They were instructed what to say and what not to say, where to go, how to act and react ... They were spied on and followed constantly, threatened with punishment, harassed at border crossings ...
Yet they kept on coming. At first just a trickle, the shlichim of the Vaad L’Hatzolas Nidchei Yisroel ultimately numbered in the hundreds. Despite the dangers, they came year after year to the dreaded Soviet Union to help their lost brothers and sisters rediscover their lost heritage. They came to bring needed supplies, to show they cared, and to help in whatever way possible.
And help they did. They succeeded in fanning the small sparks of the Russian ba’al teshuvah movement into a burning flame. Then, when the Iron Curtain finally fell, the Vaad only redoubled its efforts to help the Russian Jews transition to fully religious lives in Eretz Yisroel, America, and elsewhere. In fact, the nucleus of today’s religious Russian Jewish communities was created in great part thanks to the efforts of Rabbi Mordechai Neustadt and the shlichim of the Vaad.
For decades, these stories of incredible mesirus nefesh remained solely in the possession of the brave individuals who experienced them. Now, they can finally be told, and they will leave you awestruck.
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