Based on an analysis of the interviews, the findings are divided into three spheres: (1) the personal experience during the pandemic, including personal difficulties and the impact of the lockdown on family and social contacts; (2) Jewish communal life, manifested in changed functions and emergence of new needs, as well as religious rituals during the pandemic; and (3) perceived relations between the Jewish community and wider society, including relations with state authorities and civil society, attitudes of and towards official media, and the possible impact of COVID-19 on antisemitism. Together, these spheres shed light on how elderly Jews experience their current situation under COVID-19—as individuals and as part of a community.
COVID-19 taught interviewees to reappraise what was important to them. They felt their family relations became stronger under the pandemic, and that their Jewish community was more meaningful than they had thought. They understood that online communication will continue to be present in all three spheres, but concluded that human contact cannot be substituted by technical devices.
The study asks several questions: how the 1.5 and second-generation see themselves as a distinctive social group? Where do they locate social boundaries between themselves and others? How do they maintain them? Close family ties lie at the center of the group’s ethnic identity. Russian-speaking cultures offer an alternative, and in the mind of the 1.5 and second-generation, superior approach to relating to family and friends, where, for example, being an unmarried adult does not contradict living at home or where youths and adults can socialize in the same setting. Their understandings and practices of family often run counter to the expectations of the mainstream in both Germany and the U.S. of what it means to be an independent adult. The organization and expectation of social relations among these immigrants reflect not only their different national origins, but their constitution as a distinctive moral community. Different foods and language use support these immigrants’ sense of group distinctiveness and reinforce the centrality of family as a shared ethnic practice.
Immigration has endowed family practices with the capacity to impart a sense of distinctiveness to the 1.5 and second-generation by changing the context in which close family ties are practiced. Transported across national borders these practices now contrast with prevailing understandings of family and serve as a cultural resource. Moreover, Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants have benefited, both culturally and economically, from state policies that granted them refugee status and enabled them to cross national borders as families and avoid years of separation other immigrants often must endure. The distinctiveness of Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants’ family practices is relative to those of the receiving country’s mainstream, but not those of other immigrant groups. As a result, a sense of group difference and belonging anchored in these practices may be challenging to impart to the third generation, who are removed from the immigration experience. Nevertheless, the 1.5 and second-generation experience their family relationships, obligations and expectations as anything but ‘thin’. They inform consequential decisions, are encountered regularly, and offer meaning to their lives as individuals, children and members of an immigrant and ethnic group.
This study draws on in-depth interviews in New York City and multiple locations in Germany with 93 Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants who arrived at the age of 13 or younger or were born in the U.S. or Germany. Despite the different history and structure of Jewish communities in the U.S. and Germany, 1.5 and second-generation Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants’ experience in each country have much in common with one another, a finding that emerged as a result of the study’s comparative design.
The first section describes the methods of quantification of COVID-19 mortality, and explains why measuring it using the excess mortality method is the most effective way to understand how Jewish communities have been affected. The second section presents data on Jewish mortality during the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, drawing particularly on data provided to JPR by Jewish burial societies in communities all over the world. It does so in a comparative perspective, setting the data on Jews alongside the data on non-Jews, to explore both the extent to which Jews have been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, and how the Jewish experience with COVID-19 compares to the experience of non-Jewish populations.
The immediate impression is that there is not a single ‘Jewish pattern’ that is observable everywhere, and, with respect to the presence of excess mortality, Jewish communities, by and large, followed the populations surrounding them.
The report cautions against speculation about why Jews were disproportionately affected in some places, but rule out two candidate explanations: that Jewish populations with particularly elderly age profiles were hardest hit, or that Jews have been badly affected due to any underlying health issue common among them. They consider the possibility that Jewish lifestyle effects (e.g. above average size families, convening in large groups for Jewish rituals and holidays), may have been an important factor in certain instances, noting that these are unambiguous risk factors in the context of communicable diseases. Whilst they suggest that the spread of the virus among Jews “may have been enhanced by intense social contact,” they argue that without accurate quantification, this explanation for elevated mortality in certain places remains unproven.
