Editor’s Acknowledgments
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xxi Editor’s Acknowledgments It was my great honor to become acquainted with Yuli Kosharovsky while he was finishing work on his monumental four-volume history of the Jewish movement in the Soviet Union, My snova evrei (We Are Jews Again). I had come to Israel for research on Soviet Jewish activism, documenting the uncensored press known as samizdat and interviewing activists who had been involved with the journals. Yuli was not directly involved with producing samizdat journals, but he had been a leader in other areas and he was working on a history of the movement. Yuli and his collaborator Enid Wurtman opened my eyes to aspects of the Jewish movement in the Soviet Union I had not heard about elsewhere: in particular, they helped me to appreciate the relatively high level of organization characterizing much of the activity. Yuli convinced me of how important Hebrew study was to the movement. Practically every person who became active in the Jewish movement in the 1970s or later started with Hebrew study. For most, Hebrew classes provided an introduction to Jewish studies and an opportunity for entry-level engagement for those who felt drawn to Jewish activities. Some came to Hebrew classes with a simple desire to spend some of their time in refusal among people who would not treat them like second-class citizens. Through study and the socializing that went along with it, many of them came to view Israel as their future home. The personalities of successful Hebrew teachers in the movement were legendary. Yuli had been one of those popular teachers, infecting students with his enthusiasm and boundless energy. Yuli worked at the center of the Jewish movement for many years, sharing his passion with Hebrew students and teachers and helping realize initiatives developed by others. xxii  |  Editor’s Acknowledgments Beginning with his teaching in the USSR and through many years of work up to his publication of a history of the movement, Yuli never stopped seeing his mission in terms of consciousness-raising among Jews. Yuli’s collaborator Enid Wurtman exemplified similar qualities, although she started from a different place. Enid and her husband, Stuart Wurtman, became engaged with the issue of Soviet Jewry in the United States. Their lives were changed by traveling to the Soviet Union and meeting Yuli and other refuseniks, whom they first encountered in November 1973. In 1977 Enid and her family pulled up roots and made aliya like the Soviet Jews they sought to help. After moving, Enid continued to help refuseniks as part of the Public Council for Soviet Jewry in Israel. Yuli and his family were finally able to make aliya in 1989, approximately twelve years after the Wurtmans’ aliya, and in Israel the two continued working together. I had a chance to see them in their shared office. Yuli worked on his seemingly endless interviews, fueled by his natural energy and benefiting from the large network of friends and acquaintances among former refuseniks and highly placed Israeli officials. Enid patiently tracked down dates, names, and documents, drawing on her own rich set of connections , developed over many years of activism. Enid shared her extensive knowledge and contacts with all kinds of scholars. It was humbling to learn that I came to her for help and advice after people such as Yuli and the eminent historian Martin Gilbert, who had also asked Enid for research support. I am one of many who are not only indebted to Yuli and Enid, but profoundly inspired by their generosity. They helped me understand what a commitment to “Klal Yisrael” means. Yuli died in an accident on the first day of Passover in 2014, and his unexpected loss came as a tremendous blow to all who knew and loved him. Yet his work continued thanks to a number of scholars and friends who believed in its unique value. I was privileged to be asked to join the work after Stefani Hoffman had translated materials selected by Yuli for an English edition. Yaacov Ro’i also brought his years of expertise in the field to bear on this project. Both of them shared significant help and advice. They read the entire edited manuscript and provided detailed comments and suggestions. Stefani Hoffman shared valuable thoughts about the “ordinary heroes” of the movement, and she edited my often-awkward Editor’s Acknowledgments  |  xxiii formulations, the result of shortening segments and condensing information into one volume. Yaacov Ro’i had further observations and insights about facts...