January 9, 1895 – January 26, 1968
A mysterious Jew, wandering the world, traveling country to country, sharing his wisdom, his identity never clear... He pops up here and there: Europe, Israel, South America, he appears during the war, only to be lost again, then re-emerges; described as ugly, hairy, dirty, but also brilliant, all-knowing: science, mathematics, philosophy, the Talmud...
Such is the story of Monsieur Chouchani, or Shushani. No, he was not a medieval scholar; he lived in the last century. And yet, little traces of his work remain. He did not leave any records, but had a long-lasting effect on many students. One of those was Elie Wiesel, who met Chouchani in his youth and felt his influence throughout.
So who was this mysterious monsieur? "His birth and his life are sealed in enigma" is inscribed on his gravestone, but resent research has discovered that Chouchani was likely Hillel Perlman, a Russian Jew.
A modern-day Wandering Jew? That's one way to put it...
October 12, 2016