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The 2022 Annual Assessment

A Look at Russian and Ukrainian Jewry: Demography and Society

The war in Ukraine has caused many Jews to leave the country. It has negatively impacted the Russian economy, increasing the emigration rate of Russian Jews as well. Therefore, this year we focus on these communities and provide a general overview of their situation.

Russia: Demographic Trends

The Jewish population of the Russian Federation is in decline. There are two main reasons for this. First, among the Jewish population, there are more deaths than births each year, leading to natural population decline. Jews have the lowest birth rate of any ethnic group in Russia, with the total fertility rate estimated to be 1.4 children per woman, well below replacement level. Consequently, the population is old and aging, with a median age of 60.1

Additionally, Russian Jews currently have high emigration rates, with even higher rates of Jews emigrating from Russia in the early post-Soviet period. Together, these forces have had a dramatic impact on the Russian Jewish community, which has declined by almost three-quarters since the fall of the Soviet Union. The Jewish population is highly urbanized and concentrated in a small number of cities, with half of Russian Jews living in either Moscow or Saint Petersburg.2

Population Size

The most recent Russian census, conducted in 2010, found that there were approximately 157,763 Jews living in Russia (although demographers consider this to be a significant undercount of the Jewish population). World Jewish Population Reports indicate a decline in Russia’s core Jewish population from around 570,000 in 1989, to 310,000 in 1999, 210,000 in 2009, and falling further to an estimated 155,000 in January 2020.3

Source: Data from the Association of Religion Data Archive (ARDA), based on the World Religions Database, corroborate the population estimates provided by Tolts. They show the decline of the Jewish community both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the Russian population. Jews constituted 0.2% of the Russian population in 2000, a proportion that fell by almost three-quarters by 2015.4

The core Jewish population includes those who self-define as Jewish. In the absence of local survey data that would indicate the propensity of Russians of Jewish heritage to identify as such, and any shifts in patterns of self-identification, the most recent data come from the 2010 Russian census. The census recorded a Jewish population size of 157,763, a sharp decline from the 233,600 reported in the 2002 census. Tolts suggests that this decline is largely attributable to structural changes of the census, as in 2010 the ethnicity question was optional, following the removal of ethnicity from official documents.5
Thus, part of the apparent decline in the Jewish population of Russia is attributed to an unwillingness to answer the ethnicity question; he estimates that a further 41,000 Jews did not declare their ethnicity in the 2010 census.

However, the large proportion of Jews who did not tick the survey’s Jewish ethnicity box might indicate a decline in the tendency to identify as Jewish. Historically, in the former Soviet Union (FSU), Judaism was a nationality and appeared on official documentation such as passports. Those who had two Jewish parents had no choice but to register as Jewish; for those of mixed parentage, there was a demonstrable preference for choosing a non-Jewish nationality. In fact, according to data from the Russian micro census of 1994, only 6.2% of children under 16 with a Jewish father and Russian mother and 4.1% of minors with a Russian father and Jewish mother were recorded as Jewish, either because the non-Jewish identity took precedence over their Jewish one or in an attempt to shield themselves, or more commonly their children, from antisemitic discrimination.6

A 1997 survey suggests that Jewish identity is more prevalent among those under 30, demonstrating that the tendency to identify as Jewish may grow as well as decline.7
Just as other religious identities have enjoyed a revival in the post-Communist states of Eastern Europe, it may be that Jewish identity is becoming increasingly popular among more recent cohorts, whose religious identity was likely shaped by perestroika and the fall of Communism. However, it is currently impossible to accurately determine the size of the population that identifies as Jewish as it is not clear whether Jews who do not identify themselves as such in the census do not have a Jewish identity or simply do not wish to declare it.

Another possible method of counting Jews relies on parentage. In the Soviet Union, rates of Jewish endogamy (marriage within the Jewish community) were historically much lower than in the rest of the Jewish world and Russia had the lowest rates in the Soviet Union. However, in recent years as the pool of potential Jewish partners has declined more rapidly in other post-Soviet republics, Russia no longer has the lowest endogamy rates. In 1978, 59% of Jewish men and 43% of women married non-Jews, with the proportions rising to 73% for men and 63% for women in 1989.8
Out of all the children with at least one Jewish parent in Russia in 1958, only an estimated 43-53% had a non-Jewish parent,9whereas in 1993, between 81% and 86% were estimated to have a non-Jewish parent. Only a small minority of children born to a Jewish parent in the post-Soviet era have two Jewish parents. As a result, the number of Russians with a Jewish parent is much greater than the number included in the core Jewish population estimate and has been estimated to be around 320,000.

