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Moscow, July 2011 JFNA Campaign Chairs & Directors Mission Compiled by Scholar-In-Residence, Simon Klarfeld.

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Presentation on theme: "Moscow, July 2011 JFNA Campaign Chairs & Directors Mission Compiled by Scholar-In-Residence, Simon Klarfeld."— Presentation transcript:

1 Moscow, July 2011 JFNA Campaign Chairs & Directors Mission Compiled by Scholar-In-Residence, Simon Klarfeld

2 Extracts from: "Celebration in Moscow" by Elie Wiesel Where did they all come from? Who sent them here? How did they know it was to be tonight, tonight on Arkhipova Street near the Great Synagogue? Who told them that tens of thousands of boys and girls would gather here to sing and dance and rejoice in the joy of the Torah? They who barely know each other and know even less of Judaism - how did they know that? I spent hours among them, dazed and excited, agitated by an ancient dream... I have seldom felt so proud, so happy, so optimistic. The purest light is born in darkness. Here there is darkness; here there will be light. There must be - it has already begun to burn. From group to group, from one discussion to the next, from song to song, I walked about, sharing with them a great celebration of victory. I wanted to laugh, to laugh as I have never done before. To hell with the fears of yesterday, to hell with the dread of tomorrow. We have already triumphed. The great hall of the synagogue was crammed with more than two thousand men and women. Many brought their children, for children, too, were to see that the Jews knew how to rejoice. The atmosphere was festive. Young girls stood among the men on the ground floor. The balcony was overflowing. People smiled at one another. Wherefore was this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we live in fear; tonight we are free men. Tonight one is permitted even to smile at strangers. "They're going crazy out there. We must join them." The street was unrecognizable. For a second I thought I had been transported to another world, somewhere in Israel or in Brooklyn. Angels and seraphim were serenading the night; King David played his harp. The city burst with gladness and joy. The evening had just begun. He who has not witnessed the Rejoicing of the Law in Moscow has never in his life witnessed joy. Had I come to Russia for that alone, it would have been enough.

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4 REFUSAL by Yelena Keiss-Kuna Refusal - is not an expectation Refusal - is not a struggle Refusal - is a state Refusal - is your fate Refusal is a concentration of will It is an examination of ideas, Refusal is life in bondage In the power of others - Refusal is a hymn of freedom Which you sing - Refusal is the best years Which will never return... Refusal - is bitter separation And also - alas! loss Refusal is a terrible torment Believe me, sister, I know Refusal is night without break It is fire without flame Refusal - my planet Refusal - my trap (translated by Jeanette Goldman)

5 Isaak Babel Born: Odessa, July 13, 1894 Died: Butvrka Prison, Moscow, January 27, 1940 "How late I learned the essential things in life! In my childhood, nailed to the Gemara, I led the life of a sage, and it was only later, when I was older, that I began to climb trees” "No iron spike can pierce a human heart as icily as a period in the right place."

6 There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. Nelson Mandela, 'A Long Walk to Freedom'

7 We have been taught that R. Meir said: In three ways a person differs from his/her fellow: in voice, in appearance, and in understanding. Babylonian Talmud, B. Sanhedrin 38a

8 1. Describe an encounter, a person, a place that you experienced here in Moscow that had a profound effect on you. 2. What is the core underlying value from that experience that you take away with you? 3. How does that core value get translated into actions when you return home?

9 From “Let My People Go” …

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31 כל ישראל ערבים זה בזהִ Kol Yisrael arevim zeh la’zeh All of Israel is responsible for one another Babylonian Talmud, Shevuot 39a

32 As one hand washes the other, so must one person help another. Leon of Modena, in Tzemah Tzedek, 1600

33 I went down to the nutgrove. The people of Israel like a walnut pile. If one walnut is removed, Each and every walnut in the pile will be shaken. Midrash Rabbah, Song of Songs

34 May it be Your will, Lord, our God and God of our ancestors, to lead us, to direct our steps, and to support us in peace. Guide us in life, tranquil and serene, until we arrive at where we are going. Deliver us from every enemy, ambush and hurt that we might encounter on the way and from all afflictions that visit and trouble the world. Bless the work of our hands, and grant us peace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us. May you hear the sound of our appeal, because you are a God who hears prayer and supplication. Praised are You, Eternal One, who hears our prayer. Traveler’s Prayer

35 Extract from Anatoly Sharansky's Final Statement in Soviet Court presented before being sentenced for “treason and espionage” July 14, 1978 “ For more than two thousand years the Jewish people, my people, have been dispersed. But wherever they are, wherever Jews are found, every year they have repeated, 'Next year in Jerusalem.' Now, when I am further than ever from my people, from Avital, facing many arduous years of imprisonment, I say, turning to my people, my Avital, 'Next year in Jerusalem.' ”

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37 May the memories from our time together continue to inspire us and those with whom we share our experiences. Simon Klarfeld


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