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Where’s Yosseleh? – A Progress Report from Israel

It was 1960 when the entire State of Israel was looking for Yosseleh, a young immigrant from the USSR, now the Former Soviet Union. He disappeared and efforts by his parents to locate him made their way to the office of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

It appears that Yossi was sent by his grandfather, Nachman Shtarkes, a chareidi Jew, to the United States, hoping he would be raised as a frum Jew. Shtarkes feared the communist influence on the boy’s parents would result in his grandson being raised outside a Torah lifestyle. At the age of 6, dressed as a girl, Yosseleh was smuggled out of the country to the USA.

After the national sentiment was aligned with finding Yossi, Ben-Gurion turned to the Mossad Intelligence Agency, ordering director Isser Harel to find and return Yossi home.

It took two years before Yossi was found in Brooklyn, New York, living with a Satmar family. He was located on June 27, 1962.

On Monday, some 50 years later, Yossi once again made headlines, this time as Dr. Yossi Schumacher as he received an award in his capacity as an officer in the Mishmar Ezrachi, the Israeli equivalent of auxiliary police.

Yossi, who today does not outwardly appear Shomer Shabbos, told reporters he lives with the constant feeling that he owes a debt of gratitude to the State of Israel, one of the compelling factors that led to his involvement in Mishmar Ezrachi. He explained that if he was not found, today, he would most likely be a member of the New York chareidi community today.

(Note: In June 2007, YWN posted a story about Yossele Schumacher’s first visit with his adoptive family, the Gertners. To read that story, click HERE.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

16 Responses

  1. In the book “DEEP IN THE RUSSION NIGHT”
    His family and their m’siras nefesh
    are tangentialy mentioned.

    to straightshooter number 2.
    I don’t remember for sure but I think it was
    a custody argument not an actual kidnapping,
    though it may have been legally defined as

  2. how sad the medina gave up on all other important operations just to make sure that yossele woundnt become frum
    well just another incident to add to the millions of other incidents perpetrated by the so called jewish state to ensure that no jew remains frum hashem yishmor!!!!!

  3. to straightshooter–8:59
    you’re a straightshooter with a crooked mind.

    by the way, the mosad agent who mingled with the satmer crowd and eventually located yosele up in parksville, ny and came back to israel as a hero was eventually appointed as israeli ambassador to turkey and was shot to death in turkey. makes you think. (midah k’neged midah?).

  4. there was a story about him in maariv — musaf shabat about twenty years ago.

    the author interviewed him, and he said that when he serves in miluim, he is in charge of setting up the kosher kitchen.

    by the way, the woman who smuggled him (her) to williamsburg became rav amram blau’s wife.

  5. Yossi, who today does not outwardly appear Shomer Shabbos?????????????????
    Easy enough to check out, is he or is he not? Can not be that much of a mystery!!! Quite a chapter in the life of the early state, lots of questions on both sides, wonder what daas torah was asked as he was smuggled out to the country??

  6. i just rember as a young bacuer in yeshiva we used. to love to .dance to that beutyful song
    ” aefo yosella ” it brings tears to my eys rembering the good old days when baurim went to all the weddings to make freilac..hashem keep us young ,

  7. Rabboisai,
    Here’s a quote from a blogger last year’s YWN

    He was not kidnapped from his parents. If you would have read the article you would have noticed that the parents had given the child to the grandfather to bring up. He did not kidnap him. All you Yated haters ought to go back and read the documented history of the story. You may be amazed at how rabbonim chashuvim like the Satmar Rebbe, Rav Mendelson from kommimius, Rav Soloveitchik, and many others, guided them every step of the way.
    Thank G-d we have the Yated and who are not embarressed to publish the truth.

    Comment by pete — June 6, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

    I hope this clarifies the situation.

  8. to inmyopinion — June 17, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

    it’s extremely foolish to think that he was killed because of this. firstly what is the midah k’neged midah. Lastly, many frum yidden die from cancer and various other tragic circumstances. Who r u to say that they did something bad in the past.

    I r-e-p-e-a-t he was kidnapped from his family. Breaking a custody agreement is kidnapping. It is a shame that the kidnappers were not tried. we ar enmot above the law.

    The dummest thing i hear is that such- and – such rasha got cancer because…….

    Well many chusheveh rabonim got cancer too.

    You know hy people get cancer? BECAUSE THAT WAS HASHEM’S WILL (and due to smoking)

  9. “Straightshooter”, who cares that it was illegal? The question is whether it was the right thing, and how can there be any question about that? According to the article, he does not appear to be a yid a shomer shabbos; had he not been found, he would be. Doesn’t that speak for itself? Clearly the grandfather did the right thing, and all those who cooperated with him (which was the *entire* charedi world, from Neturei Karta through Lubavitch) did the right thing, and those who kidnapped him back to his parents have to answer before Bes Din shel Maaloh. As will you, “straightshooter”, for condemning the just and justifying the wicked.

  10. It is mutar to be mechallel SHabbos and all other mitvos save for 3 to save a physical life and kol sheken a spiritual one.

    For anyone whose main proiority is doing ratzon Hashem and not kowtowing to political corectedness and looking good in the opinion of the mar midli, the shakhak moznaim, the onon koleh etc. of the temporarily dominating and world around
    it is obvious this was the right thing to do.

  11. TO Comment by Milhouse — June 17, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

    if your facts are correct, why did tehy smuggle him and hide him??

    Who says he would’ve ben shomer shabbos. perhaos he would’ve dopped out of yeshivah after he heard how he was KIDNAPPED??

  12. It would be wonderful to see pictures and newspaper headlines from that period. I have been told that he press was having an antisemitic fieldday back then.

  13. Straightshooter, what facts of mine are you disputing? Of course they smuggled and hid him, what else could they do? What was the zeide supposed to do, hand him over and say “here, raise my einikl as a sheigetz, it’s none of my business”?

    The bottom line is, do you follow the law or the Torah? Do you worship the courts or Hashem? You are mushba ve’omed mehar sinai, and if you can be mechalel shabbos to save someone from becoming a sheigetz, kal vachomer that you can break the law!

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