Sovi­et and Kosher: Jew­ish Pop­u­lar Cul­ture in the Sovi­et Union, 1923 – 1939

Anna Shtern­shis
  • From the Publisher
January 27, 2012

Few peo­ple know that in the ear­ly days of the com­mu­nist regime, a Jew­ish Yid­dish cul­ture was active­ly encour­aged by the Sovi­et author­i­ties, whether it was con­vert­ing shtetl syn­a­gogues into Yid­dish the­atres or dis­trib­ut­ing Red Hagad­dahs’ — all designed to cre­ate a social­ist-mind­ed, rather than reli­gious, Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion. This is the his­to­ry that Yid­dish stud­ies pro­fes­sor Anna Shtern­shis uncov­ers in a series of over 200 inter­views, to trace the trans­for­ma­tion of Jew­ish life from Tsarist shtetl to Sovi­et-style urban assim­i­la­tion. If you’ve ever won­dered why Sovi­et Jews see no con­flict between eat­ing pork and being Jew­ish, this book will go a long way to explain­ing how the Sovi­et Jew­ish iden­ti­ty came about.

Discussion Questions