Ever since I started writing about America’s movement to save Soviet Jews, I’ve periodically heard from people who took part in the campaign and went to protests either as kids or teenagers. I don’t think that Soviet Jews like me, who eventually came to the U.S. because of this movement, really understood how important it was for Jewish identity back then. It was a formative experience, helping bring them together and crystalizing their politics. I mean, Jews here really believed the hype. They really thought that the Soviet Union might genocide us, unless they did something. So it gave them a real real-or-death mission.
Wondering if any of you were involved with the movement? Did you or your family go to the protests? Did you get together with people in your synagogue to write letters to Congress? Maybe you were a bit more radical and chucked some bombs into Aeroflot’s offices? What did you think about Soviet Jews? What effect did it have on you?
PS: Maybe this CNN report on the 1987 Freedom Sunday, which drew several hundred thousand Jews from all over America to Washington DC in time for Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit, will help shake out a few memories.
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