A call to Join www.Shabbat.com from the historic Yossele!
Yossele Schumacher was born in Russia and
immigrated to Israel as a child with his parents.
Due to financial difficulties, his parents requested
that Yossele’s Haredi grandparents, Nachman and
Miriam Straks, take care of him.
After a few months the father decided that he
wanted to move back to Russia. Yossele’s
grandparents were determined that Yossele not
Fearing that the Schuchmachers might end up in
Russia, the religous community of Jerusalem took
the boy from his grandparents and hid the boy in
1960 with another family in Bnei Brak.
In the shadow of a court order for his return, the
community disguised Schuchmacher as a girl
and placed him in the care of a Frenchwoman
and convert to Judaism named Ruth Ben-David,
who took him with her to Europe.
Yossele would spend two years total in France and
Switzerland under her care.
By this time, authorities in Israel had increased their
search efforts, leading Ben-David to again disguise
Schumacher as a girl and smuggle him into the
United States in March 1962 where he was hidden
in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Following Schuchmacher’s disappearance from
Israel, the grandparents were imprisoned and
police arrested the couple that had hidden the
boy in Bnei Brak.
Sometime later on, Ruth Ben-David, still in France,
was caught and sequestered in a house. After a
week of intense interrogation, she buckled.
By this point it was July 1962, and with
Schuchmacher’s location identified, two officials
from Shin Bet came to the door of the home
Yossele was living at in Williamsburgh and the boy
was removed from the house.
The abduction of Schuchmacher caused
enormous controversy in Israel between many
Haredi Jews — who supported the grandparents
and claimed that Schuchmacher’s parents were
communists who wished to bring the boy with
them back to Russia — and secular Jews, some of
whom yelled in Jerusalem, Epho Yossele? (“Where
This is a video of Yossele today, calling for peace and unity of the Jewish people!