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Book Reviews 191 addressed by the scholars. Perhaps the reason for that is that it casts the rescue and redemption question too exclusively in Zionist terms. Instead the researchers choose to write about what they know best without ideological concerns. We ought to be grateful for that. They usually do it well. Henry 1. Feingold Depanment of History Baruch College, CUNY Refugee Communities: A Comparative Field Study, by Steven J. Gold. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1992. 257 pp. $39.95 (c)j $19.95 (p). In Refugee Communities, Steven Gold repons the results of the field work he conducted over an eight-year period, from 1982 to 1990, with SovietJewish and Vietnamese refugees in California. Based primarily on indepth interviews with refugees and with persons involved in refugee resettlement, Gold provides information on the backgrounds and demographic characteristics of the two refugee communities, the interactions between the resettlement agencies and the refugees, employment patterns, especially among entrepreneurs in the refugee communities, and the types ofcommunity organizations they founded. The author emphasizes that his study goes beyond much of the work reponed on these and other recent refugees to the United States in that he provides a more in-depth ponrait ofthe refugees' adjustments, their relationships within their own community and with the larger society, and especially their employment adaptations . Gold's access to both the Vietnamese and Soviet Jewish communities came via his role as an English teacher, a resettlement worker, a member of the los Angeles Jewish Federation's Immigration Integration task force, and a faculty advisor to an Asian student association. Gold compares and contrasts the two communities, noting that the Soviet Jews are used to a minority group status, while the Vietnamese, except for the ethnic Chinese among them, are not. The Soviet Jews have a well established Jewish community in the U.S. to which they can turn for supponj the Vietnamese community in the U.S. is smaller, newer, and less well established. In addition, Gold distinguishes between refugees and immigrants. The latter are more homogeneous in their age and work experiences than are the refugees. Refugees are entitled to cash assistance, vocational training programs, health services, and other social, economic, 192 SHOFAR Winter 1993 Vol. 11, No.2 and legal benefits not available to immigrants. Refugees, who consume s~rvices such as education, health care, housing and old age support, and do not enter the labor force, usually include a larger proportion of older persons and children than the immigrant population. If one is looking for community-wide demographic data on family structure and occupational and educational characteristics, the reader will be disappointed. What one learns about these characteristics comes through primarily as individual respondents describe his or her family, skills, and work experiences. The overall picture is not available. How and why Soviet Jews and Vietnamese refugees chose to open their businesses, the types of business they select, the individuals or institutions to which they go for financial support, and the groups who are likely to comprise both their labor pool and their customers (members of the larger society or the ethnic community) are discussed at length. Gold points out that while the Soviet Jewish immigrants come with a good deal of human capital in the form of education and occupational skills, they have little or no experience as entrepreneurs, whereas the Vietnamese, especially the ethnic Chinese and the boat people, bring with them personal histories in small business and entrepreneurial skills. Once they are here, Gold sees differences in the styles of entrepreneurship manifested by the Soviet Jews and the Vietnamese. "The latter are more likely to reveal patterns traditionally associated with immigrant business ... mutual assistance associations, captive labor and consumer markets, family labor, sweatshops and a propensity toward small groceries and restaurants." Some forms ofintra-ethnic cooperation and competition are described primarily, again, through first-person accounts. Gold also points out sources of conflict and irritation between the Soviet Jewish refugees and the AmericanJews, primarily as a result ofthe AmericanJews' surprise and resentment at the attachment expressed by the refugees to Russian culture and Soviet accomplishments. The American Jews are also surprised at how critical the Soviet Jews are of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 191-193
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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