Jewish history during last two millennia was to a great extent a story of martyrdom and sacrifice, culminating in the Holocaust and Stalin’s mass terror. For generations the hope of redemption looked like a fantasy…
It was in our generation that things first started to change.
Soviet Jewry – the so-called “Jews of silence” – was, according to conventional logic, destined to complete and speedy assimilation among the vast populace of the USSR. Instead, their national spirit was resurrected and brought forth the influential Jewish National Movement. This movement, in a joint effort with Western supporters, won an unprecedented victory over the KGB. This victory and the renewed Jewish spirit caused a mass exodus from the USSR, unprecedented since the time of ancient Egyptian bondage.
Could, indeed, it be the sign of the beginning of the redemption (geula)?
What do you think? Please leave a reply.
There are multitudes of fascinating stories describing various personalities and aspects of this movement. Each of them is uniquely important and is an irreplaceable part of the total mosaic. Various writers have attempted to create an overall picture of the movement. See, for instance: Soviet Jews Exodus; Kosharovsky
Exodus by Leon Uris had a far-reaching effect on Soviet Jews. In this book, many of us encountered for the first time a positive image of Jews – warriors, rather than helpless victims. Uris’s characters aroused strong feelings of affinity and inspired national pride.
The book was perfectly in tune with our own search for a renewed Jewish identity. We felt that our struggle was becoming an essential part of a sweeping historical process – the ingathering of the exiles and the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in our ancient land.
A significant number of copies of Exodus were smuggled into the USSR over the years and made a profound impact on the hearts and minds of thousands of Soviet Jews.