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Growing up Refusenik: A Q&A with Maxim Shrayer on his new memoir

December 12, 2013 / 1 Comment
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Maxim Shrayer memoir - Leaving Russia Interview

[Update – Want to read this in Russian? Click here to read a translation of my Q+A on Booknik.ru] Memoirs about Soviet-Jewish life during the immigration period of the 1970s and 1980s have not yet saturated the memoir genre, so I’m excited to tell you about a new book that’s just come out this month. Leaving…

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Share your story! Looking for Soviet-Jewish immigration stories from the 1970s

December 11, 2013 / 1 Comment
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Early 1960s Soviet schoolchildren for Soviet-Jewish immigration stories

Hi guys, I’m really excited to tell you about funding I’ve received to do an oral history project on the 1970s immigration period!! I’ll be interviewing people and posting it as part of an online exhibit on Soviet-Jewish immigration stories. Here’s where you can help – I’m looking for Soviet-Jewish immigrants to interview who left…

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Has the Soviet Jewry movement anniversary forgotten Soviet Jews themselves?

February 19, 2013 / Comments Off on Has the Soviet Jewry movement anniversary forgotten Soviet Jews themselves?
March for Soviet Jews pin - commemorating Soviet Jewry movement anniversary

Have you joined the virtual march to commemorate the real march for Soviet Jews yet? On December 6, 1987, some 250,000 people rallied in Washington, DC, to demand immigration rights for Soviet Jews. If you missed it, you can “remember” by joining the virtual march. There are a lot of people talking about the Soviet…

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An A-Z of Russian hospitality to Jews for Shimon Peres: The outtakes

December 5, 2012 / 4 Comments
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Moscow Jewish Museum of Tolerance logo - Peres at Jewish Museum in Moscow

You might have heard something about Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Jewish museum in Moscow? It’s just opened and Peres was among the important so-and-so’s in attendance. At some point in the proceedings, overcome with emotions dredged up from childhood, he opened his mouth and and the following came out: “My mother sang to me in…

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An interview with Swimming in the Daylight author Lisa Paul

July 17, 2012 / Comments Off on An interview with Swimming in the Daylight author Lisa Paul
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Cover of Swimming in the Daylight by Lisa Paul

I am really excited about today’s post – an interview with Lisa Paul, whose memoir, Swimming in the Daylight, is about her time in Moscow and friendship with Soviet refusenik and dissident Inna Meiman. In 1985, after returning from her trip, Lisa went on a hunger strike to bring attention to her friend’s plight and…

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CLOSED: A hunger strike! A memoir! A giveaway!

July 13, 2012 / Comments Off on CLOSED: A hunger strike! A memoir! A giveaway!
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Cover of Swimming in the Daylight by Lisa Paul

I’m very excited to announce that I’m doing a book giveaway in the next issue of the Soviet Samovar newsletter. Those of you who follow my page on Facebook can also sign up through the giveaway tab on the page. In 1985, an American student named Lisa Paul went on a 25-day hunger strike, to…

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Soviet Jewry books: A reading assignment

February 6, 2012 / 4 Comments
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Russian Reading List for trip

I made a reading list! Or “curated” if you want to be fancy about it. You all should go read it. It’s for the Jewish Book Council and covers what I consider some of the best reading on Soviet Jewish history. The books are: When They Come for Us, We’ll be Gone: The Epic Struggle…

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Radio days of the revolution: Goodbye Soviet Russia, hello North Korea

March 25, 2011 / Comments Off on Radio days of the revolution: Goodbye Soviet Russia, hello North Korea
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Vintage radio representing BBC Russia

After 65 years, BBC Russia shut down its radio service this week, with all the attendant “end of an era” sighing. That era ended 20 years ago, but hey, who doesn’t appreciate an opportunity to wax nostalgic. If you read anything at all about dissidence in the Soviet days, tuning into illegal radio broadcasts is…

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Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 4: Soviet Dinner, or Sausage Nostalgia

August 31, 2010 / 2 Comments
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Soviet-era dinner with tongue, shuba (or herring under fur coat), all following Refusenik documentary screening

This is the last of my posts on the Refusenik documentary screening. Catch up on the earlier posts: Part 1: Defining Moments; Part 2: The Rescuers and the Rescued; and Part 3: We Weren’t All Refuseniks. To give you a sense of how this little Soviet dinner event happened, it really started out as a…

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Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 3: We Weren't All Refuseniks

August 18, 2010 / Comments Off on Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 3: We Weren't All Refuseniks
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*This is the third in the series on the Refusenik documentary. Read the first two posts here (Part 1: Defining Moments) and here (Part 2: The Rescuers and the Rescued). As I wrote in my first post on the Refusenik documentary screening, the evening gave me a chance to see the different levels of knowledge…

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