Building a Diaspora

Russian Jews in Israel, Germany and the USA


The crumbling of the USSR has set Russian-speaking Jews free to emigrate. From the threat of antisemitism to economic disaster, their “good reasons” to do so were numerous and within one and a half decade most of them moved out and scattered throughout the world. This book is about the million that settled in Israel, the half million now in the US and the 200.000 who settled in Germany.
This book presents the comparative work of an international team of researchers which delves into the building of communities, the formulation of collective identities and the articulation of public discourse by people who, after eighty years of Marxism-Leninism and compulsory removal from Jewish culture, are now reconstructing their ethnicity.
In every place, they face contrasting challenges and as a whole, constitute an ideal case for the study of the making of contemporary transnational diasporas.

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Eliezer Ben-Rafael is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Tel-Aviv. His main research interests focus on the sociology of Judaism, immigration, ethnicity and language.
Olaf Glöckner is a Ph.D. student in history at the Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum, University of Potsdam. He specializes in contemporary Jewish Russian-speaking immigration to Israel and Germany.
Paul Harris is an Associate Professor of Political Science, Augusta State University. He is an observer of the German society with a special focus on immigration and public policy.
Yael Israel is a Ph.D. student in Sociology, University of Tel-Aviv. She specializes in sociology of religion and women studies.
Willi Jasper is Professor of 19th and 20th century German and Jewish Literature and Culture, University of Potsdam.
Mikhail Lyubansky is a clinical psychologist and a lecturer in Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His interests focus on racial and ethnic group relations.
Julius H. Schoeps is a Professor of Contemporary Jewish and German History, University of Potsdam, and the Director of Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum for the Study of European Jewry.
" (...) Building a Diaspora: Russian Jews in Isreal, Germany and the USA is an insightful and thought-provoking study. It makes a valuable contribution to the scholaship, and it is a necessary source for those who study ethnicity, immigration and diasporas in the epoch of globalization." Maria Yelenevskaya, Studies in Contemporary Jewry. An Annual (2008) 266-269.
Preface PART A: BUILDING A TRANSNATIONAL DIASPORA Chapter 1: Collective construction Chapter 2: The shake-up of Russian Jewry Chapter 3: Research Methodology PART B: BUILDING COMMUNITIES Chapter 4: When ethnicity becomes national and vice-versa: Israel Chapter 5: A new American Jewry Chapter 6: Russian Jews in Germany Chapter 7: Communities compared PART C: COLLECTIVE IDENTITIES Chapter 8: RSJs’ images and self-images in Israel Chapter 9: RSJs images and self-images in America Chapter 10: RSJs’ images and self-images in Germany Chapter 11: Divergent and Convergent Identities Chapter 12: RSJs’ distancing from “others” PART D: MEDIA DISCOURSE Chapter 13: RSJs’ press and in the Press - Israel Chapter 14: RSJs’ Press and in the Press - USA Chapter 15: RSJs’ Press and in the Press - Germany Chapter 16: RSJs’ Press and in the Press – In Comparative Perspective PART E: PRACTICAL AND THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES Chapter 17: The phases of collective construction Chapter 18: “Jewishness” versus “Russianness”? Chapter 19: RSJs in perspective Addenda Addendum 1: The Experience of Non-Jewish “Russian” Immigrants in Israel Addendum 2: Policy-making perspectives Appendices Appendix 1: SAM survey and Measures Appendix 2: The media analysis: classification System Bibliography The authors