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Jewish Culture and Identity in the Soviet Union by Yaacov Ro'i

Jewish Culture and Identity in the Soviet Union


Jewish Culture and Identity in the Soviet Union by Yaacov Ro'i

Over ten years ago, Benjamin Fain, a physicist now living in Tel Aviv, attempted to hold a conference on Jewish culture in Moscow, an effort that was foiled by the KGB. Many of the participants were eventually able to flee, most emigrating to Israel. In this book, these distinguished scholars and others from around the world present their personal and professional views of Jewish culture in the Soviet Union. The book explores a wide range of topics, including underground literature, religious revival, and the rise of a national Jewish consciousness. Some writers claim that the refuseniks are not the leaders of the Soviet Jews but rather an isolated minority, with most Jews being assimilated, acculturated, and uninterested in fleeing. Other essayists look at the ambivalent role traditionally played by the Soviet Union in both allowing some forms of cultural expression and suppressing any efforts at individual religious practice. Others explore the revival of Jewish culture as instanced by underground teaching of Hebrew. A major debate involves the Nature of Jewish emigration, whether the Jews will go to Israel or to America.


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About the Author

YAACOV RO'I is a Professor of Russian History at Tel Aviv University. Among his books are Soviet Decision Making in Practice: The USSR and Israel, 1947-1954. Avi Beker is Director of International Affairs of the World Jewish Congress and the Executive Director of the Israel Office. He was a member of the Israeli Mission to the United Nations and has published several books and many articles on International Jewish affairs.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 1992


Yaacov Ro'i

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New York University Press


504 pages


Physical anthropology
Cultural studies



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