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Collection 3: European Jewish Migrations

As a diaspora people, the movement of Jewish populations between countries is one of the key themes in Jewish history. In contemporary Europe, Jewish population flows still have the capacity to transform Jewish communities, demographically, socially and even religiously.

The largest recent major European Jewish population flow occurred from 1989, as the Former Soviet Union weakened and eventually collapsed. While Jewish communal life was revived and rejuvenated in the FSU post-1989, over 1.5 million Jews chose to emigrate, including nearly 1 million to Israel. A substantial number of FSU Jews made their homes in Germany, transforming the community’s demography.

Interest in Jewish population flows remains intense today. The emigration of several thousand French Jews to Israel and other destinations in recent years have led to debates over whether Jews are ‘fleeing’ Europe as a result of rising antisemitism. While there has been an increase in Jewish emigration from some European countries, populations are more stable in others and even in countries with rising emigration, the percentages of those leaving are not yet as dramatic as was the case the FSU from 1989.

In a globalised world, Jews are among the groups moving between increasingly cosmopolitan global cities. The presence of significant communities of Israeli expatriates in Berlin, London and other European cities is one sign of this. There are also lesser-known groups that have moved within the diaspora in significant numbers, such as South African Jews in Britain.

The items in this collection address these multiple issues from a variety of perspectives in a variety of languages. By its very nature, the study of European Jewish migrations is a multinational endeavour.
Collection 3: European Jewish Migrations

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