NEW YORK (JTA) — More than 1 million people have signed on to join a "virtual march" commemorating the Washington rally 25 years for the Soviet Jewry movement, according to a coalition marking the 1987 event.
Freedom 25, a coalition of 20 organizations, was aiming to attract 1 million people online to remember Freedom Sunday, when some 250,000 demonstrators gathered on Dec. 6, 1987 to demand that Jews be allowed to leave the Soviet Union. The rally advanced the Soviet Jewry movement, eventually allowing millions of Russian Jews to leave for the United States, Israel and elsewhere, and influenced U.S. foreign policy.
The coalition is hoping to educate a younger generation about the protest, which Freedom 25’s founders believe has not been given the significance it deserves.
“Despite such a record of unprecedented achievement and its enduring effect on contemporary society, ‘Freedom Sunday’ and the movement in general are for the most part a footnote in history,” Daniel Eisenstadt, a founder of Freedom 25 with Michael Granoff, both of Philadelphia, said in a statement. “They are not taught in any elementary or secondary schoolbooks; they aren’t even a part of the curriculum at Jewish schools. In short, the history and lessons of the Soviet Jewry movement have slipped off the Jewish and national communal agenda.”
Freedom 25 will work with Jewish schools, camps and organizations to integrate education of the event. Its website provides information on the march.