Remembering the man who launched the Soviet Jewry movement here.
Jacob Yaakov Birnbaum, widely recognized as the founder of the Soviet Jewry movement in the United States, was remembered last week as a “hero of biblical proportions,” someone who “put his life on the line in this struggle.”
In my childhood bedroom, in Glasgow, there was a poster on the wall bearing an image of the Kremlin and the words “Let My People Go.” Like many other Jews growing up in the 1980s, I felt the profound impact of the Soviet Jewry movement. So I was a bit surprised by my own ambivalence when I recently decided to go on a UJA-Federation rabbinic mission to the former Soviet Union (FSU) to see what Jewish life is like there today.
Albert Chernin, a Jewish organizational pioneer who was Executive Vice Chairman Emeritus of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs died Monday in his sleep, reported his daughter, Anne Chernin. He was 85.
Political skills, not iron fist, seen keeping speaker in power after scandal.
Assistant Managing Editor
Tuesday seemed like any other day for Sheldon Silver as he went about his business in Albany, announcing the Assembly’s passage of the DREAM Act, to increase access to college financial aid for immigrant students.
In the second half of the 20th century, the Jewish community did the impossible; after decades of struggle, Soviet Jewry emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, empowered to emigrate as a result of intense international pressure. Amazingly, a tiny, historically marginalized people emerged victorious against the vast Soviet empire. Looking back, a few key factors made the impossible a reality: a community-wide organizing strategy, the strength and centrality of the voices of Soviet Jews themselves and a clear, unequivocal and uncompromising moral demand. Today, as the Jewish community begins to grapple with the question of how to fulfill its long forgotten responsibilities to its members with disabilities, we would do well to learn from our past.
Remembering the Washington rally for Soviet Jewry, 25 years on.
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
Special To The Jewish Week
At the recent General Assembly of Jewish federations, Elie Wiesel and Natan Sharansky sat together to reminisce about what may have been the most successful revolution in the Jewish world in recent history — and the most forgotten one as well. It’s time for that to change.