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Shots Heard Round the World

soviet boyRalph Waldow Emerson wrote these words in his classic poem “The Concord Hynm”. He refers to a battle in the American Revolutionary War in which the first British soldiers were killed. The term is used in a different historical situation characterizing the assassination of Franz Ferdinand which has been blamed as one of the flashpoints which started WW1. In a more mundane event, Bobby Thompson hit a walk off home run giving the New York Giants a victory over the New York Dodgers at the Polo Grounds in 1951, giving the Giants the National League Pennant.

My favorite and most personal “shots heard round the world” occurred thirty five years ago on Sunday February 22, 1980. In this case there were four shots heard round the world. Click on the link to recapture this unbelievable moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYscemhnf88

Why was this moment so important? The United States and Russia were involved in the protracted Cold War for thirty five years. Russia and its Soviet Allies had figuratively and literally established an iron curtain which prohibited its citizen’s free movement to the West. The National Soviet hockey team was well trained, well paid, and unstoppable. Just a week earlier in an exhibition game in Madison Square Garden in New York the Soviets blew away the Americans 10-3. The Americans were a bunch of young college kids who were brought together; and trained for only six weeks. There was no doubt that the gold metal belonged to Russia. But- the results were amazing- some (including me) would call it miraculous. The United States beat the Soviets 4-3. Those four shots made a monumental difference in the lives’ of a large number of people.

In my opinion and in many others, this was the beginning of the end of the Great Soviet Bear. This “game” injected the notion that the Red Army was vulnerable and “the good guys won”. Soon thereafter a trickle of Russian immigrants came to Israel. Then some years later the faucets opened wide. Over one million Jews exited Russia over the next fifteen years. (I was privileged to work professionally to help to ensure the rescue and resettlement of these “Jews of Silence” but that’s a story for another day.

At Lev Lalev and other orphanages, group homes, and youth villages our doors were opened and we did our part to help rescue, resettle, and rehabilitate children who came to Israel without parents. Our Orphanage was active and at full capacity. Our success with these girls was especially gratifying in that not only did the girls need food and shelter but they needed a primer in basic Judaism including learning the Aleph Beis.

For over fifty years Lev Lalev has been a safe haven for orphaned girls in Israel. Each success helps to create a new link, providing strength, direction, and happiness for our orphaned girls. Each success is in its own way a shot heard round the world.

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