Remembering the Soviet Jewry Vigil

James Besser writing in The Jewish Week:

Remembering the Soviet Jewry vigil in Washington – and a rare moment of Jewish unity

The Soviet Jewry movement was in the news over the weekend because of Henry Kissinger’s astoundingly offensive statement to former President Richard Nixon that “if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern.” Thirty-six years after he resigned in disgrace, we’re still learning just how anti-Semitic – and how bigoted toward just about every other minority – Nixon and his cronies really were.

But in Washington there was another reason to remember that unique moment in Jewish history.

On Friday a number of Jewish groups marked the 40th anniversary of the start of the daily vigil for Soviet Jewry in downtown Washington, which went on for an amazing 21 years.

… For years, assorted Jewish groups maintained a quiet but persistent daily vigil across the street from the Soviet embassy, just a few blocks from the White House, reminding the world that millions of Jews were still trapped in that inhospitable land.

… I’m wondering if this kind of thing can happen in today’s harsher, more divisive climate. Are there still causes that unite an increasingly fragmented Jewish community?

The complete article can be read here.