As part of the Friday Lectures at Oz veGaon project, in a lecture on-line, former minister and head of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky told the story of his life, especially addressing these days, days of almost total closure and preparation for the approaching Pesach holiday.

Sharansky told of his childhood in the Soviet Union, when he knew the term “Jew” only from the anti-Semitic point of view and where most of the Jews in the area he grew up in were devoid of any sign of Jewishness. He also told of the great change that began in ‘67 with the end of the Six Day War. He was then a student who received special attention as a Jew who belonged to the nation that had experienced a miraculous victory in the war.

This is when his connection was renewed with the Jewish People, the demonstrations to allow aliyah to Israel and for human rights that won international resonance, as well as the story of his marriage to Avital, who immigrated to Israel the day after their wedding and waited for him 12 years while conducting a world-wide struggle.

In his story he described the night of the Seder spent in the cell where he was placed by the Soviet authorities and the eve of Israel Independence Day that he celebrated while isolated in his prison cell but in his heart, together with the People of Israel as one big family.

Sharansky concluded by emphasizing the idea that even if we are not with our family on the eve of the approaching Seder, we should remember how we are one big family, how strong we are because of this feeling, how it is not important if we are alone or at a large table, we are a People with a shared history, a shared future and a very special role in this world.

Ahm Yisrael Hai! (The People of Israel lives)!