Parentage, specifically matrilineal descent, is crucial to the halachic definition of a Jew and in Israeli law. In Russia, marriages between a Jewish man and a non-Jewish woman were historically much more common than marriages between a Jewish woman and a non-Jewish man for demographic and sociological reasons. Therefore, the number of children born to a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother is significantly larger than the population of children who have a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father. The trend appears to be accelerating in the post-Soviet era as the potential pool of Jewish spouses declines.10Therefore, it seems reasonable to estimate that fewer than half of those in the youngest cohort (born in the last 20 years) in Russia who have a Jewish parent are halachically Jewish. In fact, it is likely much lower, as there are very few children with two Jewish parents and many more children with a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother than with a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father, but also because some of those Jewish mothers may have a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother and therefore are not halachically Jewish themselves.

An even broader definition, based on Israel’s Law of Return, grants citizenship rights to children and grandchildren of Jews, and is further extended to include their spouses and children. According to this definition, the number of Jews in Russia increases dramatically to somewhere in the region of 600,000. Given the trends outlined above, principally the increasing intermarriage rate, the disparity between the Jewish population defined narrowly and the more expansive definition under the Law of Return is likely to continue to increase.11

Membership in communal organizations is not an effective measure of Jewish population size. Mikhail Chlenov, chairman of the Va’ad of Russia, estimates that less than 5% of Jews are religious, thus, synagogue lists are of little use in estimating the total Jewish population.12
Even organizations with a broad reach give little indication of the total number of Jews in Russia as they tend to list their activities across the FSU. Furthermore, the consequence of the proliferation of communal organizations active in Russia is that each one is only in contact with a small sector of the population.13

Migration

Migration is the primary reason for the decrease in Russia’s Jewish population. In the period following the fall of the Soviet Union, huge waves of migration significantly diminished the Jewish population. As a result, Russia’s Jewish population has declined by 71% since 1989. Over 390,000 of those eligible for Israeli citizenship have migrated to Israel since 1989, and large numbers migrated to the United States and Germany. Migration rates were at their highest during the period between 1989 and 2001, when 81,100 Russian Jews moved to the United States and a further 45,000 to Germany. Israel was by far the most popular destination during this period, with 291,200 Russian Jews opting to move to Israel.14
Population erosion due to emigration from Russia has been moderated by migration into Russia from other parts of the FSU and by the return migration of some who had moved to Israel.15

Return Migration

The vast majority of Russian immigrants to Israel chose to remain there, but a minority of around 9 to 13% left Israel; about half returned to their country of origin, and the rest moved to another country, primarily in North America or Western Europe16– still others did not settle permanently in either Israel or Russia, opting to maintain a transnational lifestyle.17
Migration decisions regarding aliyah and whether to remain in Israel are influenced by a range of factors,18
such as social ties, identity, and economic factors. Although overall economic indicators for Israel are more promising than in Russia, many young Russian immigrants cited the existence of a glass ceiling or the sense that immigrants have to work harder in order to achieve the same professional success as native Israelis as reasons for returning to Russia.19

 Antisemitism

Jews in Russia suffered from decades of state-sponsored discrimination and restrictions on religious expression. During perestroika and after the fall of Communism, social and political antisemitism declined sharply, with the Kremlin taking unprecedented steps to condemn it and to recognize Jewish suffering during the Holocaust.20
Although periods of political and economic instability often bring about an increase in antisemitism, this was not the case in Russia in the 1990s.21
President Putin’s record on antisemitism is mixed as he has strong personal ties with Jews, has made public appearances with representatives of the Jewish community, and has cracked down on extremists. However, there is concern that the policy of identifying Russia with the Russian Orthodox Church may pave the way for future antisemitism.22

Current survey data suggest that attitudes toward Jews in Russia are similar to those found in other Eastern European countries.23
Physical attacks motivated by antisemitism are rare, with none recorded in 2017 or 2018, while vandalism, particularly of Jewish cemeteries, and verbal attacks are much more common.24
Russian Jews are not particularly concerned by contemporary antisemitism, with only 16% considering it a very serious issue and 39% rating it a serious issue in Russia today.

The issue of Holocaust commemoration is highly sensitive. The importance of the Second World War, or the Great Patriotic War as it is known in Russia, is increasingly the focus of a national narrative that serves a contemporary political agenda. The historical tendency not to differentiate by religion or ethnicity among the millions of victims of Nazi aggression during World War Two is still in evidence and severely impacts the possibility of memorializing Jewish suffering during the Holocaust.

