A voluntary, not-for-profit agency created in 1971, NCSJ was originally called the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. When the Soviet Union dismantled in 1992, it was imperative to rethink NCSJ's mission, goals and name. Between that time until 2009, NCSJ was called Advocates on behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Eurasia. Once again, it became important to clarify the organization's name to best represent its mission and the region's political, economic and cultural climate.
In December 2013, the Executive Committee voted to change the organization's name to the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, NCSEJ. The name change reflects its ongoing mission and the years of steadily developing relationship with government and Jewish leadership in the countries of Eastern and central Europe.
NCSEJ has served as the mandated central coordinating agency of the organized Jewish community for policy and activities on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in the former Soviet Union. NCSEJ comprises nearly 50 national organizations and over 300 local federations, community councils and committees. Through this extensive network, NCSEJ mobilizes the resources, energies and talents of millions of U.S. citizens, and also represents the American Jewish community in dealings with similar national groups abroad, and at international forums.
NCSEJ also works closely and cooperatively with all branches of government, particularly the White House, Department of State, Congress and the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) in order to further our goals. For years, Operation Lifeline, which was quietly operated by NCSEJ, provided a continuing flow of materials, kosher food, and religious and cultural objects to Soviet Jews.
NCSEJ's headquarters in Washington, DC, is staffed by specialists in international relations, policy research, communications, and community organization. Public involvement is furthered through the holding of annual leadership assemblies, which bring our constituents together with experts in government and the academic community for the evaluation of up-to-date information and formulation of appropriate strategy, and through public manifestations, regional conferences, national seminars and special events.
In order to effectively fulfill its mandate, NCSEJ seeks the widest participation possible in our activities by private citizens and public officials, whose concerns on behalf of Jews in the successor states have been and are heard by the U.S. Government and by officials of the former Soviet states. The broad-based Executive Committee and Board of Governors ensure that American Jewry is represented in NCSEJ's work. NCSEJ maintains broad contacts with Jewish organizations and activists in the FSU region in order to keep abreast of developments affecting the Jewish population and to help coordinate American support in appropriate ways for the rebuilding of Jewish communal life.
As NCSEJ carries out its mandate on behalf of the Jewish community in the former Soviet Union - the world's third-largest - we are very much aware that the nature of our advocacy in this period of rapid and dramatic change throughout the former Soviet Union will impact not only the future of Jews in the region, but that of world Jewry, well into the 21st century.