By Anna Shternshis
Kosher pork—an oxymoron? Anna Shternshis’s attention-grabbing learn strains the construction of a Soviet Jewish identification that disassociated Jewishness from Judaism. The cultural transformation of Soviet Jews among 1917 and 1941 was once the most formidable experiments in social engineering of the previous century. in this interval, Russian Jews went from relative isolation to being hugely built-in into the recent Soviet tradition and society, whereas keeping a robust ethnic and cultural identification. This identification took form throughout the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties, whilst the govt. tried to create a brand new Jewish tradition, ''national in form'' and ''socialist in content.'' Soviet and Kosher is the 1st learn of key Yiddish files that introduced those Soviet messages to Jews, particularly the ''Red Haggadah,'' a Soviet parody of the conventional Passover guide; songs approximately Lenin and Stalin; scripts from nearby theaters; Socialist Realist fiction; and magazines for kids and adults. greater than 20! zero interviews carried out via the writer in Russia, Germany, and the U.S. testify to the reception of those cultural items and supply a distinct portrait of the cultural lifetime of the common Soviet Jew.
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Additional resources for Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939
But they spoke Yiddish between themselves, so we understood and learned it. Also, I spoke Yiddish with my grandmother, who did not speak Russian. When I was seven I was supposed to go to school and was very excited about it. My mother wanted me to go to the Russian school. One day she took me to the director of the school. Then she told me to say that I did not speak Yiddish. I was very surprised, because this was the ¤rst time my mother asked me to lie. ” She answered then: “This time, it is better for you not to say the truth.
The testimonies con¤rm that the difference of opinions among Jews regarding Soviet antireligious policies was tremendous. The Jewish religious elite (such as rabbis) saw the Russian Revolution as a threat to religious tradition and the religious way of life. 38 However, when one looks at other social classes, such as workers, craftsmen, and intelligentsia, the lack of active resistance to antireligious propaganda seems to be a key difference between the Jewish case and its Russian equivalent. Jews signi¤cantly bene¤ted from the revolution, as noted above, since it gave them new opportunities in education and, for the ¤rst time in the region, equal civil rights.
Finally, the lack of signi¤cant resistance stemmed from the youth’s relationship to the Komsomol, to which they were initially attracted by the organization’s various external manifestations, such as uniforms, orchestras, and interesting and unusual activities, as we have seen in Ian’s testimony above. Besides, teenagers joined the Komsomol not only for its ideology but also because of the perception that the Komsomol was a means of social mobility. Sometimes the religious parents helped their children to perform antireligious and even violent actions in public, while the same families observed traditional religious rituals together at home.