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Freeing Russian Jewry: The Refuseniks

This video tells the story of Soviet “refuseniks,” Jews in the former Soviet Union who were denied access to emigrate to Israel. Jews faced severe anti-Semitism and persecution and Natan Sharansky became a symbol of Jewish pride and strength. The international Jewish community united in protest of the Soviet policy against Jewish emigration and rallied for the Soviet Jews’ freedom. Known as “Let My People Go,” this movement was headed by prominent American rabbis Lookstein and Carlebach and the controversial Meir Kahane, and many others. The video features the story’s themes of Jewish unity, activism and longing for Israel.

Watch this video and use these prompts to foster discussion, critical thinking and meaning making.

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