Becom­ing Sovi­et Jews: The Bol­she­vik Exper­i­ment in Minsk

  • From the Publisher
May 13, 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. 

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