Ukrainian Jews: Demography and Society

The Jewish population of Ukraine is also shrinking, for reasons similar to those mentioned above in the Russian context. Deaths outnumber births and Ukrainian Jews have a high emigration rate. These two trends have had a dramatic impact on the Ukrainian Jewish community, which has dwindled by 91% since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

It is difficult to estimate the size of Ukraine’s Jewish population. The country’s last census was conducted in 2001. The census planned for 2010 was postponed until 2020, and postponed again. Moreover, no large-scale surveys of the Jewish community have been conducted in Ukraine. The lack of a reliable body of data poses a challenge to those seeking to determine the exact number of Ukrainian Jews. However, attempts can be made to arrive at an approximate number.

Population Size

According to Ukraine’s most recent census, which was conducted in December 2001, there were 104,300 Jews living in the country. However, the Jewish population of Ukraine is known to have rapidly dwindled since that time. The demographer Sergio DellaPergola estimates that the core Jewish population of Ukraine dropped from 100,000 at the start of 2002 to 45,000 in January 2020.25
DellaPergola’s estimate is supported by data from ARDA, drawn from the Database of World Religions.26

The data point to a major erosion of the Jewish population, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the total Ukrainian population. In 2000,Jews constituted 0.26% of the Ukrainian population. By 2015, that share had dropped to half its previous level.

Some of this erosion of the Ukrainian Jewish community is the result of natural negative population growth, due to the fact that the number of deaths in the community is significantly higher than the number of births. Fertility rates are low and the community is aging: the number of elderly significantly exceeds the number of children.27
Per the 2001 census, only 5% of Ukrainian Jews were under age 14, while 70% were over age 45; half were over age 65.28
The median age of Jews in Russia and Ukraine is now estimated to be around 57-60.29

The core Jewish population of Ukraine includes those who self-define as Jews. In the absence of a census or recent survey data, it is almost impossible to accurately estimate the number of people who currently identify as Jews. In the Soviet Union, Jews were considered a nationality, and were registered as Jews in official documents. Those with two Jewish parents were forced to declare themselves as Jews; those of mixed background clearly preferred to choose a non-Jewish nationality. According to the Russian microcensus of 1994, only 6.2% of all children under the age of 16 whose fathers were Jewish and whose mothers were Russian, and only 4.1% of all minors whose fathers were Russian and whose mothers were Jewish, were registered as Jews.30

The common approach in modern surveys of Jewish identity is to rely on self-definition, and to allow personal autonomy in decisions pertaining to this classification. Of course, self-definition implies a measure of flexibility, and the identity in question may change in character over time. In any case, without focused recent data on Jews, the sole means of estimating Ukraine’s core Jewish population is to use other accessible data, to perform a population analysis, to calculate birth and death numbers, emigration and return rates, the number of those joining and leaving the community, arrivals and departures, those starting to self-define as Jews and those ceasing to do so. While data on natural population increase and migration can be found, changes in self-definition cannot be estimated. In Ukraine the problem is particularly acute, as the latest census was conducted over two decades ago.

In the complete absence of data on self-reported religious identity, contact with Jewish communal organizations may serve as an indirect measure of Jewish identification. This approach harks back to attempts to estimate Jewish community size based on affiliation with a religious stream. This approach should be used cautiously as it poses an overestimation risk, due to exaggerated estimates provided by the relevant organizations, or double counting. The Joint Distribution Committee (“the Joint”) is one of the Jewish organizations currently active in Ukraine. It coordinates the actions of a large number of charitable organizations and “is serving an estimated 40,000 Jewish elderly and 2,500 poor Jewish children and their families.” This figure is very close to the previously-mentioned estimate of Ukraine’s core Jewish population, but it does not include people aged 18-60. This raises the possibility that a significant subgroup is not being identified as Jewish in the population census, though it is in contact (whether directly, or through family members) with Jewish community organizations.

Another potential means of estimating Jewish population size is based on Jewish parentage information. In the Soviet Union, Jewish endogamy (marriage within the ethnic group) rates were much lower than in the rest of the Jewish world. Of all marriages in Ukraine in 1994 where at least one partner was Jewish, 74% of Jewish men married non-Jewish women, while 66% of Jewish women married non-Jewish men. The endogamy rates declined even further as the pool of potential Jewish spouses shrank, due to emigration and population aging.31
As a result, the number of Ukrainians with one Jewish parent is much larger than the number appearing in the core Jewish population estimate – 90,000. Given the rising rate of marriage between Jews and non-Jews in Ukraine, the gap between the Jewish core population size and the size of the population with at least one Jewish parent is undoubtedly much larger than in countries with high endogamy rates.

