YU Museum is seeking your opinion about a major new exhibition under development, “Let These People Go: American Activism to Free Soviet Jewry.” We’ve put together survey …(5 minutes to complete!) which will help us shape the exhibition. You can fill it out at http://www.surveymonkey.com/YUMuseum.
To express our appreciation, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a $100 American Express Gift Card. You’ll need to enter your contact info for the drawing, but it won’t be associated with your responses.
About the Exhibition:
The American Jewish Historical Society and the Yeshiva University Museum, partners at the Center for Jewish History in New York City, are planning a major exhibition titled “Let These People Go: American Activism to Free Soviet Jewry.”
From the early 1960s until the end of the Cold War in 1991, ordinary American citizens mobilized the Jewish community, the American public, and the United States government to demand the open emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union. Soviet Jews were a discriminated minority — not allowed to fully assimilate, but forbidden from leaving. Through relentless grassroots activism across the United States, their plight became a central American concern and a major issue of contention between the superpowers.
The exhibit shows that the struggle to free Soviet Jewry was a fundamentally American story about how a minority community, concerned about its brethren abroad, used this country’s tradition of collective action to affect change. Using video, news coverage, photos, artifacts (bracelets, gum wrappers, jewelry), posters, first person narrative, letters and TV clips, the exhibition will point to how this struggle connected to and drew inspiration from other contemporary social movements, among them the civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, other ethnic struggles, and the anti-Apartheid cause.
And like these other stories, the exhibition will demonstrate that the struggle for Soviet Jewry ultimately had far wider implications than the immediate goal of freeing two million Soviet Jews — for by fighting to make an issue of the plight of an oppressed minority, the movement to free Soviet Jewry elevated human rights to a central concern of American foreign policy, and left us with a moral legacy we still feel today.