As Passover approaches, the Jewish Federation of San Diego County would like to take a moment to reflect on Operation Exodus, as this week marks the 25th anniversary of this remarkable moment in history – with significance to our local and international Jewish community.
Just 25 years ago, Federation teamed up with global partner— Jewish Agency For Israel, the leading organization responsible for bringing Jews to Israel, both then and now. Together, they helped more than one million destitute Russian Jews make Aliyah. Just like we come together today, the San Diego Jewish community pulled through in the 1990s – at a time when we were needed most - to make a major impact on the lives of Jewish communities around the world.
Our local Jewish community came together to garner a great deal of charitable support to aid exodus operations, as well as to collect donations for thousands of new immigrant families and to assist refugees in building their new lives – with hundreds of refugees resettling in San Diego.
“This was one of the best moments that I’ve witnessed in our local Jewish community, even to this day. It truly is a highlight of my 18-year career with Federation,” said Miriam Norten, head of Legacy Society and Missions. “Almost everyone in the Jewish community got involved. Donations of pots, pans, sheets, blankets, and all household items imaginable poured in from concerned community members who were eager to help.”
Serendipitously, Federation’s involvement in Operation Exodus 25 years ago spurred the beginning of our deep-rooted relationship with Sha’ar HaNegev, San Diego’s sister region in Israel. At that time in Sha’ar HaNegev, there were unprecedented amounts of youth living on their own in youth villages, called Ibim, without family and with limited access to resources. Federation stepped in to help the young Russian Jews in need; the first juncture that led to a long-standing relationship with our sister city.
This Passover, we reflect on both the ancient and modern-day exodus, and the power of our amazing community. thank you for all you do.
See below note from Jewish Agency for Israel President, Misha Galperin.