Religion & Jewish Life

Young Russian Jews in assimilation bind

NEW YORK (N.Y. Jewish Week) — Like 500 other young Jews from the former Soviet Union who marched in this city’s Celebrate Israel Parade in June, Boris Shulman wore bright orange. In addition to signifying support for Israel’s settler movement, which also uses orange, the color contrasted sharply with the 500 older Russian Jews who marched in the parade wearing blue and white.

Color choices are not all that separate the younger and older generations of Russian-American Jews.

Unlike their parents and grandparents, who came to the United States as adults in the 1970s and ‘80s, these young Russian Jews — born or raised in America, fluent in English and now in their 20s and 30s — grew up in the same culture and country as their non-Russian Jewish American peers.

Now they must figure out how to integrate into the American Jewish mainstream — and whether they even want to.