«Wie mächtig sind die Russen in Berlin?» Inside and Outside of the post-Soviet Russianness in Germany
Translated Title: Взгляд снаружи и изнутри на пост-советских "русских" в Германии / בתוך ומחוץ לרוסיות הפוסט-סובייטית בגרמניה
Abstract: Over the 1990s and early 2000s, Germany received large numbers of Russian-speaking immigrants – over 2,7 million ethnic Germans (Aussiedler) and over 220,000 Jewish “special contingent refugees”. This essay explores the issues of self-identity as experienced by the newcomers from the former Soviet Union, their relations with German mainstream culture and society, and the reflections of these relations in the German and Russian-language press. The essay also reflects on the evolving meanings of geopolitical and social boundaries for the former Soviet citizens now living in Europe.
Translated Title: Бывшие советские иммигранты в Израиле и на Западе: интеграция, изоляция и транснационализм / יהודי ברה''מ לשעבר בישראל ובמערב: השתלבות, דחייה וטרנס-לאומיות
Topics: Main Topic: Demography and Migration, Immigration, Russian Emigration, Russian-Speaking Jews, Diaspora, Globalisation, Integration
Abstract: Theoretical focus of the paper is the relationship between transnationalism and immigrant incorporation in the host country’s labor market and social system. It is shown that due to its timing and composition, Russian immigration of the 1990s was readily transnational at the outset, but the expression of diasporic interests and activities depends both on geographic location and modes of integration in the new homelands. Russian Jews in Israel and Germany display stronger diasporic tendencies than those who resettled in the USA and Canada. Across the New Diaspora, transnational activities among Russian Jews grow ‘from below’ (i.e. from individual initiative rather than institutional action) and are largely limited to the socio-cultural domain. The reliance on co-ethnic networks within and outside of the host country may be a mixed blessing, both empowering the weaker segments of the immigrants and thwarting their integration by creating an alternative social space.
Immigrant Jews of the Caucasus in New York and Moscow: Ethno-Cultural Identity and Community Organization
Topics: Diaspora, Mountain Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Culture, Jewish Community, Emigration, Main Topic: Identity and Community
Abstract: This article brings together two case studies from a larger research project on collective identity, ethnic categorization and community life among Jews of the Caucasus who migrated from their homelands to Israel, USA and Central Russia. It shows how this distinctive group of Jews strives to preserve its culture, language and social ties by building community organizations and forging new relationships with the surrounding majority and other Jewish groups. Specifically, the author focuses on the encounter between Jews of the Caucasus with Russian Jews that challenges the accepted binary oppositions between Mizrahi/Sephardic and Ashkenazi identities used in the Israeli and American Jewish discourse.
Israeli and Diaspora Students Travel to the Holocaust Sites in Poland: The Impact on the Perceptions of the Holocaust, Jewish Identity, and Israel-Diaspora Ties
Translated Title: שואה, זהות יהודית, והקשר ליהדות התפוצות
Topics: Holocaust Education, Holocaust Commemoration, Educational Tours, Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial
Abstract: The Ministry of Education encourages Israeli students to visit sites of historic Jewish communities in Poland and the sites of Nazi death camps. The trip is designed to reinforce the youngsters’ sense of belonging to the Jewish people, their connection to and identification with Jewish heritage and history, and their commitment to the future of Jewish life in Israel and its sovereignty. This study explores the impact of trips to Poland, organized by Tachlit Center, on Israeli and overseas university students. The vast majority of participants confirm that the trip emphasizes the important role of the Holocaust memory and commemoration. Findings on the impact of Holocaust education on other Israeli and Jewish values (e.g., the significance of immigration to Israel and ties to the Jewish Diaspora) are discussed, along with the implications for future Holocaust education programs.
Jewish Education and Its Outcomes: Knowledge and Interests among Jewish Summer Camp Participants in the Former Soviet Union
Translated Title: החינוך היהודי ותפוקותיו: מה יודעים ובמה מתעניינים משתתפי מחנות הקיץ בברית המועצות לשעבר
Abstract: The current research is based on two surveys conducted in 2011 and 2012 at nine youth camps organized for high school students’ education and recreation by the Jewish Agency for Israel in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. Among the campers who responded to our survey, over two-thirds have attended Jewish schools or clubs. However, the study has shown that most respondents had a very limited knowledge of general Jewish and especially Israeli history: only under a quarter (24.7%) came up with three post-biblical names of historical Jewish figures. Recalling three meaningful names in the history of the State of Israel proved to be even more challenging: nearly half of respondents could not recall a single name (47.6%) and only 22.8% stated three relevant names. Respondents also manifested poor familiarity with the history of Russian Jewry over the last two centuries, i.e. their own cultural heritage that apparently is not transferred from parents to children in their (usually ethnically-mixed) families.
Topics: Jewish Studies, Young Adults / Emerging Adulthood, Education: Adult Education, Informal Education, Main Topic: Education
Abstract: This essay examines the role of informal educational programs in the area of Jewish studies at the Sefer Center (www.sefer.ru) for the gradual emergence of the community of young Russian intellectuals united by their common interest in the Jewish civilization. Along with reaching their academic and cultural targets, student programs at Sefer facilitate fortification of the tenuous Jewish identity among post-Soviet Jewish youths and young adults.