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LET MY PEOPLE GO

Lesson plans and activities for educators
about the struggle to free Soviet Jewry 1948-1991

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Nativ organization was established in 1952 at the initiative of the then Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, in order to preserve the connection between the State of Israel and the Jews in the Diaspora. Over the years, Nativ has worked in various ways to strengthen the ties of the Jews with the State of Israel and helped them emmigrate from the countries in which they operated.

From its inception until the early 1990s, Netiv worked, among other things, for the aliyah of the Jews of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, while conducting an international struggle for this purpose and with moral and economic assistance to their aliyah activists.

 
 

Nativ has the exclusive professional authority in charge of examining the eligibility for aliyah of Jews born in the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Central European countries under the Law of Return, and is authorized to issue immigration visas for them.

 

In the early 1990s, Netiv established Israeli cultural centers, which operate under the auspices of the diplomatic missions, including various projects in the fields of education and culture. Today, there are nine centers in the area: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Kiev, Kharkiv, Odessa, Dnieper, Chisinau and Minsk. The Israeli Cultural Centers serve as a bridge to its culture and language, and present its history, heritage and cultural and scientific achievements to all citizens of the countries of the region, including the public entitled to immigration under the Law of Return, to deepen their knowledge of the State of Israel.

 
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Neta Briskin-Peleg, head of Netiv: "Part of the Netiv tradition is to document the entire history associated with the aliyah fighters, which changed not only the face of history in the world but the state of Israel, only following the activists' struggle for aliyah and the fall of the Iron Curtain. We must continue to tell the legacy of aliyah fighters, which is almost unknown in terms of education among young people in Israel."

Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov

Creator of the program: research, content, website design

The vision for this website and the educational program was formed by Anat after she finished producing the 21-award-winning documentary "Operation Wedding", which tells the heroic story of her parents, members of the "Operation Wedding" group in an attempt to escape from the USSR in 1970 by hijacking an empty plane.

The brutal arrest, trial and sentencing (two death sentences) caused a stir around the world, bringing the issue of the Soviet Union's struggle for freedom to emmigration, a major issue in the human rights movement in the 1970s.


Anat was born in Israel in 1980 and studied film in England, at the school that is on the list of the five best in the world for film: London Film School.

In the first years after graduating, Anat directed many video clips for well-known Israeli artists such as Yirmi Kaplan and Julietta, and promotional films for companies such as Hamashbir Latzarchan, Clinique and more. But after a life-threatening car accident, she decided to devote all her time to a long-standing ambition: to tell her parents' story in the cinematic language.

She created the educationl program Let My People Go in Heberw and English.
She is currently developing a screenplay based on her father's book "Prison Diaries" and her documentary "Wedding Operation." 

"I carry both my parents’ names.

Growing up, everybody knew about this event, but over the years it started to fade away from the public's collective memory. Though there are many films trying to describe this fascinating story, they only give a short 5 minute description and a full length film about this event that was made in Russia 2009, calling the group members "terrorists" and try to re-write history – false imaginary history, or as my father calls it "documentary fairytales".  

I found rare archives, interviewed former KGB key members that claimed that: "…There was no problem of Jewish immigration in the USSR.

Only about 20 people in the whole USSR were denied exit visa." (Philipp Boblov, former KGB deputy chairmen)

I realized that the faith of public memory is on my shoulders. This is an inspiring story that remind us all that civilians have power and even one person can change history, but would have to be willing to pay the price…"

Morey Schapira

 Fundraising for social media marketing and distribution

 

Morey Schapira was a leader in the Soviet Jewry activist movement in the US.

He believes that the successful liberation and Aliya of more than 2 million Jews from the FSU to Israel was a modern day miracle. As such, he believes that this historical event should be taught to Jewish children around the world.

He has spent the past two years working with Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov working on Marketing and Distribution the Refusenik Project to inform Jewish educators, teachers, camp counselors, etc. 

The Marketing Project involved utilization of Google, direct mail newsletters, Facebook, education conferences, newspaper interviews and mailings to raise awareness of these free resources that were available to Jewish educators in English and Hebrew.

In the late 1960s, Schapira became active in the movement to free Soviet Jews and quickly became a leader. In 1971 he became president of the New England Student Struggle for Soviet Jews, and became a national vice president of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry in 1974. While in Boston he also co-founded Action for Soviet Jewry of Boston and Medical Mobilization for Soviet Jews.

In 1973-1974 Schapira was the editor and publisher of "The Guide to Jewish Boston," one of the first Jewish City Guides in the United States.

From 1979 to 1984, Schapira was president of the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews and from 1984 to 1986, was national president of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews.

He regularly testified before the United States Congress; in 1986, for example, he testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East.

In a lecture at Stanford University in 2004 Natan Sharansky referred to Schapira as a "Five-Star General in the Army of Students and Housewives."

Jewish LearningWorks

Sponsors for social media marketing and distribution

 
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A non-profit organization in San Francisco, California that has been promoting learning and teaching on Jewish topics for over a century. Thanks to the organization, Mori was able to raise a budget for the dissemination of the educational project on the Soviet Union's struggle for social media in English and now also in Hebrew.

jewishlearning.works

  • Shirley and Leonard Goldstein Support Fund

  • Beit Hatfutsot