Rabbi Berel Levine (pictured above on the left with the author), Director of Agudas Chassidei Chabad Library and author of “Chabad History in Tsarist Russia,” commented that Zaltzman’s account offers a previously undiscovered tale of Chabad which was not documented or written.
“Samarkand: the Underground that Affected the Masses,” has hit the shelves at leading Judaica and book stores in New York.
The book by Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman tells the story of the Lubavitch underground based in Uzbekistan’s second-largest city while it was part of the Soviet Union. Its influence reached even the most remote Russian communities.
The book contains more than 570 pages of moving stories of mesiras nefesh, and some 240 unpublished photos of chassidim and their lives.
Yet, Samarkand is more than just history.
In more ways than one, it is a personal account of a chossid who lived through that area and continued to live with its results until today. It’s a heartfelt recollection of one who survived the bitter days of Soviet oppression and fought to keep the fires of Yiddishkeit burning.
Born in Kharkov in 1939, Rabbi Zaltzman’s family fled to Samarkand during WWII. Rabbi Moshe Nisselevich involved him community work at the age of 16 with the underground organization Chamah. He now heads Chamah which serves Russian immigrants.
For more information, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I was delighted by the book ‘Samarkand’ on the Chassidic underground in Soviet Russia. The author opens up a window to the world of heroic activity and Jewish selflessness during the Soviet regime.
The book describes first-hand one of the darkest periods of time for Soviet Jewry in a most captivating manner. In my opinion, a movie should be made based on this book, offering a virtual glimpse into the
history of heroism.”
Professor Alexander Laskin
Historian and writer
“I think that the appeal of the book lies in the fact that it tells about the life of a Chassidic community from the ‘inside.’ It describes accurately and precisely details that would never have been imagined from the
outside. Additionally, the text undoubtedly bears significant historic value, since it accounts for important events of Jewish history not only for Jews, but for people of other ethnic origins as well who wish to learn more about the lifestyles of their neighbors on our planet. I emphasize once again: I consider this work a true piece of literature.”
Russian and Israeli author; journalist; philologist; literary critic
“This past Shabbos I had a large group of Israeli officials over for a visit. They spoke enthusiastically about the book ‘Samarkand,’ saying that it strengthened their faith and Jewish self-consciousness.”
R. Yitzchak Kogan
Rabbi of the Bolshaya Bronnaya Street Synagogue, Moscow
“There are very few accounts in Russian describing Jewish religious
life in Russia before the revolution and under the Soviets. That world is
practically unknown to the majority of Russian readers. That’s why each
account of this type is priceless. I believe that select chapters of R. Hillel
Zaltzman’s book should be published in the Russian periodical ‘Alef.’ ” Michoel Gorelik
“R. Hillel Zaltzman has performed a great deed by extracting these
sacred names from the waters of oblivion, these righteous individuals
who never yielded despite the merciless oppression of the Soviet regime. The farther we live from those times, the more we grow accustomed to
the widespread air of freedom, and the more precious these life-lessons
become; lessons that these steadfast Jews gave not only to their own
children and grandchildren, but to each and every one of us. R. Hillel
himself has already accomplished a lot and will surely continue do so
for many more years, and the book he has authored is one of his most
important causes. I wish it much success and I wish its author many
more healthy years of dedicated work for the good of our people.” Yaakov Shechter
“Once the book finds its way to Russia, I plan on reading it with great
interest, and I will recommend it to my friends and colleagues.”
“Brilliant insight, a special sense of belonging to the events that took
place, the light and lively language of the narrative—all that distinguishes
the author’s memoir style. Thank you!”
“Amazing! Really overwhelms the imagination. Although it’s hard to
believe that all this is a real-life story, at the same time you realize that it
is the bare truth.”
“Very interesting, educational, and insightful. Thank you, Rabbi
Zaltzman! Until 120!
“I was reading and, I apologize, crying… Rabbi Zaltzman, I admire
“So interesting and educational, and at the same time written with so
much talent! It is of interest to both Jews and non-Jews, religious and
non-religious. This detailed account describing the Jews’ unquenchable
courage can aid in the decrease of anti-Semitism.”
My wife and I always enjoyed reading Rabbi Zaltzman’s amazing memoirs and read them to our children to be inspired as well. We are so happy he has published his book and have no doubt that it will very soon be translated in to English and will become instant best sellers! Hatzlocha rabbo !
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