Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:22 pm
Mois Yussuroum, a 94-year-old retired dentist, fought the Nazis as part of the Greek resistance during World War II. "Of the 650 Greek Jews who fought in the resistance, I'm the only one still alive," he says.
No one has ever doubted Mois Yussuroum's patriotism. As part of the Greek resistance during World War II, he fought Benito Mussolini's fascist army and then the Nazis.
"The other resistance fighters didn't know I was Jewish," he says, since he used the name "Yiorgos Gazis" in case he was captured. "But my superiors did know, and they gave me many responsibilities, including making me a garrison commander."
Moshe Haim always wanted to be a soldier. The 20-year-old is now a sergeant, more than halfway through three years of service in the Israeli military.
But when he goes home on leave, he doesn't talk about his military experiences to any of his eight siblings, especially his brothers.
"I know that for my parents and my brothers, the first, best choice is to be in the yeshiva and study there," he says at a small West Bank outpost where he's stationed. "It wasn't good for me, but my brothers are still pure."
The name of the An-sky Yiddish Heritage Ensemble doubles as its mission statement: The quartet of performers and researchers has built a repetoire of old Yiddish folk songs dating back 100 years to the shtetls of Ukraine, in hopes of keeping that music from disappearing. Michael Alpert, who sings in the group, says it's part of a revival of Eastern Eurpoean Jewish culture that's be going on for nearly 40 years.