Parentage – it should be noted that the Halacha stipulates maternal parentage – this is also crucially important for establishing Jewishness in the context of Israeli law. For demographic and sociological reasons, marriages between Jewish men and non-Jewish women in Ukraine are much more common than marriages between Jewish women and non-Jewish men. For this reason, the number of children born to Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers is substantially higher than the number of children with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers. The share of children born to two Jewish parents, as a percentage of all those born to Jewish mothers, declined from 83% in 1958 to 31% in 1992. Although we have no corresponding data on Jewish fathers, it is clear that the share of children born to non-Jewish fathers who also have Jewish mothers (i.e., those considered to be halachically Jewish) will be smaller than the share of [those born to] Jewish fathers, perhaps by 50%. Therefore, we may estimate that less than half of the young people in Ukraine who have a Jewish parent (those born during the past 20 years) are halachically Jewish. It is, in fact, reasonable to assume that the share is close to a third, given that there are very few children who have two Jewish parents, and many more children with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers than children with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers (some of the Jewish mothers are themselves the daughters of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, meaning that they are not considered Jewish according to Halacha).

A definition of Jewishness in terms of immigration eligibility according to Israel’s Law of Return relates to the children and grandchildren of Jews. This definition has been expanded to include the spouses and children of those eligible. If we look at the size of the Jewish community based on this definition, the number of those belonging to the community surges dramatically to approximately 200,000. Given the trends mentioned above, and in particular the growing rate of marriage between Jews and non-Jews, we may assume that the gap between the more restrictively-defined Jewish population and the population as defined by the Law of Return’s more expansive criteria will continue to grow.

Jewish Emigration

The main factor behind the erosion of the Ukrainian Jewish population is emigration, especially during the period following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Ukraine’s Jewish population has fallen by 91% since 1989. Over 350,000 of those eligible for Israeli citizenship have emigrated to Israel; furthermore, many Jews have emigrated to the United States and Germany. Emigration rates peaked during the period 1989-2001, when 128,500 Ukrainian Jews left for the United States, and 92,700 for Germany. In those same years, 299,700 Ukrainian Jews emigrated to Israel.32

Emigration was at its height during the period immediately after the Soviet Union’s dissolution; by the final years of the first decade of the 21st century it had stabilized at a much lower level. Surveys show that those who emigrated from Ukraine to Israel during this period were motivated primarily by concern about financial instability and its impact on the next generation. The immigrants tended to come from the professionally trained and academically educated strata of the middle class.33
Later there was a resurgence of emigration to Israel, sparked by the 2014 Russian-Ukrainian conflict in Crimea and Donbas. Except for a temporary halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, emigration rates have since remained high, a result of the ongoing military confrontation. Because many Ukrainian Jews once lived or currently live in Russian-speaking areas in the eastern part of the country, they suffered greater harm from the conflict relative to their population share.34
Some Jews decided to leave the conflict area and emigrate to Russia. Others went to other countries, including Israel.

Most Ukrainian Jewish migration was from Ukraine to other countries, Israel among them. But there is evidence that Ukraine’s Israeli population is growing due to emigration from Israel, a large proportion of which consists of Ukrainians who decided not to settle in Israel permanently.36

According to the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, out of 1,020,000 Jews and family members of Jews who had immigrated to Israel from the FSU as of July 2013, a tenth did not remain in Israel permanently, but rather migrated again.37
It is estimated that half of these returned to their countries of origin, while the others continued to a third destination, such as the United States, Canada, or (less commonly) one of the European Union countries. Many chose to live in more than one country; a few tens of thousands appear to divide their time between Israel and one of the FSU states.

The main reason for this repeat migration, that is, the return to Ukraine of those who had emigrated from Ukraine to Israel, was the difficulty of adapting to Israeli life. Many gave consideration to the professional opportunities available in Israel and the Ukraine, and on that basis determined their stance regarding migration. During the first decade of the 21st century, Israel’s climate was also mentioned as a reason for repeat migration. Many, however, regarded the return to Ukraine as temporary, and intended to resettle in Israel at a later point.

It is hard to accurately estimate the number of Israelis living in Ukraine, as the border authorities record those leaving and entering Israel, but not the countries where they actually live. Jewish representatives in Ukraine have provided widely varying estimates, ranging from 9,000 to 20,000. The Israeli ambassador’s 2013 assertion that at any given time there are 45,000 Israelis in Ukraine may be the correct way to describe the situation. The large volume of trips by Israelis to Ukraine for pilgrimage, tourism, family, or business purposes makes it hard to get a more accurate picture of this mobile population.38

Tourism and Pilgrimage

Tourists, pilgrims, and those employed in the heritage tourism industry constitute a major component of Jewish presence in Ukraine. Israelis and Jews from all over the world visit Ukrainian sites of Jewish interest. These sites include cities where important Jewish communities historically resided, sites where Jewish tragedies occurred, or places where rabbinical figures lived or were buried and which are now pilgrimage destinations. Ukraine is home to many sites of spiritual meaning to Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and these have become significant pilgrimage sites since the dismantling of the Soviet Union.

