Soviet Chassid: The Story of Rav Mendel Futerfas

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Rav Mendel Futerfas (1907-1995) was a Lubavitch chassid who emerged as a leader under the most challenging circumstances in the Soviet Union. He was active in one of the greatest exit attempts for Jews from the Soviet Union under the cover of the repatriation agreement signed between the Soviet Union and Poland in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Under the terms of the agreement Polish citizens were permitted to return to Poland, and some Soviet Jews utilized the opportunity to forge Polish documents and finally exit the Soviet Union. Rav Mendel was arrested in the operations aftermath and sentenced to eight years of hard labor in Siberia. Upon his release, he embarked on a heroic attempt at igniting the fire of Yiddishkeit and Chassidic life in the post Stalinist Soviet Union until he finally was able to reunite with his family in England in 1964. The last decades of his life were spent as the central mashpia at Kfar Chabad in Israel until his passing during a visit to London in 1995.
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