Emigration, immigration and cultural change: Towards a trans-national ‘Russian’ jewish community?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The lack of a politically appropriate, historically correct label is not the only obstacle that hampers a study of this issue. Even years before the dissolution of the USSR, the usefulness of such an encompassing term ‘Soviet Jews’ had been challenged but used nonetheless. Besides the problem of the ethno-geographical divide among, as Zvi Gitelman calls them, ‘Zapadniki, heartlanders and Central Asian and Georgian Jews’, 2 one can also point to the varied experiences of the ‘Soviet Jews’ under the Soviet regime: some lived through only a few events of the Soviet period, while others passed through them all - World War II, Stalinism, ‘the thaw’ under Khrushchev, the Brezhnev years, as well as the transformations of glasnost and perestroika. The term ‘Russian Jews’ is considered inappropriate too, because by definition it excludes the several hundreds of thousands of Jews, Russian-speaking or otherwise, outside the Russian republic, and also because it is more generally used as a descriptive label for Jews in the pre-revolutionary Russian empire. To add to the confusion, hundreds and thousands of ‘Soviet Jews’ have become residents, if not long-term citizens, of Israel and the United States. As a result of emigration and immigration, as well as political changes from within, former Soviet Jews now span the globe and make their homes in dozens of independent countries.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJews and Jewish Life in Russia and the Soviet Union
EditorsRo'i Yaacov
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781135205102
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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