The best-known pilgrimage site is the burial place of Rabbi Nachman, founder of the Breslov Hassidic movement, in the city of Uman. This site’s popularity has grown rapidly; the hundreds who visited the site annually in the 1980s have turned into tens of thousands (the estimate for 2016 was 30,000).39

Although Rabbi Nachman’s grave is most commonly visited at Rosh Hashanah, i.e., in the fall, visitors come throughout the year. Some return each year to visit the gravesite, and form social relationships with each other. In addition to those who attach spiritual importance to the pilgrimage, there are others who are drawn to the site by the economic opportunities and volunteering options generated by the pilgrimage activity.

Although the pilgrimage activity benefits the local population economically, it also gives rise to tensions. Some Ukrainians are offended by the transformation of part of their home city into a Jewish holy site, where customs alien to the local population hold sway; they have held protests against the influx of visitors. In certain cases, Israeli governmental representatives have exerted pressure on the local authorities, hoping to ensure that the pilgrimage activity is not adversely affected by local opposition.40

Antisemitism

Ukrainian antisemitism levels are similar to those of the other East European nations. Anti-Defamation League data indicate no meaningful difference between the views of Ukrainians and those of citizens of other countries in the region. Pew Research Center data show that 15% of Ukrainians would not want a Jewish neighbor, and that 32% would not want a Jewish family member. Similar views have been found in other FSU countries, such as Belarus and Latvia. What is unique about Ukraine is that those who identify as Catholics, or who are unaffiliated with any religion, tend to have more negative attitudes toward Jews than those who identify as Orthodox Christians.

The level of antisemitic activity in Ukraine is a matter of disagreement. According to the Congress of Ethnic Communities in Ukraine, antisemitic incidents are very rare, and antisemitism manifests primarily in damage to sites or property (vandalism). Memorial monuments, cemeteries, and synagogues have been vandalized; there was an arson attempt on a synagogue in Kherson in 2020. The past five years have seen a decline in vandalism.41

On the other hand, data collected by Jewish organizations relate to a broader definition of what constitutes an antisemitic incident, which includes verbal attacks. Accordingly, these data indicate a much higher number of incidents than Ukraine’s official statistics suggest. Basically, the data place Ukraine among those countries with the highest number of antisemitic incidents, along with the UK, France, and Germany. However, physical attacks on Jews are rare, and government agencies are making an effort to monitor antisemitic crime.

After the Berlin Wall fell, Ukraine was the first of the former Communist bloc nations to establish diplomatic ties with Israel; the first president of independent Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, visited Israel in 1993. He promised to safeguard the rights of ethnic minorities in Ukraine, and to fight antisemitism.42
Today, most of the country’s antisemitic political parties are on the political fringe, and their voters have displayed willingness to elect leaders who openly acknowledge their Jewishness. There was actually a period in 2019 when both the prime minister and the president of Ukraine were Jews. However, the antisemitic Svoboda party has been part of the coalition, and its representatives have held ministerial posts. Antisemitism is present in Ukrainian political discourse, especially regarding the coronavirus and the prominence of Jewish politicians.

In 2009 Ukraine approved the Terezin Declaration on the restitution of stolen assets from the World War II era, but has not enacted any laws that would further the restitution of private Jewish property confiscated during the war. There is evidence that the Ukrainian authorities have been slower to act with regard to historic Jewish property than with regard to the assets of other religious groups. Of the 2,500 Jewish community buildings that were confiscated, the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine (VAAD) and the Eurasian Jewish Committee on Restitution estimate that only 40 synagogues have been returned to Jewish community control.43
Furthermore, these organizations estimate that between 10,000 and 15,000 plots of land have yet to be returned to Jewish hands.44

Judaism is present in the Ukrainian public realm. Among other things, rabbis are invited to official events; traditional ceremonies such as Hanukkah candle-lighting are held publicly; and ceremonies are performed to commemorate events of the Holocaust.45
The legacy of the Holocaust is a sensitive topic in Ukraine, as it is throughout Eastern Europe. During the Soviet period, the Jewish identity of the victims was largely downplayed, while in the post-Communist era the focus of interest shifted to crimes perpetrated under the Soviet regime. Collaboration with the Nazis and war crimes were denied or repressed, and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories became widespread. Holocaust remembrance and memorial sites such as Babi Yar spark bitter debate over the degree to which Ukraine should focus attention on the suffering of the Jews.46

