Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture In The Soviet Union, 1923-1939 by Anna ShternshisSoviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture In The Soviet Union, 1923-1939 by Anna Shternshis

Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture In The Soviet Union, 1923-1939

byAnna Shternshis

Paperback | May 21, 2006

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Kosher pork-an oxymoron? Anna Shternshis's fascinating study traces the creation of a Soviet Jewish identity that disassociated Jewishness from Judaism. The cultural transformation of Soviet Jews between 1917 and 1941 was one of the most ambitious experiments in social engineering of the past century. During this period, Russian Jews went from relative isolation to being highly integrated into the new Soviet culture and society, while retaining a strong ethnic and cultural identity. This identity took shape during the 1920s and 1930s, when the government attempted to create a new Jewish culture, "national in form" and "socialist in content." Soviet and Kosher is the first study of key Yiddish documents that brought these Soviet messages to Jews, notably the "Red Haggadah," a Soviet parody of the traditional Passover manual; songs about Lenin and Stalin; scripts from regional theaters; Socialist Realist fiction; and magazines for children and adults. More than 200 interviews conducted by the author in Russia, Germany, and the United States testify to the reception of these cultural products and provide a unique portrait of the cultural life of the average Soviet Jew.

Anna Shternshis is Assistant Professor of Yiddish and Director of the Al and Malka Green Yiddish Studies Program at the University of Toronto.
Title:Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture In The Soviet Union, 1923-1939Format:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.81 inPublished:May 21, 2006Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0253218411

ISBN - 13:9780253218414


Table of Contents

Introduction: Sara F.'s Kosher Pork
Note on Transliteration

1. Antireligious Propaganda and the Transformation of Jewish Institutions and Traditions
2. From Illiteracy to Worker Correspondents: Soviet Yiddish Amateur Writing
3. Amateur Local Yiddish Theaters
4. Soviet Yiddish Songs as a Mirror of Jewish Identity
5. Soviet in Form, National in Content: Russian Jewish Popular Culture


Editorial Reviews

Shternshis . . . looks at the life of the Yiddish language and Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union in the years before WW II. Jewish and Yiddish intellectual life did not automatically die with the coming of Lenin or even Stalin. Many young Jewish revolutionaries may have abandoned the world of their fathers, but they did not forsake their language. Yiddish did not disappear; ironically, it flourished in that antireligious atmosphere before the outbreak of the war that eventually led to the destruction of millions of Yiddish speakers. This well-documented study is a tribute to that Yiddish culture as it enjoyed one last nova in Europe, as Yiddishkeit and Marxism embraced each other one last time. . . . Recommended.