In the Latvian capital Riga after the Second World War, a Jewish boy in the Soviet Union grew up in an atmosphere pervaded by anti-Semitism. After his father was arrested during one of the waves of anti-Semitic persecutions that swept through the Soviet Union his mother died of heartbreak. That tragedy heralded the beginning of something better.
Powerfully drawn into Jewish life, at age 19 he founded an underground organization that struggled for Jewish rights— including the right to study Torah. At age 22, after his attempts to receive an exit visa were repeatedly refused, he participated in an attempt to hijack a plane to the West— which led to his arrest and sentence of 12 years to a Siberian gulag.
This struggle opened the first cracks in the Iron Curtain and eventually brought about the mass exodus of Soviet Jewry and its dramatic aliya to Israel.
- 448 pages
- Inspiring and uplifting
- True story
Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich was born in Riga in 1947. Upon his arrival in Israel, he studied at a number of yeshivot and received rabbinical ordination. He then earned a Master’s Degree in Jewish History from Touro College and served in the IDF. He is married with seven children and many grandchildren. Today, he is involved in Jewish education, and public activism, and is the author of three books.