|Cleveland and the Freeing of Soviet Jewry|
Resettlement (it was called "absorption" in Israel) welcomed more than 12,000 new Russian-speaking Clevelanders and assisted them in starting new lives here. It was a many-year effort led by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, with agency leadership by the Jewish Family Service Association. We see it as once of the finest chapters in Federation's long history.
It was supported by congregations and other parts of the organized Jewish community. Possibly more than a thousand volunteers helped. Yet our searches for an online resource that described Cleveland's noteworthy resettlement work found nothing.
At our suggestion Eti Ganim, who led the planning for the May 15,
2016 program A 20th Century Exodus, asked Federation if such a report was available.
We learned that one had been written in 2013 by Rachel Davidson, a Clevelander who was then a
Federation intern. With the permission of Federation and of Ms. Davidson we are pleased to web-publish
her carefully written essay.
Rachel Davidson writes:
"I wrote this report while I was a summer intern at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, when I was a college student studying Psychology at Oberlin College. I was asked to write a report on the lives of Jews in Cleveland who immigrated from the Former Soviet Union, and I found that there was little research done on their lives after coming to the United States.
This report drew heavily on documents found at the Western Reserve Historical Society, but also drew on interviews I conducted with eight Cleveland Jews who came from the FSU.
While I am proud of this report, there is certainly more research to be done, and I cannot claim in any way to be an expert in this story. I welcome any comments or corrections, and I am happy to help anyone who wants to continue this research."
Cleveland Resettlement report.
(It is a .pdf document. Adobe Reader required.)
Other resources on these pages:
May 15, 2016 Soviet Jewry program Soviet Jewry Oral History Project
On other websites: Soviet Immigration in the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History