Shalom Life | May 27, 2015

Natan Sharansky Makes 9-Year-Old Stroke Victim’s Wish Come True

New York Girl Has Named Dolls after Her ‘Refusenik’ Hero and His Wife

By: Josh Berkman

Published: January 17th, 2012 in News » World

Natan Sharansky Makes 9-Year-Old Stroke Victim’s Wish Come True

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and a symbol for human rights in general and Soviet Jewry in particular, made the wish of nine-year-old Racheli Berger come true when he recently met with her at the Jewish Agency office in New York City.

Racheli, who suffered a stroke in July 2009, was recently approved by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Her wish was to go to Israel to meet her hero, Natan Sharansky. When the family was informed that--due to State Department travel advisories--the Foundation does not send children to Israel, the Jewish Agency stepped in. Mr. Sharansky, who had recently participated in the Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly in Denver, came to visit Racheli in New York.

How is it that a nine-year-old child's hero is one of the great human rights activists of modern times? According to Racheli's mother, Miriam, "When I was growing up, I was very involved in causes working to free Soviet Jews, and Natan Sharansky was perhaps the best-known refusenik. I told my children the story of the activist who spent nine years in the Gulag for defying Soviet authorities and demanding the right to emigrate to Israel."

Racheli was enamored with Sharansky’s story, and according to her mother, her fixation continued for months. She has dolls named after him and his wife Avital. She reenacts their reunion after he was freed from prison and met up with his wife in Frankfort, Germany. She even reenacts the moment when-in a final act of defiance to the Soviet regime Sharansky walked in a zigzag towards the car that would take him to freedom, despite being told by his captors to walk in a straight line. At Racheli’s insistence, Miriam reads sections of Sharansky’s memoirs aloud to her children, and they have watched him in dozens of videos online.

Happily, in the end, the meeting was able to take place. In an emotional get-together, Racheli Berger was finally able to meet Natan Sharansky, not only her hero, but a modern-day hero of the Jewish people.

Why is This Blatantly anti-Semitic Course Still Being Offered at UC Riverside? Why is This Blatantly anti-Semitic Course Still Being Offered at UC Riverside? TrendingThis Toddler Threw a Fit in Front of President Obama During a Passover Seder This Toddler Threw a Fit in Front of President Obama During a Passover Seder TrendingRecord-High Number of French Jews Attend Birthright Israel Trip Record-High Number of French Jews Attend Birthright Israel Trip Trending
 

Despite Calls to Ban Action Bronson's NXNE Set, the Show Will Go On

May 27, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Despite Calls to Ban Action Bronson's NXNE Set, the Show Will Go On

Change.org launches petition that accuses the rapper of glorifying "gang-raping" and "murdering women"

Read More

Warren Buffet Invests in Israeli Company, Again

May 27, 2015 | By Viva Sarah Press
Warren Buffet Invests in Israeli Company, Again

Ramat Gan-based energy savings solution company, eVolution Networks, completes $22.5 million funding round

Read More

”Remove the Flag or Leave the Apartment," Vienna Landlord tells Jewish Tenant

May 27, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
”Remove the Flag or Leave the Apartment," Vienna Landlord tells Jewish Tenant

Tenant ordered to remove Israeli flag from window, or face eviction

Read More

Muslim Televangelist Warns Followers that Masturbation Will Lead to Hand-Pregnancies

May 27, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Muslim Televangelist Warns Followers that Masturbation Will Lead to Hand-Pregnancies

A warning from a Muslim televangelist urges viewers not to masturbate, lest their hands become pregnant in the afterlife

Read More

How Should Pro-Israel Voices Tackle the War of Ideas on College Campuses?

May 27, 2015 | By Jeffrey F. Barken, JNS.org
How Should Pro-Israel Voices Tackle the War of Ideas on College Campuses?

While organizations are fighting against the BDS movement on campus, some experts claim that not enough Jewish students are "fighting back"

Read More

WATCH: David Blatt Leaves LeBron James Hanging on a High-Five

May 27, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
WATCH: David Blatt Leaves LeBron James Hanging on a High-Five

The Israeli NBA coach and King James were caught having a pow-wow during the Cavs' romp over the Atlanta Hawks

Read More

New Bill Would Have Israeli Students Learn Both Hebrew and Arabic From the 1st Grade

May 27, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
New Bill Would Have Israeli Students Learn Both Hebrew and Arabic From the 1st Grade

"Knowing the language of the other is the basis for understanding and mutual respect, which are necessary in the current situation in Israel"

Read More

Al Pacino Pulls Out of 'Nazi' Play Written by Hitler Supporter

May 27, 2015 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Al Pacino Pulls Out of 'Nazi' Play Written by Hitler Supporter

The actor had agreed to narrate in a stage adaptation of 'Hunger,' but pulled out upon discovery of author Knut Hamsun's enthusiasm for Nazism

Read More

More Headlines