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A Charles Eisenman Award for the
Cleveland Council on Soviet Anti-Semitism


The marker, soon after it was erected, and the author

MAKING HISTORY was the headline of the front page story in our Cleveland Jewish News of October 18, 2019 when it reported that an Ohio Historical Marker would be erected in front of Beth Israel - The West Temple.

A MODERN-DAY EXODUS honors the Cleveland Committee (later Council) on Soviet Anti-Semitism (CCSA) formed here in 1963 and also honors the resettlement campaign (1975 - 2003) in which our Jewish community— the Cleveland Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Service Association and other agencies, schools, congregations and thousands of volunteers — helped Russian-speaking Jews in our region begin new lives.

The marker's first side, in its last line, tells of the global importance of the CCSA. By the turn of the 21st century, the efforts begun here helped 1.6 million Jews leave the former Soviet Union. The marker's second side mentions the CCSA's major local impact. Between 1975 and 2003 an estimated ten thousand Soviet Jews were resettled in Cleveland.

The award was announced in October 2019. COVID-related production problems delayed the marker's delivery until November 2020. Cold weather delayed its erection until March 2021.

The marker's dedication ceremony was held on Sunday, October 22, 2023 at The West Temple. When Dr. John Grabowski, Historian of  the Western Reserve Historical Society, spoke he lauded what had started at The West Temple. He closed saying:

If you see a list of notable things that began in Cleveland and CCSA is not on it, ring that person's (organization's) bell.

The list of recipients of our Jewish Federation's highest award, the Charles Eisenman Award for Outstanding Community Service, does not include the Cleveland Council on Soviet Anti-Semitism, a human rights campaign with world-wide impact that began here 60 years ago.

I am ringing a bell.

Arnold Berger  October 26, 2023



Update March 27, 2024
We recently learned that the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, following its long-standing policy of honoring only active organizations and leaders, cannot grant an Eisenman Award to the Cleveland Council on Soviet Anti-Semitism which is no longer active. This page will be a reminder of the application and perhaps an aid to other recognition.


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