John Kerry at 1985 protest
John Kerry at 1985 protestPublic Relations

A traveling exhibit celebrating 25 years since Jews were finally allowed out of the Soviet Union and documenting their achievements in Israel was launched on Sunday at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

The exhibit, which was organized by Limmud FSU, features photographs and stories of Russian Jews who left the former Soviet Union in 1990 and integrated in Israel, while recalling the massive protests and efforts made by world Jewry to secure their release from the Soviet regime.

Taking part in the opening ceremony was US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder, and others.

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan was also present, and related how he was born in an area that is now Ukraine but used to be part of the Soviet Union, and precisely through Russian help was able to get out.

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, was one of the famous refuseniks featured in the exhibit, along with Israeli politicians Yuli Edelstein (Likud) and Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu).

Sharansky noted how the struggle to free Russian Jews united world Jewry, and how "students and housewives defeated the KGB," a fact which "reminds us how powerful we are when we are united."

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) also took part in the event, and said that in a united effort the Jewish people can achieve the "impossible."

Just as efforts back then freed one million Jews from the clutches of the Soviet Union, "now we have to struggle against the BDS and the attempts to isolate Israel and to mock the Jewish state and the Jews," he said, noting he was encouraged by the success against the Soviets.

The exhibit concentrates "on the days when we struggled to free the prisoners of Zion...thank G-d we succeeded," said Chaim Chesler, founder of Limud FSU.

Chaim Chesler, Yuval Steinitz, Natan Sharansky, Dudu Fisher
Chaim Chesler, Yuval Steinitz, Natan Sharansky, Dudu FisherEli Mandelbaum
Natan Sharansky with Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Shamir
Natan Sharansky with Shimon Peres, Yitzhak ShamirPublic Relations