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Tag: Soviet Union

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  • As crucial vote nears, Ukrainian activists warn candidates: Don’t betray us

    May 20, 2014 | 10:11 am

    Even in normal times, Kiev can feel like a city perpetually under construction. Potholes are “fixed” with flimsy coverings, ramshackle scaffolding clings precariously to the sides of buildings, and tangles of electric wires seem ever ready to combust.

    But since the outbreak of...

  • Jacob Birnbaum, founder of Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, dies

    April 18, 2014 | 10:44 am

    Jacob Birnbaum, who helped launch the movement to free Soviet Jews, has died at 87. 

    The founder of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry was a native of Germany who escaped with his family to England after the Nazis came to power and later moved to France.

    Upon moving to New...

  • The real threat to Ukraine’s Jewish community

    March 26, 2014 | 10:27 am

    After years of fighting against anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and later in an independent Ukraine, the Ukrainian Jewish community is now confronting a new threat. This threat comes from an unprecedented effort by the Russian government and others to paint a false impression of...

  • For Noah Emmerich, era’s tension in ‘The Americans’ hits home

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    March 11, 2014 | 2:50 pm

    Noah Emmerich has earned critical kudos for his portrayal of Stan Beeman, a troubled FBI counterintelligence agent who remains unaware that his archenemies — married KGB spooks posing as typical Americans — live just across the street from his suburban Washington, D.C., home in...

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  • Ukraine’s Jews again caught between a rock and a hard place

    February 24, 2014 | 1:53 pm

    Shortly after the demise of the Soviet Union, I received an invitation to participate in a conference in the newly independent Ukraine. The organizers asked me to appear on the country’s version of “Good Morning America,” watched by millions of citizens. The anchorwoman interviewed...

  • Leon Shkrab: Bearing witness to Russians’ Holocaust stories

    By Ryan Torok

    January 2, 2014 | 3:21 pm

    For the past seven years, Leon Shkrab, 67, has volunteered every week at Bet Tzedek Legal Services, conducting intake interviews in Russian with Holocaust survivors who are applying for Holocaust reparations through the representation of lawyers at the pro bono law firm.

    For...

  • Why Bush shouldn’t talk to the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute

    By Rob Eshman

    November 12, 2013 | 1:07 pm

    A media firestorm kicked up last week after Mother Jones broke the story that President George W. Bush was to be the keynote speaker at the annual fundraiser of the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute on Nov. 14. 

    I blogged about the news as soon as I heard about it, and I’ve now...

  • Putin’s party loses key city to tough Jew with checkered past

    October 22, 2013 | 2:38 pm

    Growing up in one of the Soviet Union’s richest cities, Elena Chudnovskaya never imagined that she would be raising her daughter in a place so full of drug addicts that “the flowerbeds became strewn with syringes.”

    But that is what became of her downtown apartment block after the...

  • Putin basks in isolation over Syria as Obama’s charm falls flat

    June 19, 2013 | 10:24 am

    At the end of a tense two-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama - slumped over and serious - tried to lighten the mood with a joke about their favorite sports.

    "And finally, we compared notes on President Putin's expertise in judo and my declining...

  • Frank Lautenberg leaves legacy of American Jewry’s profile

    June 4, 2013 | 11:17 am

    This story originally appeared on JNS.org.

    Someone searching for the legacy of Frank Lautenberg, the longtime Democratic U.S. senator from New Jersey, might simply look to Baruch College in New York. Of the 1,900 Jewish students there, 60 percent are from the former Soviet Union,...

  • New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg dies at 89

    June 3, 2013 | 7:55 am

    New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, whose signature law facilitated a flood of Soviet Jewish emigration just prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, has died.

    Lautenberg, 89, died Monday morning of viral pneumonia, his office said.

    Two far-reaching laws bear the name of the...

  • Marathon bomb suspect eludes police, hunt shuts Boston down

    April 19, 2013 | 12:38 pm

    Black Hawk helicopters and heavily armed police descended on a Boston suburb Friday in a massive search for an ethnic Chechen suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings, hours after his brother was killed by police in a late-night shootout.

    The normally traffic-clogged streets of...

  • What was the Holocaust for the “people’s government”?

    Michał Zajda

    March 19, 2013 | 7:45 am

    First, one must ask the question, what was the so-called people’s government in Poland? Right after the Germans yielded, I am purposely avoiding the word ‘liberation’, the Soviets dictated their way of running the country. The system, which was forced on Poland, wasn’t Lenin...

  • Ukrainian city agrees to stop using Jewish headstones as pavement

    March 1, 2013 | 6:51 am

    The city of Lviv in Ukraine agreed to remove Jewish headstones currently used as pavement.

    The grave markers, from cemeteries destroyed by the Nazis during their occupation of Ukraine in the 1940s, will be moved to the only cemetery that was not destroyed during the Holocaust,...

  • ‘The Americans’ - Straighten up and spy write

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    February 20, 2013 | 10:59 am

    Joe Weisberg is an ex-CIA agent and creator of FX’s new spy thriller “The Americans,” which spotlights KGB agents deep undercover in the United States. But back in 1989, he was a Yale University graduate flying to the Soviet Union on his own clandestine Jewish mission. His goal was...

