Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Eidelstein rapped up his weeklong visit to Moscow with a visit to the Jewish Community, where he shared with participants a moving episode of a Bris that was conducted in a secret hideout to avoid detection by the KGB
Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Eidelstein wrapped up his weeklong visit to Moscow by paying a visit to the local Jewish Community in the city.
Eidelstein, a former ‘refusnik’, served time in a soviet prison for the crime of teaching Hebrew, some 30 years ago. The former ‘prisoner of Zion’ came full circle when he addressed the Russian parliament last week with the Hebrew words of “Shalom Aleichim”.
Eidelstein shared with the Jewish community a very moving tale of how a Bris was performed in a secret hideout rite under the nose of the K.G.B. The speaker choked up as he described the Bris and how the Chassidersher Mohel, ‘Motel The Shochet’ performed it in the fearful shadow of the authorities.
The event was held at the ‘Metropol hotel’ located in the center of Moscow, and was attended by prominent Rabbanim and community leaders from around Russia; including the Chief Rabbi of Russia Hagaon R’ Berel Lazzar.
Simultaneously, another event was held in an adjacent hall, with the participation of 600 young Jews who consistently dedicate from their time to learn Torah, as part of the ‘Yachad‘ organization which incorporates thousands of Jews throughout Russia. The youngsters gathered as the school year came to an end, and in honor of Gimmel Tammuz, the Lubavatcher Rebbes Zy”a Yahrtzeit.
The event was opened by the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Hagaon R’ Berel Lazzar who described those difficult years, when no one even dreamed of holding public Jewish activates in Russia.
The Rav then went on to describe the great loyalty to Judaism by the esteemed guest Mr. Eidelstein, despite his arrest and suffering he continued being Mekadesh Shem Shomayem and being proud of his Judaism.
With powerful evident emotion, Edelstein described his stubbornness during his time in prison to daven and put on Teffilin.
Drawing on his own example, the former ‘Refusnik’ called upon the youngsters to be proud of their Jewishness.
For a long hour, Eidelstein went on to describe what the Jews went through during that difficult period 33 years ago. The mesirus nefesh of the elderly Chabad chassidim, including R’ Getche Valenuvsky whom he described as a Lamed Vov tzaddik, R’ Avraham Ganen and others.
When he described a bris milah that was held in a secret apartment, carried out by the legendary Russian mohel of those times, “R’ Mottel the Shochet” (Lifshitz), he choked up in tears and the entire audience was swept up in emotion together with him.
Translated by Eli B.