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Twenty-five years ago, on the eve of the Washington, DC summit between Soviet Premier Gorbachev and President Reagan, Baltimoreans joined an estimated 250,000 people demonstrating on the national mall in an unprecedented display of solidarity for Soviet Jewry—and in doing so changed the course of history. The Jewish Federations played a pivotal role in organizing the event and bringing tens of thousands of participants.

Associated leadership led much of the action in Operation Exodus, the national movement to free Soviet Jewry. Following this historic event, more than 1.5 million Jews left Russian for lives of freedom.

Operation Exodus demonstrated the power of The Associated and the Federation movement to change the world. From 1990 to 1997, this campaign successfully raised $1 billion to rescue and resettle Soviet Jews in Israel and North America. The 25th anniversary of Operation Exodus presents an occasion to celebrate this tremendous achievement and the impact it has had on our community to date.

For more information on The Journey, Together week of events, please contact Mary Haar or call 410.369.9311.

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Refusenik Art

Fired from his job as an engineer in an aircraft factory for applying for an exit visa to Israel, and forced into limbo by the Soviets’ notoriously loose stipulation that he had access to state secrets...Read more >> 

Justice, Sharansky-Style

Western media had frequent audiences with him in the mid-1970s, and he paid for it—with a conviction under the false pretense of being a CIA agent. The mock trial marked the fourth anniversary of his arrest. Read more >>

Democracy in Action

Shoshana Cardin recalled the general pessimism among national Jewish organizations when Natan Sharansky, former Prisoner-of-Conscience and cause célèbre of the Soviet Jewry movement, proposed that 400,000 people... Read more >>
Personal Connections and Musical Families

Two refusenik stories, separated by a space of more than a decade, weave a tale of Baltimore activists’ devotion to reuniting families. Edward Gorin (a.k.a. Edick), then a violinist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, was harshly separated from his daughter...Read more >>
Providing A Voice

“Because I spoke English, (Soviet immigrants) would come to me and ask for my help” in their dealings with, for example, the city or state bureaucracy,” he said. “I understood that if you have an organization, rather than being an individual, you have a voice.”
My Experiences as a Refugee

...the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in Ukraine turned her world upside down. Eager to flee the oppression and devastation in her homeland, Irina and her family packed everything they owned to head to America. Read more >>
Sweet Song of Success
Janna Friedman

Janna Friedman of the Baltimore Music School: “Our students
play in competitions like the American Fine Arts Festival and the Carnegie Hall recitals.”

Two Cultures – One Family

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The agencies funded by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore on Park Heights Avenue helped schedule Boris’s first job interview. Read more >>
Family to Family
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Acclimating to a new country, new language and new community could be a very lonely endeavor which made these “family to family” connections incredibly valuable. Read more >>

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Gordon Center Kickoff | 8:30 p.m.
The Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gywnnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills

Having started playing on a toy piano when he was three, Russian born Ethan Bortnick is now 13, a piano prodigy, and holds the Guinness World Record for being the youngest musician to host a solo concert tour.$36 in advance, $42 at the door.Register >>


Family Festival | 1:00 p.m.
Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
3506 Gywnnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills

Performances by the St.Peterburg Trio (Washington Balalaika Society), Kalinka Dance Ensemble of Baltimore, Vlad Fridman and the UMBC Russian Choir, Russian treats, Russian PJ Library Story Telling, Let My People Go Art Exhibit, screening of the film Refusenik and a special presentation by four-time gold-medal winning swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg. Email Gail Zuskin for more information and sponsorship details.

:   10-14.
CineFest Screening “My Dad is Baryshnikov” | 7:30 p.m.
The Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gywnnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills

The William and Irene Weinberg Family Baltimore Jewish Film Festival and Cinefest bring the best of national and international film of Jewish interest to Baltimore. A coming-of-age movie directed by Dmitry Povolotsky and starring Dmitri Viskubenko as Boris Fishkin, who lives with his swinging single mother and attends the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in which it's de rigueur to be a male dancer rather than an exception for young men. $11, $13 at the door. Register >>
Commemorating Our Journey to America | 9:30 a.m.
Weinberg Park Heights JCC, 5700 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore

A thoughtful morning honoring a generation of older immigrants and the Russian veterans of Jewish Baltimore.
Email Bella Vilsker to pre-register.

Comedy on the Rocks Young Adult Event | 7:00 p.m.
Temple Oheb Shalom; 7310 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore

“When people hear I’m Russian, they always assume I’m either in the Mafia or good at math. Unfortunately, I’m just a…”

Russian comedian Vicky Kuperman commands the mic while you taste the finer foods and vodkas of the mother land. $8/ticket – all proceeds to support the Baltimore-Odessa Partnership. Register now >> or contact Gail Zuskin for more information: 410.559.3505.

Celebratory Gala featuring Natan Sharansky | 7:00 p.m.
Lord Baltimore Hotel; 20 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore

Dine with Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and a long-time refusenik and figurehead for Jewish activists and democratic dissidents in the Soviet Union.

Musical performances, dancing and a rich taste of Russian culture. $125/ticket, formal attire requested. Register now >> or contact Mary Haar for more information: 410.369.9311.