  • IDF to tackle Ethiopian troops’ adjustment problems

    February 8, 2013 | 1:36 pm

    A new IDF unit will work on integrating Ethiopian recruits, who are over-represented in army prisons.

    Army Radio reported that Brig.-Gen. Eli Shermeister, who heads the Israel Defense Forces Education and Youth Corps, set up the unit last month after senior IDF officers learned...

  • The power of maps, in history and politics

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    January 30, 2013 | 3:58 pm

    On display in my office is a globe that captures a perilous moment in time — the world as it existed on very eve of World War II.  The Japanese puppet-state of Manchukuo can be seen in what is today northeast China, but both Austria and Czechoslovakia have disappeared into the...

  • Kristina L.

    November 28, 2012 | 3:26 pm

    Most Jewish parents don’t name their child Kristina, but Ukraine — when it was still the former Soviet Union — was very secular. “So my parents just gave me what was the cool, European name of the moment, not wanting to give me some very traditional and typical Russian name like...

  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, top adviser to Kissinger, dies at 86

    November 21, 2012 | 1:25 pm

    Helmut Sonnenfeldt, the top adviser to former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, has died.

    Sonnenfeldt, who was credited with playing a key role in forming the Nixon administration’s policy of detente with the Soviet Union, died on Nov. 18. He was 86. His wife, Marjorie, said he...

  • Soviet gulag survivor’s courage

    November 1, 2012 | 10:40 am

    It was standing room only at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance, as a crowd packed the Hertz Theatre to hear Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich, the celebrated Russian refusenik and author, stress the importance of standing up for one’s principles. 

    The former prisoner of...

  • Obama and Israel: The record, the facts

    October 25, 2012 | 1:45 pm

    President Obama has been criticized for being wrong for Israel. Even in the third debate of the Presidential campaign, a lovefest toward Israel, which was mentioned 31 times by the candidates, Governor Romney managed to get in a couple jibes against Obama's Israel policy. "I think...

  • Rand ... Rosenbaum?

    By Rob Eshman

    August 15, 2012 | 10:54 am

    The first public cause to which Ayn Rand donated her own money was the State of Israel.

    I find this little-known nugget fascinating for two reasons.

    One, it contradicts the idée fixe of Rand as not really Jewish. And two, it contradicts the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

    Rand’s...

  • Holiday Card Etiquette

    By Julia Bendis

    December 23, 2011 | 12:47 pm

    When you receive your first holiday card, you realize that you’re officially in the holiday season, or as I like to call it, “The Holiday card nightmare”.  As we enter the holidays, we also enter the awkward holiday greeting card etiquette.  The other day a long-time friend asked me...

  • The Russian way of educating children.

    By Julia Bendis

    November 15, 2011 | 10:40 am

    A distant memory came to mind the other day.  Back in Russia, well technically it was in Riga, Latvia my parents decided to get my brother and I English lessons in the anticipation of our future move to the United States.  This was about a year before we actually immigrated, so we...

  • In Putin’s return, Russian Jews see stability

    October 4, 2011 | 1:18 pm

    Was Vladimir Putin’s carefully choreographed plan to return to Russia’s presidency in 2012 a big blow to democracy or a victory for stability?

    It all depends on who you ask.

    Most Russian Jews, it seems, say that Putin’s return after a four-year stint as prime minister is good...

  • Grandma and My Poor Kitten…

    By Julia Bendis

    August 9, 2011 | 6:23 pm

    The other day my kids asked me if I had a pet when I was a child, which made me tell them a little story about the kitten we had for a week.  This story went something like this:

    When I was about eight-years-old and my brother five, we begged our parents to get us a dog or a cat all...

  • Supermarket Memories…

    By Julia Bendis

    July 9, 2011 | 3:20 pm

    Every time I’m at the Supermarket, I start to remember my very first trip to one just like it.  When you come to America from the former Soviet Union and enter ANY grocery store, you are bound to go into shock.  As I’ve written before, the shelves of U.S.S.R.’s grocery stores...

  • Voicemail and My Father’s Outgoing Message…

    By Julia Bendis

    July 2, 2011 | 2:59 pm

    The other day a friend of mine told me that I am the only person she knows that still owns an answering machine…  Apparently, everyone else in the world has long done away with those and only using electronic voice-mail now.  I’m a bit slow with technology, I admit.  However, I...

  • Soviet Dentists and My Anxiety…

    By Julia Bendis

    June 13, 2011 | 9:46 pm

    Is it just me or do other people have a huge phobia of Dentists?  I don’t know why I have such a fear of them, but I do know that I’d rather have another baby than go to the Dentist.  Actually, now that I think about it, I would even prefer a colonoscopy to having someone put...

  • Oh Sarah Palin, what nonsense fell out of your mouth now…

    By Julia Bendis

    June 7, 2011 | 10:10 am

    Before I start, I’d just like to acknowledge that apparently, or should I say allegedly Sarah Palin’s knowledge of American history came from her misguided ten-year-old daughter.  That or she was raised by wolves in the forest.  That is the only explanation that I could find to her...

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