Imprisoned from 1977-86 in Soviet prisons for his advocacy for Russian Jewry, Natan Sharansky kept his sanity by clinging to two tools – a small, worn copy of Tehillim (King David’s book of Psalms) that his wife had given him, and his chess expertise. 

A chess prodigy from childhood (when he would win in simultaneous- and blindfold-competitions against adults), Sharansky was able to endure long stints in solitary confinement by playing chess against himself in his mind. 

He was released from prison in 1986 after intense international pressure and immediately moved to Israel, where he rejoined his wife.

Sharansky went on to hold many political offices, including Deputy Prime Minister of Israel and head of the Jewish Agency from 2009-2018. Today, two of Sharansky’s grandchildren attend Shaloh House school. Their parents, residents of Israel, are in Boston to complete post-graduate work.