Russian Jews on Three Continents: Identity, Integration, and Conflict

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Transaction Publishers, Dec 31, 2011 - History - 408 pages
In the early 1990s, more than 1.6 million Jews from the former Soviet Union emigrated to Israel, the United States, Canada, Germany, and other Western countries. Larissa Remennick relates the saga of their encounter with the economic marketplaces, lifestyles, and everyday cultures of their new homelands, drawing on comparative sociological research among Russian-Jewish immigrants. Although citizens of Jewish origin ostensibly left the former Soviet Union to flee persecution and join their co-religionists, Israeli, North American, and German Jews were universally disappointed by the new arrivalsā tenuous Jewish identity. In turn, Russian Jews, whose identity had been shaped by seventy years of secular education and assimilation into the Soviet mainstream, hoped to be accepted as ambitious and hard working individuals seeking better lives. These divergent expectations shaped lines of conflict between Russian-speaking Jews and the Jewish communities of the receiving countries. Since her own immigration to Israel from Moscow in 1991, Remennick has been both a participant and an observer of this saga. This is the first attempt to compare resettlement and integration experiences of a single ethnic community (former Soviet Jews) in various global destinations. It also analyzes their emerging transnational lifestyles. Written from an interdisciplinary perspective, this book opens new perspectives for a diverse readership, including sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, historians, Slavic scholars, and Jewish studies specialists.

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Page 8 - Soviet/Russian halfJews, the share of those with Jewish fathers (who are not recognized as Jews in Orthodox Judaism) significantly exceeds those with Jewish mothers. Between 1988 and 1995, the percentage of children born to Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers, out of all children born to Jewish mothers, rose from 58 to 69 percent, and by the early 2000s has probably exceeded 80 percent.
Page 7 - Russia has dropped by 55 percent; about 42 percent of this decrease reflected negative vital balance (ie, excess of deaths over births) and 58 percent was due to emigration. In 1994, 63 percent of Jewish men and 44 percent of Jewish women in Russia were married to non-Jews, compared to 51 percent and 33 percent, respectively, in 1979. Among Ukrainian Jewry, the...

About the author (2011)

Larissa Remennick is professor of sociology and former chair of the department of sociology and anthropology at Bar-Ilan University. Her work has appeared in many professional journals, including Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Journal of International Migration and Integration, and International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

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