The report also includes a strongly worded preface from Hebrew University Professor Sergio DellaPergola, the Chair of the JPR European Jewish Demography Unit, and the world’s leading expert in Jewish demography. In it, he stresses the importance of systematically testing representative samples of the population at the national and local levels, and, in Jewish community contexts, of routinely gathering Jewish population vital statistics. He states: “If there is one lesson for Jewish community research that emerges out of this crisis it is that the routine gathering of vital statistics – the monitoring of deaths, as well as births, marriages, divorces, conversions, immigrants and emigrants – is one of the fundamental responsibilities community bodies must take.”
The book is divided into two key parts. The first part considers the issues of and approaches to the remembrance of the Holocaust within an educational setting, with essays covering topics such as historical culture, genocide education, familial narratives, the survivor generation, and memory spaces in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. In the second part, contributors explore a wide range of case studies within which education and Holocaust remembrance interact, including young people’s understanding of the Holocaust in Germany, Polish identity narratives, Shoah remembrance and education in Israel, the Holocaust and Genocide Centre of Education and Memory in South Africa, and teaching at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
Table of Contents
Series editors’ foreword
Education, remembrance, and the Holocaust: towards pedagogic memory-work
Part I: Issues, approaches, spaces
1. Lessons at the limits: on learning Holocaust history in historical culture
2. The anatomy of a relationship: the Holocaust, genocide, and education in Britain
3. Väterliteratur: remembering, writing, and reconciling the familial past
4. Memories of survivors in Holocaust education
5. Figures of memory at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
6. Imperial War Museums: reflecting and shaping Holocaust memory
7. Beyond learning facts: teaching commemoration as an educational task in German memorials sites for the victims of National Socialist crimes
Part II: National perspectives, contexts, and case studies
8. Hitler as a figure of ignorance in young people's incidental accounts of the Holocaust in Germany
9. Who was the victim and who was the saviour? The Holocaust in Polish identity narratives
Mikołaj Winiewski, Marta Beneda, Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs, and Marta Witkowska
10. Conveying the message of Holocaust survivors: Shoah remembrance and education in Israel
Richelle Budd Caplan and Shulamit Imber
11. Holocaust education in the US: a pre-history, 1939–1960
Thomas D. Fallace
12. The Presence of the past: creating a new Holocaust and Genocide Centre of Education and Memory in post-Apartheid South Africa
13. Educational bridges to the intangible: an Australian perspective to teaching and learning about the Holocaust
Tony Joel, Donna-Lee Frieze, and Mathew Turner
14. Myths, misconceptions, and mis-memory: Holocaust education in England
The study focuses on Limmud volunteers and draws on a survey of ten Limmud volunteer communities in eight countries - UK, USA, South Africa, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Israel and Argentina - together with focus groups conducted with Limmud volunteers from around the world.
The findings provide clear evidence that Limmud advances the majority of its volunteers on their Jewish journeys, and for a significant proportion it takes them ‘further’ towards greater interest in and commitment to Jewish life.
Limmud’s principle impact on its volunteers lies in making new friends and contacts, encountering different kinds of Jews and enhancing a sense of connection to the Jewish people. For many Limmud volunteers, their experience has increased their Jewish
knowledge, their leadership skills and their involvement in the wider Jewish community. Involvement in Limmud therefore enhances both the desire to take further steps on their Jewish journeys, and the tools for doing so.
Limmud impacts equally on Jews regardless of denominationand religious practice. The younger the volunteers and the less committed they are when they begin their Limmud journeys, the further Limmud takes them. Those with more senior levels of involvement in Limmud report higher levels of impact on their Jewish journeys than other volunteers, as do those who had received a subsidy or training from Limmud.
Limmud volunteers often have difficult experiences and risk burnout and
exhaustion. While volunteers generally view the gains as worth the cost, Limmud
needs to pay attention to this issue and provide further support.
This paper is a study of the demography of the contemporary post-Soviet Jewish Diaspora based on various statistical sources collected from many countries where these Jews live. It examines (post-) Soviet Jewish resettlement, and the demographic transformation of FSU Jews in the wake of the recent mass migration, especially in Israel. Based on this analysis, an update for 2010 of the number of the 'core' Jews (by self-identity) originating from the FSU by country was presented, and the total number of people belonging to the post-Soviet Jewish Diaspora worldwide and their distribution was estimated.
