HIAS Scores High on Forward 50 List

Posted on Mon, Nov 01, 2010 at 16:17 pm

(New York, NY) – If ever there was doubt about the contributions of immigrants to this country, this year’s Forward 50 dispels that. Each year, the Forward newspaper lists “men and women who have made a significant impact on the Jewish story in a Jewish way.” This year’s list includes four HIAS ex-clients, three from the Former Soviet Union. And since, there is hardly a Jewish family in the U.S., which has not been touched by HIAS, no doubt HIAS was instrumental in bringing family members of most of the Forward 50.

This year’s Forward 50 notes “Top 5 Picks,” a list that is topped by Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, which has revolutionized the way we search and perform other online functions. Brin came to the U.S. with his parents in 1979 with the help of HIAS; last year he marked the 30th anniversary of their arrival with a $1 million gift to HIAS.

Also among the Top 5 is Misha Galperin, the longtime executive of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, who recently moved to the Jewish Agency of Israel, where he will hold a senior position in Global Jewish Affairs. Assisted by HIAS in his arrival to this country in 1976, he is the first Russian-Jewish émigré to rise to the top leadership ranks of the Jewish organizational world.

Gary Shteyngart, the celebrated author of the “Russian Debutante’s Handbook” and the recently published “Super Sad True Love Story,” came with his parents to the U.S. in 1979 with the assistance of HIAS. His mother, Nina Shteyngart, was a longtime HIAS employee until her retirement.

Eric Kandel, the Nobel laureate neuroscientist, came to this country from Austria in 1939. A pioneer in the physiology of memory, Eric and his brother, Ludwig, arrived in the U.S. as children, a few months ahead of their parents, Herman and Charlotte – all HIAS clients.

HIAS celebrates the achievements and migration history of the more than 400,000 Jews from the USSR and FSU who came to this country with the agency’s assistance through myStory: www.mystory.hias.org. By posting stories, photos and art, HIAS’ ex-clients stay connected with their history, one another, and the Jewish community. In 2011, HIAS’ 130th anniversary year, look for myStory to expand to include migration stories of all HIAS ex-clients, including those from World War II and since.