Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich

Former refusenik, attempted 'plane-hijacker'

Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich was a Jewish refusenik from the former Soviet Union. At the age of 22, he participated in an attempt to hijack a plane to raise awareness about the plight of Soviet Jews. He was arrested and served 12 years in the Soviet gulag. Released in 1981, he flew to Jerusalem, served in the IDF, earned a master’s degree in Jewish history, and became a rabbi. His personal story of resilience and fighting for one’s values is remarkable.