Yeshiva Bochur Headed to Back from Eretz Yisroel Remains Imprisoned After Swim to US


st-lawrence-riverMatzav Exclusive: A yeshiva bochur returning from Eretz Yisroel after learning at Yeshivas Kodshim, the Yerushalayim yeshiva led by Rav Tzvi Kaplan, remains imprisoned in Upstate New York after swimming across the St. Lawrence River to Morristown, New York, on Tuesday night, November 2.

The bochur, 23-year-old Dovid Medvedev, was born in Russia and was raised and cared for by Rav Yissochor Rothschild zt”l of Lakewood, NJ, and his Rebbetzin. With immense dedication, they nurtured the Russian national as he grew into a ben Torah.

This past year, Dovid traveled to Eretz Yisroel to continue his learning at Rav Kaplan’s yeshiva in the Ezras Torah section of Yerushalayim. However, Dovid, having apparently overstayed his visa in the United States, was going to encounter major obstacles in returning to America. He had planned on heading to Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, where he wished to continue his learning.

brockvilleDovid arrived in Canada from Eretz Yisroel on October 30 and spent several days in Ottawa before travelling to Brockville by taxi. Dovid then utilized a scuba suit to swim from Brockville, in eastern Ontario, to neighboring Morristown, in New York, crossing the Canadian-US border.

Dovid stopped someone and asked for directions to a nearby hotel. An employee at a convenience store on Route 37 in Morristown contacted police claiming to have seen a “suspicious-looking man carrying a large backpack.” Dovid was arrested by New York State troopers sometime after 11 p.m.

Dovid has been charged with illegal entry, but the greater concern at this time is what lies ahead for Dovid. He has been cared for most recently by Rebbetzin Tamar (Rothschild) Epstein and her husband, Rav Kalman Epstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah of Queens, who has been visiting Dovid several times a week.

May this yeshiva bochur, whose years of youth involved much turmoil and tribulations which he overcame, have the strength to endure the great challenge he currently faces as he sits behind prison bars.

{Yossi Newscenter}


  1. Remember the story of Hillel who went up to the roof to hear the shiur and was found covered in snow? Sounds similar, except this is extreme.

  2. It’s not that cold if you use a scuba suit. The polyetherene warms up the water and it is quite comfortable. The only thing is that he put himself in sokanas nefashos for doing it at night.

  3. Mudnah maaseh. Why would someone call the cops just because they see someone on the street or in a store carrying a bag? It’s sick.

  4. Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.

    He will then be deported and NOT ALLOWED BACK IN USA FOR 10 YEARS. He no longer can claim religious persecution in Russia, so there is little to be done diplomaticly.

  5. Can you imagine if he arrived in Lakewood cold and wet and they put him directly in the freezer? At least where he’s being held now is warm and dry.

  6. This Bochur is charged with “illegal entry to the USA”. Why is he different than everyone line up on Clifton Ave in Lakewood?

  7. Not sure why everyone is so worried. Mexicans do this all day and they get sent back home. So he will be sent back to Israel where he can join a yeshiva there. Whats the big deal?

  8. The government needs to implement things equally (to all or to none). They cannot pick and choose where to enforce the immigration law. The USA has millions of Hispanics in the country that enetered illegally and the govt is well aware of it. Unless they commit another crime (besides for entering illegally), they do nothing. Why is this case different?

  9. My brother learned with ALexander, a great boy and true yeshiva bochur. He risked his life so he could live a normal life. None of you have gone through what he has. May Hashem be with him.

  10. A quick look at the map suggests that the river is about 1.5 km wide at that point – plus the downstream current might add at least another 500 metres. This *definitely* seems not so Poshut!

  11. Oh, and it was at night, with no-one waiting for him at the other side….. And he just picked up the ability to swim >1.5km in a Wet Suit across the river.

  12. Dear number 2- his father’s name is unknown, just daven for him Hashem knows!!! Trust me!
    Dear number 6- the reason no one was waiting for him on the other side is because nobody knew about it. He realized that the only way to pull off such an entry is without anyone knowing and he had everything planned out. Including a hotel reservation for the night.
    Dear number 16- nothing is going on in my yeshiva, but thanks for the concern.
    Dear number 18- you are wrong. I am familiar with the situation and if he wants to leave jail right now, he could but he’ll be deported immediately which will have defeated the purpose. Therefore he is staying in prison while all the dedicated askanim try to work out the legal issues and allow him to stay in America.
    Dear number 20- the only difference is… Is that he got caught and they didn’t!!!
    Dear number 23- the reason is obvious! Because he would like to live life like a normal yeshiva bachur and go to BMG and besides all his friends are in America!!!
    Dear number 38-
    you are right it wasn’t pashut at all… 2 hour swim in subzero water. (I know the details, I spoke to him)
    Dear number 39- no he didn’t just pick up the ability, he had been “working out” for the last six months for this.
    Thank you.

  13. Has everyone gone crazy?

    This fellow is obviously more than a little bit touched.

    He needs help – of the psychiatric variety.

    All the misplaced concern is embarrassing.

  14. why dont all the brilliant commentators (yes, myself included) go back to work or open a sefer and let the askanim and those who know what theyre talking about deal with the situation

  15. i know dovid very well… its amazing what comments poeple can write!!!! wheres your heart???? Whatch what you say especially #46!!! keep davening. Theres hope I”yh!!!