“Illuminated by an extraordinary collection of photographs that vividly reflect the hopes, triumphs and agonies of Russian Jewish life.” —David E. Fishman, Hadassah Magazine
A century ago the Russian Empire contained the largest Jewish community in the world, numbering about five million people. Today, the Jewish population of the former Soviet Union has dwindled to half a million, but remains probably the world’s third largest Jewish community. In the intervening century the Jews of that area have been at the center of some of the most dramatic events of modern history—two world wars, revolutions, pogroms, political liberation, repression, and the collapse of the USSR. They have gone through tumultuous upward and downward economic and social mobility and experienced great enthusiasms and profound disappointments.
In startling photographs from the archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and with a lively and lucid narrative, A Century of Ambivalence traces the historical experience of Jews in Russia from a period of creativity and repression in the second half of the 19th century through the paradoxes posed by the post-Soviet era. This redesigned edition, which includes more than 200 photographs and two substantial new chapters on the fate of Jews and Judaism in the former Soviet Union, is ideal for general readers and classroom use.
Published in association with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
“Anyone with even a passing interest in the history of Russian Jewry will want to own this splendid . . . book.” —Los Angeles Times
“A lucid and reasonably objective popular history that expertly threads its way through the dizzying reversals of the Russian Jewish experience.” —The Village Voice