Tonight I went to see a fantastic film entitled "Refusenik" which tells the story of the Jews of the Soviet Union who risked everything in order to emigrate to Israel.
Moving, uplifting, and incredibly disturbing, the film made me feel deeply and wish that I had the same kind of passion for Judaism and the land of Israel that its protagonists so deeply feel. I recommend this film to everyone; it is an amazing documentary that I hope everyone will watch.
But the film touched me for a different reason. The film touched me because it personally relates to me, because my mother, alongside Rabbi Avi Weiss, marched for freedom and blocked off Fifth Avenue, because this was her cause and her mission, and part of what makes her utterly extraordinary.
In the early '80s, my mother came to Stern and one of the first things she did was join the staff of The Observer. She wrote a piece entitled "The Unknown Jews of Southern Russia" which the administration was not happy about (like mother, like daughter, it would seem.) You can read it below.
The Unknown Jews of Southern Russia
Remember that it is an immigrant who wrote this piece, an immigrant who had lived in the United States a little over a year. Look at her English. Look at how she writes. Look at the passion she has for her cause. See my mother at my age, perhaps slightly older, and look at the beauty that is her soul.
My mother is utterly extraordinary, and I do not have the words to express the love she is capable of showering upon others, especially her fellow Jews. May she be blessed and continue to be blessed, my mother the refusenik, my mother who loved the Soviet Jews.