An immigration like no other

Having arrived in Moscow for a film festival in the early 1960s, one of its Israeli guests climbed the stage in a Moscow park and sang as planned several Hebrew and Yiddish songs, in between numbers by leading Soviet singers.

The audience, thousands, responded with thunderous applause peppered with loud bravos. “No doubt there were many Jews among them,” wrote Arieh “Lova” Eliav in the closing paragraphs of his 1965 Hebrew bestseller, Between the Hammer and the Sickle: Personal Experiences among the Jews in the Soviet Union.

After the concert ended, dozens crowded around the Israeli performer, some requesting her autograph, others handing flowers. And then, when all had dispersed and the singer was leaving, a young man caught with her, grabbed her hand, and uttered several sentences in Russian of which she understood not a word.


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