The Ironies of Soviet Jewish Emigration and the New Jewish Diaspora

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 -
4:15pm to 6:00pm

CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, S050

"The Ironies of Soviet Jewish Emigration and the New Jewish Diaspora": a celebration of the publication of The New Jewish Diaspora, edited by Zvi Gitelman

Speaker: Zvi Gitelman, Professor of Political Science and Preston Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

Discussant: Lisbeth Tarlow, Associate, Davis Center; Chair, Initiative on Women's International Leadership, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

 Some four times as many Jewish native speakers of Russian live outside the borders of the Former Soviet Union as within them. Russian-speaking Jews are concentrated overwhelmingly in Israel, the United States and Germany, all of them reviled at one time or another by Soviet authorities. Despite long-standing Soviet hostility to Zionism, the largest single immigration in Israeli history (1.1 million people) is that of former Soviet and post-Soviet Jews, whereas there are probably no more than 300-400,000 Jews living in the former Soviet territories. Is this a new Jewish “diaspora?” What are the economic, cultural, social and political implications of this transnational, globalized group of Jews?

Zvi Gitelman is professor of political science and Preston Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author or editor of 17 books, including Jewish Identities in Postcommunist Russia and Ukraine: an Uncertain Ethnicity (Cambridge University Press, 2012), based on several thousand interviews. His edited volume, The New Jewish Diaspora: Russian-speaking Immigrants in Israel, the U.S. and Germany, was published in 2016 by Rutgers University Press. His book A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union (2001) has been translated into Japanese and Russian. His current research is on World War Two and the Holocaust in the Soviet Union. He has served as Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, at the University of Michigan.

Lisbeth Tarlow is an Associate of the Davis Center, where she served as associate director from 1992 to 2010 and established the Center’s Seminar on Russian and East European Jewish Studies. In 2010-2012 she was the director of the Center’s Russian-Speaking Diaspora Project, and in 2011 she co-chaired, with Professor Zvi Gitelman, the Center’s conference on that topic. Her research interests have focused on Russian domestic and foreign policy, Russian-Japanese relations, and the politics of Jewish life in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. She currently chairs the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of the Davis Center and The Fletcher School, where she is chair of the Initiative on Women's International Leadership. 

Speaker(s)

Speaker: Zvi Gitelman, Professor of Political Science and Preston Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

Discussant: Lisbeth Tarlow, Associate, Davis Center; Chair, Initiative on Women's International Leadership, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.