A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present

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Indiana University Press, 2001 - History - 297 pages
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A century ago the Russian Empire contained the largest Jewish community in the world, numbering about five million people. Today, the Jewish population of the former Soviet Union has dwindled to half a million, but remains probably the world's third largest Jewish community. In the intervening century the Jews of that area have been at the center of some of the most dramatic events of modern history -- two world wars, revolutions, pogroms, political liberation, repression, and the collapse of the USSR. They have gone through tumultuous upward and downward economic and social mobility and experienced great enthusiasms and profound disappointments. In startling photographs from the archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and with a lively and lucid narrative, A Century of Ambivalence traces the historical experience of Jews in Russia from a period of creativity and repression in the second half of the 19th century through the paradoxes posed by the post-Soviet era. This redesigned edition, which includes more than 200 photographs and two substantial new chapters on the fate of Jews and Judaism in the former Soviet Union, is ideal for general readers and classroom use.
 

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A century of ambivalence: the Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the present

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Through a remarkable collection of photographs from the YIVO Institute and private sources, this book traces the uncertain relationship of the Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union with their state and ... Read full review

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Contents

Creativity versus Repression The Jews in Russia 18811917
1
Revolution and the Ambiguities of Liberation
59
Reaching for Utopia Building Socialism and a New Jewish Culture
88
The Holocaust
115
The Black Years and the Gray 19481967
144
Soviet Jews 19671987 To Reform Conform or Leave?
174
The Other Jews of the Former USSR Georgian Central Asian and Mountain Jews
196
The PostSoviet Era Winding Down or Starting Up Again?
212
The Paradoxes of PostSoviet Jewry
244
Notes
275
Index
289
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About the author (2001)

Zvi Gitelman is Professor of Political Science and Preston R. Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, where he has been director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies and of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. Gitelman has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations; the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard. He has been a research fellow at Oxford and a visiting professor at Tel Aviv and Hebrew Universities, Central European University (Budapest) and the Russian State University for the Humanities. Gitelman is a summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University where he also received his doctorate. He is the author or editor of 14 books and more than 100 articles in scholarly journals. His book A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union since 1881 was translated into Japanese and Russian. His most recent edited volume is Ethnicity or Religion? The Evolution of Jewish Identities. Gitelman is a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council and has been active in many academic and civic organizations.

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