I soon learned that the Russian government did not approve of my trying to change that. Op-ed.

Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich ,

Rabbi Mendelevich leading group of Jewish youth in prayer in forest in Kiev
Rabbi Mendelevich leading group of Jewish youth in prayer in forest in Kiev
Courtesy

The saga of how I and others became dissidents in Soviet Russia is a story of our people's faith and courage despite governmental threats and fear, one that is suited for the Nine Days, a period when the Jews of Jerusalem fought for their autonomy, religion and land.

The story begins in Riga, with memories of childhood, in which I lost my mother at the age of 12 - she was broken by my father's incarceration in antisemitic Soviet Russia.

I knew nothing of Judaism until I joined an underground Jewish group of young aduls and slowly grew closer and closer to my roots, not without hesitation and resistance on my part. Everything was new, everything was different, but I learned.

And so things progressed rapidly....

I returned to Riga to film my story.



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