To the irritation of the Russian officials, Hershcovich emptied his pockets (to avoid carrying), refused to give his fingerprints (considered writing) and trudged up the hill to court "through the dark, past drunk people (and several obvious anti-Semites) for half an hour."
The case had been carefully prepared, he writes, and the immigration officials told him they had been sent to his apartment by their boss.
"I write this in the hope that it will be in a future book entitled 'The trials and tribulations of the Chassidim in Russia under Putin,' " Hershcovich wrote.
Silberstein's case also started suddenly: He was invited to a meeting with immigration officials, then told he was due in court 2 1/2 hours later.
"They really threw it on us," he said.
"We barely had time to get a lawyer or do anything."
Jewish leaders are still pressing the government to let the rabbis return, Gorin said.
"If the Jewish community is not allowed to have foreign rabbis, it says to us that the Jewish community has no future," the Jewish federation spokesman said.
"The problem is even bigger when the authorities think they can say which rabbis can work in the community. It's something new in the history of Russian Jewry, and we protest."
Times staff writer Sergei L. Loiko contributed to this report.