Ukraine at War: Fighting For Freedom, with Natan Sharansky and Amb. Sergiy Kyslytsya

Monday, May 16, 2022


Monday, May 16, 2022 at 6pm ET
Registration Required – Suggested Donation to UJA Crisis in Ukraine Fund

IN PERSON Registration – Click Here
Center for Jewish History – 15 W 16th Street, New York, NY

LIVESTREAM Registration – Click Here
Live on Zoom

Ukraine at War is a program designed to inspire critical thinking and responsible analysis. Presented as a signature event of Jewish American Heritage Month, the presentation will create an opportunity for the public to engage with a topic that is at the center of world affairs and on the minds of Jewish Americans across the country. The history and contemporary manifestations of antisemitism underscore our collective commitment to educate and always remember—a responsibility with enduring relevance for Jews and other minority groups who face persecution today.

In person attendees will be required to present proof of vaccination for COVID 19 at the door and wear a face mask at all times while inside the building.

More About The Panelists

Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, a first generation immigrant from Soviet Ukraine, is a journalist living in New York City. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, New York Times, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, Vox, Vogue, Salon, Glamour, Business Insider, Los Angeles Review of Books, Jewish Review of Books, and Religion & Politics, among others. Avital is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and does pastoral work alongside her husband Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya— Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN has served in this position since February 2020. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary maintained a distinguished career as a public servant as Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Directorate-general for the United Nations and Other International Organizations of the MFA of Ukraine, Deputy Director-general of the Second Territorial Department, Minister-Counselor of the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America, and many other notable roles, including Chair of the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO, among others.

Mark B. Levin— Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, National Coaliltion Supporting Eurasian Jewry, is one of the Jewish community’s leading experts on national and international issues. Mr. Levin received the Order of Merit medal in 2008 from Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, and served three times as a Public Member of the U.S. Delegation to meetings of the Organization on Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and as a Public Advisor for the U.S. Delegation to the 2004 Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism.

Natan Sharansky born in 1948 in Donetzk, Ukraine and graduated from the Physical Technical Institute in Moscow with a degree in computer science.  After graduating, he became active in the human rights movement led by Andrei Sahkharov and very quickly became internationally known as the spokesperson for the Helsinki movement.  At the same time he applied for an exit visa to Israel, which he was denied for “security reasons”.  In 1977, a Soviet newspaper alleged that Mr. Sharansky was collaborating with the CIA.  Despite denials from every level of the U.S. Government, Mr. Sharansky was found guilty and sentenced to thirteen years in prison, including solitary confinement and hard labor.  In the courtroom prior to the announcement of his verdict, Mr. Sharansky in a public statement said: “To the court I have nothing to say – to my wife and the Jewish people I say “Next Year in Jerusalem”.  After nine years of imprisonment, due to intense international pressure, Mr. Sharansky was released on February 11, 1986, emigrated to Israel, and arrived in Jerusalem on that very day.

Upon his arrival to Israel he became active in the integration of Soviet Jews and formed the Zionist Forum, an umbrella organization of former Soviet activist groups dedicated to helping new Israelis and educating the public about absorption issues. The final chapter of the historic struggle for the release of Soviet Jews was the historic rally of over 250,000 in 1987 during Gorbachev’s first visit in Washington of which Natan Sharansky was is the initiator and driving force. In early 1994, he co-founded Peace Watch – an independent non-partisan group committed to monitoring the compliance to agreements signed by Israel and the PLO.  From 1990 to 1996 Mr. Sharansky served as Associate Editor of “The Jerusalem Report”. In 1996, ten years after arriving in Israel, Natan Sharansky founded the political party Yisral B’Aliya which means both “Israel on the Rise” and “Israel for Immigration”.  The party was established to accelerate the absorption of the massive numbers of Russian immigrants into Israeli society and to maximize their contribution.

From 1996-2005 Natan Sharansky served as Minister, as well as Deputy Prime Minister in all of the successive governments. In November 2006 Natan Sharansky resigned from the Israeli Knesset and assumed the position of Chairman of the newly established Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. Natan Sharansky was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1986 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006. He has continued to lead human rights efforts both through his writings as well as public activities since his release.

In June 2009, Natan Sharansky was appointed Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Natan concluded his post at the Jewish Agency in July 2018.

An official program of Jewish American Heritage Month. 

 Presented in partnership with the Center for Jewish History, Combat Anti-Semitism Movement, National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, and Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History.