The Center’s project, "American Soviet Jewry Movement in New York: Posters and Photographs," will involve the digitization of dozens of political posters and rare photographs from the archives of American Jewish Historical Society, one of its partner organizations. The materials to be digitized document numerous protests, rallies, boycotts, and other acts of civil disobedience that united activists to create awareness of the plight of Soviet Jews. When digitized, these materials will be accessible online at no cost via the Center’s Digital Collections.
Above image: “Speak out for Silent Soviet Jewry,” Created by the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry. From the National Conference on Soviet Jewry Records held by AJHS here at the Center.
Posts tagged Soviet Jewry movement.
LET MY PEOPLE GO: A HAGGADAH
by Mark Podwal, with introduction by Theodore Bikel
New York; Darien House, 1972
Illustrated with over 50 black and white illustrations which focus on the plight of Soviet Jews. [x]
With such a lukewarm response from the Soviets [to observant Jews’ attempts to teach and outreach to them], tempers flared among older Brighton immigrants. […] Their resentment was openly expressed. You could hear it on the streets, on the boardwalk, in the synagogues, in the stores: “Why did we fight to bring them here? Why did they want to come here? They’re not even Jews. They don’t want to be Jews.” The Soviets irked Brighton residents for a host of reasons, but the oldtimers’ anger often took the form of a single rebuff: The newcomers were not really Jews.
Some strongly Jewish-identified members of the immigrant community tried to mediate. Alexander Sirotin formed the Jewish Union of Russian Immigrants to sponsor activities with a Jewish theme among the new arrivals. Through the 1980s he was host of “Gorizont” (Horizon), a Russian-language radio show on the Lyubavitch Hasidic radio network. The message of Sirotin and other Jewish-identified community leaders in Brighton was: Let the Soviet immigrants nourish their Jewish identities in their own ways, in their own time. As examples, he pointed to an emigre Yiddish theatre troupe and to gatherings of senior citizens at which Yiddish songs and poems were sung and recited by recent Soviet immigrants.
By contrast, many American Jewish attempts at outreach were perceived by newcomers as somehow threatening, no matter how well intentioned. Several days after he arrived from Moscow in 1974, Victor Rashkovsky awoke to find two young men whom he did not know, and who spoke no Russian, praying and nailing a mezuzah (decorated case containing a holy scoll) to his doorpost: “All I understood was that they wanted to proceed with some ritual they considered to be important.” He thought that he recognized them from a local synagogue and so he let them proceed but he had no idea what they were doing. “Only later did I learn this custom.”Annelise Orleck, The Soviet Jewish Americans (via sovietjewry)
Let My People Go!
A poster by the WUJS Organization, the World Union of Jewish Students, in honor of the International Student Day of Solidarity with Soviet Jewry.
Illustration by Daniel Gilbert.
1971: Protesters staged an all-night vigil at the Lincoln Memorial, beginning on the eighth and final day of Passover, to protest the treatment of Soviet Jews.
Photograph by Ida Jervis
"Freedom for Soviet Jews" button from the Baltimore Jewish Council.
Thank you for the submission, sassyfrasscircus!
Freedom for Soviet Jewry
Stop Persecution of Soviet Jews!
"Free Soviet Jews!" for Solidarity Sunday March, Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, New York, 1983
Artist: Julia Noonan
Angry Americans of all stripes are confronting Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party (1964-1982), demanding that Russian Jews be permitted to leave the Soviet Union. A pennant declaring “Free Soviet Jews” and two Israeli flags fly over the crowd assembled at Battery Park in Manhattan – notice the Statue of Liberty in the background. This is a powerful image for the 1980’s cause that united almost all Jews of the United States. (via Art at the Center)
Part of the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s "Let My People Go! The Soviet Jewry Movement, 1967-1989" exhibit, running until August 5th, 2012.