RUSSIAN JEWS IN AMERICA
Besides the extensive publishing activity, the Center organizes lectures, conferences and seminars on various topics related to Russian Jews abroad. Thus, in September 2005 the conference dedicated to the scientific and cultural importance of the Concise Jewish Encyclopedia was held in Jerusalem. Another subject discussed at the conference was the input into Judaic studies made by the Centre.
The book “Russian Jews in America” is a collection of articles, essays and documents. The initial compilers’ intention was to publish as many as possible articles on such general topics as the overview of the Russian Jewish community in the USA and/or Canada; adaptation of Russian Jews into the American society; the role of Russian Jews in formation and development of the socialist/trade union movement in the USA; Russian Jews in Hollywood; the role of Russian Jews in agricultural development of the Canadian North, and others. Due to various reasons, this intention was not fully fulfilled. However, we hope to revisit these subjects in the future.
The book includes articles on such personalities as “a financier of American Revolution” H.Salomon, President F.D. Roosevelt’s adviser on labor relations V. Voytinsky, a film maker A. Drankov, an art collector M.Karolik, a composer A.Lourie, a computer “guru” S.Brin, and others.
Of special interest is an essay on history of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society (HIAS). With the HIAS’s help, in the 19thand 20thcenturies approximately 3, 6 millions Jews (mainly from Eastern Europe) immigrated to the USA. Thanks to the HIAS’s heroic efforts, during World War II approximately 300 000 European Jews escaped the Holocaust and immigrated to the USA.
Among documents presented in the book, are letters from L.Trotsky to his wife N.Sedova. These are important for understanding Trotsky’s personality, his likes and dislikes, and for reconstructing his psychological profile. The book also contains 20 letters primarily from M.S.Tsetlina, the publisher of the journal “Opyty” (New York, 1953-1959), to the journal editor Y.Ivask, published here at the first time.
Among book’s contributors were journalists, writers and scholars from the USA, Russia, Canadaand Israel. The book was sponsored by the HIAS (New York) and four private donors from the USAand Israel. As far as I know, the book sell goes well and all copies are sold out in Moscowand New York.
Currently I am soliciting articles and documents for the second volume of the book on Russian Jews in America. All potential contributors as well as sponsors are welcome to participate in this project.