Der nicht unumstrittene Begriff des Hybriden, ursprünglich aus Botanik und Biologie entlehnt und im 19. Jahrhundert in die Rassenlehre übernommen, wo er negativ besetzt wurde, findet seit einigen Jahren in diversen Bereichen der Geistes-, Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften wieder Verwendung. Dort richtet sich das Interesse auf Begegnungen, Vermischungen, Übergänge, Übersetzungen und Neuschöpfungen. Daraus entstehen Fragen nach Inklusion und Exklusion, welche Formen ‚Vermischungen‘ oder ‚Hybridisierungen‘ in konkreten Kontexten annehmen und in welchen kulturellen Praktiken und Identitätskonstruktionen sich diese äußern. Solche Fragen stellen sich auch für zeitgenössische jüdische Lebensentwürfe: Versteht man Identitäten als reflexive Prozesse des Selbstverstehens, des Entwickelns von sich immer in Veränderung befindlichen Selbstbildern und als eine Beziehung, zeigt sich, wie bedeutsam der Kontakt mit anderen und das Erfahren von Fremdwahrnehmung durch andere ist. Widersprüchliche Definitionen von Jüdischsein führen hier zu Herausforderungen für gemischte Familien. Die Komplexität resultiert u.a. aus den verschiedenen Ebenen zeitgenössischer jüdischer Identität, wie der kulturellen, der religiösen und nach der Shoah der historischen Ebene der Familien- und Verfolgungsgeschichte.
Der Band Hybride jüdische Identitäten versammelt die Vorträge der gleichnamigen internationalen Tagung, die im November 2012 am Erziehungswissenschaftlichen Institut der Universität Zürich stattgefunden hat. Die Autor_innen bringen nicht nur Perspektiven unterschiedlicher wissenschaftlicher Disziplinen, wie der Psychologie, der Soziologie, der Kultur- und Literaturwissenschaft sowie der Psychoanalyse zusammen, sondern untersuchen auch unterschiedliche nationale Zusammenhänge und Spezifika. Der Sammelband bündelt damit erstmalig Forschungen zu gemischt jüdisch-nichtjüdischen Familien und deren Selbstverständnissen und Erfahrungen.
Lea Wohl von Haselberg: Einleitung 7
Micha Brumlik: Matrilinearität im Judentum. Ein religionshistorischer Essay19
Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim: Juden, Nichtjuden und die dazwischen. Im Dschungel der Orientierungsversuche 35
Christina von Braun: Virtuelle Genealogien 49
Christa Wohl: Patrilineare in Deutschland: Jüdisch oder nicht? Eine psychologische Untersuchung 65
Birgitta Scherhans: Jüdisch-christliche ‚Mischehen‘ in Deutschland nach 1945 83
Madeleine Dreyfus: ‚Mischehe‘ und Übertritt. Elemente jüdischer Identitätskonstruktionen am Beispiel der deutschen Schweiz 103
Catherine Grandsard: Approximate Answers to Baffling Problems. Issues of Identity in Mixed Jewish-Christian Families in France 121
Adrian Wójcik/Michał Bilewicz: Beyond Ethnicity. The Role of the Mixed-Origin Family for Jewish Identity: A Polish Case Study 133
Pearl Beck: The Relationship between Intermarriage and Jewish Identity in the United States. An Examination of Overall Trends and Specific Research Findings 147
Joela Jacobs: Die Frage nach dem Bindestrich. Deutsch-jüdische Identitäten und Literatur 169
A few days after arriving in New York during the spring of 1990, Anatolii S. (born in 1920, Ukraine), put on his jacket, decorated with the numerous military medals that he had earned during his service in the Soviet Army during World War II, and went into a nearby synagogue, hoping to find out about the benefits available to him as a Jewish veteran of the war that "helped to save America from fascism." He showed his documents to the local clerk, who only gestured for him to put his hat back on and to pray with the prayer book. Unable to open the book correctly, and most importantly, unwilling to pray, Anatolii realized that neither his participation in the war, nor his knowledge of Yiddish, made him a true member of this community. Being accustomed to displays of public respect and economic benefits from his status as a war veteran, Anatolii now had to embrace his new status in a society that did not regard him any differently from any other non-English speaking, elderly Jewish immigrant from Russia.
