Fourth Biennial Conference
Jerusalem, October 1992
The Jews of the former Soviet Union are now free. They are not free from economic hardship and instability. Nor are they free from anti-Semitism. But they are free to remain or leave.
The Jews of Eastern Europe are the heirs to the great national tradition of Yiddish culture and Zionist aspiration. But their inheritance was destroyed by the oppression of years of Communist tyranny and the devastation of the Holocaust. Today they are struggling to recapture their inheritance and to reconnect to the Jews of Israel and the world.
Surveys have confirmed that the overwhelming majority of Jews are not religious. In connecting to their Jewish identity, they are seeking ways to affirm their Jewishness in a secular, humanistic and cultural way.
Both in Israel and in the former territories of the Soviet Union, they are being confronted by ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox missionary activity. Their vulnerability and nonfamiliarity with Jewish options is being exploited. They are being manipulated, misinformed and denied information about the many Jewish ways to be a Jew.
We, the members of the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews, acknowledge our responsibility to serve the needs and integrity of the Jews of the former Communist Empire.
We urge the national institutions of Israel and the leadership of Jewish communities throughout the world to respect the right of freedom of choice and the integrity of former Soviet Jews wherever they may reside. We urge that they provide a pluralistic approach and guarantee equal access to all Jewish options.
We believe that Secular Humanistic Judaism is a positive option for former Soviet Jews.
We stand ready to serve the needs and the future of Russian Jewry.