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Soviet Jewry

  • Who Has Putin’s Ear? Jewish Meeting Sparks Intrigue

    During the height of the Cold War, analysts trying to penetrate the thick veil of secrecy surrounding the Communist Party leadership would spend days poring over grainy photos, desperately searching for significance in such seemingly trivial indicators as proximity to the party’s general-secretary at parades and swirls in photographs that might indicate airbrushing. The practice… More ▸

  • Hillel Moves to Campus, Private Sector in Former Soviet Union

    The hip-hop music was the same, as were the Israeli flags, the “boker tov” wake-up call and the close-knit, friendly atmosphere born of years spent together in Jewish summer camps. But a recent Hillel leadership conference in this northern suburb of St. Petersburg differed from similar gatherings in North America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways…. More ▸

  • News Brief

    Charles Vanik, a former U.S. congressman who co-authored a historic law designed to pressure the former Soviet Union into allowing freer emigration of Jews and other dissidents, died Thursday. He was 94 and living in Jupiter, Fla. Vanik, an Ohio Democrat, wrote the Jackson-Vanik amendment to a 1974 trade law with Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson,… More ▸

  • U.S. Kids at Camps in FSU Get in the Swim on Heritage

    Spending part of last summer at a Jewish camp near St. Petersburg was somewhat of a culture shock for Texas-raised Jenny Mayants and she can’t wait to go back. Mayants, 17, spent several weeks at the camp speaking Russian, her native tongue but one she left behind as a child when her parents moved to… More ▸

  • Fears of Major Budget Cuts Have FSU Jewish School Heads Sweating

    A feared $1 million slash in the Jewish Agency for Israel’s budget for Jewish schools in the former Soviet Union would seriously impact non-Orthodox educational options, local leaders are saying. According to sources in Jerusalem and Moscow, the Jewish Agency will decide later this month whether to cut 40 percent of its annual $2.5 million… More ▸

  • In Finland, Immigrants from FSU Revitalize a Dying Jewish Community

    Before Tamara Tuuminen left her native Moscow in 1978 with her husband, an ethnic Finn, she distanced herself from her Jewish roots. In the Soviet Union in the 1970s, “it was dangerous to be involved” in Jewish life, said Tuuminen, 51, a specialist in immunology and clinical microbiology who lives in Helsinki. “You could lose… More ▸

  • News Brief

    One of Russia’s two chief rabbis backed his country’s graduation from the Jackson-Vanik amendment. “Jews in Russia enjoy real equal rights,” Rabbi Berel Lazar said at a meeting Wednesday in Moscow with U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.). More ▸

  • News Brief

    A U.S. Jewish lawmaker called for an end to the Jackson-Vanik Agreement. Speaking at a Moscow news conference Wednesday, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) said the 1974 agreement was “a relic of the Cold War” and should be lifted. More ▸