A Modern-Day Exodus

The Ohio Historical Connection has approved an historical marker at Beth Israel – The West Temple. The marker, “A Modern-Day Exodus” will honor the accomplishments of the Cleveland Committee on Soviet Anti-Semitism, started in 1963 by a small group of Beth Israel congregants. This first group ever established to advocate for the freedom of Soviet Jews was based at BI-TWT; it later became the Cleveland Council on Soviet Anti-Semitism and grew to international strength under the leadership of Louis Rosenblum z”l. The proposed wording on the marker was written by Miriam Rosenblum, his daughter.

Dr. Rosenblum, a prominent NASA scientist and one of the founders of Beth Israel – The West Temple, passed away April 4 at age 95. As the members of his family and BI-TWT planned a memorial service, they thought it was a perfect time to recognize the work of this small group of volunteers that grew into a world-wide movement, eventually helping some 1,500,000 Jews to emigrate from the repressive Soviet Union by the end of the 20th Century. Accordingly, Rabbi Enid Lader, Board President Peter Sackett, employees of the Western Reserve Historical Society, and Arnold Berger, Editor of the Cleveland Jewish History website, sent a request to the Ohio History Connection, along with supporting documents, photos, films and the book When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone; then waited for a response. The favorable reply came just in time to be announced at the memorial service on Sunday, September 22.

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Western Reserve Historical Society are cosponsors of the historical marker. It is expected to be dedicated in front of BI-TWT on Cleveland’s West Side in September 2020.

More information about Lou Rosenblum can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Rosenblum and https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2019/04/louis-rosenblum-95-nasa-innovator-led-drive-to-free-soviet-jews.html. A short history of the Cleveland Council on Soviet Anti-Semitism is on this website at https://thewesttemple.com/our-history/ccsa/, and Rosenblum’s own story is at http://www.clevelandjewishhistory.net/sj/index.htm.