The Story Of the Refusenik Project
The Lookstein Center is continuously looking for educators, projects, and ideas to support, enhance, and disrupt the Jewish educational ecosystem. When we met Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov, a renowned Israeli filmmaker dedicating her life to sharing the story of her parents and the population of Soviet Jews, an obvious partnership was born.
The story of Soviet Jewry is one of Jewish solidarity,
While researching for her film Operation Wedding, Anat witnessed first hand that Jewish solidarity can change the course of history. She found rare archives, interviewed former key KGB members, and uncovered a web of lies, rewritten facts, and political secrets. She found that the collective memory of the plight of Soviet Jews is fading and that there is little documentation.
The Lookstein Center has created a collection of lesson plans and educational activities to complement these findings, and to teach the next generation that all Jews are responsible for one another and that every single individual can make a difference.
We also opened a public call for additional educational materials. We have been overwhelmed by the responses, not only by
Lesson of the Month
Zionism and Aliyah
More than half of the commandments in the Torah are dependent on the Jewish people’s dwelling in the land and the books of the prophets speak about their return to the land from exile. Throughout the diaspora, Jews longed and prayed to return to their homeland, every year saying “לשנה הבאה בירושלים” – next year in Jerusalem.
Various historical circumstances, however, prevented them from fulfilling this dream. The Jews of the Soviet Union are but one such group, who did everything they could to make it to Israel and never gave up the hope of achieving this goal. The modern State of Israel has allowed for this dream to become a reality, and has become a safe haven for Jews escaping persecution around the world.
In this lesson, students will understand the importance Judaism places on living in the Land of Israel as well as the complexities involved in doing so today.
To view the full lesson, click here.
The creation of The Refusenik Project would not have been possible without the support, commitment, and passion of our generous donors and partners. Thank you.
Frank Brodsky ● Gary Charlestein ● Wendy Eisen ● Nativ ● Glenn Richter ● Adele and Joel Sandberg ● Morey Schapira ● Sandra Spinner ● Barbara Stern ● Union of Councils for Jews in the former Soviet Union (UCSJ) ● Enid Wurtman