Community Life

The dissolution of the Soviet Union made it possible for the Jewish community organizations in Ukraine to expand their activity, which focuses mainly on education, charity, and social work. As of 2015, there were approximately 600 Jewish communities and organizations in Ukraine, including 63 schools (the vast majority of them supplementary schools) and 28 periodicals. All of these entities belong to one of 15 “umbrella” groups that handle the affairs of the communities.47
Political tensions and power struggles subsist between these groups on issues such as the Chief Rabbi position. At times there have been no fewer than four men claiming the title of Chief Rabbi of Ukraine.48

The largest of the community umbrella organizations is the Association of Chabad Hasidism of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine, which sponsors 125 organizations, 29 schools, and 17 periodicals.49
Ukraine is home to 200 Chabad families dispersed across 35 cities; these families are part of the extensive network of Chabad emissaries who are sent to Jewish communities the world over. Chabad in Ukraine runs orphanages and educational institutions; according to the movement, it maintains the largest Jewish center in the world – the 46,000 square meter Menorah Center in Dnipro.

Although religious observance levels in Ukraine’s Jewish communities are generally low, attitudes toward Judaism as a religion have changed over the years, reflecting developments similar to those that have arisen in the general Ukrainian population. Those who grew up during the pre-Communist era tend to have positive views of Judaism as a faith, while the religious aspects of Judaism have largely negative associations for Jews who came to maturity under the Soviet regime. By contrast, the younger generation is once again adopting a positive outlook on Judaism as a religious tradition. Attitudes toward Judaism are shaped by tradition-based experiences in the home; those who have two Jewish parents therefore tend to have a stronger emotional connection to the tradition.50

Because most Jews in Ukraine are not married to Jews, non-Orthodox organizations might have been expected to play a more dominant role in the community. However, it is actually the Orthodox organizations that are setting the tone in Ukraine51: the country is home to 200 Orthodox communities, versus 51
non-Orthodox communities and 26 independent communities.52
One reason for this is the decision by the World Union for Progressive Judaism not to invest in FSU Jewish communities based on the assumption that these communities would soon disappear. At the same time, Chabad’s deeply-rooted ideal of emissary work has spurred the movement to send rabbis and families to Ukraine, even where living conditions are harsh.

Beyond the recognized Jewish community, Ukraine is home to over 60 communities of Messianic Jews, or Jewish Christians, or Jews for Jesus. The Orthodox community sees these groups as a threat, although some figures and organizations unaffiliated with Orthodox Judaism are more comfortable with their presence.53

Endnotes

1. Mark Tolts, “Post-Soviet Jewish demographic dynamics: An analysis of recent data,” In Sergio DellaPergola and Uzi Rebhun (eds.), Jewish Population and Identity: Concept and Reality (Cham, Springer 2018), 213-232.

<href=”#_end2″ name=”_endnote2″ “>2. Sergio DellaPergola, “World Jewish Population, 2019,” in Arnold Dashefsky and Ira M. Sheskin (eds.), American Jewish Year Book 2019, (Cham, Springer, 2020), 263-353.

3. Mark Tolts, Annual Estimates of Jewish Population in Russia and Ukraine (2020) Accessible at: https://archive.jpr.org.uk/download?id=8583.

4. See the ARDA https://www.thearda.com/internationalData/ .

5. Mark Tolts, “Demography of the contemporary Russian-speaking Jewish Diaspora,” Conference on the contemporary Russian speaking Diaspora, Harvard University (13-15.11.2011).

6. Mark Tolts, “Jews in the Russian Federation: A decade of demographic decline,” Jews in Eastern Europe, vol. 40, no.3 (1999): 5-11.

7. Valery Chervyakov, Zvi Gitelman, and Vladimir Shapiro, “The ethnicity of Russian and Ukrainian Jews,” East European Jewish Affairs, vol.31, issue 2, (2001): 1-17.

8. Mark Tolts, “Jewish marriages in the USSR: A demographic analysis,” East European Jewish Affairs, Vol.22, issue 2, (1992): 3-19.

9. Mark Tolts, “Demographic trends among the Jews in three Slavic republics of the former USSR: A comparative analysis,” In Sergio DellaPergola and Judith Even (eds.), Papers in Jewish Demography 1993, (Jerusalem, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1997):147-175.

