Tag Archives: harriet-murav

The development in Jewish studies over the last twenty years that has most excited me has been the formation of Russian Jewish and East European Jewish studies as a sub-discipline in its own right. This shift is evidenced in new scholarly publications, new book series, conferences, dissertations, and other academic work. The surge of interest in Jewish studies arose in tandem with political, social, economic, and cultural change in Russia and Eastern Europe. The era of perestroika and glasnost, the 1990s, and the subsequent decade have seen the production in Russia and the former Soviet republics of new works of Jewish culture, new theatrical and musical events, as well as the emergence of new institutions and new publications devoted to the study of Jewish life and expression in many forms. New Russian-Jewish journals, which aim at comprehensive coverage of religion, history, politics, and the arts have appeared. Departments and institutes of Jewish studies have been established in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Minsk, and Kharkov. The Russian State Humanities University (RGGU) instituted a program for the study of East European and Russian Judaica in 1991. In 2009 the Jewish Theological Seminary and RGGU jointly published a bilingual Yiddish and Russian volume of essays on Yiddish literature and culture in the Soviet Union. (Leonid Katsis, M. Kaspina, and David Fishman, eds., Idish: Iazyk i kul'tura v sovetskom soiuze/Yidish: Shprakh un kultur in sovetn-farband (Moscow: Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi gumanitarnyi universitet, 2009)). The institute Petersburg Judaica at the European University in St. Petersburg, directed by Valerii Dymshits, conducts ethnographic research in the former Pale of Settlement, and its publications, exhibits, and webpages have shed much light on the continuity of Jewish life in Russia in the Soviet period and beyond. Plans are underway for a museum of Russian-Jewish history. Jewish-related sites in Russian on the Internet have proliferated, as well, with topics ranging from religious practice (toldot.ru), literary criticism, author's pages, online Jewish encyclopedias in Russian, poetry, fiction, and polemical prose; in addition, most journals have a virtual existence. The websites originate in Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Israel, and the U.S., but their reach, of course, is global, contributing to what Zvi Gitelman calls the "global shtetl."