On December 6, 1987, Washington D.C saw the largest Jewish gathering in American history. Over 250,000 community members and allies came to the National Mall to participate in the “Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jews” rally, on the eve of a summit between President Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. This rally was the peak of the activity of the greatest freedom movement in recent Jewish history: the movement for Soviet Jewry.
Trapped in the USSR behind the iron curtain, for decades millions of Jews were not allowed to freely practice their religion or communicate with the Jewish community outside the country. Yet, the many who wanted to leave were not allowed to immigrate and were given the name Refuseniks: those who were refused exit visas. While Jews living in the USSR who were active in pursuing the right to immigrate and to practice their religion were often persecuted by Soviet authorities, many others in the West were active to change the situation by lobbying government officials, sending letters, supplies, traveling to the Soviet Union, and more.
This December 6th, exactly 35 years after the gathering in Washington D.C., we will join over Zoom to hear from two amazing speakers who participated in the Freedom Sunday rally and were key activists in the movement for Soviet Jews.
We will have the honor to talk to Mr. Natan Sharansky, who will share his story as a refusenik and human rights activist in USSR, and Mr. Robert Aronson, who will share his perspective as an activist from the USA devoting his time to help his fellow people.
The presentation will cover the struggles faced by the Jewish community in the Soviet Union, and the efforts from outside the country that were done to free them from the oppressive Soviet regime and help them regain the right to immigrate and to freely practice a religion.
Dec 6, 2022 1:00 PM ET
Sponsor: Hosted by Minneapolis Jewish Federation