Former Soviet Union

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Soviet Jews Push Back on Trump’s Executive Order

Feb 03, 2017

“Refugee status is not merely a stamp on paper; it's a state of mind and heart which forces one to risk it all for better life. We feel affinity and kinship to those in the same plight.”

Omnibus Bill Extends the Lautenberg Amendment

Dec 23, 2015

Last week President Obama signed into law a massive $1.1 trillion bill to fund the government. Nestled deep in the bill was a small provision that makes a world of difference to families who are persecuted due to their religious beliefs.
Julie Smolyansky's last days in Kiev before her parents were resettled to the U.S.

America Welcomed Me. Why Not the Syrians?

Sep 30, 2015

Julie Smolyansky isn’t surprised that the idea of resettling thousands of Syrian refugees in the United States makes some people uncomfortable. She faced similar suspicion when her family was resettled in the United States from the former Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.
Julia and her husband with her "American parents"

Adopted “American Parents” Helped Soviet Refugee Thrive

Aug 13, 2015

“Despite how difficult it was in Kyrgyzstan, I never considered applying for asylum before I came to America,” Julia Vinsky said. She calmly described a childhood that involved beatings, broken ribs, concussions and even a kidnapping. She sums up her parent’s attitude succinctly: “you are Jewish, so this is how it is.”

Author Lev Golinkin Recalls Flight From Ukraine

Jul 31, 2015

In a recent letter, Lev shared his mother’s reasons for leaving Ukraine. “I didn’t want to be afraid of the government anymore, to live in fear of them going to my home,” she told him. “I didn’t want to stand on the schoolhouse steps and worry to death about explaining to my 9-year-old son why being a Jew was bad.”
White House Champions of Change, June 25, 2015 (Rachel Nusbaum/HIAS)

White House Honors Refugee "Champions of Change"

Jun 26, 2015

Protecting refugees is part of who we are as Americans. And the refugees who find welcome and protection in the United States contribute immensely to their new home.

Such was the sentiment at the White House on Thursday, where a crowd of NGOs, refugee advocates and top Obama Administration officials gathered to honor ten “champions of change” who made a difference in the lives of refugees.

HIAS Steps in to Take Over NY Resettlement Operation

Jun 18, 2015

HIAS has officially taken over the Federation Employment & Guidance Service’s (FEGS) resettlement program in New York after FEGS declared bankruptcy for unrelated reasons.

The Mounting Human Cost of Ukraine’s Conflict

May 21, 2015

A new report, published jointly by HIAS and the Brookings Institution, examines the Ukrainian Government’s response to the IDP crisis thus far, and offers a number of key recommendations for dealing with the situation in both the near term and into the future.
Lenny Krayzelburg

Lenny Krayzelburg: Swimming to Success

May 19, 2015

To mark Jewish American Heritage Month, HIAS.org spoke to noteworthy Jewish-Americans with a refugee background. The second in this series features Lenny Krayzelburg, a HIAS client during the last great wave of Soviet Jewish migration who became a four-time Olympic gold medalist for the U.S.

Lev Golinkin on "A Backpack, a Bear and Eight Crates of Vodka"

Dec 23, 2014

Lev Golinkin, author of the memoir "A Backpack, a Bear and Eight Crates of Vodka," discusses his family's 1989-90 journey from Ukraine to the U.S. during an appearance at HIAS headquarters in New York City.