A Study of Dynamic Ethnicity in the United States and the Soviet Union
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Compares the experiences of Soviet/Russian Jewish immigrants to the U.S. during two different time frames.
This ethnographic study compares and contrasts the changing ethnic identity of those Russian Jews who settled in Hartford, Connecticut between 1881 and 1930 with that of the Soviet Jews who remained in Russia after the Revolution, became Soviet citizens, and emigrated after 1975. Although both groups were labeled "Jews," their internal definitions of what constituted being Jewish and their personal experiences were radically different. Using both archival and contemporary oral histories, Betty N. Hoffman traces the stories of real people whose lives and choices were affected by both their ethnic identity and the larger movements around them as they made new homes in the United States.
Betty N. Hoffman is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University, Adjunct Instructor of Anthropology and Social Science at Saint Joseph College, and Project Director of Witness to War: 1941–1945: The Soviet Jewish Experience at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford.
"The book provides detailed accounts of various aspects of life in the former U.S.S.R. and the adjustment process in the U. S., especially Hartford. It provides a good background as to how changes in both Russia and America affected the 'old' East European American Jewish community and the ex-Soviet 'New Americans.' " — Walter P. Zenner, editor of Persistence and Flexibility: Anthropological Perspectives on the American Jewish Experience