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The Passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg

We at the Union of Councils for Jews in the former Soviet Union are saddened by the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg. He was a devoted public servant and a friend of all  those around the world fleeing from religious discrimination; in particular, the millions of Jews from the former Soviet Union who owe him a […]

Siberian City of Tomsk to Return Wooden Synagogue to the Jewish Community

JTA — The Siberian city of Tomsk will return an old, wooden synagogue built by Jewish soldiers to the Jewish community. The synagogue and surrounding complex will be handed over to the Jewish Community of Tomsk after the municipality finds alternative housing for some 15 families who are currently living there, Mayor Nikolay Nikolaychuk said, according […]

Legionnaires Day in Latvia Draws Protesters

On Saturday, March 16th, over 1000 Latvians honored Nazi-allied World War II soldiers. Violence almost erupted between the Latvian participants and the ethnic Russians, who are a minority in the country. The police used force, dragging some participants away and detaining four, to prevent any tumult. Read the AP article here. March 16th is considered […]

Lautenberg Amendment, Originally for Soviet Jews, Serves as Lifeline to Iranian Religious Minorities

(JTA) – When the Lautenberg Amendment was introduced in 1990, it provided a mechanism for hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews to exit their crumbling country and immigrate to freedom in the United States. Since 2004, it has served as a lifeline for religious minorities fleeing the Islamic theocracy of Iran. The amendment, named for […]

On 60th Anniversary of Stalin’s Death, He Remains Admired

MOSCOW (AP) — Devotees of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, whose brutal purges killed millions of innocent citizens and made his name a byword for totalitarian terror, flocked to the Kremlin to praise him for making his country a world power Tuesday, while experts and politicians puzzled and despaired over his enduring popularity. Communist Party chief […]

UCSJ Ukraine Bureau Director Promotes Jewish Cultural Preservation in Lviv, Officials Respond

Recently, officials in Lviv, Ukraine have announced that they will no longer use Jewish headstones as paving materials. In 1947, Soviet authorities built a local market using Jewish headstones as pavement for it. Meylakh Sheykhet, UCSJ’s Ukraine Bureau Director, was instrumental in lobbying for the headstones’ removal. The gravestones will be transferred to the only remaining […]

January 13, 1948: A Dark Day in Soviet Jewish History

JTA— By Adam Soclof In 1948, prominent Yiddish theater actor and director Solomon Mikhoels died in what was later revealed to have been a political assassination ordered by Joseph Stalin’s security police chief Lavrenti Beria. (The death murder was believed by many, including his daughters, to have been carried out in the form of a staged car accident). A similar account […]

Masha Sergeeva: Using Art to Promote Modern Jewish Culture

JDC— Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia in the years after the fall of Communism, Masha Sergeeva, 21, grew up with limited understanding of—or pride in—her Jewish identity. That’s all changed now. “My uncle, my mom’s brother was a refusnik, and went to Israel in the first aliyah in the ‘80s,” explains Masha. “But my mom worked as an engineer at a […]

Remembering the Refusenik Movement

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN (CNN) — Driven by desperation, Marina and Lev Furman stepped out of their home in Leningrad and took a 20-minute walk into uncertainty. Trailed by KGB agents, they bundled up and set out in the weak winter light for Palace Square, site of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. They brought signs demanding freedom. And […]

Honoring Vladimir Bukovsky: A Champion of Human Rights

December 30, 2012 marked the 70th birthday of Vladimir Bukovsky – one of the most prominent pioneers of the Movement for Human Rights. Vladimir started his civil service back at school. It is difficult to overestimate the role of this man who underwent the man-made hell of special psychiatric institutions, years of prisons and concentration camps and deportation […]