Anatolii, like the other approximately 26,000 Soviet Jewish veterans who migrated to Germany, Israel, Canada, and the United States in the 1990s, was certainly welcome to attend synagogues and Jewish community centers in his new country, but his understanding of what it meant to be a Jew differed profoundly from the majority of members in these communities. Anatolii and his peers (Soviet veterans) regarded their participation in the war as the most important part of their Jewish identity, and they were often shocked to find out how little the war meant to the Jewish identity of the local populations they encountered. Unsatisfied with the status quo, many Soviet veterans launched their own organizations, where being Jewish and proud of Soviet accomplishments did not seem contradictory. Moreover, the definitions of "Soviet" and "Jewish" shifted, merged, and eventually formed the foundation of a specific culture, with its own leaders, traditions, rituals, and language.
In this article, I look into the modes of survival of Soviet language and ideology among veterans, and analyze what these modes tell us about the patterns of immigrant adaptation. I concentrate on three centers of veterans' activities: New York, Toronto, and Berlin, and discuss similarities and differences in the adaptations of veterans in these communities. I will discuss how the culture of each city and country influenced what the veterans select from Soviet rhetoric to describe their present lives.
The second goal of this study is to challenge existing scholarship, which treats elderly migrants as passive and apathetic. Nursing Studies and Gerontology dominate research in this area (rather than the field of immigrant studies) and as a result we know much more about cases of extreme isolation, deprivation, and depression among elderly immigrants in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe than about the contribution elderly migrants make to the social and cultural systems in their new societies. While the vulnerability of this group is undeniable, I perceive studying foreign retirees solely as victims or disadvantaged entities as an "ageism" bias which denies proper recognition and acceptance of the achievements and life experiences of the elderly, as it sees them solely through the prism of their ailing bodies. Soviet Jewish veterans, as a group, serve as an ideal case study of how elderly immigrants fight such perceptions, both consciously and subconsciously, not only by creating their own organizations, but also by establishing an awareness of their legacies in their new home countries.
Data and Methodology
This study is based on 233 in-depth interviews with Soviet veterans of World War II conducted between 1999 and 2007 in Toronto, Berlin, and New York. I used a snowball sample, where the initial respondents—located through veterans' organizations and ads placed in Russian-language media—suggested other potential interviewees. The interviews consisted of open-ended questions about respondents' experiences throughout their lives. Russian-language newspaper articles published in immigrant papers also served as useful sources for public expressions of veterans' opinions about political, cultural, and social issues in their new countries.
This book presents the comparative work of an international team of researchers which delves into the building of communities, the formulation of collective identities and the articulation of public discourse by people who, after eighty years of Marxism-Leninism and compulsory removal from Jewish culture, are now reconstructing their ethnicity.
In every place, they face contrasting challenges and as a whole, constitute an ideal case for the study of the making of contemporary transnational diasporas.
In this fascinating study, based on extensive field work in the major Israeli communities of New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Sydney, Steven J. Gold looks at emigrants' reasons for leaving - existing links abroad, political and economic dissatisfaction at home, the lure of world-class career opportunities and cultural environments in global cities, and in the case of the Sephardim (or Israelis of non-European origin) often a feeling of being treated as second-class citizens. He also examines the tensions, compromises, and satisfactions involved in their relations with Israelis who have not left and with the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in the countries in which they settle. In the final chapter, Gold talks to Israeli men and women who after years as emigrants have made the decision to return. The end result is a major contribution not just to the study of the Israeli diaspora but also to our wider understanding of migration and transnational identity.
Part I defines Judeo-Spanish, discusses the various names used to refer to the language, and presents a brief history of the Eastern Sephardim. The next part describes the language and its survival, first by examining the Spanish spoken by the Jews in pre-Expulsion Spain, and followed by a description of Judeo-Spanish as spoken in the Ottoman Empire, emphasizing the phonology, archaic features, new creations, euphemisms, proverbs, and foreign (non-Spanish) influences on the language. Finally, Harris discusses sociological or nonlinguistic reasons why Judeo-Spanish survived for four and one-half centuries in the Ottoman empire.
