Rav Arnon before he became religious
Last Friday, Rabbi Mordechai Arnon passed way, far from the limelight, quietly, the same way he lived these past decades. We have lost one of the central figures of the amazing Teshuva movement.
In the 1970's, shortly after the Yom Kippur war, the revolution began, featuring three prominent and famous figures in the secular cultural world of those times. The three were Rabbi Arnon, a singer and actor, Rabbi Yitzchok `Ika' Yisraeli, a noted painter, and Rabbi Uri Zohar.
The return-to-roots of these prominent figures in the secular world created a real storm which swept up with it many sincere people who wished to make acquaintance with the Torah world to which these three stars had gravitated. And they duly tasted and were captivated.
The young generation of today can hardly imagine the earthquake generated by those three pivotal and famous figures. The concept of Teshuva in those times was very negative and marginal, hardly known or felt on the secular street, even if here and there, due to the shock of the difficult Yom Kippur War, the buds began appearing.
The sharp transition of these three personalities of the Bohemian world awakened a strong interest to the world of Shomrei Mitzvos which up till then was considered a different alien planet, really `way-out'. Originator rights surely go to Rabbi Arnon and his two colleagues of the incredible Teshuva movement of tens of thousands of Jews returning to their roots.