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Date: 2018
Editor(s): Gitelman, Zvi
Date: 2016
Abstract: In 1900 over five million Jews lived in the Russian empire; today, there are four times as many Russian-speaking Jews residing outside the former Soviet Union than there are in that region. The New Jewish Diaspora is the first English-language study of the Russian-speaking Jewish diaspora. This migration has made deep marks on the social, cultural, and political terrain of many countries, in particular the United States, Israel, and Germany. The contributors examine the varied ways these immigrants have adapted to new environments, while identifying the common cultural bonds that continue to unite them.

Assembling an international array of experts on the Soviet and post-Soviet Jewish diaspora, the book makes room for a wide range of scholarly approaches, allowing readers to appreciate the significance of this migration from many different angles. Some chapters offer data-driven analyses that seek to quantify the impact Russian-speaking Jewish populations are making in their adoptive countries and their adaptations there. Others take a more ethnographic approach, using interviews and observations to determine how these immigrants integrate their old traditions and affiliations into their new identities. Further chapters examine how, despite the oceans separating them, members of this diaspora form imagined communities within cyberspace and through literature, enabling them to keep their shared culture alive.

Above all, the scholars in The New Jewish Diaspora place the migration of Russian-speaking Jews in its historical and social contexts, showing where it fits within the larger historic saga of the Jewish diaspora, exploring its dynamic engagement with the contemporary world, and pointing to future paths these immigrants and their descendants might follow.

Introduction: Homelands, Diasporas, and the Islands in Between
Zvi Gitelman
Part I Demography: Who Are the Migrants and Where Have They Gone?
Chapter 1 Demography of the Contemporary Russian-Speaking Jewish Diaspora
Mark Tolts
Chapter 2 The Russian-Speaking Israeli Diaspora in the FSU, Europe, and North America: Jewish Identification and Attachment to Israel
Uzi Rebhun
Chapter 3 Home in the Diaspora? Jewish Returnees and Transmigrants in Ukraine
Marina Sapritsky
Part II Transnationalism and Diasporas
Chapter 4 Rethinking Boundaries in the Jewish Diaspora from the FSU
Jonathan Dekel-Chen
Chapter 5 Diaspora from the Inside Out: Litvaks in Lithuania Today
Hannah Pollin-Galay
Chapter 6 Russian-Speaking Jews and Israeli Emigrants in the United States: A Comparison of Migrant Populations
Steven J. Gold
Part III Political and Economic Change
Chapter 7 Political Newborns: Immigrants in Israel and Germany
Olena Bagno-Moldavski
Chapter 8 The Move from Russia/the Soviet Union to Israel: A Transformation of Jewish Culture and Identity
Yaacov Ro’i
Chapter 9 The Economic Integration of Soviet Jewish Immigrants in Israel
Gur Ofer
Part IV Resocialization and the Malleability of Ethnicity
Chapter 10 Russian-Speaking Jews in Germany
Eliezer Ben-Rafael
Chapter 11 Performing Jewishness and Questioning the Civic Subject among Russian-Jewish Migrants in Germany
Sveta Roberman
Chapter 12 Inventing a “New Jew”: The Transformation of Jewish Identity in Post-Soviet Russia
Elena Nosenko-Shtein
Part V Migration and Religious Change
Chapter 13 Post-Soviet Immigrant Religiosity: Beyond the Israeli National Religion
Nelly Elias and Julia Lerner
Chapter 14 Virtual Village in a Real World: The Russian Jewish Diaspora Online
Anna Shternshis
Part VI Diaspora Russian Literature
Chapter 15 Four Voices from the Last Soviet Generation: Evgeny Steiner, Alexander Goldstein, Oleg Yuryev, and Alexander Ilichevsky
Mikhail Krutikov
Chapter 16 Poets and Poetry in Today’s Diaspora: On Being “Marginally Jewish”
Stephanie Sandler
Chapter 17 Triple Identities: Russian-Speaking Jews as German, American, and Israeli Writers
Adrian Wanner
Afterword: The Future of a Diaspora
Zvi Gitelman