Rabbi Ovadia Isakoff, Chabad emissary to Russia’s Muslim Republic of Dagestan, who in the summer of 2013 was shot in the chest by terrorists who had just returned from fighting in Syria, proudly officiated at the wedding of a young Jewish neighbor of his – a young man who is credited with saving his life in the critical moments following the attack two years ago.
Rabbi Isakoff releates:
“I had just returned from the small villages around Derbent where I had been performing Shechita for Jewish families living there. It was past midnight when I parked next to my home. Suddenly, a suspicious-looking man wearing religious Islamic garb appeared in the shadows. Before I could say or do anything, he aimed a weapon towards me and opened fire.”
“A few months later, when I was revived from the brink of death, I learned that my screams and the sound of gunfire awoke a young Jewish neighbor of mine, who rushed outside to my aid. He called the police, frightened away the attacker (who reportedly wanted to ascertain I was dead), and applied pressure to my wounds to slow the bleeding.”
It is for these actions that the young man is credited with saving the rabbi’s life.
As the rabbi recovered, he developed a strong relationship with the young man, and slowly but surely was Mekarev him to Yiddishkeit.
In recent months, the young man became engaged to a Jewish girl from the Machon Chaya Mushka institute in Moscow. Their wedding was a joyous and emotional affair, with Rabbi Isakoff honored with being Mesader Kidushin.