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 ethgraphic 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.
Zvi Gitelman is a professor of political science and the Preston Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, USA. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of sixteen books, including Jewish Identities in Postcommunist Russia and Ukraine.