Photo Credit: Courtesy Reitza Kosofsky

We called a meeting with the rabbi who was in charge of the day schools to ask for funds with which to pay teachers for our transitional school. This person said: “Why not let them go to the public schools first, to learn English? Who says that they have to go to a Jewish school right away?”

And I responded, “The Lubavitcher Rebbe, that’s who.”


When he heard this, he exclaimed: “We will give you whatever funding you need!” After spending a year in our transitional school, the children were mainstreamed into the various Jewish day schools. Eventually, F.R.E.E. handed our school over to the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago.

We hired Arkady Fleishman to drive the children to and from the Jewish day schools. Arkady had been a professional driver in the USSR. At one point, he was the official driver for a Jewish Soviet general. When Golda Meir came to Russia for a diplomatic visit, the Jewish general offered to give her a tour of Moscow. For this little excursion, the general was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, and Arkady, his driver, received seven years. Fortunately, they were both released among many others during Perestroika.