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PRESIDENT BUSH TO JEWISH LEADERS: SOVIET JEWRY WAS MATTER OF HIGHEST PRIORTY TO THE US

 

Global Jewish leaders from WJC, Conference of Presidents, and Limmud FSU convene to honor heroes of Russian Jewry

NEW YORK, May 20 – Leaders from the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Limmud FSU gathered at the Harvard Club of New York City Thursday night to honor the late Edgar M. Bronfman and pillars of the Soviet Jewry movement.

A letter was presented at the event from former President George H. W. Bush, who said he and then-President Ronald Reagan had considered the matter of Soviet Jewry “to be the highest priority” in the 1980s and that the cause “had sympathy at the highest levels of our government.”

“We are proud to honor the heroes of the Soviet Jewry movement for their strength, bravery, and unyielding commitment to fighting for Jewish rights in Russia, said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder. “On a personal level, I pay tribute to Edward Bronfman, my predecessor as president of the World Jewish Congress, for his life’s work as an advocate for the Jewish people.”

Edgar M. Bronfman is celebrated for, among other accomplishments, initiating diplomacy with the Soviet Union, leading to the legitimization of the Hebrew language in Russia and the freedom for Soviet Jews to practice their religion and immigrate to Israel.

“As I travel, people come up to me wherever I go and start talking about my father and the great impact he had on the Jewish people,” Limmud FSU International Steering Committee Chair Matthew Bronfman, Edgar’s son. “My father was dedicated to the Jewish people – and he was a great leader and an inspiration. He fought like crazy for Jewish justice. He was a giant in many ways – and in many ways he was just my dad.”

Other speakers included Soviet Union human rights activist and refusenik Natan Sharansky, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency; and Stephen M. Greenberg, chairman of the Presidents’ Conference; and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Presidents’ Conference.

The World Jewish Congress, founded in Geneva in 1936, is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations. The Presidents’ Conference is comprised of 51 national Jewish organizations and addresses issues of concern to the Jewish community. Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union) engages young Russian-Jewish adults, empowering them to take ownership of their identity and to connect with their communities

Attached please find some photos from the reception at the Harvard Club of New York City on Thursday night. 

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Photo #1: (From left) Limmud FSU Founder Chaim CheslerJulius Berman, board chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany; Soviet Union human rights activist and refusenik Natan Sharansky, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency; Limmud FSU International Steering Committee Chair Matthew Bronfman; JCS Group LTD President and Limmud FSU Board Member Michal Grayevsky; and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Presidents’ Conference. (Photo Credit: Noa Grayevsky.)

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Photo #2: (From left) Limmud FSU International Steering Committee Chair Matthew Bronfman with Soviet Union human rights activist and refusenik Natan Sharansky, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency. (Photo Credit: Noa Grayevsky.)LFSU-1-2Photo #3: (From left) JCS Group LTD President and Limmud FSU Board Member Michal Grayevsky; Jerusalem Post Group CEO Ronit Hasin-Hochman; Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler; Limmud FSU International Steering Committee Chair Matthew Bronfman; World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. LauderSteve Linde, former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post; and Limmud FSU Co-Founder Sandy Cahn. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Limmud FSU.)