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Draw Back the Curtain

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After more than 70 years of closed borders, the former Soviet Union allowed more than one million Jews to immigrate to America and Israel in the late 1980s. American activism under Operation Exodus had a large part in this change in policy and the Richmond Jewish community in the resettlement of 800 refugees.

Twenty-five years later, Jewish Family Services and the University of Richmond Hillel are creating a permanent collection of the experiences and memories of the families who immigrated and the community volunteers who welcomed them.

“Draw Back the Curtain,” a feature-length documentary film, is the culmination of three years of student driven research and interviewing of immigrants and resettlement volunteers. The larger project includes multiple museum exhibitions, and an upcoming digital archive.




Jewish Family Services of Richmond
University of Richmond Hillel



Shir Bodner

University of Richmond Collaborators:

School of Arts and Sciences
University Libraries
University Museums
University Communications


Exhibition Hosts:

University of Richmond Museums
Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives
Weinstein Jewish Community Center


Generously Sponsored by:

Karin Fine
Retta Leigh Keil
Jeanette Lipman
Linda Mays
Bob and Cindy Rolfe
Sandra Sisisky
Susan and Mark Sisisky 
Twin Rivers Foundation
Woody Funeral Home

This program is financially supported in part by the Genesis Fund of Richmond Jewish Foundation