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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
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Avital Sharansky Led The Battle To Free Her Husband


Though it is true that many dedicated souls did contribute, it was Avital who led the battle, and the victory in many ways was her triumph.

Once in a Toronto airport, I overheard a young woman carrying her infant daughter telling Avital that she had named the girl after her in admiration of her struggle, her courage and all that she had come to mean to the larger world. Avital thanked the woman and humbly walked away.

I have no doubt that in the world today there are many young women named Avital in homage to this remarkable woman. Natan’s freedom is not only a celebration of his great courage, it is also a celebration of Avital’s formidable moral and spiritual strength.

Rabbi Avi Weiss, a weekly Torah columnist for The Jewish Press, is senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and founder and president of the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School.  His book “Spiritual Activism: A Jewish Guide to Leadership and Repairing the World” (Jewish Lights) includes material on the struggle to free Sharansky.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founding president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. His memoir of the Soviet Jewry movement, “Open Up the Iron Door,” was recently published by Toby Press.


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