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Soviet Jewry

Shannie Goldstein

Shannie Goldstein used her creativity to outsmart the KGB, bringing information to and from refuseniks in the Soviet Union.

Roz Garber

Roz Garber evaded the KGB to bring hope to refuseniks in the USSR.

Pamela Cohen

Called “the general of a fighting army” by jailed dissident Natan Sharansky, Pamela Cohen rescued countless refuseniks from Soviet Russia with her grassroots efforts.

Ruth Emmerman Peizer

Ruth Peizer’s love affair with Yiddish began when her parents, Riva and Abraham Immerman, sent their only child to Chicago’s Arbeiter Ring [Workmen’s Circle] school at age nine, and then to the Sholem Aleichem Institute where she graduated valedictorian at age 18. Since moving to (West) Seattle in 1949, Ruth has become Seattle’s preeminent Yiddish instructor, teaching at the University of Washington in the 1980s and through the Jewish Federation today. Ruth’s knowledge of Yiddish has impacted her entire life through Yiddish culture including her adoration of Yiddish theatre, literature and music. Yiddish has also opened many doors all over the world for Ruth and her husband, Dr. Samuel Peizer, from her sponsorship of Russian refusniks seeking asylum in Seattle to her sending humanitarian aid to the Baltics since 1992.

Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor is born

February 18, 1980

Regina Spektor gets "lost in the sounds."

Interview: Vlada Bilyak on young, Soviet identity in the US

I spend a lot of time thinking about Jewish identity: what it means to be Jewish, what kinds of obligations I have because I identify as a Jew (if any), and what kinds of factors moderate or mediate the ways in which Jewishness and Judaism can be understood. Because of this, I really enjoyed watching Vlada Bilyak’s documentary about Jewish identity for young people from the former Soviet Union.

Donna E. Arzt, 1954 - 2008

Recalling her undergraduate career at Barnard College, where she studied anthropology with the great anti-racist scholar Franz Boas, Margaret Mead remembered vigorous arguments over "whether or not Jews had a 'chromosome' for social justice." Mead never met Donna Arzt. But in her a genetic disposition to the appeal of tikkun olam was evident, in the course of a life devoted to deploying the law in behalf of progressive causes of special concern to the Jewish people.

Alla Denisenko, 1952 - 2008

Alla Denisenko was born on January 28, 1952, in Omsk, a Siberian town in the Soviet Union. When she was eight years old, the family moved to Ryazan, Central Russia. In Ryazan, Alla went to school and met the love of her life, her future husband Sergey. After finishing high school, Alla entered Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, English Department and upon graduation started working as a teacher of English at a high school in Moscow. In 1974 Alla and Sergey got married.

Moving Inward: bringing liberation movements into the Jewish community

Act out, through tableaux vivants, the ways Jews took what they had learned from the Civil Rights Movement and other liberation movements and used these insights to change the Jewish community.

Founding of Women's American ORT

October 12, 1927

Women's American ORT was founded in a Brooklyn kitchen.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Soviet Jewry." (Viewed on October 27, 2016) <>.


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