All Press Releases for October 23, 2015

Knesset Marks 25 Years Since "The Opening of the Gates" in the Former Soviet Union; The Event Included an Opening of an Extraordinary Historic Exhibit, Created by Limmud FSU and the Jpost

The Knesset on Monday marked the 25th anniversary of the "opening of the gates" in the former Soviet Union and the subsequent exodus of Soviet Jewry.

    NEW YORK, NY, October 23, 2015 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The event featured speeches from former Prisoners of Zion, including Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Edelstein, as well as Absorption Minister Ze'ev Elkin and Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler and organization international steering committee chairman Matthew Bronfman.

Sharansky paid tribute to the Limmud FSU organization for working in Israel and abroad to preserve the Jewish identities of Russian-speaking Jews. To mark the occasion, Limmud FSU and The Jerusalem Post exhibited 50 historic photographs from the Soviet Jewish exodus in the Knesset.

"I see great importance in commemorating the struggle to Let My People Go," said Edelstein. "The younger generation has no idea what happened behind the Iron Curtain. During these days, when we meet mainly at funerals of friends from that time, we must think together how to preserve that heroic and life-altering period."

Edelstein thanked Matthew Bronfman for organizing the event. Bronfman's father, Edgar Bronfman, assisted in the release of Prisoners of Zion and refuseniks, including Edelstein, from the former Soviet Union.

"We all stand on your shoulders," Bronfman said. "We stand on the work you've done, the heroism you've displayed throughout your career. To be here with you, the Speaker of the Knesset, the head of the Jewish Agency and the minister of immigrant absorption is really a testament to all those who fought on behalf of Soviet Jewry, and that the Soviet Jewry movement has transformed not only the State of Israel but the Jewish people."

Minister Elkin noted that he made aliya 25 years ago from the former Soviet Union. "Those giants, some of whom were my teachers, paid a heavy price in their lives, and for this I am grateful to them.."

Referencing the current overall tense mood in Israel, especially in Jerusalem, Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU, told the audience, "Despite all the difficulties and uncertainty, we all were confident that people will come to this unique and important occasion. The event here is real, and so the true heroes that are with us today, and people always come to see the real things."

Chesler, who organized the event, took part in "Memorializing the heroic struggle of prisoners of Zion," a fascinating panel discussion that also included Ephraim Kholmyansky, a leader of the Russian Jewish revival movement, as well as prominent refuseniks Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich and Sylva Zalmanson.

Limmud - the volunteer-driven Jewish learning experience started in Great Britain 30 years ago. Since 1990, Limmud has spread to Jewish communities across the world.

The first Limmud Conference took place in the UK in 1980, awakening inspiration in hundreds of activists who returned home full of enthusiasm. This resulted in the idea of organizing local Limmud events. The Jerusalem Post reported in 2000 that "Every place that has Jews should have its own Limmud."

Limmud is a dynamic, pluralistic gathering of Jewish learning. For 30 years, Limmud seminars and conferences around the globe, from Canada to Australia, Switzerland and Turkey, as well as Israel, have been attracting Jews of all ages and backgrounds, including those who have studied Jewish topics intensively and others who have very little practical knowledge.

Seminars, lectures, workshops, and discussions focus on an enormous range of topics, from social and political trends within Jewish communities and around the world, to Israeli politics; from Jewish cooking; from traditional texts, Yiddish theater, dance and music.

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The exhibition includes a photograph of Sharansky and his wife Avital meeting former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev after he had been released from prison in 1986.


Matthew Bronfman.“We all stand on your shoulders,” Bronfman said to the former prisoners of Zion and refuseniks. “We stand on the work you’ve done, the heroism you’ve displaye