UNION OF COUNCILS: Who We Are

Who We Are

UCSJ was founded in 1970 as a coalition of local grass-roots "action" councils supporting freedom for Jews of the Soviet Union. As the Soviet Jewry movement gathered steam in the 1970s, more councils were formed, more individuals became involved, and UCSJ grew to become the largest independent grassroots Soviet Jewry organization in the world.

UCSJ comprises 8 member councils in North America. UCSJ's main office is located in Washington, D.C., with an additional office in Highland Park, IL. In the former Soviet Union, UCSJ sponsors seven bureaus: in Moscow, Almaty (Kazakhstan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Lviv (Ukraine), Riga (Latvia), Tbilisi (Georgia), and Minsk (Belarus).

The UCSJ is the largest independent grassroots organization advocating for Jews and human rights in the former Soviet Union (FSU). By monitoring and advocating the causes of Jews and the persecuted minorities, UCSJ's activity also promotes the human rights and security of all. We accomplish this by advocating to government officials in the US and abroad on behalf of the victims of persecution in the FSU, providing material and spiritual programs, publicizing antisemitism, fascism, xenophobia, religous persecution, and human rights abuses.

UCSJ publishes an annual report, in English and Russian, "Antisemitism, Xenophobia and Religious Persecution in the Russian Regions." Its reports, including its weekly email newsletter, "bigotrymonitor," can be found on its website: fsumonitor.com. The reports of the Moscow Helsinki Group can also be found on UCSJ's website. UCSJ and MHG were partners in a 4-year project, "Human Rights Monitoring in the Russian Regions," supported by U.S.A.I.D. UCSJ also receives support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

In the Fall 2003, UCSJ was awarded a $1.3 million grant by the European Commission of the European Union to mount a 3-year public "Campaign to combat racism, xenophobia (including antisemitism and Islamophobia) and religious persecution in the multi-cultural Russian Federation." The project began in March 2004 and comprised monitoring nationwide, a hate crime hotline, national and regional legal defense clinics and the development of curricula for schools and the criminal justice system on the subject of racism and xenophobia. The project was managed by UCSJ's now defunct Bureau on Human Rights in Moscow in coordination with the Moscow Helsinki Group.

UCSJ BOARD OF DIRECTORS

UCSJ OFFICERS

Lawrence Lerner, President
Micah H. Naftalin, CEO, National Director, Treasurer and Secretary
Judy Patkin, UCSJ Vice President
Susan Futterman, UCSJ Vice President

UCSJ BOARD MEMBERS

Yosef I. Abramowitz
Rabbi Stuart Altshuler
Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz
June Daniels
Sheila Galland
Richard Geduldig, Esq.
Shirley Goldstein
Genya Intrator
Dr. Joel Sandberg
Eva Seligman-Kennard
Cindy Singer
Greg Smith
Marillyn Tallman

EX OFFICIO MEMBERS

(Former Presidents remain ex officio Members of the Board)
Pamela Braun Cohen
Si Frumkin

UCSJ MEMBER COUNCILS

California

Southern California Council For Soviet Jews
Chair: Si Frumkin
818-769-8862
Publication: Graffiti for Intellectuals

Illinois

Chicago Action for Jews in the Former Soviet Union
Chairperson: Susan Futterman
847-579-8444
Publication: Lifeline

Massachusetts

Action for Post Soviet Jewry (Boston)
Executive Director: Judy Patkin
781-893-2331
Publication: Post Soviet Jewry Report

Nebraska

Omaha Committee For Soviet Jewry
Chair: Shirley Goldstein
402-334-1055


UCSJ INTERNATIONAL BUREAUS
Baltic-American Bureau on Human Rights (Riga)
Belarus-American Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law (Minsk)
Caucasus-American Bureau on Human Rights (Tbilisi)
Central Asian Human Rights Information & Monitoring Network (Washington/Moscow)
Harold and Selma Light Jewish Center for Human Rights (St. Petersburg)
Kazakhstan-American Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law (Almaty)
Kyrgyzstan-American Bureau on Human Rights (Bishkek)
Russian-American Bureau on Human Rights (Moscow)
Ukrainian-American Bureau on Human Rights (Lviv)
UCSJ STAFF - U.S. BASED
Micah H. Naftalin, National Director

Sarah Brown, Office Manager
Nickolai Butkevich, Research and Advocacy Director
Norma Skeete, Financial Officer
Dr. Leonid Stonov, Director, International Bureaus on Human Rights & Rule of Law
UCSJ STAFF - INTERNATIONAL BUREAU DIRECTORS
Natalya Ablova, Bishkek
Mikhail Avrutin, Riga
Yakov Basin, Minsk
Natasha Zanegina, Moscow
Rabbi Ariel Levine, Tbilisi
Leonid Lvov, St. Petersburg
Vitaliy Ponomarev and Abdufattox Mannapov, CAHRIN contacts in Moscow
Meylakh G. Sheykhet, Lviv
Evgeny Zhovtis, Almaty

UCSJ: Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union
P.O. Box 11676 * Cleveland Park * Washington, DC 20008
(202) 237-8262 * Fax: (202) 237-2236
No Solicitations Please!

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