Jerusalem — Determined to continue to play a central role in aliyah at a time when the number of immigrants coming to the country is declining dramatically and as private immigration organizations like Nefesh B’Nefesh are expanding their activities and boasting their successes, the Jewish Agency for Israel will soon unveil a “flex aliyah” program for potential olim who do not necessarily want to live in Israel full time.
Too often we take our Jewish communal successes for granted and focus on our problems. One of the ongoing success stories is the work and reach of UJA-Federation of New York, the world’s largest local philanthropy, with its more than 100 constituent agencies providing social services for Jews and others in need here in New York as well as in Israel, the Former Soviet Union and communities around the world.
In a move that seems to confirm that the era of large-scale Russian Jewish emigration to the U.S. has come to an end, the president of the agency that has resettled more than 250,000 Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union in New York City has resigned after 25 years on the job.
A number of renowned former dissidents and prisoners of conscience from the former Soviet Union believe that President Bush is betraying the cause of democracy by claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin as an ally in the war against terrorism.
Severed from their own history — its joys and tragedies — growing numbers of retirement-age Russian Jews here are on a roots journey to uncover as much as they can about how Jews from the former Soviet Union lived and died.And though they have come to the journey later than many American-born Jews, they are making up for lost time, fueled both by the Internet and a nagging feeling of incompleteness.
For the first time, a high-level United States government delegation will travel to Moscow to press Russian officials to pay pensions to refugees and immigrants from Russia, and its predecessor, the Soviet Union, now living in the U.S., The Jewish Week has learned. News of the upcoming negotiations — which will be held in the Russian capital next week between a delegation from the U.S.
Before the apparent effort by political rivals to poison Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yuschenko last fall, there may have been the Purim poisoning of Joseph Stalin.Dr. Alexander Rashin, a biophysicist from the former Soviet Union who now lives in Teaneck, N.J, is convinced that the notorious Soviet dictator was poisoned by his closest political close associates on March 1,1953, and did not die of natural causes, as has long been believed.
The copy of Leon Uris’ “Exodus” that Mark Tsesarsky read as a teenager was fragile, having passed through many hands before his. This was a samizdat copy, published underground and secretly circulated among Jews in the former Soviet Union. In the 1970s, reading it could have gotten Tsesarsky arrested, but, as he told Uris many years later as a new citizen of the United States, it made him “a Zionist in hiding.”
Israel, which has won only six Olympic medals ever — its first gold, in sailing, came at Athens in 2004 — is sending 41 athletes to the Beijing Games, which open Aug. 8. Israel’s Olympic delegation attended a recent two-day seminar in Tel Aviv where members were briefed on everything from security to Chinese culture. Past Israeli Olympians discussed their experiences with this year’s athletes, most of them first-time Olympians.