- Taste of Freedom

On April 28, 1992, President Assad agrees to lift the decades-long ban on Jewish emigration from Syria. In the first two months after the ban is lifted, more than ¾ of Syria’s Jews leave for the United States, which offers them political asylum. The U.S. embassy in Damascus arranges for visas and the CRSJ organizes their travel to New York.

The Sephardic Bikur Holim in Brooklyn steps up to organize the needs of the hundreds of families and volunteers eagerly come forward to help the new immigrants settle in, fundraising and offering them jobs in their businesses. The UJA-Federation raises $26 million dollars, and NYANA, the New York Association for New Americans, and HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society provide English classes, job training and legal assistance.

But by the end of the year, President Assad changes his mind, and will not let any more Jews emigrate. The Jews of Syria are once again trapped

“I am here, alone, without my brothers, without my sisters, without my uncles, without my aunts. Everyone here is the same. We are here as prisoners in a prison. For that reason, we need urgently to leave. We want liberty such as all the inhabitants of Syria.” – Salim Rabia Sutton, Episode 7

(Image of a sign welcoming Syrian immigrants at the airport.)

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