Volume 12, 2007 : Immigrant Scholars Write about Identity and Integration

Russian-Jewish Americans and American Jewry : Encounter, Identity, and Integration
Sam Kliger
American Jewish Committee, USA


This paper discusses the process and dynamics of integration of Russian-American Jewish immigrants into American society and into the broader American Jewish community. In search of their distinct and multi-faceted identity, Russian Jews in America encounter numerous well-organized and established American Jewish groups and institutions with their own identity quest. On the one hand, Russian Jews integrate and cooperate with their American counterparts; on the other hand, the barriers of misunderstanding and mistrust still exist on institutional, community, and personal levels. The paper describes Russian-American Jews as a social immigrant group, mostly in New York, in terms of their socio-economic status, ideological and political views, religion, and social engagement. The data used was obtained and interpreted by the author as principal investigator of the Research Institute for New Americans (RINA) in its 1998-2004 studies sponsored by the American Jewish Committee.

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