The Soviet Jewry Movement in America
The fight to liberate the Soviet Jews strengthened and united the American Jewish community.
This unity was most evident in December 1987 when Gorbachev made his first visit to Washington. Over 250,000 people gathered in front of the White House to protest on behalf of Soviet Jews, the largest gathering ever for a Jewish cause. The event was also a celebration, with Shcharansky and many other famous prisoners present. It was clear that, though the numbers of emigrants were still low, that the movement was achieving its goals. The next day, Reagan pointed out to Gorbachev how large and vociferous the rally had been. Within the next three years, the floodgates opened. With the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel and in America, the movement could claim what few social movements ever can, that it had unequivocally achieved its goal.
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