With operations on five of the world’s continents, HIAS continues to assist individuals affected by persecution and the world’s major conflicts, including the genocide in Darfur, mass displacement in Latin America, the war in Iraq, and the increasingly threatening atmosphere for religious minorities in Iran.
RUSSIA and the FORMER SOVIET UNION
Tallinn, Estonia, opens it first synagogue since the destruction of its original synagogue during World War II, ending its run as Europe’s last remaining capital without a synagogue.
The Russian government publishes a “black list” of extremist publications and web sites and passes a law strengthening police surveillance powers over extremist groups. Some criticize the law as making it easier to crack down on other forms of dissent.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finds that the earth’s climate and ecosystems are being affected by emissions of greenhouse gases and warns of dire consequences unless immediate action is taken, asserting that the technology to reduce the accumulation of greenhouse gases already exists. In October, both the panel and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on educating the world about global warming.
The JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) reports on new cultural and social organizations in the U.S. formed by young Jews who emigrated from the FSU as children. Among the groups mentioned are the 79ers, a group in San Francisco whose name is a reference to the year in which many of them emigrated, and RJeneration, a group based in New York whose web site is tagged: “Born in the Soviet Union, Made in America.”