Becoming Soviet Jews
The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk
Publication Year: 2013
Minsk, the present capital of Belarus, was a heavily Jewish city in the decades between the world wars. Recasting our understanding of Soviet Jewish history, Becoming Soviet Jews demonstrates that the often violent social changes enforced by the communist project did not destroy continuities with prerevolutionary forms of Jewish life in Minsk. Using Minsk as a case study of the Sovietization of Jews in the former Pale of Settlement, Elissa Bemporad reveals the ways in which many Jews acculturated to Soviet society in the 1920s and 1930s while remaining committed to older patterns of Jewish identity, such as Yiddish culture and education, attachment to the traditions of the Jewish workers' Bund, circumcision, and kosher slaughter. This pioneering study also illuminates the reshaping of gender relations on the Jewish street and explores Jewish everyday life and identity during the years of the Great Terror.
Published by: Indiana University Press
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Table of Contents
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List of Figures
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...i am.sc m.scost grateful to all my colleagues, friends, and family, who, in dif_ferent ways and in dif_ferent countries, supported me through the ups and downs that the research-ing and writing of this book entailed. First, i would like to thank Steve zipperstein, who saw this project through its initial stage and who gave me the support and encour-agement to become a better writer of russian Jewry. i am grateful for his mentoring, ...
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Becoming Soviet Jews is a study of the acculturation process into the Soviet sys-tem as experienced by the Jewish population of minsk during the interwar period, from the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 to the eve of the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939. The book examines the dynamic encounter between pre-revolutionary Jewish life and the new communist agencies and organizations that the Bolsheviks set up in the city. By ...
1: Historical Profile of an Eastern European Jewish City
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...in eudoxia, which spreads both upward and down, with winding alleys, steps, dead ends, hovels, a carpet is preserved in which you can observe the city’s true form. At f_irst sight nothing seems to resemble eudoxia less than the design of that carpet, laid out in symmetrical motives whose patterns are repeated along straight and circular lines. ... But if you pause and examine it carefully, you become convinced that each ...
2: Red Star on the Jewish Street
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...when the Bolsheviks began to municipalize private businesses across the city, the own-ers of the eighteen bookstores in minsk (including one Judaica bookstore), petitioned the local authorities. They promised to follow Soviet instructions and apply “Soviet tenets” to the book business if the Bolsheviks returned the bookstores to the manage-ment of their owners.1 Yudl Shapiro, who owned a bookstore on Alexandrovskii Street, ...
3: Entangled Loyalties: The Bund, the Evsektsiia, and the Creation of a “New” Jewish Political Culture
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...let it be said clearly and precisely at this, the last moment, that whatever happens to the name of the Bund, to the form of the Bund, whatever the conference should decide—Bundism will live as long as the Jewish proletariat lives, Bundism will live—we face the dilemma of independent existence or sections [evsektsiia], with the hope that we will be able to remake the sections and suit them to the needs of the Jewish ...
4: Soviet Minsk: The Capital of Yiddish
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...many comrades don’t even know where to begin [to replace russian with Yiddish]. we have no typewriters and have to rewrite the bookkeeping in Yiddish; it’s a little “strange.” we are used to carrying out secretarial work in russian, . . . [now we must] change into Yiddish the membership cards, the registration tags and receipts.1Following the June 1919 decree, when the Bolsheviks selected Yiddish as opposed to the ...
5: Behavior Unbecoming a Communist: Jewish Religious Practice in a Soviet Capital
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The study of the everyday man leads naturally to the study of mentalities, understood Situated betw.sceen the low market and cathedral Square, and home to numerous pre-revolutionary Jewish religious and communal institutions, the Jewish quarter of minsk, also known as nemiga, was the arena of a violent clash in the spring of 1922. The conf_lict broke out between two factions of the local Jewish population. on one side ...
6: Housewives, Mothers, and Workers: Roles and Representations of Jewish Women in Times of Revolution
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...where else in the world is it then possible for a neglected Jewish woman to receive an the study of the roles and representations of Jewish women in the cultural, social, and political settings of modern eastern europe has been conf_ined to tsarist russia and interwar poland. This chapter recreates the composite picture of the lives of Soviet Jewish women, explaining their choices and beliefs under Bolshevik rule and balanc-...
7: Jewish Ordinary Life in the Midst of Extraordinary Purges: 1934–1939
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...1nine.fittedthree.fittedfour.fitted–1nine.fittedthree.fittednine.fitted[A people] that was not a people before and that never would have become a people without the lenin-Stalin nationality policy. This is the voice of the Jewish people.1 i didn’t know where my notion of Jewishness came from, but i know it seeped Betw.sceen 600,000 and 2,000,000 Soviet citizens lost their lives in Stalin’s terror ...
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The city which cannot be expunged from the mind is like an armature, a honey-comb in whose cells each of us can place the things he wants to remember: names of famous men, virtues, vegetables and mineral classif_ications, dates of battles, constellations, parts of speech. Between each idea and each point of the itinerary an affinity or a contrast can be established, serving as an immediate aid to memory. So the world’s ...
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About the Author
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...eliSSA BemporAd holds the Jerry and william ungar professorship in eastern european Jewish History and the Holocaust, and is assistant professor of history at Queens college, city university of new York. Born and raised in italy, dr. Bempo-rad was trained in russian studies at the university of Bologna and in Jewish studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She received a phd in history from ...
Page Count: 292
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: The Modern Jewish Experience