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The Rescuer: the Amazing True Story of How One Woman Helped Save the Jews of Syria

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It was the mid-1970s news report about twelve Syrian Jews being blown up in a minefield while trying to escape their country that brought home to Judy Feld Carr the terrible plight of Syria’s Jewish population. Like other Jews who remained trapped in Arab lands following the formation of the State of Israel, Syrian Jews lived in daily peril, virtual prisoners of a totalita It was the mid-1970s news report about twelve Syrian Jews being blown up in a minefield while trying to escape their country that brought home to Judy Feld Carr the terrible plight of Syria’s Jewish population. Like other Jews who remained trapped in Arab lands following the formation of the State of Israel, Syrian Jews lived in daily peril, virtual prisoners of a totalitarian regime, their every move closely monitored by the Muhabarat (the Syrian Secret Police), with extortion, imprisonment, and torture a constant reality. Over the next thirty years, “Mrs. Judy” (as she was known to the people she helped) publicly championed the cause of Syrian Jews as she secretly negotiated their escape–dealing with smugglers, bribing officials, haggling over travel documents, arranging medical aid, and funnelling money to those in need, even to those in prison. The Rescuer is the intensely dramatic story of the heroic and deeply humanitarian actions of one seemingly ordinary woman, a compelling glimpse into the workings of one Islamic regime, and a testament to the difference that one individual’s actions can have on the lives of thousands.


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It was the mid-1970s news report about twelve Syrian Jews being blown up in a minefield while trying to escape their country that brought home to Judy Feld Carr the terrible plight of Syria’s Jewish population. Like other Jews who remained trapped in Arab lands following the formation of the State of Israel, Syrian Jews lived in daily peril, virtual prisoners of a totalita It was the mid-1970s news report about twelve Syrian Jews being blown up in a minefield while trying to escape their country that brought home to Judy Feld Carr the terrible plight of Syria’s Jewish population. Like other Jews who remained trapped in Arab lands following the formation of the State of Israel, Syrian Jews lived in daily peril, virtual prisoners of a totalitarian regime, their every move closely monitored by the Muhabarat (the Syrian Secret Police), with extortion, imprisonment, and torture a constant reality. Over the next thirty years, “Mrs. Judy” (as she was known to the people she helped) publicly championed the cause of Syrian Jews as she secretly negotiated their escape–dealing with smugglers, bribing officials, haggling over travel documents, arranging medical aid, and funnelling money to those in need, even to those in prison. The Rescuer is the intensely dramatic story of the heroic and deeply humanitarian actions of one seemingly ordinary woman, a compelling glimpse into the workings of one Islamic regime, and a testament to the difference that one individual’s actions can have on the lives of thousands.

34 review for The Rescuer: the Amazing True Story of How One Woman Helped Save the Jews of Syria

  1. 4 out of 5

    Phoenix

    Touches the Heart Written by well known Canadian historian Harold Troper this book tells the story of the Jews of Syria and the tenacious struggle of activist Judy Feld-Carr to rescue them. The determination of this amazing woman rallied help and hope. When I was much younger I marched for Syrian Jewry, wrote postcards and raised money to secure their release. I heard Judy speak but it wasn't until I read this book that I appreciated what this effort was all about. I was moved to tears many times Touches the Heart Written by well known Canadian historian Harold Troper this book tells the story of the Jews of Syria and the tenacious struggle of activist Judy Feld-Carr to rescue them. The determination of this amazing woman rallied help and hope. When I was much younger I marched for Syrian Jewry, wrote postcards and raised money to secure their release. I heard Judy speak but it wasn't until I read this book that I appreciated what this effort was all about. I was moved to tears many times and regretted that had I understood more I would have done more. It was possible for a Jew to make a living in Syria, but individuals could not leave the country on business without leaving other members of their family behind, effectively keeping them as hostage. Any communication out of the country was closely watched by the Mukhabarat (secret police) attempts to flee the country were severely punished. Judy found a way and this book tells part of the story that can be told. Rather than relying on promises of high level negotiation and meager diplomatic efforts she managed to make contact with rabbis in the Syrian Jewish community and communicate information back and forth in a crude code. Many of those she rescued had to be ransomed by bribes paid to Syrian officials. Through the network she established she was able to bring people out of the country for medical treatment (though often too late to reverse the condition), secretly reunite families and rescue entire families. Even the Israeli Intelligence service was awed by what she was able to accomplish. This is an important book on several levels: 1. It is an historical record of the end of a Jewish community that goes back thousands of years. 2. It gives an important understanding of the relationship between Arab Muslims and Jews and the State of Israel. 3. It gives an insight to the importance of obligations of Jewish communities towards each other. 4. It gives some insight into the nature of a police state, of Syria in particular and how it operates today. 5. By understanding the relationship of Syria to its Jews one can better understand the Middle East. Note that this book was published previously under the title: The Ransomed of God: The Secret Rescue of the Jews of Syria Any updates would be minor. I highly recommend this book for all of the above reasons.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    A bit much on the historical details.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jaketar

  5. 4 out of 5

    Skeeter Marcus

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janie

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bill Bell

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Connolly

  9. 4 out of 5

    imlittlebutterfly

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nadia Carriere

  11. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

  12. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jessie K.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jbondandrews

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alla

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

  19. 5 out of 5

    Winnie Ho

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robert Cukierman

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne Moadel-Attie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melea

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yaz

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  25. 4 out of 5

    Genereams

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Carnegie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Camille

  28. 5 out of 5

    Erica Wolfe

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gitty

  30. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

  31. 4 out of 5

    Mari

  32. 4 out of 5

    Chandel

  33. 4 out of 5

    Madds

  34. 4 out of 5

    Dave

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