“After my Bar Mitzvah," related Moshe Chaim, "I decided that I had to keep Shabbos entirely, come what may. I began to avoid going to school on Shabbos, using a different excuse every week. At times I managed to obtain a doctor's note that I was sick. R. Shmuel Levin’s mother, the daughter-in-law of R. Eliyahu Paritcher, was a doctor. I was learning with her son Shmuel at the time in our underground yeshiva.

“One time, I was in the house of my uncle Bechor Chudaitov, who was a neurologist. I saw a prescription pad with its pages already stamped and decided to take it, thinking those stamped pages might serve me well. Indeed, they did come in handy - but it wasn't always as simple as that.

“Every year, in honor of Lenin’s birthday, the school, along with the rest of the country, would dedicate the day to volunteer work. This usually entailed cleaning the school yard and the street around the school. This event always took place on the Saturday nearest to the birthday. That particular Shabbos, I figured that I could go to school as always, because I would not have to write. I would go outside with everyone and nobody would notice when I slipped away. When the school day began, our math teacher, R. Betzalel, surprised us with the announcement that whoever did not pass the last test would have to remain in the classroom. Naturally, nobody wanted to remain in the classroom. The teacher took out a list of names and began announcing the ones who did not pass the test, and amongst the names, he read mine. I told him that I had passed the test, but he said, ‘Don’t argue with me. I told you to stay, so stay!’

“I didn’t know what his intention was. I had never received any favors from him. I had no choice, so I remained in class with another six students who hadn’t passed the test. After a few minutes he came over to me and said, ‘You can go home,’ and I breathed a sigh of relief.

“After a few months, my lack of attendance of school on Shabbos was noticed. They probably knew the reason, but nobody asked me about it. Although my father was very nervous, because he was a teacher and knew what the consequences could be, he supported me.

“One day I finally had no excuses left. I went to school and sat at my desk, without lifting a finger. The teacher, Alexandra Alekseyevna, asked me why I was sitting there and doing nothing. I told her that I had a toothache and I wanted to go home. She was an anitsemite and she said, ‘Fine! We’ll go down to the basement to the school dentist.’ I told her that my mother was a dentist and it didn’t make sense for me to go to some other dentist, but she insisted and said, ‘No. You will go with me to our dentist.’ And we went downstairs.

“The dentist was a young Jewish Bucharian woman who knew my mother, and she really did not want to treat me. But she was afraid of the antisemitic teacher, and so she told me to take a seat. She asked me what happened and I told her that I had a toothache, pointing at a tooth. Ms. Alekseyevna stood between us and told the dentist, ‘Check his tooth and see whether there is a problem.’

“She checked the tooth, and although she didn't see anything wrong, she did not want to say that I was lying. She agreed, and said that she saw an inflammation. Ms. Alekseyevna told her to take the tooth out. I glanced at the dentist and she gave me a knowing look. She was unsure as to how to proceed. Once again, my teacher said, ‘If the tooth hurts, take it out!’ There was a cruel tone to her voice.

“I repeated to her, "My mother is a dentist and I want her to decide what to do with the tooth." The teacher did not relent but said once again, ‘No. The dentist here should remove the tooth or we can all go to the principal!’

“I was afraid and did not know what to do. I did not know whether going to the principal would be a better option and so, having no alternative, I said to the dentist, ‘Fine. Take it out.’

“I hoped that when the teacher saw that I agreed with her, she would leave me alone, but she was insistent, and ordered the dentist to take out the tooth. The dentist had no choice and she removed the healthy tooth.

“When I went home and told my mother what had happened, she was very angry. I could understand why she was upset, but I hadn’t had a choice.

“I had some unpleasant episodes with my tzitzis too. According to the law, every pupil had to receive immunization shots for all kinds of diseases. A nurse once came to school to give the vaccines. I was wearing tzitzis with the strings hidden. I was afraid of her reaction when she would see them, so I began folding them up towards my upper back. The nurse noticed my movements, and when she came to me she saw the tzitzis. You can imagine my fear as to what would happen next . . . Fortunately, she bent over and whispered to me something in Bucharian which I did not understand, and gave me an encouraging smile.”