10. Ibid

11. Sergio DellaPergola, “World Jewish Population, 2019,” in Arnold Dashefsky and Ira M. Sheskin (eds.), American Jewish Year Book 2019, (Cham, Springer, 2020), 263-353.

12. E-Jewish Philanthropy, “Chabad in Russia: At what cost?” (5.08.2015), accessible at: https://ejewishphilanthropy.com/chabad-in-russia-at-what-cost/

13. Federation of the Jewish Communities of the CIS. Accessible at: https://fjc-fsu.org/department/humanitarian-aid/food-parcels-for-children/

14. Mark Tolts, “A half century of Jewish emigration from the former Soviet Union,” Paper prepared for the Symposium in Honor of Dr. Mark Tolts on his retirement, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, (27.06.2019).

15. Mark Tolts, “Demography of the Jews in the former Soviet Union: Yesterday and today,” In Zvi Gitelman, Musya Glants, and Marshall I. Goldman (eds.) Life After the USSR, (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2003): 173-206; Mark Tolts, “Demographic trends among the Jews of the former Soviet Union,” Paper presented at the International Conference in Honor of Professor Mordechai Altshuler on Soviet and Post-Soviet Jewry (28-30.12.2003); German translation published in: Menora: Jahrbuch für deutsch-jüdische Geschichte 2004. Band 15. Berlin/Wien: Philo, 2005, pp. 15-44 accessible at: https://archive.jpr.org.uk/download?id=3492; Yinon Cohen, “Migration patterns to and from Israel,” Contemporary Jewry, Vol. 29, issue 2, (2009): 115-125.

16. Vladimir Ze’ev Khanin, From Russia to Israel – and Back? Contemporary Transnational Russian Israeli Diaspora, (Oldenbourg, DeGruyter, 2022).

17. Larissa I. Remennick, “The new Russian-Israeli Diaspora in Israel and the West: Between integration and transnationalism,” in Elizer Ben-Refael and Yitzhak Sternberg (eds.) Transnationalism: Diasporas and the Advent of a New (Dis)order, (Leiden, Brill, 2009): 267-290

18. Karen Amit,” Identity, belonging and intentions to leave of first and 1.5 generation FSU immigrants in Israel,” Social Indicators Research, Vol. 139, issue ,3 (2018):1219-1235; Eugene Tartakovsky, Eduard Patrakov, and Marina Nikulina, “The emigration intentions of Russian Jews: the role of socio-demographic variables, social networks, and satisfaction with life,” East European Jewish Affairs, Vol, 27, issue 2-3, (2017): 242-254.

19. Vladimir Ze’ev Khanin, From Russia to Israel – and Back? Contemporary Transnational Russian Israeli Diaspora, (Oldenbourg, DeGruyter, 2022).

20. Thomas Sherlock, “Antisemitism in Russia: Evaluating its decline and potential resurgence,” Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 38, issue 3, (2022): 175-205.

21. James Gibson and Marc Howard, “Russian Anti-Semitism and the Scapegoating of Jews,” British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 37, issue 2, (2007): 193-223.

22. Thomas Sherlock, “Antisemitism in Russia: Evaluating its decline and potential resurgence,” Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 38, issue 3, (2022): 175-205.

23. ADL/Global 100. Accessible at: https://global100.adl.org/; Pew Research Center, “Religious belief and national belonging in Central and Eastern Europe,” (2017) accessible at: https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2017/05/10/religious-belief-and-national-belonging-in-central-and-eastern-europe/

24. Russian Jewish Congress, “Report on antisemitism in Russia, 2018,” accessible at: https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Issues/Religion/Submissions/WJC-Annex2.pdf

25. Sergio DellaPergola, World Jewish Population Report (2002-2020)

26. See the ARDA https://www.thearda.com/internationalData/

27. Mark Tolts, “The Post-Soviet Jewish population in Russia and the world,” Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe (2004): 37-63.

28. Jonathan Boyd, “How many Jews may be caught up in the conflict in Ukraine?” (Institute of Jewish Policy Research, 2020)

29. Vladimir (Zeev) Khanin, “The Israeli Diaspora in Ukraine: Structure, Dynamics, and Identity,” https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-ukr38 (2017): 81-104.

30. Mark Tolts, “Jews in the Russian Federation: A decade of demographic decline,” Jews in Eastern Europe, vol. 40(3): 5-11.

31. Valery Chervyakov, Zvi Gitelman, and Vladimir Shapiro, “The ethnicity of Russian and Ukrainian Jews,” East European Jewish Affairs, vol.31, issue 2, (2001): 1-17.

