Soviet Jewry

Our Finest Hour


Dec. 7, the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, lives in infamy. But Dec. 6, 1987 lives on, now having as glorious an afterlife as any of us could have imagined back on that bitterly cold day Sunday afternoon when 250,000 of us, from across the American continent, gathered in Washington, D.C., to rally and demand freedom for Soviet Jewry.

Establishing A Soviet Jewry Liberation Day


As we are about to mark the 25th anniversary on Dec. 6 of the historic march on Washington by an estimated 250,000 people on behalf of Soviet Jewry, I believe the time has come to establish a day of commemoration to be included on the U.S. Jewish communal agenda, memorializing one of the great redemptions of Jewish history, which we were privileged to witness in our time.

Jacob Birnbaum

At GA, Old Guard Frets Over New

Wiesel, Sharansky discuss historic Soviet Jewry rally; where has the sense of unity gone?

Editor And Publisher

Baltimore — The Jewish federation movement, like much of the organized community, has put great emphasis in recent years on youth, trying many ways to attract that elusive segment of the community.

But the most dramatic session of this year’s General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America, held here this week, was a discussion between two men, one 84 and the other 64, about an event that took place almost 25 years ago.

Elie Wiesel and Natan Sharansky at the GA in Baltimore. David Karp

Never Forgetting — Soviet Jewry Movement, That Is

Special To The Jewish Week

Imagine more than a quarter-million American Jews — Democrats and Republicans, observant and secular, and individuals representing the entire spectrum of Israeli politics — gathering at one time, in one place, with a single unified message on behalf of fellow Jews, in the name of the universal principle of freedom.

If you are older than 40, and were connected in any way to the Jewish community in 1987, chances are you don’t have to imagine.  You can remember.

Daniel Eisenstadt,left, and Michael Granoff.

Back In Russia, 32 Years Later

Jewish Week Online Columnist

In the spring of 1979, at the height of the struggle to free Soviet Jewry, my wife Robin and I were among many volunteers who traveled to the Soviet Union for the express purpose of aiding and abetting the efforts of Zionist refuseniks.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Remembering Bookie

"Legendary" is the word most often used to describe Hyman Bookbinder, who died this week at the age of 95. 

Hyman Bookbinder

Remembering the Soviet Jewry vigil in Washington - and a rare moment of Jewish unity

The Soviet Jewry movement was in the news over the weekend because of Henry Kissinger's astoundingly offensive statement to former President Richard Nixon that “if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern.”  Thirty-six years after he resigned in disgrace, we're still learning just how anti-Semitic – and how bigoted toward just about every other minority – Nixon and his cronies really were.

But in Washington there was another reason to remember that unique moment in Jewish history.

A Jewish Prophet At The Vatican

Abraham Joshua Heschel’s meeting in Rome is dramatized in ‘Imagining Heschel.’

Special To The Jewish Week

At the height of the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement, America’s most prominent rabbi, Abraham Joshua Heschel, embarked on a secret mission to Rome.

Abraham Joshua Heschel
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