Former Soviet Union

Once Refugees, Now Veterans

Nov 09, 2020

This Veterans Day, HIAS is highlighting the service of refugees in the U.S. armed forces.

Both History and Present Show Why We Should Help Refugees

Jan 27, 2020

One student tries to find new ways to get involved in the American Jewish movement for refugees and asylum seekers.

Playwright Sees Today's Immigration Issues in Her Family History

Jan 17, 2020

Bena Shklyanoy transformed her family history in the former Soviet Union into a play whose themes are connected to HIAS and today's immigration issues.

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.