Only one week and two days after he was shot and critically wounded in an anti-Semitic attack near his home in Derbent, Chabad-Lubavitchemissary Rabbi Ovadia Isakov was released Sunday from Beilinson Medical Center in Petach Tikvah,Israel. He offered his thanks today to the many people who acted on his behalf and prayed for his recovery.
In an Aug. 5 interview, Isakov thanked the communities and individuals throughout the world for their assistance.
“There is no doubt,” he said, “that my recovery is in the merit of the many who stood beside me, and I want to thank each and every one of them personally. For myself and on behalf of my wife, Chaya Miriam, and my four children, I want to thank them for their concern and their assistance, and for their comforting words to us in person and by phone.”
“I am sure that G-d saw how we are all one family,” Isakov continued. “He saw the mobilization of so many people on my behalf, and he saw that love that His children have for one another. It is through this that we merit His blessings and see them fulfilled so vividly. As we pray every day: “Bless us, our Father, all of us as one,” said the rabbi.
Isakov said that he particularly wanted to send his thanks and appreciation to the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS, to the Ohr Avner Foundation, to those who head these organizations, and especially to philanthropist Lev Leviev and Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia, “who did so much for me and for my family. May G-d bless them in all their endeavors,” said the rabbi.
Isakov concluded by saying that he wanted to give a blessing that one and all should be “inscribed and sealed for a good, sweet year.”
Recovery Follows Emergency Airlift
Isakov was shot near his home nearly two weeks ago when he was returning from performing a ritual slaughter for koshermeat. He had confirmed earlier that the attack was anti-Semitic. “There was one man waiting for me,” Isakov said, “and as I was entering my house, he shot me. He did not say anything and did not ask for anything. I do not remember anything after the shooting.”
“This is not the first time such attacks have occurred,” Isakov continued. “There have been attacks during Jewish holidays, and they even threw a bomb at our mikvah.”
After initial medical treatment in Dagestan, the Federation of Jewish Communities in the CIS arranged for an expert medical staff from Israel to be flown to Dagestan on an emergency medical aircraft. The team was taken by helicopter to Isakov’s bedside. After stabilizing his condition, the team of Israeli doctors and paramedics flew with him to the Beilinson Medical Center in Petach Tikvah, and after a series of tests, Isakov was operated on for hours, in a surgery that saved his life.
Despite the shooting and other assaults, Isakov claimed that Jewish community members in Derbent do not live in fear. The rabbi said he is looking forward to returning home and continuing his work as a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary.
“Life goes on as usual;” he said “I really want to go back there and continue my shlichus. There are many good people there and a very good community.”