If you or your family have stories about the Soviet Jewish experience that you're interested in sharing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I have cousins [Zoya Gisburg Garburg and her family] in Israel, now in Kiryat Biyalik for for many years in Kiryat Shmona, who came to Israel in 1991. My father's first cousin - Zoya's father - and his wife visited Seattle in 1989, but my extended family could not get them visas to come to the US, so they went to Israel. They have been hard-working and raised two daughters and now have 5 grandchildren and another on the way.
I found out on a recent trip that they credit coming to Israel with Zoya and her daughter being alive. They were close to Chernobyl and have serious thyroid problems which were only treated seriously after their arrival in Israel...
I visited refuseniks in May of 1989, with Judy Balint giving us names of people to visit. It was a few months after Julie Morris of Spokane had gone. She was visibly followed to shake her up, though I was not."
Zoya's family before leaving Belarus in mid to late1980's.
Zoya and her older daughter Gala Garburg received special medical treatment in Israel because of what they had suffered by being close to Chernobyl. Gala is a nurse working on her Ph D, married with three children. The younger daughter, Ola, is married with two sons and a daughter on the way. Both daughters live in Harish. Zoya and Boris moved to Kiryat Bialik several years ago from Kiryat Shmona, where Boris worked for Teva Pharmaceuticals and Zoya at Hamashbir.
Zoya's parents, Yosef and Sima Ginsburg, when they visited Seattle in 1989.
Yosef was my father's [Sid Nelson] first cousin, and also first cousin to his sisters Sara Efron and Gussie Stusser, both very active in the Seattle Jewish community.
Dina, Zoya, and Boris in January of 2019.
Here is the transcript for this Herman Kleiner Oral History clip that was used as the October 19th Mystery Voice:
"...from '89 to 1995 or so, we were able to aid in the resettlement of some 33 Jewish families from the former Soviet Union. In the Tacoma Jewish community probably spent $125,000 to resettle these folks. We worked with the Jewish Family Service in Seattle. We secured their apartment before they came. We stocked the refrigerator. We purchased used tables, chairs, everything. And when they came we would pick them up at the plane. We would bring them from the plane. They had just arrived from Moscow. We would record everything on a videotape and bring them to their apartment. It was absolutely one of the most wondrous parts of our lives."
Dr. Edward A. Stern, z"l was a physicist and professor at the University of Washington who advocated for the refuseniks, even visiting the USSR to help and learn from them directly.
In our exhibit "Dr. Edward A. Stern: Scientist & Activist," the section "A Voice for Peace and the Oppressed" discusses his work for Soviet Jewry in greater detail. See it here.