Vitolda Nahshonov, 15, is one of 10 teens brought to Los Angeles from Sderot by the Israeli Leadership Club and the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles to share her story of what it's like to live under constant attack from Qassam rockets. What follows is an edited version of our conversation.
"This is what we grew up praying for and dreaming of," my father told me in a recent conversation, "so I did not need to read any further." Nessim Bouskila made his way to the headquarters of the Jewish Agency in Paris, where he found more than 400 young men and women already lined up, eagerly awaiting the "privilege," as Papa worded it, to help defend Israel.
There is no shortage of books, historical and fictional, on the bombing of London during World War II. Peter Stansky's new book, "The First Day of the Blitz," combines history, political commentary and firsthand testimony in a compelling account.
Over the last several years, in anticipation of the voyage's 60th anniversary, survivors of the Exodus have been asked to share their stories in an effort to solidify Exodus' place in history, before all that is left are the fictionalized and romanticized versions of the 1958 Leon Uris novel or the 1960 Otto Preminger film (and even those are already being forgotten). Among the recent projects are "Exodus 1947," a 1997 documentary film by Venice resident Elizabeth Rodgers, and a new release of journalist Ruth Gruber's account of the voyage, "Exodus 1947: The Ship that Launched a Nation" (October 2007, Union Square Press).