Entire World Will Hear Our Voice
Novoye Russkoye Slovo [New Russian Word]
May 21, 2003
The Russian-speaking Jewish community of New York gathered in Brighton
Beachs Seaside Park on May 18 to express their solidarity
with Israel and to celebrate Israels 55th birthday. Several
thousand people attended the event.
The community first gathered to demonstrate its solidarity with
Israel on May 18 last year. More than 15,000 Russian-speaking Jews
attended that event, which took place under unrelenting rain.
The organizers of both events were the newspaper Novoye Russkoye
Slovo, the radio station Narodnaya Volna and the Russian-American
community leader Oleg Gutnik. Sponsors included PRAVO, Russian-American
Jews for Israel, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Congress
of Bukharian Jews of America, the Council of Jewish Émigré
Community Organizations and the largest American Jewish organizations.
All of these groups assembled for a general celebration.
Celebration!? The gathering was intended to be a celebration. May
18, a sunny spring day, would have been a celebration if it were
not for two suicide bombings in Jerusalem that morning.
Each speaker repeated: Stop the terror now! Members
of the audience held signs reading: Criminals and their sponsors
must be held accountable.
Throughout the event, audience members cried out in unison: We
are united with Israel! The people of Israel are alive!
Israel and America are friends! Today and forever!
The audience sang the national anthems of the United States and
Veterans, high-school students, computer programmers and housewives,
businessmen, grandparents and grandchildren all gathered at the
event with the desire to express their solidarity with Israel, a
country where all of them have relatives.
Oleg Gutnik, the moderator of the event, gave the microphone first
to mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.
Dobroye utro, druzya [Good morning, friends], said
Bloomberg, greeting the participants in Russian. For 55 years,
Israel has been forced to militarily defend itself. And today it
is the only country in the world, where people die every day in
terrorist attacks. New York and the United States, led by President
Bush, offer our total support to Israel. We always will! New York
will never forget the victims of terrorist attacks in Israel or
our victims in the attack on the World Trade Center. We are obligated
to defend the lives of our people forever and in any part of the
In the Jewish tradition, Rabbi Moshe Solovei read a prayer that
is always read by the head rabbi in Israel on Independence Day.
Then Oleg Gutnik spoke: Every one of those present here can
ask themselves: why did I come here today? What does
Israels 55th birthday mean to us, to our children and to our
grandchildren and to Jews throughout the world? We didnt have
Israel before 1948. We didnt have a country. And today, we
have a country, which defends us and which we are obligated to support
and defend. And that is why I am here. I am with you, Israel!
Valerii and Lilia Weinberg, the publishers of the newspaper Novoye
Russkoye Slovo addressed the gathering.
Friends, we hold sacred America, the country that we live
in, said Weinberg. But we also love Israel. It is suffering
terrible misfortunes. Parents in Israel wish that their children
could go to school and lead normal lives, rather than being threatened
with violence at every turn. Intifada has lasted 31 months -- 3100
victims: 700 Israelis and 2400 Palestinians. Negotiations have led
nowhere. The Palestinian leaders move their pieces around the chess
board, while they continue to kill.
Today is May 18, said Weinberg. May the Jewish
people and Israel live forever.
Lilia Weinberg announced that Novoye Russkoye Slovo collected $150,000
last year and contributed to a fund for the construction of a hospital
Alon Pinkas of the General Consulate of Israel in New York spoke
next. He expressed gratitude to the veterans of World War II in
the crowd. Thanks to the victory over fascism in 1945, it
became possible to establish a Jewish state, said Pinkas.
Pinkas said the Israeli government attached importance to the Russian-speaking
Jews act of solidarity. Israel feels eternal gratitude toward
Jews throughout the world. However, we hope that some day
we will all gather in Jerusalem, Pinkas said.
There were presentations by members of the State Assembly of New
York and the City Council of New York. Every speaker emphasized
the urgency of the struggle against terrorism and noted that Israel
and the United States are in the forefront of that struggle.
All the speakers commented on the growing and multi-faceted role
of the Russian-speaking community in New York: from politics to
business and culture. Today, the Russian-speaking community is an
integral part of the citys life, including the citys
struggle against terrorism and support of Israel.
Professor Igor Branovan, president of the Russian-American Jews
for Israel, called for a moment of silence for the victims of the
terrorist attacks in Israel. Then he read a letter from Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon to the gathering, in which Sharon expressed appreciation
for the support of Russian-speaking Jewish community in the United
One of the most emotional moments at the event was the presentation
by Valerii Savinkin, the father of a victim of the attack on the
World Trade Center, Vladimir Savinkin.
Two representatives of the Council of Jewish Émigré
Community Organizations, Vice President Sam Kislin and acting Director
Alik Bruk-Krasnii spoke about the beginning of preparations for
a group of Russian-speaking Jews from New York to travel to Israel
on a solidarity mission in November of this year.
Ronni Vinnikov, a representative of Sokhnut, read letters from
Natan Sharansky, the minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora affairs
and Leonid Bard, the acting director of the American branch of the
World Congress of Russian-speaking Jewry.
As the event came to an end, those assembled unanimously adopted
a resolution to support the Israeli government.
Translated from Russian by Elizabeth LeBras.
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