Knesset to mark ‘opening of gates’ for Soviet Jewry today

The event will take place in the famous Chagall Hall with opening remarks from two of the most famous “Prisoners of Zion,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.

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October 19, 2015 01:24
1 minute read.
Yuli Edelstein

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Some 350 guests are expected to attend a festive reception, sponsored by Limmud FSU and The Jerusalem Post, in the Knesset on Monday afternoon to commemorate “the opening of the gates” for Soviet Jewry a quarter of a century ago.

The event will take place in the famous Chagall Hall with opening remarks from two of the most famous “Prisoners of Zion,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.

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Also addressing the audience will be Immigrant Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who made aliya from the former Soviet Union in 1990, as well as US businessman and philanthropist Matthew Bronfman, chairman of Limmud FSU’s international steering committee and the son of Edgar Bronfman, late president of the World Jewish Congress, which played a pivotal role in opening the gates.

The speeches will be followed by a panel discussion with former prominent refuseniks, Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich and Sylva Zalmanson from the dramatic Soviet Jewry hijacking plot of 1970 known as The First Leningrad Trial, and Ephraim Kholmyansky, a leader of the Russian Jewish revival movement and teacher of Hebrew.

The panel will be moderated by Limmud FSU founder and chairman Chaim Chesler, who formerly served as executive director of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry.

“The purpose of the event is to draw public attention to the heroic struggle of the Soviet Jewish resistance movement to reunite with their brethren in the Jewish homeland,” said Chesler. “That was the first revolution. The second revolution was their aliya to the Jewish state, which they then made a better place to live in, taking leadership positions such as cabinet ministers, Speaker of the Knesset and chairman of the Jewish Agency.”

Coinciding with the event will be an exhibition of some 50 historic photographs marking highlights of the Soviet Jewry campaign created by curator Asher Weill with the help of the Post’s archives.

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