Shalom Life | August 29, 2014

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.

London Imam Anjem Choudary: Sharia Law is Coming to a Place Near You [VIDEO] London Imam Anjem Choudary: Sharia Law is Coming to a Place Near You [VIDEO] TrendingAnalysis: Applying International Law to the Israel-Hamas Conflict Analysis: Applying International Law to the Israel-Hamas Conflict TrendingIsraeli Police Believe to Have Found Missing NJ Yeshiva Student's Body Israeli Police Believe to Have Found Missing NJ Yeshiva Student's Body Trending
 

The Ten Best Curb Your Enthusiasm Episodes

August 29, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau & Daniel Koren
The Ten Best Curb Your Enthusiasm Episodes

While Season 9 may be a mere fallacy, we do have 8 seasons of Larry David's hilariously awkward comedy to keep us company

Read More

'Ray Donovan' Creator Ann Biderman Leaves Show

August 29, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
'Ray Donovan' Creator Ann Biderman Leaves Show

Writer David Hollander will take the helm of the Showtime series starring Liev Schreiber

Read More

Watch the Trailer for Jon Stewart's Directorial Debut [VIDEO]

August 29, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Watch the Trailer for Jon Stewart's Directorial Debut [VIDEO]

'Rosewater' will hit a theater near you in November

Read More

Joaquin Phoenix to Play Marvel's Dr. Strange?

August 29, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Joaquin Phoenix to Play Marvel's Dr. Strange?

Reports indicate that Phoenix is in final talks to play the wizard warrior in a new Marvel franchise

Read More

Bryan Singer Investigated for Alleged Sex Crime

August 29, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Bryan Singer Investigated for Alleged Sex Crime

According to sources, the NYPD is looking into a claim that Singer sexually assaulted a man in his twenties

Read More

Spanish Imam Asks Allah to Destroy All the Jews [VIDEO]

August 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Spanish Imam Asks Allah to Destroy All the Jews [VIDEO]

In a Friday sermon, Sheik Saleheoldine al-Moussaoui says the Jews are "by nature treacherous and war-mongering"

Read More

Al-Qaeda Presents: Terrorism 101, A Guide on Making Bombs and Choosing Targets

August 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Al-Qaeda Presents: Terrorism 101, A Guide on Making Bombs and Choosing Targets

The terrorist organization has released a detailed booklet on how to make pressure cooker bombs, and which U.S., U.K., and Israeli targets should be attacked

Read More

Putin Compares Ukrainian Army to the Nazis

August 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Putin Compares Ukrainian Army to the Nazis

The Russian President condemned Ukrainian troops firing at civilians in eastern Ukraine who he said are "suppressed with force"

Read More

More Headlines