America’s Russian-Speaking-Jews Come of Age

by Prof. Jonathan D. Sarna

The Russian-speaking Jewish community in the United States is changing the face of the larger American Jewish community. American Jewry’s contemporary character and future destiny are closely intertwined with the demography, complexion, politics, and religious life of the country’s 750,000 Russian-speaking Jews, who comprise some 15% of all American Jews. As American Jewry considers how to deal with the special challenges associated with this community, as well as the opportunities these newcomers have to offer, two stand out, one is more preventive in nature, the other more proactively forward-looking:

  1. Having to deal with the consequences of disintegration of the close-knit immigrant society of the newly arrived.
  2. Utilizing the Russian-speaking Jews’ special strengths to benefit the wider American Jewish community.

This paper, Toward a Comprehensive Policy Planning for Russian-Speaking Jews in North America, which is an invitation for further discussion and an attempt to draw public attention to this timely concern, highlights the key issues and offers recommendations for responding to these challenges.


The Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem hosted a briefing by Professor Jonathan Sarna to present his research on the Russian speaking Jews in North America.