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December 6, 2012 - the 25th anniversary of Summit Sunday

Summit Sunday rally for Soviet Jewry in 1987

On Sunday December 6, 1987, the day before President Ronald Reagan was to have a summit conference with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. an estimated 250,000 persons, most of them Jews, assembled on the Mall in Washington, DC. More than 1,500 Clevelanders were there.

These demonstrators had come to demand freedom for Jews living in the Soviet Union who were denied permission to leave the country.

Natan Sharansky, a "Refusenik" who spent nine years in a Moscow prison accused of being an American spy was freed in February 1986 and allowed to go to Israel. The protest was his idea, but it took Jewish Federations around the nation to make it happen. 

"Summit Sunday" was the largest protest ever on behalf of a Jewish cause in the United States.


We document this commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Summit Sunday held at Cleveland Hillel on the CWRU campus by making available six objects. (Note - links to other websites open in a new browser tab or window.)

  • Beginnings of the Soviet Jewry Movement in Cleveland
    Dr. Herbert Caron, a co-founder and leader in Cleveland's pioneering work to free Soviet Jewry  writes about the small group at Beth Israel - The West Temple and their intense work in the early years.
  • Federation's Facebook page on the event
    See below for the top half of the page.
    For the complete page, click here.
  • Summit Sunday of 1987
    Cynthia Dettelbach reports on pages 20 and 21 of the December 11, 1987 Cleveland Jewish News.
    For the story in the CJN Archive, view page 20.
    Page 21 is best viewed using the CJN Archive, available at low cost to CJN subscribers.
  • Summit Sunday 25 years later
    From the December 7, 2012 Cleveland Jewish News
    See below for the start of the story
    For the story in the CJN Archive, view the start and the continuation.
  • The video "Hear the Cry"
    Professor Michael Rand of Cleveland State University's School of Communications, who produced the 1998 documentary "Hear the Cry", spoke before the showing of this video. The 27 minute video features three of the founders, Drs. Herbert Caron, Daniel Litt and Louis Rosenblum, talking about the early years of the movement.
  • Essay by Natan Sharansky
    The December 6, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal included a essay by Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet Refusenik, prisoner and human rights activist, on the importance of the Free Soviet Jewry movement in hastening the end of the Cold War. click here


A Jewish Federation of Cleveland Facebookę page

To view the Federation Facebook page, with 28 additional photos, click here.


From the December 7, 2012 Cleveland Jewish News

For the remainder of the story, courtesy of the CJN Archive, click here.

Thanks to Dr Herbert Caron, Dr Louis Rosenblum and Dayan Gross for their help creating this page.

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