Sharansky Visits Eitz Chaim School in Moscow


sharansky-smallLast week, on the first day of school at the Lauder Etz Chaim school in Moscow, the talmidim welcomed Mr. Nathan Sharansky, the general director of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The goal of the trip, the first since Mr. Sharansky was appointed head of the Sochnut, was to explore possibilities of getting additional funding to the struggling schools which are a spiritual lifeline to tens of thousands of neshamos.

The honored guests were welcomed by the mara d’asra, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, who founded the school almost two decades ago. Rabbi Goldschmidt gave the guests a quick tour of the school and introduced them to the Etz Chaim staff. The group was then introduced to a group of Etz Chaim Alumni who are now learning in various yeshivos and seminaries due in great part to the ongoing assistance of Eitz Chaim’s benefactor, Operation Open Curtain.

sharansky1The guests then descended to the main auditorium where hundreds of students and parents waited to witness this historic visit. Mr. Sharansky answered questions from the students as he emotionally recalled his own personal struggles as a refusenik. He then said, “Your school has a special reputation of being called the ‘Etz Chaim family’. Don’t forget that your family is not only Etz Chaim but the millions of Jews worldwide. You together with them are all part of the “Am Yisrael family!”

The director of the school then announced the launching of the new “Sharansky course” in the school which will teach students about the history of the refusniks and their fight for Yiddishkeit under communist times.

Rabbi Goldschmidt in his concluding remarks said, “We owe tremendous gratitude to Mr. Sharansky and people like him who fought with their very lives to be proud Yidden who are shomrei Torah umitzvos. It is thanks to their struggles and victories that all of you in 2009 can be proud talmidim of this school.”

{Yair Israel}