BGI Students Listen to Natan Sharansky in Boston at EMK Institute

Last month, BGI students had the distinct honor to listen to Natan Sharansky, one of the most eminent members of the Refusenik movement, speak in Boston at the EMK Institute. Paying homage to the role that Senator Ed Kennedy played in rescuing thousands of Russian Jews from the Soviet Union, Sharansky gave a brief history of his life story. BGI students were inspired to hear of Sharansky’s story, and the incredible outpouring so support that came from the United States and from college students throughout the country. The title of the discussion was “Democracy and Dissidents”, and Mr. Sharansky provided insight into his role as a dissident in the Soviet Union, and the future of world Jewry in the face of rampant anti-Semitism. At the end of the talk, Misha Vilenchuk and Daniel Shpilsky, both of whom are BGI fellows, were able to briefly speak with Mr. Sharansky. As co-founders of the Coalition Against anti-Semitism in Europe (CAASE), a new organization on college campuses throughout the Northeast, they informed Shransky about their participation in BGI, and also asked about how they might be able to recreate the same type of urgency for European Jewry that the Refusenik movement generated during the 1980’s. Sharansky responded by saying that students today live in a new era of communication, and spreading the message on social media must therefore be the primary vehicle through which such a message is spread. The students look forward to spreading Sharansky’s inspiration throughout the Brandeis campus, and within their BGI cohorts.