The third section of Death of a Language analyzes the present status and characteristics of Judeo-Spanish. This includes a description of the informants and the three Sephardic communities studied, as well as the present domains or uses of Judeo-Spanish in these communities. Current Judeo-Spanish shows extensive influences from English and Standard Spanish in the Judeo-Spanish spoken in the United States, and from Hebrew and French in Israel. No one under the age of fifty can speak it well enough (if at all) to pass it on to the next generation, and none of the informants' grandchildren can speak the language at all. Nothing is being done to ensure its perpetuation: the language is clearly dying.
Part IV examines the sociohistorical causes for the decline of Judeo-Spanish in the Levant and the United States, and presents the various attitudes of current speakers: 86 percent of the informants feel that the language is dying. A discussion of language and Sephardic identity from a sociolinguistic perspective comprises part V , which also examines Judeo-Spanish in the framework of dying languages in general and outlines the factors that contribute to language death. In the final chapter the author examines how a dying language affects a culture, specifically the role of Judeo-Spanish in Sephardic identity.
• Foreword—Sylvia Barack Fishman
• Preface—Joanna Beata Michlic
• Jewish Families in Europe, 1939–Present: History, Representation, and Memory—An Introduction—Joanna Beata Michlic
• PART I: PARENTHOOD AND CHILDHOOD UNDER SIEGE, 1939–1945
• Parenthood in the Shadow of the Holocaust—Dalia Ofer
• Clandestine Activities and Concealed Presence: A Case Study of Children in the Kraków Ghetto—Joanna Sliwa
• Resistance in Everyday Life: Family Strategies, Role Reversals, and Role Sharing in the Holocaust—Lenore J. Weitzman
• The National Institute for the Israelite Deaf-Mute in Budapest, 1938–1948: A Case Study for the Rescue Strategy of Continuously Operating Jewish Communal Institutions—Kinga Frojimovics
• Moving Together, Moving Alone: The Story of Boys on a Transport from Auschwitz to Buchenwald—Kenneth Waltzer
• Life in Hiding and Beyond—Jennifer Marlow
• PART II: AFTER THE WAR: REBUILDING SHATTERED LIVES, RECOLLECTING WARTIME EXPERIENCES
• A Zionist Home: Jewish Youths and the Kibbutz Family after the Holocaust—Avinoam Patt
• What Does a Child Remember? Recollections of the War and the Early Postwar Period among Child Survivors from Poland—Joanna Beata Michlic
• Memory Imprints: Testimonies as Historical Sources—Rita Horváth
• “I Will Not Be Believed”: Benjamin Tenenbaum and the Representation of the Child Survivor—Boaz Cohen and Gabriel N. Finder
• Transcending Memory in Holocaust Survivors’ Families—Uta Larkey
• Holocaust Child Survivors, Sixty-Five Years after Liberation: From Mourning to Creativity—Eva Fogelman
• Afterword: In Defense of Eyewitness Testimonies: Reflections of a Writer and Child Survivor of the Holocaust—Henryk Grynberg
• List of Contributors
In the 1990s most of the second largest Jewish Diaspora population, which resided in the former Soviet Union (FSU), changed their places of residence. Whereas the majority emigrated to Israel, the rest were divided mostly between the USA and Germany. The aims of this paper are to present (post-) Soviet Jewish resettlement, and to study the demographic transformation in the course of this mass migration.
Hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU) and their children currently live in North America. The Jewish identity of the young adults in this group is a source of broad concern in the Jewish community. Taglit-Birthright Israel (Taglit), which provides 10-day educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26, is one program that has successfully engaged Jewish young adults with roots in the FSU. Drawing on draws on data collected in a set of surveys conducted approximately three months before and after the Taglit trips in summer ’07, winter ’07-’08, and summer ’08, as well as focus groups and in-depth interviews, this report paints a comprehensive portrait of Russian-speaking Taglit participants.
This report examines the sociodemographic characteristics, backgrounds and current Jewish and Russian identities and engagement of Taglit participants with roots in the FSU. It then examines their Taglit experience and the impact of the trip. Finally, the report explores potential avenues to engage this group’s unique Russian-Jewish cultural and linguistic heritage and draw them into American Jewish life.