Imprisoned in Iran for 781 days, Josh Fattal writes a memoir with his fellow captives about the experience.
Special To The Jewish Week
Josh Fattal was imprisoned in Iran for 781 days on the charge of espionage. In his new memoir, “A Sliver of Light,” co-written with Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, he describes how the three friends went hiking in Kurdistan and didn’t realize they were near the Iranian border. They were told to come forward by soldiers they soon realized were Iranian. They were placed in cars, blindfolded and imprisoned. They would soon hear screams of torture, and they were uncertain if they would live or die. Fattal, who lives in Brooklyn and is pursuing a Ph.D. in history at New York University, spoke with The Jewish Week by phone. This is an edited transcript.
Josh Fattal, an American hiker freed by Iran in September 2011 after two years in captivity, said the Iranians knew he was Jewish even though it was never explicitly stated.
“I was so scared in those first months about being a Jew with an Israeli father, but at a certain point I embraced it,” Fattal told the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. “They know already. If they are going to do something to me for my heritage, then they will — but I am not going to change myself. I am not going to hide who I am.”
The shofar was blown in one suburban Philadelphia synagogue last Friday night to celebrate an answered prayer – the release by Iran of the two American hikers, one of whom, Josh Fattal, had become a bar mitzvah with the guidance of the shul's rabbi.