32. Mark Tolts, “Post-Soviet Jewish demographic dynamics: An analysis of recent of data,” in Sergio DellaPergola and Uzi Rebhun (eds.), Jewish Population and Identity, (Cham, Springer, 2018), 213-229; Mark Tolts, “A half century of Jewish emigration from the former Soviet Union: Demographic aspects,” Seminar on Russian and Eurasian Jewry, Harvard University (20.11.2019).

33. Shalom Berger et al., “Russian Speaking Jews and Israelis in the Former Soviet Union, Central Europe, and North America: Israeli and Jewish Identity and Projected Aliya,” (Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, 2013)

34. Sergio DellaPergola, “World Jewish population, 2019,” in Arnold Dashefsky and Ira M. Sheskin (eds.), American Jewish Year Book 2019, (Cham, Springer, 2020), 263-353.

35. Zoya Shwed, “History and Current State of Jewish Communities and Organizations in Ukraine,” Codrul Cosminului, vol. 27, issue 1, (2021): 67-90.

36. Vladimir (Zeev) Khanin, “The Israeli Diaspora in Ukraine: Structure, Dynamics, and Identity,” (2017), accessible at: https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-ukr38

37. Shalom Berger et al., “Russian Speaking Jews and Israelis in the Former Soviet Union, Central Europe, and North America: Israeli and Jewish Identity and Projected Aliya,” (Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, 2013)

38. Shalom Berger et al., “Russian Speaking Jews and Israelis in the Former Soviet Union, Central Europe, and North America: Israeli and Jewish Identity and Projected Aliya,” (Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, 2013)

39. Mitsuahru Akao, “A new phase in Jewish-Ukrainian relations? Problems and perspectives in the ethno-politics over the Hasidic pilgrimage to Uman,” East European Jewish Affairs, vol. 37, issue 2, (2007): 137-155; Alla Marchenko, “In the eyes of Uman pilgrims: A vision of place and its inhabitants,” Contemporary Jewry, vol. 38 (2018): 227-247.

40. Mitsuahru Akao, “A new phase in Jewish-Ukrainian relations? Problems and perspectives in the ethno-politics over the Hasidic pilgrimage to Uman,” East European Jewish Affairs, vol. 37, issue 2, (2007): 137-155.

41. Freedom House, “Annual report on hate crimes in Ukraine,” (2020), accessible at: https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/2021-06/FH-AnnualReport2020-EN_v02.pdf

42. Mitsuahru Akao, “A new phase in Jewish-Ukrainian relations? Problems and perspectives in the ethno-politics over the Hasidic pilgrimage to Uman,” East European Jewish Affairs, vol. 37, issue 2, (2007): 137-155.

43. Semen Charnyi, “Judaism across the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Anthropology and Archeology of Eurasia, vol. 48, no.1 (2009): 9-28.

44. “Overview of immovable property restitution/compensation regime – Ukraine,” (European Shoah Legacy Institute – ESLI, 2017).

45. Victor Yelenski, “The Resurrection of Jewish Religion at the Turn of the 20th and 21st Centuries: The case of Ukraine,” Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe, vol. 40, issue 6, (2020) article 7.

46. Olga Baranova, “Conceptualizations of the Holocaust in Soviet and post-Soviet Ukraine and Belarus: Public debates and historiography,” East European Politics and Societies, vol. 34, issue 1, (2020): 241-260

47. Zoya Shwed, “History and Current State of Jewish Communities and Organizations in Ukraine,” Codrul Cosminului, vol. 27, issue 1, (2021): 67-90.

48. Victor Yelenski, “The Resurrection of Jewish Religion at the Turn of the 20th and 21st Centuries: The case of Ukraine,” Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe, vol.40, issue 6, (2020) article 7.

49. Zoya Shwed, “History and Current State of Jewish Communities and Organizations in Ukraine,” Codrul Cosminului, vol. 27, issue 1, (2021): 67-90.

50. Valery Chervyakov, Zvi Gitelman, and Vladimir Shapiro, “The ethnicity of Russian and Ukrainian Jews,” East European Jewish Affairs, vol.31, issue 2, (2001): 1-17.

51. Semen Charnyi, “Judaism across the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Anthropology and Archeology of Eurasia, vol. 48, no.1 (2009): 9-28.

52. Zoya Shwed, “History and Current State of Jewish Communities and Organizations in Ukraine,” Codrul Cosminului, vol. 27, issue 1, (2021): 67-90.

53. Semen Charnyi, “Judaism across the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Anthropology and Archeology of Eurasia, vol. 48, no.1 (2009): 9-28.

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