How 2,000,000 Jews Regained Their Identity
May 24, 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, Yom Yerushalayim, following the Six-Day War. For Jews in the former Soviet Union, the Six-Day War had enormous significance. It proved that Israel was a viable nation and sparked their interest in learning about Judaism, being Jewish and emigrating to Israel. This session will look at the situation prevailing for Soviet Jews in 1967 and how a small number of them launched a movement that gained worldwide support and ultimately brought about fulfillment of the desires to "Let My People Go" and "Let My People Know."
Phil Spiegel is a member of Congregations Beth Am and Kol Emeth. From 1985 to 1995 Spiegel served on the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews. During this time the he was chairman of the Social Action Committee of Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto and represented the congregation on the Jewish Community Relations Council. In 1985 and 1987 he traveled to Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan where he covertly aided refuseniks. Upon retiring from the electronics industry Spiegel did archival research and interviewed over 200 activists, political leaders, former refuseniks and prisoners of conscience in order to write Triumph Over Tyranny: The Heroic Campaigns That Saved 2,000,000 Soviet Jews. Since 2006 he has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Israel on the history of the Soviet Jewry movement.