Post-Soviet Jewry on the Cusp of Its Third Decade - Part 2

By Betsy Gidwitz

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), June 15, 2011

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee continues to do essential work in the post-Soviet states, but financial distress has caused the organization to sharply curtail its welfare services to vulnerable Jewish population groups. The cutbacks are due as much to decisions by North American Jewish federations to reduce subventions to international programs before the onset of the current financial crisis as to the crisis itself.  To a limited extent, alternative human services organizations, such as the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and welfare operations of community rabbis, have stepped in to continue reduced or abandoned JDC programs, but they are not a substitute for these.

Local Jews began to develop small Jewish organizations during the glasnost period (1987-1991) preceding the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Most such groups focused on Jewish history or culture. Some national groups emerged during this period as well, although few seemed to represent a genuine constituency. To date, few authentic Jewish lay leaders have emerged in the post-Soviet states. Many in positions of authority are perceived as holding the broader Jewish population hostage to their egos, financial interests, and need to retain the favor of local/national political figures. Few nominal Jewish leaders understand the necessity to engage in serious planning or to build consensus.

Part 1 of this report is available here.

Topic: Management and Administration, Non-Professional Leadership, Former Soviet Union (FSU), Social Services, Russian Jews, Allocations, Lay Leadership, Leadership, Jewish Organizations

Name of Publication: Changing Jewish Communities

Volume/Issue: Vol.69/no.15

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Genre: Report

Coverage: Former Soviet Union (FSU) , Russia , Ukraine

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Gidwitz, Betsy. Post-Soviet Jewry on the Cusp of Its Third Decade - Part 2. Changing Jewish Communities. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). 15 June 2011:


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