Reflections on the 25th Anniversary of the Freedom March for Soviet Jewry

by Katherine Tick, Leadership Development Director

On December 6th, 2012, I attended the  celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Soviet Jewry Freedom March in Washington. This meaningful celebration conveyed the gravitas and impact this one movement had on so many people’s lives. Personal and heartfelt testimonials were presented from people who were influenced by or took part in the movement.

Listening to Morey Shapira bolstered the  extraordinary appreciation I have of the individuals who were a part of the refusenik community in the FSU—and subsequent generations of Russian Americans-- knowing that so many cared about them here, and worked for them for years, thus making me understand the thru-line of “peoplehood.”

Barry Cohn reminded me that we are brothers and sisters despite our backgrounds, education, geography, etc.  Furthermore, having an opportunity to  learn and celebrate the impact that the movement had on so many forces us to truly claim that together we can really move mountains or open the gates for people to make choices about how and where they want to live, in this case, to live in freedom as proud Jews.

The impact of this movement was palpable, and unfortunately is often forgotten. I have repeated the stories from this movement multiple times, and each re-telling brings a new set of tears and pride. Those who were part of this movement deserve credit and remembrance.

Throughout the evening, I also was moved by a few magical “wow” moments, including hearing the story Deborah Louria told about her first journey into the FSU and the affirmation that she received that the work she was doing was meaningful.

The Russian Jewish Community of the Bay Area is truly one of a kind. JCF's aim is to raise communal consciousness in the younger population of the Russian Jews, most of them products of late ’70s and early ’90s immigration tides. Culturally diverse and multilingual, our community aims to address complex questions about core values and responsibilities of being young Russian-American Jews. For more information, contact Irina Klay at



December 11, 2012


The Federation