The "Freedom Sunday" 25th Anniversary
Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of "Freedom Sunday" the Historic Rally for Soviet Jewry
A presentation based on Beit Hatfutsot’s exhibit Let My People Go! The Soviet Jewry Movement 1967-1989 featured at a major event hosted by the National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene in New York City on December 10, 2012. The evening entitled “Songs for Freedom” commemorated the 25th Anniversary of the historic December 6, 1987 rally in Washington DC that prompted President Ronald Reagan to demand of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last General Secretary of the Soviet Union, to let Jews emigrate from the USSR.
The star studded musical performance celebrating the Soviet Jewry movement, its leaders and their accomplishments was held on the third night of Hanukah. A moving candle lighting was led by Cantor Sherwood Goffin of the Lincoln Square Synagogue. The event was produced by Bryna Wasserman and Zalmen Mlotek executive director and artistic director, respectively, of Folksbiene. It featured Ron Rifkin, Tony award-winning actor, star of television and film; Grammy Award winner Frank London and Band; Elmore James and Eleanor Reissa, stars of the Yiddish stage, as well as a special presentation from the Broadway-bound hit musical “Soul Doctor” celebrating the life and works of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
Honorees included Rabbi Arthur Schneier, spiritual leader of New York’s Park East Synagogue, founder of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and a pioneer in the struggle to rebuild Jewish religious life in the former Soviet Union; Sam Kislin, an émigré from Ukraine and a successful businessman known for assisting Jewish families from the Former Soviet Union; Dr. Misha Galperin, President and CEO of the Jewish Agency International Development, who emigrated from Ukraine thanks to the efforts of the Free Soviet Jewry Movement.
Beit Hatfutsot of America continues to travel Let My People Go! The Soviet Jewry Movement 1967-1989 to communities across North America, under the auspices of Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. On January 16th the exhibition will open in Miami, Florida, which was an important center of activity on behalf of Soviet Jewry. The exhibit will be displayed at the University of Miami Wesley Center and sponsored by the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Jewish Studies. From Miami it will travel to Washington DC, Detroit, Michigan, Los Angeles and San Diego, California as well as Atlanta, Georgia.